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Triumph of the Mundane

Slow blogging at its finest

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Squeeze to Crack

Squeeze to crack 1.jpg

It’s already been that kind of year. Nothing disastrous for me, but several people close to me have deeply experienced the painful stuff of life. Being supportive doesn’t change reality but it’s all I’ve got. And, if I’m honest, all this has one waiting for the next foot of the centipede to drop. I’m with Roseanne Roseannadanna on this one: It’s always something.

My usual M.O. doesn’t really help. Head down, plow through each day. And a late, long winter with seemingly endless gray days doesn’t help either. I shake my fist at you, Mother Nature!

The days are lengthening, the glowing orb is in the sky today, and Target carries the new Magnum ice cream. A little something for the day that started with a long walk and fresh bagels. There were also a couple of donuts from the long-established-local-donut-place-that-closed-and-recently-opened-in-a-new-place. The hubs made short work of those.

A carb colossus represents small somethings to look forward to. Time to fill up the calendar, and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Happy spring!

 

 

Bubblicious or Cold Retrospective

Frozen window

I like the super-cold weather — when it doesn’t overstay its welcome. But after I’ve worn both pairs of flannel-lined pants for several days each, subzero temps become a little tiresome.

Frozen bubble 6

So the hubs and I cheered ourselves up with frozen bubbles during the recent cold spell.

Frozen bubble 7

Temps below zero with a nil wind create the best results.

Frozen bubble 2

But single digits with a mild breeze (doesn’t move your hair, really) will do.

Frozen bubble 5

Usually I use store-bought bubble juice and I drink something hot at the outset. This produces steam-filled bubbles that drift upward and after a few seconds shatter spectacularly, releasing a puff of steam.

Frozen bubble 4

This time I used a homemade brew (water, Dawn, and Karo Syrup) instead. The goal is bubbles-on-the-ring that crystallize. They also capture lovely reflections of light and surroundings as they freeze.

Frozen bubble 9

The post-bubble phase, however, has little charm.

Frozen bubble 8

Still, it’s a lovely thing to look at for a fleeting moment, even when the bubble looks like it could look back at you.

Hedging My Bets or Do You Hear What I Hear?

2018 herring

Happy New Year! Time for the annual herring choice. Returning to full-time work after a two-year break turned life on its ear, mostly in a good way. Thus it seems last year’s choice of IKEA herring was smart and worthy of repeat.

But life doesn’t stand still. And neither does the cat.

2018 Herring photobomb

(The hubs thought it would be hysterical to have Citrus the cat photobomb a herring shot. Sigh. The outcome proved mildly amusing at best.)

Back to the topic at hand: What herring choice to embrace whatever 2018 has in store? My Ben Ming Nian will be over soon, and I’m hoping for even better days filled with things fresh and interesting. A friend works at Whole Foods and that lead me to Option B.

Chopsticks

And I can enjoy a variety of fish dishes using my new chopsticks, a Christmas present from the hubs. Titanium, even. And lest you think we won the lotto, check out the reasonable price on www.amazon.com. (Side note: The neighbor’s teenage offspring tease their mother because she still keys in the www on web addresses. Had to do that here to razz them back.)

And my life-turned ear?

Earring

I had that pierced last year. Both, actually. Now I can turn a stylish ear to hear what’s coming next.

The Lazy Cook

What with work and all the other stuff of life clamoring for my attention and zapping my energy, the joy of cooking has eluded me for months. Fortunately, the cooler days are perking me up a bit. A bit. Let’s not overstate the case.

So I’m adapting my cooking ambitions – Welcome to The Lazy Cook. Once again, the interwebs provideth.

The Lazy Cook 1

First up, the laziest cookie recipe ever – plus I found it on Nordic Northwest‘s* Facebook page so it pings the Nordic cooking button, too!

Mash together oatmeal and banana, then toss in a flavor. Here, I added mini chocolate chips because this was not an exercise in creativity. Blop vaguely round mounds on a cookie sheet and bake for the usual cookie-baking amount of time at the usual cookie-baking oven temp.

The result: Edible and not entirely unpleasant. Chewy would be generous assessment; after a day rubbery is pretty much spot on. But if mid-morning you need a big snack, you can eat several of these (providing they hold together) and not feel guilty.

I’d make them again but maybe add a little water or yogurt to help hold the dough (if it could be classified as such) together. But maybe not because, well, you know. . . The Lazy Cook.

The Lazy Cook 2

Next, falling in with the sheet-pan cooking craze: Blueberry muffin blob from Food 52. Since I didn’t bake this when blueberries were in season, out came the humongous bag of frozen wild blueberries from Costco. And if you keep ingredients like this a smidge (spelled W-A-A-A-Y-Y) past the best-by date, you get the bonus frost that melts when mixed, giving that ‘unique’ (yes, that’s the word I’m looking for. . .) purplish haze to the batter.

I couldn’t even be bothered to get out the mixer and just mixed it all together by hand. Rise and fluff wasn’t the aim because, well, you know. . . The Lazy Cook.

The result: Color notwithstanding, actually quite tasty. I unnecessarily fretted a bit about over baking, so a few minutes longer would have crisped up the edges a bit more. And I’ll aim for a thicker, smaller blob. Mebbe get out the mixer for some added fluff factor.

I cut them in squarish pieces – like Chicago pizza the way it’s supposed to be cut, ahem! – and can stack two in a container for a portable snack.

I’d show after pics for these but, well, you know. . .The Lazy Blogger.

What’s next? Maybe a whole meal on a sheet pan – most likely a gooey mess. And granola in the slow cooker. Yes, that’s a thing and, like the sheet-pan muffins, why not?

*Yes, I see the apostrophe is wonked. I tried three ways to correct it. Obvs, unsuccessful. Left as is because, you know. . .The Lazy Editor

Dandelion Blivet – or – I Can Handle the Truth, I Just Don’t Like the Maths

dandelion blivet

A highly technical military term (wink, wink), as my father explained it to me, a blivet is ten pounds of crap in a five-pound bag.

This weekend produced a close-to-real-life example: I took that leetle beety plastic pot out front to hold all the dandelions I’d dig up. Surely there weren’t many so early in the spring. . .

To loosen the nasty weed’s grip on the good earth — the over-wintered ones had roots the diameter of small carrots and I’m not talking baby carrots — I used the Japanese all-purpose garden knife available exclusively, in the 1990’s, from Smith and Hawken. Now available fine big-box stores everywhere.

And pardon the Britishism, too much Masterpiece Theater, but the blivet wasn’t the maths that were getting to me. The truth is, by trading a large chunk of my time for money these days, only so much of anything gets done. This weekend, the dandelions. Not enough time to do a proper weeding. Other items on the weekend to-do list loom large and the hours vaporize quickly. A time blivet of sorts — how much to cram into a too-short timeframe.

The dandelions, however, don’t care one whit about my schedule. And I’m gonna need a bigger bucket.

Bag Ladies

purse-1

A couple of years ago I got the idea to thank my friends for being my friends by giving them something personal — beyond the cheer, kindness, and thoughtfulness (and occasional baked goods) that I make sure to bring to those relationships.

Because I like making things, bags came to mind. For each woman, I look for a fabric that reflects her personality. Forgive the immodesty, but on the whole I have pretty good taste and a rare gift-choosing ability, so trusting my judgement puts me on solid ground.

This is my latest bag. It went to a woman I met through work. She’s artsy. I’d like to be artsy. Although we have a lot in common, our friendship didn’t really solidify until we weren’t working together. The pattern is Glenda from Swoon. (The credit is included only if someone feels inclined to find out more; I have no personal link with the company.)  I do love the interwebs to find new and different things.

purse-2

Of course for this level of effort, passing friends and acquaintances won’t be receiving bags any time soon. But I still have a dozen good women on the top-line list. That will keep me busy this year.

No Need to Adjust Your Screen or What’s Old is New Again

living-room-2

We’ve been busy around here: The only way to indulge our good taste in design is to DIY so the living room is getting a fresh coat of paint and new flooring. For the last dozen years the walls were a pale blue and the inset areas next to the fireplace were a light-medium, warm brown. I’ve to a got a thing for accent colors whether the look is in or out. The carpet was the original bland neutral beigey tone, hence my instance on blue walls.

living-room-5

Unsurprisingly, the carpet was showing its age; time to replace. And we had painted the walls white when we built the house. It was a trade: Back then, furnaces and air conditioners were not required to be very efficient, so to get the most efficient furnace and AC we were going to have to pay and pay dearly. Instead, we agreed to paint the interior of the house. Since we were both working more-than-full-time jobs in publishing, we opted for white everything and figured we’d add color later.

Uff da! That was a challenge, and not just in time and effort. Although the builder agreed to the deal he didn’t like it, and he made us pay in ‘accidentally’ messed up freshly painted walls. Oops, crashed into a newly painted wall (happened a dozen times or more). Oh so sorry — not! Then again, he wasn’t a careful builder (fortunately we stopped by the site every day), so perhaps he and his subs were just that clumsy.

Back to today, and back to white. The hubs likes the white, and I’m going for a look I call ‘Midwest Scandinavian.’ The new flooring is carpet tile (FLOR) in a pale blue — just enough color. (Pic to come.) The living room opens to the lately remodeled kitchen, and the rooms blend splendidly. All those years of editing home decorating books paid off nicely, if I do say so myself.

There’s a lot of disruption involved, however, and we’re both surprised at how much stuff has accumulated in the living room. I’ve made a concerted effort to edit; that, too, has made a big difference.

cat-help

So back to white walls and less stuff, somewhat as when we moved in, and looking good. One of our site supervisors agrees.

 

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Keeping It Fresh

lemon-juice

For several months I started each day downing a glass of tepid water with lemon and honey. Somewhere on the interwebs, no doubt several somewheres, this is touted as the fountain of youth, the elixer of good health, etc. Why not try? Well, the hubs lasted about two weeks. I stuck with it until I could no longer stand the delay it caused between feet hitting the floor and coffee.

The end came sometime after the purchase of more lemon juice. For many years, I’ve had it in my head that the hubs doesn’t like lemon very much. He’s asked several times not to use lemon in dishes so I add it to my serving only. Clearly no reason to keep fresh lemons in this house. So here I am trying to figure out how to use up a substantial amount of lemon juice. Hesitantly, I suggested lemon bars. Not a big personal favorite, but not something avoided. He was enthused. I was confused.

After putting a little thought to it, I realized he doesn’t like lemon in savory dishes but he does like lemony desserts. Whereas, I like lemon in savory dishes and respond meh to lemony desserts. He cooks meal regularly but I can’t recall him making a dessert aside from instant pudding; with detailed instructions, he can bake chocolate chip cookies using dough I’ve made.

So lemon bars it will be, no doubt repeatedly. Who knew?

 

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Ill Decor

Router

Sigh. I guess, maybe, perhaps this is better or at least the least offensive option.

For some reason, that I missed because I wasn’t paying attention when it was uttered, the hubs said the best place for the router is my studio/office.

First it sat on the cabinet, cords tucked behind it and its ugly-but-necessary e-cousins. When reception went wonky, heat was the suspected culprit. Then it sat perched on a stump of PVC pipe. Other e-issues, now determined to be unrelated to the router, hiked it to the wall, cords flowing in all their un-glory. The hubs thinks this works better. Tried to sell it to me as opening up space. What you see is all the space it ‘opened’ but protesting is futile. I’m trying to look at the end result as an art installation that speaks to our electronic age. After all, not like I’m going to give up the interwebs any time soon.

And while we’re talking about untastefulness, the Henri Bendel bag held candles purchased as gifts. I can’t bear that you might think otherwise.

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