Friday, December 19, 2014

Foodie Friday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Found here

I love Indian food, though it doesn't always love me back. We have some really good family run Indian restaurants here, but when I found this recipe I knew it was a keeper!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4 to 6.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

Fresh cilantro, chopped

2 cups cooked rice, to serve

Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika and kosher salt until the chicken is evenly covered with spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices.

--If you have the time: Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup yogurt for up to 6 hours. Shake to remove excess yogurt before transferring to the slow cooker.

--If you have the time: Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet until softened, then stir in the ginger, tomato paste and spices until fragrant. Transfer to the slow cooker with the chicken and diced tomatoes. This will give your tikka masala more depth of flavor.

Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the heavy cream. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the slow cooker uncovered for the last 15 minutes. Taste and add more garam masala or salt to taste.

Serve over rice with fresh cilantro sprinkled over the top of each serving. The tikka masala can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months.

Recipe Notes

--Chicken breasts can be substituted for the thighs, though I find thighs hold up better over the long cooking and breasts tend to fall into shreds. Still delicious, though!

--For a little of that smoky tandoori flavor, try using smoked paprika and roasted tomatoes.

My note
- I hate dark meat, so definitely going with the chicken breasts.

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Version Book Challenge

I'll most likely do the Goodreads challenge again for 2015, but I found this online and think I'll add it into the mix.

Hopefully the link works- it's a printable checklist for the Popsugar Reading Challenge.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

This is what happens when I work a double shift and the office is TOO DAMN HOT

So, around the beginning of the shift, I posted on Facebook that the office was too hot and if it didn't start cooling off, I was taking off my pants. (I did NOT mention the shorts I had in my car to change into)

The responses to that ranged from "Whoo-hoo!" (thank you, Martin) to "Pictures or we don't believe you." (Be careful what you ask for)

About 3 hours later the temperature had actually RISEN 3 degrees, so the jeans came off. The shorts went on, and to amuse my friends, I took and posted a picture of my legs propped up on the desk. (From mid-thigh down so it looks like I'm running around the office in my underwear)

About 30 seconds after I posted it, my cell phone started ringing, the office phone started ringing, and my FB feed went nuts. The smarter of my friends figured it out, but still thought it was hysterically funny, especially as I've been in a very down cycle lately.
The more obnoxious of my officer friends started calling people and telling them to look at it. I've also been informed that a van load of guys on a stakeout nearly blew their cover when one found it and screamed "Holy shit, Mickey has lost her motherf'ing mind and is getting nekkid in the property room!!!" Amusingly enough, HIS SGT. was one of the first people to respond online.

So, if nothing else, I have at least had some fun tonight and made it go by a little quicker. And I'm sure I'll get an earful from my bosses on Monday...except for the one on my friends list who is probably choking on his beer.

If I ever figure out how to add photos to my blog, I'll share that shot. :-)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Foodie Friday- Pioneer Woman's Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole

Found here

Well, the new dish I introduced for Thanksgiving dinner went over so well that I decided to try another of Ree's sides. We used to make a broccoli-cheese casserole all the time, and I'm not sure why we stopped. Ree's version involves the addition of cauliflower and a different cheese blend than I was used to, but it's QUITE tasty!

Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8


1 head (large) Broccoli
1 head Cauliflower
6 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 whole Medium Onion, Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 cup Flour
2-1/2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1-1/2 cup Grated Monterey Jack Cheese, More To Taste
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/3 cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs

Preparation Instructions

Break the broccoli and cauliflower into small florets, cutting off the thick stalks as you go. Steam them for 3 to 4 minutes until the broccoli is bright green, then remove them from the heat. Set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter and saute the onion and garlic until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the top, whisk to combine, and cook for another 45 seconds. Pour in broth, whisking constantly, then cook until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low and add the softened cream cheese, salt, pepper, seasoned salt, and paprika. Stir to combine until the sauce is nice and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, making sure it's nice and flavorful! Keep warm.
In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and melted butter. Set aside.
Layer half the broccoli and cauliflower in a small casserole dish. Pour on half the cream sauce, then sprinkle on half the cheese. Sprinkle a little paprika on the cheese, then repeat with another layer of broccoli, sauce, and cheese.
End with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve warm.

Mom prefers Cheddar to Monteray Jack, so I'll probably try that next time.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Foodie Friday- Pioneer Woman's Butternut Squash & Kale

found here:

I foolishly volunteered to cook our post-Thanksgiving dinner since I had to work on the actual holiday. Mom was so worn out after the health care battles with Dad that she agreed to that plan. I had made grandiose plans for what we were going to have, but the CFS & a sinus infection kicked in, so those plans went by the wayside.

Instead of the turkey breast cutlets, pounded, filled with homemade stuffing and wrapped in bacon that I planned, we had the cutlets pan-seared and simmered in homemade gravy. The stuffing came from a box. Sigh. It was good with the gravy over it. And I cracked open a tube of crescent rolls for the other bread dish.

Usually we have a green bean casserole or the brussels sprouts w/bacon dish that I introduced to our dinners about 10 years ago. This year, I decided to try Ree's Squash & Kale dish. Why? No idea. I don't generally like butternut squash. But it had been on her site and the picture looked so appetizing that I kept coming back to it, and I thought I remembered both parents liking the squash, so I went for it.

Butternut Squash and Kale
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 10 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8

1/2 whole Butternut Squash; Peeled, Seeded And Cubed
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Black Pepper To Taste
1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder (more To Taste)
1 bunch Kale, Leaves Torn, Stalks Discarded
Preparation Instructions
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula, until squash is deep golden brown and tender (but not falling apart.) Remove to a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat and add in the kale. Toss it around with tongs and cook it for 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the cooked squash and gently toss together.
Serve as a side dish with chicken or beef, as a main veggie dish, or as a filling for quesadillas or sandwiches.

My cheats- I used a bag of squash cubes and shredded kale from Trader Joe's. If you go with pre-cut squash, you will probably want to cut the larger chunks a bit smaller. I didn't and wound up adding a little water to the pan and steaming the cubes to make sure they were cooked through. I also used Lawry's 17 seasoning blend instead of salt & pepper, but I did add the chile powder.


Dad said dinner was "Alright." That's code for "I liked it, but I'm not saying that because I don't want you getting a big head."

Mom LOVED it.

I actually liked it, much to my surprise. I knew I liked kale, but it blended really well with the squash. In fact, I liked it so much that the small amount of leftovers went home with me!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 Random Interview Questions

The divine Gail Carriger posted a list of interview questions on her page, and I thought it would be fun to try to answer them myself. Here goes:

1. If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?

This Is NOT What I Planned: A Look At The Life Of A Broken Biracial Amazon

2. Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?

Not exactly. I do tend to plan trips around bookstore visits. I looked up stores in Toronto & London before I went to both. And the only reason I want to go to New York City is to go to the Strand bookstore.

3. Describe the best breakfast of your life.

One of the best ones was the breakfast we had on the day we went to Stonehenge. I discovered the joy of British bacon, sausage, and ham, fried bread, and sauteed mushrooms for breakfast. All washed down with strong hot tea. I loved it!

4. What is your idea of absolute happiness?

Ideally, waking up in the arms of Tom Hiddleston or Michael Fassbender. More realistically, it would be sleeping in as late as I want, waking up to a breakfast of bacon and pastries, lounging around reading and sipping tea or iced coffee with my silly cat in my lap, napping, Chinese for lunch, going book shopping and then coming home to a steak dinner, before going back to bed and reading until I fall asleep.

5. What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?

Butter Almond Ice cream. Fleischkele (old family dish, basically a fried meat turnover), my 500 count lavender sheets.

6. Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme...

7. Who are your favorite characters in history? Have any of them influenced your writing?

This is as close to writing as I get anymore, so no real influence that I'm aware of. I'm blanking on the characters.

8. Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.

no answer for this.

9. Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?

All of the above!

10. In the For-All-Eternity category, what will be your final thought?

Well, damn....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still here...

The last few months have kind of sucked. We got Dad home, immediately had to have him re-hospitalized, and now he's home again. So far, so good...knock wood.

I'm tired all the time. Chronic Fatigue and Seasonal Affective Disorder are a crappy combination. Dr. B. is at the end of his tether trying to figure out how to treat me.

Anyway, posting may be sporadic for the remainder of the year. I'll try to keep up, but no promises.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Foodie Friday- BBQ Beef & Mashed Potato Pie

Another good casserole, found here.


2 pound(s) Yukon gold or white potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-in. pieces

Kosher salt and pepper

4 tablespoon(s) olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 pound(s) lean ground beef

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 cup(s) ketchup

2 tablespoon(s) cider vinegar

1 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon(s) molasses

1 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce


Place the potatoes in a pot. Add cold water to cover; bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt; simmer until just tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking liquid; drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash with 3 Tbsp oil, ¼ tsp each salt and pepper and 2 Tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid (add more liquid if necessary).

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the remaining Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Heat broiler. Add the beef to the onion and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon off and discard any grease. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the ketchup, vinegar, mustard, molasses and Worcestershire; add to the beef and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Transfer the beef mixture to a 2-qt broiler-proof baking dish and top with the mashed potatoes. Broil until beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Foodie Friday Flashback- Sweet Potato Queens Death Chicken

Found in several of the books, this version of this yummy casserole is found here.


6 slices bacon
1 cup white rice
3 -4 chicken breasts ( or equivalent in other chicken parts, if you prefer)
1 (10 3/4 ounce) cans regular condensed cream of chicken soup or 1 (10 3/4 ounce) cans reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup water
1 teaspoon oregano
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
ground nutmeg
garlic salt or garlic powder ( you won't miss the salt)


Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with the bacon.
Pour the uncooked rice over the bacon, then lay the chicken breasts on top of the rice.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients-- using a pinch of nutmeg and a few shakes of garlic salt/powder-- but*don't* eliminate the nutmeg, because I promise, it's what makes the dish!
Pour the whisked mixture over the rice, then cover the dish with heavy duty foil (the author states emphatically that it's really important to use*heavy duty* foil, so if I don't have any, I use two layers of regular foil to be safe).
Bake at 300 degrees F for 2 hours.

My tweaks- I like a little thicker sauce and more of it, so I skipped the water & used 1 can cream of chicken & 1 can of cream of mushroom soup. Also threw in a few tablespoons of sour cream. I usually skip the parsley unless I have fresh on hand (rarely) and just add extra Italian seasoning. Also, use garlic powder- if you use a good bacon, you won't need or miss the salt.

This is good the day it's made, but if you can force yourself to leave some, it's even better the next day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day

I hope you voted today.

I did. I feel like I have to, no matter how slim the odds of my vote making a difference. Why?

1.The Armed Forces- all branches. The people who fight & die to protect our country and allow us to use the rights we have. Too many members of my family (on both sides) have served for me to not appreciate the sacrifices made on our behalf. My beloved Uncle John was one of the original Montford Point Marines (more on that here) and served in both Korea & Vietnam.

2.The National American Womens Sufferage Association fought for women to have the right to vote, risking social ridicule and jail sentences to have their voices heard. Those women went through hell to see that I had the same rights and opportunities to vote as the men of our country did. Many tried to go on hunger strikes while in prison and were brutally force fed by guards. (The movie Iron Jawed Angels can be a bit hamfisted, but is a good example of what they did)

3. The American Civil Rights Movement. Again, many members of my family participated in this. They demanded the right to be treated equally, with all the rights and privileges that they deserved.

So there are my three reasons for voting no matter what. I realize that the right to vote also comes with the right to not vote. However, as a bi-racial woman in a country where political changes seem to occur almost daily, I feel it would be a slap in the face of those who came before me to not honor their sacrifices and use the vote they gave me.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Spinach & Artichoke Baked Pasta

I love a good spinach & artichoke dip! This pasta dish is a close second. Originally found on the WD recipe finder, it's a quick easy dish to make.


12 ounce(s) short pasta, such as orecchiette or mezzi rigatoni
1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
4 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup(s) lowfat sour cream
4 ounce(s) lowfat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan (2 oz)
2 teaspoon(s) lemon zest
1 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
1 package(s) (10 oz) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
1 can(s) (13.5 oz) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, squeezed of excess moisture and chopped
4 ounce(s) mozzarella, shredded (about 1 cup)


Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Heat broiler. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice; stir in the onion mixture.
Add the pasta to the bowl and toss to coat. Stir in the spinach, artichokes and 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid (adding more liquid if the pasta seems dry). Fold in 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a broiler-proof 2 1/2- to 3-qt casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and broil until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Make it ahead: Line the casserole dish with foil, leaving a 3-in. overhang on two sides. Fill the dish with the prepared pasta mixture and freeze until just firm, about 20 minutes. Using the overhangs, lift the pasta out of the dish in one piece. Wrap in plastic, then foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. To serve: Let thaw in the refrigerator, remove the foil and plastic, and transfer the pasta to a broiler-proof casserole dish. Reheat, covered, in a 375°F oven, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella and broil as directed.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nutella Hot Chocolate with Hazelnut Liqueur

Who doesn't like a nice warm drink when the weather starts getting nippy? This one, found here, has become a new favorite!

1 cup milk
2 tbsp. Nutella
1 tbsp. hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico (optional)
Whipped cream, for serving

Heat milk in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to bubble at edges, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth. Top with whipped cream to serve.

How easy is this?!?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stop the world, I want to get off...

No, really.

Failing that, I would like to have Tom Hiddleston & Michael Fassbender delivered to me ASAP.

Friday, October 17, 2014

KFC Copycat Recipe

I periodically get the urge to eat fried chicken. I've never been a big fan of dealing with chicken bones though, so I tend to make it with boneless breasts/tenderloins. As a child, KFC extra crispy was one of my favorite treats.

Well, poking around on the internet, I found this copycat recipe for the 11 herbs & spices. Here it is- maybe I'll make a batch this weekend if the weather is cool!

11 Secret Herbs and Spices (KFC Copy Cat)

Minutes to Prepare: 10
Minutes to Cook: 10
Number of Servings: 1


2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves, crushed finely


Combine all ingredients as listed in a small jar with a tight fitting lid (baby food jars work good). Shake mixture to combine. Stores for months. Keep out of direct sunlight, heat and humidity.
(makes about 1/3 cup)
To Use:
Mix together 4 teaspoons mixture, 1 cup flour, 2 Tbls. packed light brown sugar and 1 teaspoons salt. Place in a doubled plastic food bag and add chicken to coat. Fry, drain on paper towels, serve!

yields : 1/3 Cup

Number of Servings: 1

Friday, October 10, 2014

Foodie Friday: Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Have you READ the ingredients on a bottle of salad dressing lately? All those chemicals...UGH. I've decided to start making my own. This one, originally found here, is tasty.

Makes about 2 cups

2 tablespoons minced shallot

2 tablespoons chopped basil

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons teaspoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons yogurt or sour cream

1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional

Honey, as needed

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallot, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice, mayonnaise, and yogurt or sour cream. Screw on the the lid and shake the jar to combine. Stir in most of the buttermilk. Check for consistency, and add more if needed. Taste, then season with salt, pepper and paprika. If the dressing is too sharp, drizzle in some honey to mellow the acidity. Taste again, and adjust if needed. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before using, to allow the flavours to blend and develop.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Like The Weather

"The color of the sky is gray as I can see through the blinds
Lift my head from the pillow and then I fall again
I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather"

From "Like The Weather by 10,000 Maniacs. Lyrics found here

We've had another weird spell of weather here. I went from sporadically running the air conditioner to turning on the central heat, digging out the blankets, and praying for a quick death as my sinuses exploded. Today is beautiful. Tonight, it's supposed to rain and get icky again. I give up.

The good thing in all of this is that the little black furball has been coming inside and is being very sweet and cuddly. I spent Monday mostly unconscious with Nightshade snuggled against me. You know you feel bad when a raspy kitty tongue on your forehead feels good!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Foodie Friday- Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake (Country Living)
Serves: 16 Yields: 1 eight-inch 3-layer cake
Oven Temp: 350
3/4 cup(s) (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup(s) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup(s) sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup(s) pumpkin purée
1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground nutmeg
1 recipe Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Frosting

Prepare cake pans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat three 8-inch cake pans with softened butter. Cut three 8-inch circles out of parchment paper and fit them into the bottom of the cake pans. Lightly coat the paper circles with butter and set aside.
Make the batter: Cream butter until smooth in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium speed. Add the sugars and mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Set aside. Combine the pumpkin purée, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. In thirds, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture, blending well after each addition until smooth.
Bake the cake: Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean -- 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on wire racks for 30 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and return to the wire racks until completely cool.
Assemble the cake: Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one-third recipe of Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. Serve or store refrigerated for up to four days.

Pumpkin cream-cheese frosting:
Yields: 3 1/2 cups
1 package(s) (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup(s) pumpkin purée
1/4 cup(s) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon(s) fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar, sifted
Blend the cream cheese, pumpkin purée, butter, orange juice, zest, and vanilla in a large bowl using an electric mixer set at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy -- about 5 more minutes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October and the Lack of Monthly Goals.

So last month's goals, as listed here should have been easy-peasy.

Short version of long story- they mostly didn't get done. Dad had several massive setbacks and I just plain couldn't cope with much of anything. The Shady-cuddling is about the only thing that I managed.

I'm not setting any goals for October. It's just not working right now. Actually, I take that back- my sole goal is to make it through October without checking myself into the local psych ward.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Foodie Friday- Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie (Country Living)
Serves: 8
Oven Temp: 425
1 cup(s) apple butter
1 cup(s) (solid-pack) pumpkin
1/2 cup(s) brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
3/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon(s) ground ginger
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup(s) evaporated milk
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
1 egg white, beaten
(optional) whipped cream, for garnish
Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Combine apple butter, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Stir in eggs. Gradually add milk and mix well, using electric mixer. Brush pie shell with egg white, coating lightly; discard remaining egg white.
Pierce holes in bottom of crust with a fork. Pour apple-butter mixture into prepared pie shell; bake 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake 35 minutes more until center is slightly puffed and jiggles a little bit when pan is tapped.
Cool until still slightly warm on wire rack. Serve with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon, if desired.

Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Random Questions Answered

Gail Carriger, one of my blogging/writing idols, posted these on her blog last week. Here are my answers!

1. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, I'm not sure I've grown up yet, but I went from actress, to writer, to morning show DJ, to wrestler (actually did that one, briefly), to anything but what I am now...LOL. I'm not sure what I want to be anymore. Except a princess. I'll always want to be a princess!

2. What is your favorite food-related memory?
So many good memories in my life center around food! Here are two, one for each of my parents:
1. Daddy used to work for a chain called Jack's Steak House that had really good chocolate cake. I was in 2nd/3rd grade then. If I had been good, he would bring home a piece of cake when he came in for the night (He'd get home between 1030-1100) and I was allowed to get up and watch Odd Couple re-runs with him while I ate my cake.
2. Mom & I went to England for my 32nd birthday. On the actual day, we took a day-trip to Bath & Stonehenge. We had our first official British tea in a little tea-house in Bath. (not Sally Lunn's- couldn't get near it, but the little place we wound up in was charming!) I discovered the joys of clotted cream that day!

3. Summer or winter?
Winter. I just can't deal with summer heat, despite the fact that I was born & raised in the American South and it's pretty much a year round thing. Actually, I prefer moderate spring/fall weather to just about anything.

4. Proudest five-minutes-of-fame moment?
I won a best lips contest at a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We'll go with that.

5. What is your most irrational fear?
Not really irrational- I'm terrified of blindness & suffocation.

6. Favorite holiday destination?

7. What singer / band did you see at your first concert?
Eeep. I'm not entirely sure anymore. Does going to see my friend Peter's band in high school count? If not, I'll go with Garth Brooks in the early 90's. Not sure it's right, but it's one of my most vivid concert memories! (as talked about here)

8. What’s the worst lie you ever told?
"I've just got the flu."

9. Which teacher had the biggest impact on you?
My 8th grade English/Social Studies teacher taught me not to try to answer questions in her class. She asked us what amendment freed the slaves. Nobody in my class knew. I had read the chapter we were supposed to, but couldn't remember for sure if it was the 13th or 14th. (it's the 13th, BTW. I will NEVER forget that for the rest of my life) Anyway, I was brave enough to guess and got treated to a thirty minute diatribe about how disgraceful it was that I didn't know the amendment that set my people free. And another 5 minutes about being a smart ass when she paused for breath & I told her it only set half of them free, thank you very much.

My 10th grade Spanish teacher was a better influence. She was a big lady, and saw how uncomfortable I was in my own skin. She tried to teach me to appreciate myself as I was, and got me involved in the school student council. I'll never forget her for that. Sadly she died of cancer a few years ago. I regret that I never went back and told her how much she meant to me.

10. If you won a million bucks, what would you spend it on?
My parents get a house wherever they want it and then I'm taking the rest and going straight to England.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Foodie Friday: Coffee Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

Another no churn ice cream recipe! Yay! Found here

Coffee Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

1 packet instant coffee (I use Starbucks Via) or about 1/2 tablespoon from a jar
1/4 cup hot water
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (I use fat-free)
12 ounces (about 1 1/2 tubs) Cool Whip (I use fat-free)*
1/2 cup Nutella

Mix instant coffee into 1/4 cup hot water. Stir and let sit to cool for 10 minutes.
Stir coffee mixture and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl. (I like using a large Tupperware bowl, so it can be frozen in the same bowl.) Fold in Cool Whip.
Place Nutella in a small bowl and microwave for 20 seconds to thin it out. Pour slowly into ice cream mixture while folding. You don’t want to completely mix it in, you just want rivers of it flowing through the ice cream.
Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight until it becomes ice cream consistency.

*You can substitute freshly whipped cream for the Cool Whip. Whip 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form, and use all of it in place of the Cool Whip.

Mickey's note: I don't do fat-free ANYTHING. It's rich, but it's GOOD!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This sums up my job

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Monday, September 15, 2014

It's Monday again...

I'm so very tired. I'm working 7 straight days this week, which means I get paid double time for day 7, but it makes for an even more exhausted than normal me.

Dad is getting better again. At least until the hospital does something else stupid to him. He was feeling feisty enough today to argue with the doctors about when he could go home, so we're feeling hopeful.

The weather is getting cooler again- hallelujah! I actually settled down on the couch with my kitty, blanky, and the space heater this morning. It was lovely.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Foodie Friday: Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

Originally found here

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

Nutrition Info
Calories: 385.4
Fat: 12.5g
Carbohydrates: 24.1g
Protein: 41.0g

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup water
1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
3 cups cooked long grain rice (white or brown)

*1. Place chicken in crock pot
*2. Mix together Italian dressing mix and water. Pour over chicken.
*3. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours OR low for 8 hours.
*4. Mix together cream cheese and soup in separate bowl.
*5. Carefully remove chicken from crock pot to plate.
*6. Pour cream cheese/soup mixture into crock pot and mix together with dressing in bottom.
*7. Return chicken to crock pot and mix gently to shred the chicken.
*8. Cook on LOW until heated through.
*Serve with rice or noodles.

**You may add skim or low fat milk in very small quantities to thin the sauce a little. It does not significantly affect the nutritional value if you use up to 2 tablespoons**

Makes 6 servings. Approximately 2/3 cup mixture with 1/2 cup rice.

This recipe can be made with FAT FREE cream cheese and it saves about 6 grams of fat. However, I feel that the dish benefits from the flavor of the low fat over the fat free.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


So, 5 days before he was supposed to go home, Daddy was re-diagnosed with pneumonia and sent back to ICU. Due to the usual incompetence issues with the staff, we've been spending nights there to INSURE he's being treated properly. 2 of my sisters came up to help out with this.

He's been doing well, so we left him alone for about 4 hours this morning. Angie was at her hotel, I was at home, and Mom left him at about 3:30 a.m. At 7 we all got called and told he was having seizures & "coding" and we should come ASAP.

We got there, damn near kicked in the ICU door, and rushed into Daddy's room only to find him snoozing peacefully and thoroughly startled when we all started crying and hugging him.

Turns out there was a bit of a mistake. The patient in room 548 was the one coding/seizing. Dad is in room 584. Guess which family was mistakenly notified?

The idiot who called us is not having a good day. I raised hell, Angie (the most peaceful, calm, non-violent one of my sisters) raised hell, the correct patient's family raised hell, and the nursing supervisor raised hell after we all got through chewing on her.

Daddy? After the ruckus died down a bit, all he wanted was some breakfast and a nap. And then the doctor told us they might move him out of ICU today. We're still waiting for that to happen.

I dare these morons to send us anything resembling a bill for "services rendered." So far, all they've done is further endanger my father's health, stress the entire family out, and PISS ME OFF...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Foodie Friday: Pork Medallions in a Marsala and Mushroom Sauce

Another one where I forgot to note the source- I think it was from the food section of one of the British papers. I tend to collect recipes from the Daily Mail & The Guardian.

Pork Medallions in a Marsala and Mushroom Sauce
Serves 4

2tbsp olive oil
500g (1lb 2oz) pork tenderloin, cut into 8 thick slices
200g (7oz) chestnut mushrooms, halved
100ml (3½fl oz) Marsala wine
100ml (3½fl oz) hot chicken stock
150ml (5fl oz) double cream
3tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
40g (1½oz) salted butter
Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the potatoes
500g (1lb 2oz) baby new potatoes
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
Small bunch of chives, finely chopped

Put the new potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with some boiling water from the kettle, add 2tsp of salt and cook for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the medallions of pork for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat to a plate, cover with foil and set aside.
Add the chestnut mushrooms to the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Put the pork back into the frying pan with the mushrooms and pour in the Marsala. Allow to bubble for about 2 minutes then add the stock and cream. Stir in the chopped tarragon and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the potatoes and return to the same pan, stir in the butter, lemon zest and chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper. Put 2 pork medallions each in the centre of 4 serving plates, pour over the Marsala and mushroom sauce and serve immediately with the potatoes.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day & New Monthly Goals

So last month's goals were set relatively low in the hopes of actually getting them accomplished. They're here if you need a reminder of what they were.

*hangs head in shame*

I only managed to get one thing done. We went to the tea parlor on my birthday. The rest of it? Zip, zilch, nada. I got some trash taken out and made piles of junk in the living room, but didn't actually get any cleaning done...or the DVD's watched. How bad do you have to suck to not manage to watch a freaking DVD?!?

I'm blaming the stress of dealing with family and Daddy's surgery. And getting sick again.

So this month's goals- hah hah hah- are:

1. Watch Thor:Dark World, Only Lovers Left Alive, and the Nut Job if it kills me. (You'd think a Hiddleston binge would be a no-brainer, but this is me we're talking about here)

2. Get 3 baskets of laundry put away.

3. Work on the Halloween & Christmas cross-stitch ornaments for the exchanges I've signed up for. (in a moment of lunacy blind optimism)

4. Cuddle Nightshade every chance I get. (I miss my cuddlebug Malkin)

5. Cook a real meal at least once a week.

Let's see if I can't manage to get something right!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Foodie Friday- Salmon Patties

Not sure where I found this recipe, but it's a good one!

Salmon Patties
1 (14.75 ounce) can of pink or red salmon, undrained
1/3 cup of finely minced onion
1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
1/4 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning, or to taste, optional
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
15 saltine crackers, crushed fine
1 large egg, beaten
1/8 cup of water
1/2 cup of canola or vegetable oil

Use a fork to gently break apart the salmon, leaving some small chunks. Add the onion, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, parsley and lemon zest; gently toss. Reserve and slice lemon. Add the cracker crumbs, egg and water. Shape into 4 to 6 patties.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat oil and carefully add the patties, cooking until browned; use a fish turner or wide spatula to carefully turn and brown the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Cook's Notes: Serve as patties with mashed or fried potatoes and creamed peas, a mixed garden salad and a fresh tomato pasta side, or serve with green beans, lima beans and a good condiment like Comeback sauce, Remoulade, Cajun mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, or ketchup, or serve on your favorite sandwich or dinner rolls if you prefer. The skin and bones of canned salmon are generally edible, however you can remove them if you prefer, or purchase it without. I use Chicken of the Sea Red Salmon Traditional Style Sockeye and leave the bones in. If you don't have fresh lemon, add a tiny squirt of yellow mustard.

Tip: If you have the time, place the patties in the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.

To Bake: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush with oil or spray with non-stick spray. Place patties on top, dab with oil and bake in a 400 degree F preheated oven, turning once, for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. May also scoop about 1/3 cup into lightly greased or sprayed muffin tins.

Variations: Substitute fresh cooked salmon, or an equal amount of well drained tuna, mackerel, cooked shrimp or fish, freshly cooked, canned or leftover meats, ham or chicken, or simply cooked, mashed potatoes. If you have leftover mashed potatoes, they also make an excellent binder for fluffier croquettes, or you may also substitute bread crumbs, flour or cornmeal for the saltines. If you like, you may coat the patties with bread crumbs, panko, flour or cornmeal.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Met with Dad's doctors and therapists this morning. He has made such amazing progress just in the 4 days he's been in the rehab wing that they're projecting he'll be able to go home on September 9th!

DANCE WITH ME!!! I broke into a combination of Snoopy's dance and Balki's Dance of Joy. The doctor looked at Dad and told him NOT to try to do that. Mom told me to stop before I hurt something. My hip reminded me that I am getting too old for this shit. (Bonus points to anyone who gets the Dance of Joy & Lethal Weapon references)

Happy, happy, happy!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Just dropping by to say hi...

Dad is being moved to the rehab wing today! They finally got his lung infection and stomach bug cleared up enough to let him have real food (pureed, ick, but real food) for the last couple of days and as a result, he is now strong enough for the physical therapy. We're hoping this means he'll get to come home sooner than later!

Not much else to report right now.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Foodie Friday: French Toast Muffins

found here

Baked French Toast Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes (Plus 2 hours to overnight in fridge)
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Baked French Toast made in muffin cups. These muffins are too cute and a fun breakfast treat!

1 loaf French bread, cut or torn into 1/2 inch cubes (about 12 cups of bread)
2 1/2 cups milk
6 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Butter and Maple Syrup, for serving, optional

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

2. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Add about 1 cup of bread cubes to each muffin cup. Carefully pour egg and milk mixture evenly over each muffin tin. You may need to press down on the bread cubes after you pour a little mixture and then pour more. Pour slowly or you will have a mess. Cover the muffins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.

3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the cinnamon streusel, in a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together with your hands, until you have a crumbly mixture. Remove the muffins from the refrigerator and sprinkle the muffins evenly with the streusel topping.

4. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve with butter and maple syrup, if desired.


Monday, August 18, 2014

As The Stomach Churns -or- The Continuing Medical Saga That Is My Life

Well, it was another fun filled weekend. I went to bed feeling rough Friday night, woke up Saturday feeling like I'd been hit with a truck. Not the CFS, this time I had strep throat. I texted Mom to let her know that I wouldn't be going to the hospital to see Dad and dragged myself to the clinic.

Amusingly enough, when I got to the clinic I was seen by the same doctor who treated me for the sinus infection 2 weeks ago. "You just came off of antibiotics! How can you be sick again?!?"

I told him my self-diagnosis, he took one look at my throat, and then he sighed. "Yep, you're going on the penicillin wait, you're the one with the allergy...what the hell did I give you last time?" Flipped through the chart. "Ok, you're going back on this, but at a higher dose."

Then we had to wait for the pharmacy to call, because they did last time to make sure he MEANT to give me that strong an antibiotic. While we were waiting, he asked me what I keep doing ot myself to wind up there. I couldn't resist- I told him that I'd faked everything just for an excuse to come see him again. (He IS pretty cute...and probably about 12 years old) He snickered and said "Well, if I wasn't married and you weren't contagious, we might have had something there."

I love doctors who get my smart ass sense of humor. Dr B would have probably fainted on the spot if I'd said that to him.

So I hit the pharmacy & headed home to bed. The little black snot decided to come in for the day/night as we were having a nasty spell of rain that turned into a thunderstorm. She snuggled up and purred me to sleep and that was pretty much it until 2 pm Sunday.

Before I passed out, Mom had messaged me that Dad now had C.Diff- a really nasty stomach bug- plus he still wasn't able to eat. None of us were having a good time.

Mom & I went out to dinner at Panera Sunday and then I went back home to bed while she went back to the hospital to Daddy-sit.

Everyone is feeling better today. Dad is being allowed ice chips, honey, juice, and broth. They gave him a cup of tomato soup and you'd have thought it was manna from heaven. I was able to stick my head in and yell hello at him before coming to work today.

More news as it happens...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Belated: Happy Birthday to Me!

So, Dad got moved OUT of the ICU on my birthday! We're very happy about this, especially him.

Mom & I went and had our tea party at Sister's Tea Shop. It was tasty. I tried their Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea blend which turned out to be an Earl Grey with Jasmine. I loved it. The three-tiered nibbles assortment we ordered was also good. 2 of my favorites from that were the Black Pepper Biscuits with Ham Salad and the Caramelized Onion/Corn scone. They also brought me a giant chocolate cupcake with a pink rose frosting that was moist & delicious.

Went back to Mom's to open my presents. She & Dad bought me the Hollow Crown miniseries on DVD- Tom Hiddleston, yay! I won't list everything else, but Mom did her usual bang-up job of gifts and gift-wrapping.

Back to the hospital to spend some more time with the old coot, and then I went home and grilled myself a steak. Watched my new DVD's- ok, mostly just my favorite Tom scenes, but I'll watch the whole thing later.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Foodie Friday: Apple Gingersnap Brown Betty from Desserts From the Loveless Café

For Brown Betty:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom*
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 cups peeled cored and sliced apples (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs.)
2 cups coarsely broken gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup heavy cream

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped walnuts**

* I’ve never made this with cardamom as it’s not something I keep on-hand. It seems to taste just fine without it!
** These can be omitted for those with allergies or who just plain don’t like nuts. Weirdos. :-)

To prepare Streusel:
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon and rub together with your fingertips to blend and break up any clumps of brown sugar. Scatter butter cubes over flour mixture and continue to rub ingredients together with your fingertips until it forms small clumps and butter is no longer visible. Stir in walnuts and reserve.
To prepare Brown Betty:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Add apples and toss gently to coat with flour mixture. Arrange half of apple slices in an even layer in an 8-inch baking dish or other shallow 1 1/2-quart glass or ceramic casserole. Sprinkle half of gingersnaps over apples. Repeat with a remaining layer of apples and gingersnaps. Drizzle cream over gingersnaps and top with an even layer of streusel. Bake until apples are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer baking dish to a wire rack and cool until warm. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, if desired.

Mickey’s notes: I like to use a mix of tart and sweet apples, with a tendency toward more tartness. This is heavenly served warm with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream!

Even Dad, normally Mr. Picky, liked this!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Surgery Story (may be long & rambling- my brain is not totally functional right now)

So Daddy's heart surgery was on Friday. The planned procedures were: replacing 2 heart valves, doing one bypass, and scarring on a chamber to alleviate his A-fib.

My sisters arrived on Thursday. All four of them. This was a surprise to us, because we were told only one would be able to come after it had been re-scheduled. Only 2 of my BILs were brave enough to come along for this adventure. To be fair, Sandra's husband Eddie was in the hospital with congestive respiratory failure himself, but he insisted she come be with Dad.

We met at the hospital at 5 a.m. Friday. They took Dad back almost immediately, and we were allowed to come back for hugs/kisses/prayers before they took him off to surgery. The nurse took one look at us and asked "Is this ALL of them?" The look on her face when we said no was priceless.

Waiting is the worst. Around 7-8, we went to the cafeteria for breakfast. I'm a nervous eater and apparently so are my sisters. That place made a lot of money on us that morning! I took coffee & a danish back to Mom and we all sat around playing the waiting game. Sandra called the hospital back home to get an update on Eddie and scared us all to death when she burst into tears. It turned out to be a good cry though- they told her that he was off the breathing tubes and doing just fine. In fact he was fussing about wanting something to eat.

Sometime around 11-12, the surgeon came out to talk to us. He said Daddy had made it through the surgery like a champ! They wound up being able to replace the leaky heart valves instead of having to replace them, so the operation was less invasive/involved than they expected. (YAY) He also said that Daddy should be good for at least 10 more years now. (oh boy) It was going to be at least 2 hours before we could go back and see him, so we opted to go get lunch.

On the way to the parking garage, everything just hit me at once. I started bawling, much to the horror of my brothers. JR is normally a smart ass, but he was the first one to hug me and THEN he started picking on me to get me to stop crying. Roy started crying when I did, much to Audrey's disgust. Anyway, we all dried up after a minute or two and headed out.

We went to a Mexican restaurant near their hotel for lunch. They'd stopped in for Margaritas the night before and the host remembered them. (not entirely a surprise, given our family) Apparently he was so taken with the pack of us that he started pulling the staff out of the kitchen to gawk at us. The food was really good, though.

Saturday is kind of a blur. Daddy was still heavily drugged, so we took turns going in to sit with him. He did blink at us and squeeze our hands, so we knew it was really him in there. The ICU would only let us in 2 at a time for 10 minutes per pair. At the end of afternoon visiting hours, Sandra & I went shopping while the others went back to the hotel to pack up and move to a new one. Because the PGA championship was in town, hotel rooms were hard to come by and the 6 of them wound up having to share one room for Saturday night. I won't go into details about the dance off that took place before I left them for the night other than to say that Sandra & Audrey are wild women and should know better than to twerk.

Audrey, Roy, & Sandra had to leave Sunday morning. Daddy was still pretty out of it, but was fussing about his breathing tubes. The rest of us spent the day in and out.

Brenda, Angie, & JR left early Monday morning. Shortly after that, Dad managed to pull out his breathing tubes. Mom & I flew down to the hospital and were told that he'd thrown up while they were examining him to see how much damage he'd done to himself and aspirated some of it into his lungs. They were afraid they'd have to cut him open again to clean out his lungs, but were eventually able to flush everything out. He kept fighting the oxygen and other masks they tried to put on him in place of the breathing tubes, so they had to drug him senseless again and put him in restraints. And put the breathing tube back in. Needless to say, I didn't make it to work yesterday.

Today, after a night under sedation and lots of oxygen forced into him, Dad is MUCH improved. The doctors are optimistic that he'll be off the vents by Thursday, and if so, he can be moved into regular recovery. He waved at me when I stopped in to visit before work, and winked at me when I told him that I'd bought his lottery tickets for the weekend.

Then I made the mistake of coming to work. Psycho is giving me the silent treatment because I had the nerve to put my Dad before this hell hole, and if she rolls her eyes one more time when one of my friends drops in to hug me and ask about Dad, I am going to roll her head across the floor.

Yeah, life is getting back to normal.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Foodie Friday- No Churn Sea Salt & Honey Ice Cream

originally found here:

yield: SERVES 6 - 8 prep time: 5 MINUTES cook time: 6 HOURS total time: 6 HOURS 5 MINUTES

2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup honey (I like clover honey for this recipe) + 1 tablespoon for topping + a little more for serving if desired
1/2 teaspoon Fleur de sel sea salt + more for serving if desired

Pour the whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with the whisk attachment. Start out mixing on low speed, then slowly increase speed to high and mix until the whipping cream forms stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. You can also use a bowl and a hand mixer, or a bowl and a whisk and mix by hand (but it'll probably take awhile unless you have superpowers!)
Using a spatula, gently fold the sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt into the whipped cream. Continue stirring gently until completely combined. Pour into a freezer-safe container with airtight lid. Drizzle the top with 1 tablespoon honey. Seal.
Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.
Scoop into cups, bowls, or onto cones; drizzle individual servings with a little more honey and a bonus pinch of sea salt if desired. Serve.

This was a hit! I am now trying to figure out how to make a version of butter almond.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Heart Has Been Broken Once Again

So, toward the end of June, both Greymalkin & Nightshade had managed to escape the house by breaking out the side panels to the window unit A/C. I couldn't get wither of them back into the house for love or money. Nightshade would just stay out of reach. Malkin would come up to me for cuddles, but fight to get loose when I tried to take him back inside and then run away again.

After 2 weeks of this, I gave up. They were both coming back to the house to eat/drink from the bowls that the feral kitties were using, so I knew they weren't starving. The weather was uncomfortable to me, but not nearly as horrible as it had been for the last few years, so they were ok that way. Both of them were smart enough to go under my car, or under the house, or onto the neighbor's shaded porch if they got too hot or it was raining.

Then we left for the reunion in NC and poor Malkin lost his mind. I had made sure that Helen next door AND 2 officers knew my cats were outside and had them check on their food/water supplies for the 4 days we were gone. Helen said Malk would meow at her, but not come eat.

We got home and I went looking for the little nimrod. Nightshade had started coming and doing figure eights around my ankles, but still wasn't ready to come in. Finally, after walking up/down the street and calling for 20 minutes, my sweet boy appeared. He looked awful. He's been a fat little butterball for so many years, and now he was MARKEDLY thinner. I tried to pick him up for a cuddle and he hissed at me and ran away.

He spent most of July in hiding and looked thinner every time I saw him. He occasionally came out when I put out fresh food & water, but wouldn't eat or drink. And wouldn't let me touch him. I think he felt that I'd abandoned him and he wasn't willing to let me make it up to him. Nightshade, on the other hand, was finally showing signs of wanting to come inside.

Two weeks ago, Malkin was lying in the driveway when I came home from a Saturday lunch with a friend. He meowed at me when I got out of the car, and it was the most pitiful little sound I've ever heard. I knelt down beside him and was shocked to see that I could count his ribs. I picked him up- he let me- and cuddled him and he began to purr for me. I tried to carry him inside, and he jumped out of my arms and nearly knocked himself silly when he landed on the concrete. I picked him up again and sat on the porch with him for a long time, cradling him against me and listening to him purr. He drank some water when I held the bowl up to him, but wouldn't eat. I put him down to go in and get the cat carrier, because I decided he was going to the vet.

I was in the house maybe 2 minutes. He vanished in that time and I haven't seen him since. I've spent hours walking through my neighborhood & calling to him with no luck. I've called the animal shelters to see if someone turned him in, and they don't have him. Nightshade started staying in the front yard the day he disappeared, instead of roaming like she had been. Last weekend, she allowed me to pick her up, take her inside, and she's been indoors since then.

I think I've lost my sweet grey boy, and it's killing me. I should never have let him stay outside in the first place, so I have no one to blame but myself. I honestly think that last afternoon was his way of saying goodbye to me. I hope wherever he is, his beautiful soul is at peace and he knows how much I truly loved him.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Foodie Friday- Garlic-Yogurt Baked Chicken

originally found here:


4 chicken breast halves
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Lightly pound chicken just enough to even it out; do not pound it thin.
Place chicken in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine garlic, yogurt, and thyme; mix until combined.
Pour yogurt mixture over chicken; mix until chicken is thoroughly coated.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 375.
Grease a baking pan with cooking spray.
Remove chicken from bowl and shake off any excess; discard yogurt mixture.
Transfer chicken to prepared baking pan.
Sprinkle panko bread crumbs over chicken breasts.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until chicken is done.
Remove from oven.

I had it with oven roasted asaparagus (baked at the same time!) and rice, but green beans would be good too. Or mashed potatoes.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monthly Goals- Utter Failure

So here were the July-recycled-from June goals

1. Move back into the main bedroom

2. still trying to excavate Laundry Mountain

3. clean out current bedroom

4. create order out of the 5 boxes & innumerable bags of stitch stash

5. take another box of books to Half Price Books

6. Finish the birthday card I started stitching for Uncle John LAST year so I can give it to him THIS year.

7. take 3 bags of culled wardrobe items to Goodwill

I didn't get a single damned one of them done.

Attempting a new list for August:

1. Watch Thor:Dark World

2. Get main bedroom vacuumed

3. Tidy living room

4. Watch Season one of Grimm

5. Go here: on/near my birthday

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Song Lyric Wednesday, take 2

This time it's Rixton:

"Me And My Broken Heart"

All I need's a little love in my life
All I need's a little love in the dark
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart
I need a little loving tonight
Hold me so I'm not falling apart
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart


[Verse 1:]
Shot gun, aimed at my heart, you got one
Tear me apart and then some
How do we call this love
I try to run away but your eyes
Tell me to stay, oh why,
Why do we call this love

It seems like we've been losing control
Somebody tell me I'm not alone
When I say

All I need's a little love in my life
All I need's a little love in the dark
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart
I need a little loving tonight
Hold me so I'm not falling apart
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart

[Verse 2:]
Maybe some part of you just hates me
You pick me up and play me
How do we call this love?
One time tell me you need me tonight
To make it easy, you lie
And say it's all for love

It seems like we've been losing control
Somebody tell me I'm not alone
When I say

All I need's a little love in my life
All I need's a little love in the dark
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart
I need a little loving tonight
Hold me so I'm not falling apart
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart

Whoa oh, whoa oh
Me and my broken heart
Whoa oh, whoa oh
Me and my broken
Yeah, yeah, yeah
(Me and my broken)
Yeah, yeah, yeah
How do we call this?

It's just me
It's just me
It's just me
Me and my broken heart

All I need's a little love in my life
All I need's a little love in the dark
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart
I need a little loving tonight
Hold me so I'm not falling apart
A little but I'm hoping it might kick start
Me and my broken heart

Monday, July 28, 2014

File Under Things I Will Never Try Again

1. Mikesells Smoked Bacon flavored potato chips
They smell like bacon. They vaguely taste like bacon & fake mesquite. Then the salt from the first 5 you eat hits and you drink a gallon of water in 15 seconds.

2. Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider
I'm not much of a drinker anyway, especially now with my assorted cocktail of medications. But I do like soft cider and have had one or two hard ciders that I thought were tasty. This was not one of them. Now I have 4 bottles left in my fridge and no clue what to do with them. The 6 pack was too expensive to just pour them down the drain. I may try adding some to homemade applesauce or something.

3. Knitting
I suck so badly at it that even one of the hand loom things can't help me.

4. Dating anyone more than 5 years younger than me. Unless it's Tom Hiddleston.
Nothing kills a mood faster than hearing a song you loved in high school on the radio and hearing your date say "I think I was 3 when that came out." (Not a recent experience, but I'm still traumatized by it)

5. Streaking
My ex-college roommate/partner in crime & I streaked around the bell tower at UNC our freshman year. Only the friends we were with saw us, thankfully, and it was an unique experience, but NOT one I will ever repeat. Especially with my 40-something body. Things jiggle a bit more.

6. Almond Oolong Tea
Got to pick a free sample with my last Teavana order. I like almonds, so I thought maybe it would be good. It wasn't. I'm guess I'm just not a flavored tea person.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Foodie Friday- Skillet Cheesy Gnocchi with Peas and Ham

I found this online somewhere and cannot take credit for the recipe, but my goodness it's tasty!

Skillet Cheesy Gnocchi with Peas and Ham
yield: 2-4 SERVINGS prep time: 10 MINUTES cook time: 20 MINUTES total time: 30 MINUTES
1 pound gnocchi
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1-1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup frozen baby peas
7 ounces small diced ham

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add in gnocchi and cook until they float to the top. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
Place a large high sided skillet over medium heat and add the butter.
Once the butter is melted add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Whisk in flour until combined.
Slowly whisk in the milk until completely combined. Whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth and starts to thicken slightly. Lower the heat to low.
Add in all the cheese, peas and ham. Stir together until the cheese is melted. Stir in gnocchi and serve warm.

Note: If the sauce becomes a little too thick simply add a bit more milk to help loosen up the mixture.

An alternate to making your own sauce would be to use a jar of store bought Alfredo sauce. I’d add extra Parmesan & Asiago to it, fresh ground black pepper, and possibly some Italian seasoning or fresh chopped herbs. Oh, yes, I almost forgot- saute chopped garlic & some finely chopped onion in butter or olive oil, the add the Alfredo!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Song Lyric Wednesday

Couldn't think of anything original to post, so here are the lyrics to a Train song that I like:

"50 Ways To Say Goodbye"

My heart is paralyzed
My head was oversized
I'll take the high road like I should
You said it's meant to be
That it's not you, it's me
You're leaving now for my own good

That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say

She went down in an airplane
Fried getting suntanned
Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She met a shark under water
Fell and no one caught her
I returned everything I ever bought her
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies
And ways to say you died

My pride still feels the sting
You were my everything
Some day I'll find a love like yours (a love like yours)
She'll think I'm Superman
Not super minivan
How could you leave on Yom Kippur?

That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say

She was caught in a mudslide
Eaten by a lion
Got run over by a crappy purple Scion
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She dried up in the desert
Drowned in a hot tub
Danced to death at an east side night club
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies
And ways to say you died

I wanna live a thousand lives with you
I wanna be the one you're dying to love...
But you don't want to

That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say
That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say

She went down in an airplane
Fried getting suntanned
Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She met a shark under water
Fell and no one caught her
I returned everything I ever bought her
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies

She was caught in a mudslide
Eaten by a lion
Got run over by a crappy purple Scion
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She dried up in the desert
Drowned in a hot tub
Danced to death at an east side night club
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies
And ways to say you died

Monday, July 21, 2014

If I Were To Be Interviewed By A Woman's Magazine...(as stolen from Gail Carriger) **now with corrected spelling!**

20 Questions from Marie Claire Magazine

What food is on your kitchen counter?
A partial loaf of white bread, a bottle of olive oil, and a tin of cat food

What is the best gift you've ever received?
My mother took me to London for my 32nd birthday present, and we spent the actual day on a side trip to Bath & Stonehenge

What is your fantasy vacation itinerary?
An extended tour of Great Britain & Ireland.

What can you not miss on TV?
I don't actually watch much TV. I am looking forward to seeing the new show, Gotham, when it debuts this fall, assuming my coworker actually lets me watch it. otherwise, I wait until things come out on DVD and binge watch.

What is the best advice you've ever been given?
Hmmm. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, maybe?

What movie do you think has the greatest ending?
Romancing the Stone. I love how Jack surprises Joan at the end with a scene straight out of one of her romance novels.

What is on your perennial to-do list?
Cleaning my kaza-flatching house.

What is on your bookshelf?
An inch of dust and too many books per shelf. LOL. Lots of fantasy/sci-fi, mysteries, and a TON of British themed books. Oh, and comic collections.

What is on your feet right now?
A pair of heavily worn Dr Scholl's brown leather sandals

What is you go-to karaoke song?
I don't sing in public unless everyone I'm with is too drunk to remember it. However, under those circumstances, I have been known to belt out Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places."

What is your beauty secret?
Lip balm! Lots of lip balm.

What should every woman try at least once in her lifetime?
Lord, I have no idea. Red lipstick?

Do you have a secret talent?
I can pick up just about anything with my toes.

What makes you laugh?
silly animal antics, British comedy, Improv style comedy

What makes you mad?
stupidity, passive-aggressiveness, people who try to screw me over and then play the victim.

What charities do you support?
Cancer, literacy, & animal charities. And the local food bank

What splurge is well worth it?
400+ count cotton sheets. OMG, love mine. Also, thick bath sheets.

Do you have an pet peeves?
Far too many to list. The current list toppers are people who say "I don't want to interrupt you" and then do just that, anybody who pulls out in front of me on the interstate and then slows down for no reason, and being second-guessed

How did you make your first dollar?
Babysitting, followed by being a page at my local library.

What's the one thing you wish you'd known when you were younger?
There is no such thing as financial security and you should really learn how to manage finances before going out on your own. Also, credit cards are the devil.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rick Still Rocks!

So, Sunday night was the Rick Springfield concert. I had been looking forward to it for months, having ordered my ticket the day they went on sale. I used what pitiful amount I got of my tax refund to pay for it, and while I was tempted to order the most expensive seats (which came with the meet & greet before the concert), I restrained myself and ordered the second-tier priced ticket instead.

I got to the Louisville Palace about 30 minutes before the show was supposed to start...and discovered that my seat was in the lower part of the FREAKING BALCONY. I was NOT HAPPY. Not only did I have to climb a zillion stairs, I wasn't going to be close enough to play with Rick if he came out into the audience like he usually does. Then it got worse. My seatmates turned out to be 3 drunk/yappy-happy bimbos with entirely too much perfume on. It was so bad that I had to use my inhaler twice. After the second shot, I went to the ushers and requested that they move either me or them. The lead usher came back with me to see for himself, choked on the one girl's scent, and quickly moved me to a seat on the other side of the balcony in a largely empty area.

The opening act (unusual for Rick- the shows I've seen previously were all Rick and nothing but) was Terri Nunn with Berlin. I have to say I was pleasantly impressed. Terri Nunn has held up beautifully since the early days of her career and looked fantastic. I loved the metallic blue dress and killer black booties she wore. She won the crowd over by praising the gorgeous theater (the Palace *IS* an awesome building) and talking about how friendly everyone was in Louisville as compared to L.A. She & the band performed their best known hits as well as some songs from their new album, which I may go look for.

Brief intermission, then Rick took the stage. Whooo-hooo! One of the best things about the Palace is that there isn't a bad seat in the house as far as hearing goes, and you can pretty well see everything, even if the band looks like ants from above. I'm just resentful that I paid that much money to be stuck in the balcony....yes, I'll be harping on that for a while...

Rick put on his usual awesome show. One song that surprised me was his cover of the Katy Perry song "Roar." I thought it was an okay song when she released it, but IREALLY liked Rick's version. I hope he puts it on an album someday.

So, it was all good until close to the end of the show. Then, during "Don't Talk To Strangers", 3 more drunk chicks who were sitting near me decided that it was wrong for me to be sitting alone, so they came over to dance with me. I got groped and ground on and was considering pitching one of them over the balcony when my usher friend came to my rescue and made them go back to their seats.

The concert ended and I fought my way out of the Palace...only to discover that the bottom had dropped out of the sky. I was parked 3 blocks away at the library and didn't have an umbrella. Bracing myself, I pushed my way through the crowd under the the portico, and started walking. I was soaked through in about 4 steps. LOL. I stopped at the Brown Hotel shelter for a minute to try to clear my glasses and one of the parking valets offered me a towel. He asked if I had just been at the concert and if I had far to go to get home. Yes, I said, and no. It's only about a 10 minute drive to my house, which was why I wasn't worried about being drenched. He laughed and told me to look behind me. I looked back at the theater and saw the huge bottleneck of people milling around, unwilling to get wet. A few brave souls had followed my lead, but it looked like most of the audience was clinging to shelter. "They'll probably still be standing there when you get home!"

My last 2 laughs of the night were both work-related, oddly enough. As I went on to my car, I passed one of our homeless regulars on the corner of 4th & Broadway. He stopped and stared at me, so I said hello to him and kept going. "Hey" he yelled after me. "You can share my tent if you need a place to stay tonight!" I thanked him and said I was ok, but it was kind of him to offer.

Then, just before I got to my car, an officer pulled up beside me. "Woman, don't you have enough sense to come in out of the rain?!?" It was my friend DJ. He asked if I needed a ride, so I pointed to my car, 4 yards away. He waited until I got in and got it started before pulling off, still laughing at me.

After all that, I needed comfort food, so I went home and had a batch of chicken & noodles. And a very long hot shower.

Hopefully I can stay dry when I go see Keb Mo next month!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I almost forgot that the Rick Springfield concert is Sunday night! Something to look forward to this weekend!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Great Spencer Family Reunion

So, we were supposed to leave for NC after I got off work on the 2nd, but my parents forgot and scheduled lab work for Dad on the morning of the 3rd. So we planned to leave at 8 a.m. instead. Needless to say it was 9:30 before we actually got underway. Partly because nobody could get up & moving, and partly because I had to totally unpack & repack the damn trunk in order to get my stuff in. (We took their car)

The drive wasn't too awful to start. Traffic was tolerable, the roads were fairly clear, and we didn't hit much construction. The first hiccup came when we were entering Winston-Salem NC. Mom was driving. The exit we have to take to get to I-40 is an ugly, sharp curve with about a 6 ft merge lane and even *I* mumble prayers on it. Mom, for some reason, gunned the engine as we were getting to the sharpest point on the curve and forgot to turn the wheels, so we nearly went careening into the guard rail. Daddy squawked about it for the next 30 miles.

Second hiccup came as we got on Hwy 264 to head toward the swamp. At that point, we were racing Hurricane Arthur to the upper NC coast. I was driving into heavy sporadic bursts of rain that were totally blinding. We got to Washington (where I was going to be staying)at about 11. The sky fell apart right after we got into our rooms and I was quite grateful to be off the road. We had a couple of brief power failures, but nothing too horrible.

Next morning: Loaded the parents & some extra supplies we were asked to bring into the car and headed to Englehard. Google maps said to look for State Road X on the directions to Cousin Josephine's house. What they/we didn't know is that it has since been given a street name. My father very (un)helpfully told me that I should have turned AFTER I passed it. Sigh. We finally got there, taking a ridiculously long way around. Jo was very happy to see us and horrified that I was going to be driving back & forth to Washington every day we were there while my parents stayed with her. (it was only 90 minutes each way, LOL) I promised her I'd be fine. Her power, as most of the town's, had been knocked out by the storm. She had a generator running, so there was a/c. We had to go buy more gas for it, and get another cousin to get it running again. I could have figured it out, but Jo was insistent that "one of those useless boys" should do it for her.

We got Uncle John on the phone, only to find out that he & Cousin Henderson weren't going to arrive until Saturday. So we sang Happy Birthday to him and tried to figure out where we were going to store the sheet cake we'd ordered so the frosting wouldn't melt.

My sisters Angie & Audrey arrived with their husbands. Like me, they were staying in Washington & commuting all weekend. We sat around chatting for hours while Jo called every relative she had a number for to tell them we were there. (Quick note- Jo is about 3-5 years younger than Dad, but is his niece. It amused me to hear this elder woman call him Uncle Leonard all weekend. They were pretty much raised as siblings) The utility company got the power restored at 4 (to everyone's relief) and we found out that the local seafood restaurant that everyone loved was going to be open at 5:30, so plans were made to go there for dinner.

I have to say, the food was pretty good. I tried their fried flounder (yum!) and fried okra (even better!) and had a hush-puppy eating contest with my BIL J.R. (I won) The siblings headed back to town, while I drove the old folks back to Jo's. They made me promise not to stay too long as everyone was nervous about me driving through the swamp by myself after dark. I don't know why- even *I* know not to speed in unfamiliar territory with steep curves and flooded canals on each side of the highway, especially in a racist-run county on a holiday speed-trap weekend. I had to promise to text/call everyone when I got back to the hotel.

Decided to go to Wal-Mart when I got back to Washington, but I duly texted everyone to let them know I'd arrived safely. Wandered around for longer than I intended, so it was about 10 when I pulled into the hotel parking lot. My sibs were out in the parking lot watching the fireworks and waiting for me to get there. They'd all left their phones in their rooms, so they hadn't seen my message. Roy told me that they'd just been debating on whether or not they should go look for me. We watched the end of the fireworks and decided to call it a night.

Saturday- The festivities weren't supposed to start until 3, so I had told everyone not to expect me much before that. So, of course I got a zillion phone calls wanting to know if I was ok, if I was lost, and when I'd be arriving.

Let me tell you something about my dad's family. There are a LOT of them. Dad is the 2nd youngest of 23 kids. (only 4 are still with us) Most of them produced a large number of children, who followed the same route. There were about 150 people there Saturday and that wasn't even 1/3 of the family. Amusingly enough, to me anyway, out of all those people, there was still nobody that really looked like me. Saw lots of dopplegangers of my sibs and their kids, though! We managed to get most everyone herded over to the tent that had been set up for the cook-out and had a presentation of birthday acknowledgements for Uncle John and some cousins who'd had birthdays recently, and then they had this pastor get up to deliver a sermon/prayer.

Yeah, I'm still a heathen. And this guy was a holy roller, hell-fire & brimstone preacher. Mom swatted me for giggling several times throughout the service. At one point, he went on for 10 minutes about how all problems could be solved by "putting the blood (of Christ) on them." I bit my lip until it bled, but kept quiet until he said to tell your boss-man that "you're going to put the blood on him so he won't bring you down!" All I could think of was what the expression on my boss' face would be and how quickly he'd have me served with a mental inquest warrant if I said that in our office and I lost it. Luckily I buried my face in my hands to stifle the giggles, so all anyone saw was my shoulders shaking and feet tapping, so they all assumed I was "caught up in the spirit" and nobody was offended. When I regained my composure, I looked around and you could tell which cousins weren't exactly comfortable with that type of ministry because they were all shifting restlessly in their spots. The final straw was when the pastor began pointedly preaching about how God created MAN and WOMAN and they should remain as God created them. Kind of brassy when you realized (as many of us did over the course of the weekend) that the cousin who had spearheaded the reunion and booked this clown was Transgender. Not cool. What happened to letting God be the only judge?

Anyway, he finally put a sock in it and we got to eat. The food wasn't the greatest, but it wasn't awful. We had to all but drag Uncle John over to cut his birthday cake. He was determined not to be the center of attention and cousins Niesha, Charvella, & I were equally determined that he was. One of the sweetest moments, and I'm still kicking myself for not getting a picture of it, was when the oldest Spencer male presented the first piece of cake to the youngest Spencer boy present. Little Damarion, age 1, had no idea why we were all cheering and clapping, but he was happy to scarf down that cake!

I didn't stay for the dance that was scheduled later. I was developing a sick headache and wanted to go back to the hotel to try to sleep it off.

We were supposed to leave right after they went to church Sunday morning. I was tasked with picking up the fried chicken order for the fellowship dinner and delivering it before collecting my parents for the trip home. We didn't get back on the road until almost 4, much to my dismay. I'll spare my reader/s the details of the drive home except to say that my mother still apparently can't drive and read road signs, my father is still a pain in the butt about wrong turns and getting in/out of the car in a timely fashion, and I got a damned speeding ticket in VA. (GRRR) Oh, and we didn't get to my house until 6 a.m. Monday.

As a result of the travel stress, my CFS has flared up big time; my face has broken out; and my knees/back ache like hell. But it made Daddy & Uncle John very happy that we went, so that makes it worth all the aggravation.

Next year's reunion is tentatively scheduled for August. I'm not going. I swore that if I traveled anywhere next year, it would be to England, and I'm not giving it up for anybody!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Oy Vey

So, we're leaving for NC. At the same time a tropical storm is supposed to wash ashore. Can't reach the cousin who planned the reunion to find out if there is a contingency plan and my insane parents think we should go anyway. I'm going, but I refuse to be happy about it.

The Date That Wasn't

So, in a moment of insanity, I decided to give internet dating one final shot. I signed up on a different site than any of the ones I'd tried before, sorted through several likely looking candidates, emailed back and forth with a few of them, and finally agreed to meet one at the Barnes & Ignoble cafe on Saturday. Now, as per my earlier attempts at e-dating, I did not put a picture on my profile. I was VERY honest in my description of myself when he asked what I looked like because that's what I do. He apparently thought I was kidding or exaggerating, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Saturday rolled around and I made myself get up and get ready for this date. I didn't have really high expectations for it, but I thought it would be nice to get out and it might give me a confidence boost to try another one. That didn't happen.

I sat there in that damned cafe for 40 minutes before he showed up. He took one look at me and walked back out, not realizing that I'd seen him. I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback by that. I waited a minute or two, hoping that maybe he'd just gone back to his car to get his cell phone or something. Uh-uh. He'd left. I got a lame email excuse from him a little later that evening, which I took great glee in savagely responding to. Then I deactivated my account on that site and officially declared myself through with online dating. For real, this time.

The evening wasn't a total loss. I got myself a take-out dinner from a nice restaurant (I wasn't feeling cheery enough to sit in the place eating alone surrounded by couples on date night) and spent the rest of the night watching Tom Hiddleston movies at home.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monthly Goals- sigh

These were the June goals:

1. Move back into the main bedroom

2. still trying to excavate Laundry Mountain

3. totally clean out my poor car

4. clean out current bedroom

5. create order out of the 5 boxes & innumerable bags of stitch stash

6. take another box of books to Half Price Books

7. Finish the birthday card I started stitching for Uncle John LAST year so I can give it to him THIS year.

8. take 3 bags of culled wardrobe items to Goodwill

9. create a packing list for the July family reunion trip (summer in the

10. get the window unit a/c re-installed in the living room.

What did I manage to accomplish? Next to nothing. I did numbers 3, 9, and 10.

So, the July goals are to work on the 7 items I didn't get done in June. And to start job hunting again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Odds and Bobs for the week

Our Lt is transferring to another office. One of the possibilities for his replacement is someone I've worked with before and get along with very well. Hoping he gets it.

Our Sgt is 4th on the promotions list for Lt and will probably be gone by the end of the year. *happydancing*

My cats have apparently decided that they'd rather live outside. Yes, both of them. I give up.

The family reunion in the swamp is next week. Not looking forward to it.

Dad's heart surgery is being scheduled for the end of July. The doctors are VERY encouraging about it.

I have a date Saturday night. Not sure how that happened. We'll see what happens.

Friday, June 20, 2014

3 More Things- Entertainment Edition

3 of my favorite British actors:

1. Tom Hiddleston

2. David Tennant

3. Ben Miller

3 CD's currently in my car:

1. Keb Mo'- Blues Americana

2. Kelly Clarkson- Greatest Hits

3. Pop Evil- Onyx

3 Movies at home waiting to be watched:

1. Thor: The Dark World

2. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

3. Safe

3 Favorite snacks while watching movies:

1. Popcorn (preferably movie theatre with butter)

2. Potato chips

3. Chocolate

Monday, June 16, 2014

Poetry Monday Redux

"may i feel said he" by e. e. cummings

may i feel said he
(i’ll squeal said she
just once said he)
it’s fun said she

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she

(let’s go said he
not too far said she
what’s too far said he
where you are said she)

may i stay said he
(which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she

may i move said he
it is love said she)
if you’re willing said he
(but you’re killing said she

but it’s life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she

(tiptop said he
don’t stop said she
oh nn said he)
go slow said she

(cccome?said he
ummm said she
you’re divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)

I am trying to download a copy of this being read by Tom Hiddleston....ooh, that voice...

Friday, June 13, 2014

3 Things

3 things I didn't think I would EVER do:

1. Live past 30

2. Own/be owned by cats

3. Work for the police

3 things I can't believe I do:

1. Eat spinach and like it

2. Still fangirl over Duran Duran & Rick Springfield

3. Have worse acne now than I ever did as a teenager

3 things I'll probably never do:

1. Find someone to love who genuinely loves me back

2. Go to Tahiti

3. Have enough shelves for all my books & movies

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hey, Hey, They're the Monkees

June 6th was a good day. It had the potential to start off being a bad day- I started a migraine on the 3rd that I STILL have, but rapidly became better. My friends Susan & Linda and I had tickets to go see the Monkees Reunion concert at the Riverbend Pavilion in Cincinnati.

I was supposed to drive since the other girls had arranged for our tickets, but my vision was blurring and I wasn't sure I'd be able to. Susan said she didn't mind driving since she has a GPS, and Linda thought it would be easier to take her car since she has a handicapped plate, so we loaded up at 4:50 and off we went. We were supposed to leave at 4:30, but I got lost trying to find Susan's place. *eyeroll*

We got to the site with very little drama, other than cursing at the occasional moron drivers around us. Linda's plate scored us an excellent parking spot. We didn't stop for food on the way up because our tickets included a cook-out onsite. We should have stopped. What they had was your choice of soggy wieners, bratwurst, or mettwurst; served with potato chips, cole slaw, and/or limp looking macaroni salad. I choked down a bratwurst and chips, Susan & Linda were brave enough to try the salads with their dogs. Then we got to the kicker. The food was "free"...the drinks were not. $5.25 for a 20 oz Coke/Sprite and $5 for a 20 oz Dasani water. We forked out money for one drink apiece and spent half the show dying of thirst.

Anyway, once the show started, nothing else mattered. Peter, Mike, & Micky can still rock with the best of them. Much to my delight, Peter's song "Your Auntie Grizelda" was the second song they performed. It's a silly song, but I love it. They did most of the classics, and while they performed there was a giant video monitor behind them showing clips from the show & their movie HEAD, with Davy prominently featured. One of the last songs to be sung was Daydream Believer, with Micky singing lead in Davy's place...until he handed it over to the audience to sing. On the last repeat of the chorus, Peter screamed for us to sing louder so Davy could hear us and half the women in the audience (me included) started bawling while we sang.

We stopped at a Steak & Shake for dinner on the way home and half the place had been at the concert too. There was an adorable little boy in a Monkee Men suit (the superhero characters they used a few times in season 1)who was thrilled by the number of people who complimented him on his costume.

Anyway, I slept most of the ride home after dinner, and pretty much all day Saturday. The damned migraine is still with me, so I'm trying to get an appointment with my doctor to do something about it...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Random Fandom **now updated with visible photos!**

In case the picture doesn't show up, it's supposed to be actor Tom Hiddleston, best known to American audiences as Loki from the Marvel movies.

I have fallen in utter lust with this man. He's beautiful, British, a VERY versatile and talented actor, and by all accounts a genuine sweetheart.

I am so desperately ga-ga over this man that I found myself doing something I never thought I would do- I joined the fandom community. I've found a few groups on Facebook where I go online and babble incoherently about Tom. I got lucky- on my first try, I joined a group that is full of women (and possibly a few men- I'm never sure) that are actually able to type coherently and have intelligent, if rather dirty, conversation about Tom, what we like about Tom, what we'd like to do WITH Tom, and what we'd do if we actually met him. (general consensus is blush furiously, babble incoherently if we can speak at all, and possibly faint)

That group led me to two more...which led me to a deliciously dirty Tumblr site that I'm not sharing (EVIL LOL)

Anyway, I'm having a good time with it so far. I don't plan on becoming one of those people who lets fandom consume their life. I have resisted the odd urge to wrote my own stories, dirty or otherwise, and I'm certainly not going to write them on my work computer!

Ok, I'll stop now.