Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day...

It is not about burgers and beer.  It is about those who fought and died so you could enjoy a picnic on this day, or any other day.

They didn't have safe spaces.  Microaggressions and trigger warnings?  Nope.  Did they fight their battles with hash tags?  Never.   And I'm pretty sure they knew which bathroom to use without some fool in Washington telling them.

When the country they loved was threatened or attacked, they lined up around the block to sign up.   They did not burn our flag in protest, but carried it high and carried it proud with all the devotion and respect it deserves.  They carried that symbol of our freedom into places that resembled Hell.  And they fought, sometimes for an inch of ground at a time, because they believed America was worth fighting for.

Some came home to their families.  Some came home in boxes.  Some never came home at all.

They all have more than earned our respect and gratitude.  And they all deserve to be remembered not only on this day, but every day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Another Interesting Phone Call...

came here today.  This time it was someone with an accent I didn't recognize, but who assured me that he was, indeed, employed by Microsoft.  He was very concerned that there was something wrong with my computer.  Said it was sending out ERROR messages.  Told me we (he and I) needed to fix this right away before my computer was damaged beyond repair.   Said I needed to turn on my computer RIGHT NOW.

So using my very best sweet little old lady voice, all a-flutter and concerned, I  told him that my computer was brand new and that I wasn't really sure just how to work everything on it, but that I had been able to see a little bit of that Internet thing.  And I surely didn't want my new computer ruined (small sob).  He allowed as to how he would be pleased to walk me through the process to make everything alright.

So as I pretended to be on my computer and pretended to follow his instructions to the letter, we went through a series of steps.  At one point he asked me to read back what was on the screen, but I told him he would have to read it to me because I had set my bifocals down but couldn't remember just where, so he did.

Eventually we got to the point where I was instructed to download an exe file.  He kindly told me how to do this.  Then he told me to type in my password and my credit card number.  I said I was confused, but I could give him that information over the phone.  He happily agreed.  Here are the words I gave him:

police - fraud - scam - don't mess with little old ladies

At which point he abruptly disconnected.  I don't know why.  :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

So Far - So Good

After a weekend spent doing my best impression of a vegetable, my legs are feeling better.  I will ask Oldest Son to help me change the bandages tomorrow.  I am using the same method used by the home care people last year.  They came here once a week after I got out of the hospital, changed the bandages and re-bandaged with non-stick pads smeared with an antibiotic salve.  But instead of wrapping my legs in gauze and Ace bandages like they did, I use the compression socks to keep the pads in place.   It just takes more than my two hands to accomplish this and Son has been really good to help, bless him.

Youngest Son called me a few days ago.  He tends to call when he is either taking a kid to an activity or when he is on his way to pick them up.  He has a speaker phone thingy in his truck, so sometimes I talk with him and sometimes I talk with the grands.  I love the way they stay in touch.

Anyway, I asked him to do me a favor.  He is my only kid with a truck, so I wanted to know if he could pick up a new single sized bed for me.   He said he could, but he had a better idea.  He said that he and his wife were going to be getting a new bed for my grandson.  He said I could have the old bed if I wanted it.  The mattress is nearly new and it is the size I wanted.  There is a bonus of four drawers and a cubby in the base of the bed, which will give me more storage space.  I offered to buy the bed from him, but he wouldn't hear of it.  Bless him, too!

Oldest Son brought me some herb seeds.  I have basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, oregano and sage.  That's a pretty good start on my little window sill herb garden.  After lunch I will get them planted in the starter pots and see if I can actually get them to grow.

I'm also working on sorting out my dehydrated foods.  I package them in freezer bags and store them in banker's boxes on shelves.  That keeps them out of the light.  I have used vegetables stored that way that were 5 or 6 years old and they were just fine.  But I got lazy and haven't put the latest dried food in their proper boxes, so that is my project for the rest of the day.  Once that's done, I will know for sure what I have and what I need to dehydrate.

And that is the extent of the excitement here in my little corner of the world.  :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


The last few days I have been dealing with a cellulitis outbreak.  This is nothing new and if caught and treated in time, it will soon be just fine.  It is healing nicely.  But it means that I have had to spend time sitting with my feet elevated to relieve the swelling in my lower legs.  This makes me grumpy.

I check my Facebook page daily to see if any of my children have posted pictures that I can steal.  Today I found this one.

"C'mon Dad, let's take a selfie."

Made me smile.  Made me laugh.  Chased the grump away.

I love those kids!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Up To My Elbows in Chicken and Corn

I was getting a little bit low on jars of sweet corn and frozen corn was on sale this week.  There was a bit of a glitch in my order and I got only 6 lbs. of corn rather than the 10 I ordered.  No big thing.  It happens once in a great while.  I won't complain.  My groceries are delivered.  I no longer need to spend an hour on the bus to go grocery shopping or to haul the food up the stairs.  I'm happy.

As soon as my order arrived on Wednesday afternoon, I put the corn into a stock pot, added enough hot water to cover and set it on the stove.  I didn't want to cook it - just thaw it out and heat it up.  That done, I filled jars and fired up the pressure canner.  I wound up with 10 pints.  When the corn goes on sale again I will order enough to fill a couple cases of half pint jars.

While the corn was processing, I tackled the 40 lbs. of chicken leg quarters.  I separated the drumsticks from the thighs and bagged up the drumsticks for the freezer.  I got 8 quart bags of drumsticks.

The thighs went into stock pots along with water and couple of carrots and some onion for flavor.  When the meat was falling-off-the-bone done, I removed it from the bones and bagged it up for the fridge.  It was getting too late in the day to start canning the chicken.  I strained the resulting broth, poured it into a clean pot and put that in the fridge as well.

This morning I filled half pint jars with chicken and processed them for 75 minutes.  I have lots of chicken and turkey in pint jars on the shelves, but few half pints.  A half pint jar is just right for a couple of sandwiches or to add in a chicken salad or chicken and rice for one or two.  I got 22  half pints from the thighs.  There was still about a quart of diced chicken left after the canner was full, so I bagged that up and stuck it in the fridge to use for my meals the rest of the week.

I skimmed most of the fat from the broth, added a little chicken bouillon to enhance the chicken flavor, heated it up and filled 12 quart jars.  Those I processed for 25 minutes.

Some have wondered why I would bother canning chicken when I already have lots on my shelves.  Two reasons.  The first is that prices don't go down - only up.  A year ago this same sale on chicken legs packaged in 10 lb. bags was 39 cents a pound.  I paid 49 cents a pound yesterday.  Who knows what the price will be next year or if the store will even run the same sale.

The second reason is that for under $20, I got 16 meals of chicken drumsticks (I can get two meals out of each bag.), 22 meals of canned chicken and 12 quarts of chicken broth.  That much broth alone, at Sam's Club, would run $19.92 at their price of $1.66 per quart

Yes, there is some work involved, but I'd say that I got some pretty good mileage out of my $20 investment!

I also got a good price on bell peppers.  The lady who does my shopping is really good at picking out the freshest produce and always gets me the biggest peppers.  This time there was a combination of red, orange and green peppers.  While the chicken was cooking I cleaned and diced the peppers and got them in the dehydrator.  On peppers I have dehydrated before, the skins tended to stay a bit tough when rehydrated, so now I grind the dried peppers into tiny pieces and use them as flavoring.

That being done, I believe a nap is in my near future.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Butter Burgers and Fridge Magnets

Mother's Day here in my little corner of the world was really fun.

Oldest daughter had stopped by the day before.  We talked for a time and she gave me an Amazon gift card (I love gift cards!), telling me she thought I might like some new books.  She was right.  I have been wanting a copy of the "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving."  And while wandering around the Amazon website, I found another book on dehydrating that was on my wish list.  I believe I will order both of them this afternoon.

Youngest daughter called to wish me a Happy Mother's Day.  We chatted for a time and she brought me up to speed on what she and her kids had been doing.  Her kids were taking her out for dinner to celebrate the day.

Youngest Son called me on his way to my house, wanting to know what I would like for lunch.  Knowing that most restaurants would have waiting lines on Mother's Day, we decided on fast food.  Yes, I admit it.  Once in a while I like me a burger and fries that comes in a paper bag.  They went to Culver's and got me a Butter Burger.  I had never tried one and it was really good.  The kids were happy.  Grandma was happy.  Win, win!

After lunch the kids had a surprise for me.  I opened the gift bag to find these.

The picture doesn't do them justice.  Son had bought tiles at the home improvement store.  The kids attached the photos to the tiles and used Mod Podge to give them a nice finish.  The brush strokes made them look almost like paintings.  Although Charlie the Beagle had passed on to his reward earlier this year, they include a picture of him because I always said that family included three grandchildren and a grandpuppy!  They attached magnets to the back of the tiles and now I have these smiling faces on my refrigerator to look at whenever I am in my kitchen.

We sat and talked for quite a while.  The kids filled me in on what they had been doing.  One is continuing in Dance and the other has decided to leave the dancing and go for gymnastics.  The youngest is happy to be playing whatever sport is in season.  We talked for a time about the naughty things my kids had done when they were young.  Now I know who shot the BB gun, putting a neat, round hole in my sliding glass door!

Often I have seen families who are so busy with their cell phones that they don't really talk to one another.  Here, there wasn't a cell phone in sight.  I know they use them, particularly my son who uses his for work and to keep track of which kid needs to be taken to and picked up from which activity, but they also know when to put them away and as a result, they are able to carry on a conversation.  It was so much fun to just sit and talk.

Early evening when Oldest Son got home from work, he stopped in to pick up my list of herbs I want to plant for my window garden.  He said he would go today and get the plants or seeds so I can get started with that project.  If I can keep them alive I should have a mini jungle on my window sills in another couple of months.  I like the notion of having fresh herbs to use.  Having green, growing plants in my apartment is just a bonus.

I thank God every single day for my family.  I have truly been blessed.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Quiet Time of Year

When you are an apartment dweller and have no garden to plant, spring can be a quiet time of year.  I do have 10 flower pots that I will fill with soil this coming week.  I think I can probably talk Oldest Son into picking up either herb starter plants or seeds and I will see if I can grow them on my windowsills.  I tend to kill off house plants, but hope I can keep herbs alive.

Youngest Son called to let me know that he, my lovely daughter-in-law and their three sprouts will be stopping by on Sunday.  He said something about bringing lunch with them and that is a real treat for me.  Any time I can spend time with my kids and grands is time well spent.

I finished getting my grocery order ready this morning.  My grocery store has chicken leg quarters on sale for 49 cents a pound.  They come in 10 lb. bags with a limit of 4, so I ordered 40 lbs.  The plan is to separate the drumsticks from the thighs and freeze them for fried chicken meals.  The thighs will be boiled, the meat removed from the bone, chopped and canned.  I should have at least a canner full of chicken stock to can from cooking the thighs.  Can't beat the price!

I see that I am getting low on canned sweet corn and frozen corn is on sale for a dollar a bag, so I ordered 10 bags.  I will can some of it in pints and most of it in half pint jars, which is just right for one person.

Getting out and about has become somewhat difficult of late.  Things like swollen feet that won't fit into shoes and arthritic hips that require frequent rest periods have slowed me down considerably.  I manage quite well at home though, where I can sit when I need to.  With that in mind, I made a list of items I need to buy over the summer and have been researching places that will ship to my door.  I haven't bought anything online before, but the time has come when it makes sense to do so.  I am so very lucky to have grown kids who don't seem to mind running the occasional errand for me, but my goal to stay as independent as possible won't allow me to take advantage of their willingness to help.  Amazon may become my best friend.  :)

And now I have sat here long enough and it is time to get moving again.  There are floors to mop and vacuums to be pushed about and I do believe a pan of brownies with chocolate frosting should be ready to be devoured by grandchildren tomorrow.  I am looking forward to Mothers Day and I sincerely hope that all you Moms have a lovely day.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Pictures For My Cousins

Today on the Book of Face, my cousin Linda posted this photo.

Left to right:  Elaine, Marjorie (my mother), Adella, Margaret and Duane.

This musical group are my mother and some of her siblings.  I had never seen this picture, and it came as a surprise to me to see Mother holding a ukulele.  I knew she had played violin, cello, guitar and piano, but I didn't know about the uke.  Would have been nice if she had passed those musical genes on to me, but no such luck.

Anyway, because I am easily distracted, I stopped what I was doing and went through my old family photos file.  I found a couple of pictures I thought my cousins might enjoy.

This is the official family portrait.  Grandpa and Grandma are in front with Emily.  Marjorie, Elaine, Duane, Margaret and Adella are in back.  Judging by Emily's age and the fact that Grandpa is in the picture (He died in 1947.) I would guess this was taken about 1945.  My cousins have likely seen this one, as I believe each of the siblings had a copy.

I don't know where this was taken, or when.  Elaine, Adella and Duane are in front, with Marjorie and Margaret in back.  I think Mother looks about 15 years old, which would make the date about 1940.

Left to right:  Grandpa, Duane, Margaret, Grandma, Marjorie, Mildred (Duane's wife) and Elaine.

Mother told me this picture was taken in front of the building in Nebish where Grandpa held Sunday church services for the Indians.  As far as I know, Grandpa was not an ordained minister, but felt called to preach.  His family accompanied him to these services and provided the music.  The photo was probably taken in the early 1940's.

One of my cousins remarked on the FB post that my Uncle Duane had been the favored one because he was the only boy in the family that included six girls.  And this was probably true.  He is quoted as saying that his sisters got him into trouble with their parents by telling them whenever something bad happened, it was Duane's fault because he made them do whatever the mischief was.

Uncle Duane had a delicious sense of humor.  Combine that with a quick mind and shenanigans resulted.  One of my favorite Uncle Duane stories had to do with stealing melons.  Duane convinced some of his visiting cousins that it would be fun to go steal some melons from a neighboring garden.  He led the cousins, sneaking up and down the streets, through back alleys and back yards until, thoroughly confused, they arrived at the melon patch.  It was only when they took a good look around that they realized they'd been had.  They were stealing melons from Duane's family garden in his own back yard.

I think Uncle Duane may have found a way to extract just a little bit of revenge on his sisters for their tattling.  He waited until his parents were away from home of an evening.  He would then rattle a doorknob like someone was trying to break in, or he would crash together pots and pans to create as much racket as possible, or he would make all sorts of ghostly sounds.  Any one of these would send his sisters, screaming in fear, upstairs to lock themselves in their bedrooms.  I am told it worked every time.

Many thanks to my cousin Linda, Duane's daughter, for posting the picture on FB that sent me on this pleasant stroll down memory lane.  We really should do this more often.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Do You Remember May Baskets?

When I was a small girl, at least 60 years ago, there was a spring tradition that has since gone by the wayside.  That was the tradition of giving friends and neighbors May Baskets.

About the middle of April Mother would set out paper and scissors and glue and help my sister and me make May Baskets.  These weren't traditional baskets but looked like these.

 If we had colorful construction paper, we would use that.  Or often we would use wallpaper left over from wallpapering a room in our house.  Mother was frugal.

Some followed the old tradition of filling the baskets with spring flowers.  In our neighborhood, candies were put into the baskets.  Sometimes there were jelly beans saved from Easter and other times Mother would make a batch of caramels, wrap the pieces in waxed paper and fill the baskets.  Still other times, Dad would make a batch of molasses taffy.  That was the most fun, for we got to pull the taffy until it was just right.  Waxed paper wrapped taffy pieces then went into the baskets.

The morning of the first day in May would find us hurrying through breakfast.  As soon as Mother was satisfied that we wouldn't starve between breakfast and lunch, our May Baskets were carefully stacked in a cardboard box and off we would go.  The way to deliver our baskets was to sneak up on a neighbor's front porch, hang a basket from the doorknob, ring the bell and scurry off around the corner of the house to peek and watch the reciepient claim their prize.

Mother made sure that there were enough baskets for each house on the block - both sides of the street.  There was even one for the grouchy old lady on the corner.  I remember being astonished at seeing a smile on her face when she found her basket.

When the last basket had been delivered, we hurried home to find several May Baskets waiting for us, filled with all sorts of sweet treats.

That was a more gentle time.  It was nice to have been given baskets of treats, but the fun was in the giving.  Too bad we don't do that any more.