Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Finally a Cool Down

Monday the temperature reached 100 degrees.  We who are old and have breathing problems hunkered down in air conditioned comfort rather than going out in air that seemed thick enough to cut with a knife.  My apartment with its outer walls nearly 12 inches thick, stays relatively cool.  Cooking has been kept to a minimum.  The apartment is small and heats up quickly.  Cold cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and a jar of something home canned and microwaved for supper.
(And wasn't it just a few weeks ago we were complaining about snow and cold?  Never satisfied, we in Minnesota!)

Today is another story altogether.  The heat brought on small storms in my area that cooled things down considerably.  68 degrees as I type this morning.  Windows wide open.  Birds chirping in the tree outside.  Light breeze carrying away the stuffiness of too many days of closed windows. 

I had a lovely visit with my brother and his beautiful wife on Sunday.  We drank coffee and devoured donuts, took strolls down memory lane and looked at old family photos.  Some time back I had sorted through all the family pictures I had received from my Dad a number years ago.  When I got them, they were all loose in a cardboard box.  The photos of each person went into a large manila envelope.  I gave Kelly his photos to take home with him.  The physical distance between us and the conditions of his job that keep him away from home much of the time, prevent us from seeing each other very often.  But it is what it is.  Knowing that we love one another is enough.

Grandkid number 3 has graduated from High School.  He is planning a career in aviation and will attend school in the fall to further that goal.  I have no doubt that he will succeed.  This kid was taking flying lessons when was so small that he had to sit on a cushion to see out the windshield of a small plane.  I believe he is happiest when he is soaring up among the clouds.  We are partly sad because he is leaving home for school, but mostly very proud of his accomplishments so far.  Oh, and he loved the afghan his grandma made for him.  :)

 Me...I'm thawing out a pork chop for supper - my first hot meal in about a week.  Life is still pretty darned good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Middle of the Night Thoughts

It has been very quiet here lately.  The weather still hasn't decided if it wants to be spring or summer.  One day the temps are in the 90's, the next, dropping down to the 40's at night and a couple of days later, back to the 90's.  Anyone with arthritis is likely getting their butt kicked.

I have postponed a few things until Mother Nature settles.  The ingredients for ham and bean soup and the applesauce to can will keep for a while longer in the freezer.  I am just doing the necessary stuff for now.  Clothes are washed, folded and put away.  The dirty dishes are done. 

Sometimes I sleep well at night - sometimes not so much.  This past week has been not so much.  You know how you sometimes just doze rather than sleep?  Sleep brings dreams, but dozing brings random thoughts.  Some of the thoughts are of bad memories and those I chase away.  Over.  Done.  I have learned from my mistakes, I would hope.  And even if I wanted to, I can not change the past.  No point dwelling on it.  Just makes me sad.

Instead I think of happy things.  I think of each of my children in turn.  I think of how I am truly blessed to have given birth four times.  I remember what they were like as babies.  And how they grew up into good people.  I think about family picnics at the lake with Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Em.  I think about Mother patiently teaching me how to sew and of Dad, trusting me to use his tools and to drive his cars.  And I think about living in the north woods where in winter it is so quiet you can hear the snow fall and in summer, listening to the haunting song of the loons, calling to one another across the lakes.

And lately, I think about Heaven.  Contrary to previous opinions held by the young, I know I shall not live forever.  I am much closer to the going away date than I am to the coming into being date.  I do not fear death.  I look at it as just going home.  But I wonder sometimes.  The Bible talks of mansions and crowns and golden streets.  And there are many who look forward to that.

Me...I have no use for mansions or crowns or golden streets.  I believe I would be happy with a cabin on a lake just large enough to accommodate my kids and grands, when they arrive.  And enough garden space to grow my food in a climate warm enough to grow watermelons and peanuts.

That is my idea of heaven.  And I do believe God listens.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


So yesterday I tried another one of my freezer meals.  It was supposed to be a chicken and rice casserole.  Even though I added extra seasonings for flavor and followed the instructions to the letter, it turned out to be a bland mess that looked like someone had thrown up in my crockpot.  Even without the visual, I just could not eat it.  I am truly glad the pizza shop delivers.  :)

I have one more experimental freezer meal to test and I will likely do that sometime next week.  I am beginning to think I will just go back to my normal way of cooking.  Freezer meals are basically a time saver.  I am retired and pretty much housebound.  I really don't need to save time.  I have plenty of it.

All I have to do is remember to remove my oxygen tube before turning on the gas burner on my stove in order to prevent those annoying 'poofs.'

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The First Freezer Meal...

was a dismal failure. 

I had baked a pork chop in the oven, made Stove Top dressing and put them together in a freezer bag.  I put a serving of frozen carrots in a small Zip Lock bag and added them to the chop and dressing.  Into the freezer it went.

Today I thawed the pork chop meal, put it on a plate and microwaved it until it was heated through.

It was awful.  The pork chop was tough, the dressing was dry and the carrots were only about half cooked.  I had cooked a chop from the same package earlier and it was tender, so I don't think there was anything wrong with the chops.   I buy these same chops all the time and have never before had a tough one.

I doubt I will make any more freezer meals for the microwave.  Tomorrow I will cook a different meal made for the crockpot and see how that turns out.

Live and learn.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Freezer Meals Experiment and a Surprise

Sometimes we need to find new ways of doing day to day chores.  Cooking is one of those things that has become a challenge.  You have heard me whine about not being able to stand for more than a few minutes at a time, and you have also heard me whine about being tethered to an oxygen machine (hereafter referred to as R2D2 of Star Wars fame).  So I need to find a way to prepare my meals that doesn't involve standing by the stove while constantly stirring and doesn't involve oxygen near an open flame.

One of the ideas I have decided to try is putting together simple meals that can be frozen and later thawed and cooked in a crock pot.  Most of the prep work can be done while sitting at my kitchen table and cooking the meals should be easy with the crock pot.

I ordered some of the ingredients that came with my grocery delivery today and much of the rest I already have in my pantry.  By the first part of next week I will do a post to let you know what I did and how it worked.

On another note, I had a really nice surprise today.  I have been thinking about buying one of these.

Lo and behold, that very one arrived at my door.  Duane said he hoped it would arrive closer to the day, but Happy early Mother's Day!

I have several large stainless steel stock pots.  They work really well for some things, but many times if the contents aren't stirred constantly or at least often, they will burn on the bottom of the pot.  Food in the roaster still needs stirring, but that can be done while sitting if the roaster is on my kitchen table and I won't need to worry about the oxygen going 'poof'.  I'm going to give it a test run later next week, making a pot of ham and beans.  I think I can get lots of ham and beans in a 22 quart roaster.  Thank you, son.

I'm off to get my recipes together and my spices out for the freezer meal experiment starting in the morning.  See you all next week.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


I have an apple pie in the oven.  I'm guessing that sometime later today I will see Duane walk through the door carrying a plate and a fork.  If he wants it ala mode, he will have to stop at the store on his way home.

The best bait to use to get kids to come round are baked goodies.   Pie and cookies work the best.  :)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

She's Back

After spending way too much time wallowing about in a puddle of self pity, it is time to get back to the land of the living.  True, this round of medical stuff kind of reached out and slapped me upside the head.  And I still am struggling to get it all together, but that is no reason to just check out.  It is what it is.  It isn't going away.  I still don't like it, but I need to learn to live with it.  So onward and upward.

There have been changes.  Some time back Duane and I had talked about moving one of my shelving units and my freezer to his apartment, replacing the freezer space with another shelving unit to hold the canning overflow and most of my smaller kitchen appliances.  After thinking about it we decided to leave things the way they were and he ordered shelving from Amazon, to be delivered, since the box the unit came in would not fit in his car.  Since my chest freezer is still in my kitchen, I decided to make up some freezer meals that can either be microwaved or cooked in my crock pot.  Last evening I went through my recipes, writing those I wish to use in a notebook.  This way I can cook for a day or two and have suppers for a month.  Between the freezer meals and my home canned food, meal preparation should be easier for me.

Yesterday was  a beautiful spring day.  The sun was shining and the air was at about 70 degrees.  Barb, my cleaning lady, showed up yesterday at her usual mid-afternoon time.  Within a few minutes she came to me to tell me we didn't have any running water.  Sure enough.   Just air coming from the taps.  Now I have water stored in bottles, but I didn't think it was right to expect her to heat water for cleaning.  So I told her to go enjoy the day.  Like most janitorial services, she is paid for x number of hours per job.  If she finishes after the time limit, the extra time is on her dime.  But if she finishes before, she is paid for the number of hours.  She must have thanked me half a dozen times before going back out into the sunshine.  Made me smile.

Last week, knowing that I was less than happy, Duane showed up one evening with surprises.  Included were two bags of deli pastrami, which I love, two large boxes of popsicles and two bags of Hershey's Kisses - one with (be still my heart) a caramel filling.  I have been known to call him and ask if he has anything chocolate in his apartment.  He said now I won't have to call because I have my very own chocolate.  :)

Youngest son, David, showed up last week.  He had an app on his iPad he wanted to show me.  It isn't like a video, but more like an overview line drawing of a baseball field.  It shows, by name, where each player is on the field.  It shows every move each player makes.  It shows whether each pitch is a ball or strike or hit.  And it shows the actions of each player.  David is scorekeeper for his son Jacob's baseball games so this app is easier for him to use as opposed to keeping track watching the actual field.  And I can use it to see how my grandson does at each game.  He is a pitcher.  How cool is that.

So that's what has been going on in my little corner of the world.  I just finished washing up a couple days worth of dirty dishes and am ready to start a load of laundry.  After that it will be recliner time with my Kindle.  Hope you are all well and enjoying a wonderful spring day.