Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Where to start?

Cooking continues to become another creative outlet for me. Last weekend I made [Scotch Eggs] after seeing them on the reality TV show Wahlburgers. (an entertaining episode with lots of twists and turns, the best of which was seeing Rick Astley and hey, "never gonna give you up!") 

My Scotch Eggs did not come out as pretty as the ones in the link, but hey, I was winging it. I did learn some things in the process, and have started keeping notes in my DayPlanner for future meals. Part of my problem was that I was trying out these funky things called [Eggies] to boil the eggs. Fortunately ours were a (new in the box, never been opened) Goodwill find for $1, so I won't cry that I probably won't ever use them again. They looked like little egg filled bathyspheres that put all of our extra large egg (what made it into the capsule anyway) into the bottom of the space craft. So I wound up with hard boiled egg halves that made it difficult to wrap sausage around them.
 Lessons learned: use small eggs, hard boil them like they did before plastic was invented, and get more sausage because it will shrink up as it cooks. Otherwise, they were quite yummy, and on David's "make it again" list.

Looks can be deceiving ... what appears to be a picture taken from outer space of snow covered (young) mountain ridges and valleys is in truth ...
 snow with road salt that has evaporated on the garage floor, leaving the image of a terrain that made my imagination happy.

This is a rough draft of the snowman ornaments I blogged about last Thursday. It calls for a Plan B: double sided tape around the exterior to keep the thread from moving off the smooth edges (making me fight with Lucy Magillicutty over whether or not she can play with it); and instead of using sequined thread, I think sequined yarn will look better.

Speaking of the tiny terrorist ...

Once again I have been going round and round with a full name for Charlie. He might look like an Ewok, but his personality is more and more like a [Charlie Chaplin]. From the funny way his front legs turn out making him look like a penguin walking, to his bushy eyebrows and mustache.

A first day on the job in the north sometimes means you have to make some fashion concessions. Before any fashion trolls start commenting, please see the slightly more fashionable flats that I switched to once in the office. On a personal note, the skirt was purchased four years ago when I was still in Florida, still unemployed, and in the hope of "attracting" an interview for an office job. It didn't work out as planned back then. Being a paraprofessional for autistic middle school students isn't exactly a job you want to wear a skirt at (think of being able to drop and chase if the situation called for it). From the day I tried it on until today, it has hung in various closets. Unworn. Feeling unloved. Surprisingly it zipped, fit, and didn't split when I went to sit. (and if you think that is awesome, I can still fit into a pair of earrings I had in high school!)
 I do wish I could figure out a way to make my natural low lights more noticeable without pinning my hair up when I got home from work. 
They are the only reason I can still lie about my age.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Grams

I got an [Instagram account] last year as a way to market my books.
That hasn't really had the impact I was hoping for.
At least on book sales.

But the impact it has bad on my mood at times has made up for any royalty check I might have gotten from book sales. These were some of the pictures from this weekend that cheered me up.
A photo posted by BenBen (@benbencatcat) on
BenBen lives in Canada and was a rescue. He was pretty mangled when they found him, including having a crushed spine that needed surgery, and so has a funny sort of walk and run. But I love, love, love his eyes. Just so expressive. They say he is the saddest cat on the Internet, which I guess is better than being the grumpiest. But I don't think he looks sad, just compassionate.

A junco dressed to go to the Kentucky Derby.

A photo posted by Germany (@topgermanyphoto) on
And finally this photo. The Mäuseturm on the Rhine River. This was one of the reasons I went to Germany for Christmas in 2007. A memory of my childhood that had faded, that I wanted to see again. Unfortunately, the one day we could see it, the fog on the Rhine prevented it.

I probably follow more accounts of photos of Germany than any other accounts. When things (winter, basements, pain, cold, snow, worries, fears) become especially depressing, I can always take my mind back to Germany.

That makes it all okay again.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


It has been a very (very) rough week for me. Too many dark days (and nights) stuck in the basement we rent and too many reminders of losses this month. I've been turning to comfort foods and stretching my cooking repertoire. 
Cabbage is usually David's thing. It's okay at times, but if given a choice between cabbage and ... pizza ... I'll choose pizza. But I enjoy cooking for him and so made it for him the first time the other night. Andouille sausage with cabbage, sauteed onions, celery seed for seasoning. 
 I also like soup when I'm eating comfort foods, and love tomato bisque with added basil and little "o" pasta.

Winter nights call for Sheperd's Pie but in the past, it always seemed a little bland and so last night, I "souped" it up with a can of condensed Golden Mushroom and undrained corn (also drained carrots and green beans) to give it a bit of a gravy. I added a packet of loaded instant potato flakes to give it a little bit of a kick. 
One of the things I learned when taking cooking classes years ago at [Somethin's Cookin'] was to have the confidence to make a recipe my own by tweaking it to my taste. 

 Walmart still has Christmas clearance items, and today I found these snowman cookie cutters, each of them was 90% off 50¢ so I got 5. They will become ornaments, wrapped with my sparkle thread below. The top hat will be stained black, and then tiny black buttons hot glued for buttons, eyes, and the mouth. I'll have to find something for the carrot nose.
After a year, I'm pleased to say that I finally start a new job next week.
God is good!

Monday, January 9, 2017

monday ...

It's a heat wave outside. 20°F that feels like 16°F. Snow is expected every day the rest of the week. My mom even got a half a foot of snow over the weekend in North Carolina, and my sis in Virginia got more. I told mom I knew she was jealous of our snow so I sent some down to her. It's not really one of those gifts you can easily return.
 Yesterday on the way home from church we saw two massive "rafters" of turkeys. Mostly hens, there was one tom we did see in this rafter. It would have been an easy turkey shoot!
 My sweets yesterday. I was craving spinach, so my iron levels must be off. Tonight, a warmed and wilted version. Yummmm! I have just enough spinach left for one more salad, so might make some caramelized onions to go on top of it. I've been trying to eat healthier and have been avoiding the fresh donut & candy bar aisles at the grocery store for the past month.
 Our bathroom is a very unflattering shade of mustard yellow that makes me look jaundiced in the morning. The indirect light in the room is not helpful either. With permission from the landlord, I'm adding a neutral color to the walls that I hope will tone it down significantly. It ties in with the decor I've added and the mirror I will leave when we move out. I will probably also paint the white beadboard behind the mirror with the same neutral tone. The stenciling will be tedious because I will do one row with the stencil portrait that will reverse every other one. Then I will flip it to landscape alterations for the next. But it's not like I'm going to be rushing outside to do anything soon.