Archive for January, 2021

Sunny Excursion

MY bag is on that table!!!

Today’s excursion was VERY sunny, in more ways than just the weather. My usual outings consist of making sandwiches and grocery shopping. When I’m very lucky, I might also get out for a massage. Alas, that’s not happened since even before I injured my rib. At the moment the very idea of someone wanting to press on my rib makes me flinch. In November and December I had a series of medical appointments -that was a bit different. Nothing serious, just trying to get the yearly check-ups accomplished once we all figured out how to interact during a pandemic. But today, today was very special!!

Books to be placed outside later (or maybe that’s also what they do in bad weather)

My sister has been telling me for weeks (months?) that our local library was back in business. You place an order with them either over the phone or via email, and they would bag up your books for you. They would contact you to set a pickup time. At the scheduled time your brown paper bag would be waiting for you in front of the building. I am a Kindle Unlimited patron and I have been getting the vast majority of my reading that way. Besides, part of the fun of the library is the browsing to see what is there that you weren’t expecting, or hadn’t known existed. Back in December I treated myself to an outing at Barnes & Noble to get some REAL books. While I do appreciate the convenience of my iPad, there is something about a tangible book, with tangible pages, that still fills a particular need. One of those books was the first in a series by one of the authors I like – Jeffery Deaver’s new “Culter Shaw” series. I REALLY wanted to read the 2nd book but I didn’t want to spend the required amount for an ebook. I turned to my local library. Sure enough, they had it available ( because this is only new to me, not to the world). I dug out my long-abandoned “books from the library” list and found 3 more available and placed my order yesterday. Today I ran over to pick up my books!! Making the book acquisition even more wonderful – I just learned that Monday is a company holiday!!! I know it’s a national holiday but only this year, due to changes in scheduling because of Covid19, is this a work holiday for me as well. *huge smile* Oh my goodness!!!! THREE WHOLE DAYS TO READ!!!!!!!!

MY books – although it also looks as if maybe there should be fried chicken in there as well.

Let’s Talk About Food

table ready and waiting!

Food. Cats. Plants. The Weather. I think those are all still safe topics these days, although I do have a (completely misguided) coworker who would disagree about cats. His loss. BC often joins our video calls. 🙂 We like him anyway. Food – my family is most definitely a FOOD family. All the men enjoy cooking, with at least 2 of them into baking as well. You know I enjoy cooking and baking. Now that I stop to think about it, I’m not sure about the other females. They are absolutely fine cooks, I’m not sure if it’s something they “enjoy”. Funny how you can be so close to someone and still not know something that important.

slicing the rib roast

In our family our winter holidays are Chanukah and my husband’s birthday. Obviously these days we are not dining out very much but even so I was surprised when a friend asked me what *I* was doing for the birthday dinner. Moi? Excuse me but in OUR family it’s the MEN who cook the birthday dinners. My husband knew exactly what he wanted – a standing rib roast and potatoes au gratin – French style. He’s taken great pains to teach us that “au gratin” does NOT mean “with cheese”. It derives from the French for “scrapings” and is used typically to mean covered with crumbs (OR cheese). When HE makes the potatoes au gratin, it means that the potatoes have been drowned in butter and then baked. 🙂 Unbelievably delicious.

look at the garlic!!!! yum!

The problem with our meal arises with cooking the beef. My sister and brother-in-law like the meat to be moo’ing when we bring it to the table. While I don’t like my meat well-done, and I do like beef carpaccio, the rare ribs in these pictures are too rare for me. Not a problem because I can always toss mine in the microwave if necessary or, as in this case, have my slices cut from the ends of the roast. You can see the end, covered in garlic. Oh my – nirvana. 🙂 The beef just melted. My apologies to the vegetarians reading this. I don’t eat meat very often so when I do I really enjoy it. I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures, but each rib must have been nearly 2 inches thick. Four ribs. Only 3 fit on the platter. 🙂 Each couple ended up splitting a rib (and not finishing it) so we all had wonderful leftovers as well.

Can we eat NOW?

My brother-in-law asked what kind of bread my husband wanted for the meal, and of course the answer was salt sticks. 🙂 My contribution was the steamed vegetables and the dessert. I knew my sister and I would be tempted to keep picking at the meat & potatoes, so I tried to distract us with 2 bowls of vegetables. One had only cabbage (we all like cabbage) and the other had broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and brussels sprouts. They may have deterred us a trifle but seriously, given the options, which would YOU have picked at??? Not to mention the salt sticks. 🙂 For dessert I made a cranberry/orange/apple cake. A friend wrinkled up her nose like “that’s a birthday cake????”. In our family, yes, we always have at least one sugar-free dessert for the menfolk. I gave my husband a choice of different fruit pies, tarts and cakes and that was the winner. I still had some sugar-free espresso ice cream which tasted great on top. Keeping in the birthday spirit we added whipped cream as well.

Very tasty loaf cake – moistness from the apples and juice

Now one of us doesn’t eat fruit. In anticipation of these meals where 3 of us would happily eat apples & cranberries & oranges, I sliced the chocolate pecan pie into individual servings and froze them back on Thanksgiving. SHE had the pie. 🙂

chocolate pecan pie

Not Ready for Reality

flowering succulents

Oh man, it’s January in New Jersey. We still have a pandemic. It is glorious sunshine out there but you can’t fool ME – I KNOW that we’ve reached our HIGH temperature for today. It may LOOK lovely out there but it’s 37 degrees but will FEEL like 30 degrees. Ugh. Too cold for a walk even if I could. And I can’t because I injured my back a week or so before Christmas. I have no idea how I did it, when I did it. I became aware of someone stabbing a knife into my side repeatedly. I looked to stop them but didn’t see anyone but myself. There was definitely someone sticking something incredibly sharp into my side. Turns out I seem to have an absolutely text-book case of costochondritis. If you follow that link, you will see that the authors had an interview with my then-future now-current self and got the description for the ailment. 🙂 If you are not into links, the short story is that my rib and its associated cartilage had a parting of the ways (for no discernible reason), and I need to wait until they decide to get back together. My brother-in-law (retired doctor) diagnosed me and told me to take it easy and rest. No problem, I thought. It’s the time of year when not much is happening. I’m not doing much. So I kept on walking my mile on my treadmill each day and, yes, sad to admit how stupid I am, kept doing my little try-to-get-started arm exercises. Well. It turns out that walking and arm exercises move your rib cage. I kept that up for 5 days or so after my diagnosis until I nearly passed out from pain New Year’s Eve day when I went to make the sandwiches for the soup kitchen. At that point I decided that maybe walking was NOT such a brilliant idea. Hey – you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!!

kitchen bay window full of happy succulents

I’m doing much better, I am happy to report. Last night I actually managed to sleep in my BED, instead of the reclining chair. There is only ONE position where there is no pain, which gets a bit much for all the other parts of my body, but I did make it through the night, thanks to the ever-present heating pad. The cats have been quite considerate and both they and my husband allowed me to sleep late – all the way to 9:30 this morning!! Even better – the coffee was still hot when I got downstairs. 🙂 That is one of the most wonderful things about working from home – my husband brews the coffee every morning. Even when I get up early to do the sandwiches, when I come home he has made enough that there is hot coffee waiting for me. Ahhhhh.

WC on Red Couch – All is Right in the World

White cat is doing well also. As with so many things now, having an appointment with the vet is a production. Two pages of questions to answer about the pet, waiting in the parking lot in the car until you can bring your pet to the door. You hand over the animal and go back to your car. You will field calls from the doctor as your pet is examined. Finally you are allowed to pay (I forgot to ask if my husband had to give that over the phone or if they allowed him in to pay). I had a day full of meetings and I was still not lifting any weights (see above – care and treatment of costochondritis) so my husband took her in. Another mark on the plus column for working from home. Yes WC is old, arthritic, kidney issues, thyroid issues caused by the kidney medicine but for being 18+ years old, she’s in good shape. The doctor told my husband that WC was sitting in the doctor’s lap and that WC is a “beautiful cat”. Note to my sister: Maybe if YOU told WC she was beautiful she’d stop tormenting you. *grin* WC was probably frozen in fear. Unlike my dogs, who loved the vet, none of my cats have ever been able to relax and go with the flow. I’ll never forget the time one of my girls turned and sank her teeth into the vet. He had to pause the exam while he got stitches.

Soaking up the sunshine

I may be going stir-crazy by having to stay home and inside so much, but the succulents seem to be quite happy. I brought in as many as I could fit in the kitchen bay window. On gray days, which are VERY frequent in NJ in the winter, I turn on the grow light at the top of the window. On sunny days they get a few hours of direct sunshine. They are flowering and thriving. It does give me joy and satisfaction to see them all snuggled together, very green, very happy. Once a week I try to get them into the sink and give everyone a good soaking. Three of them are quite heavy so they don’t always get the sink-treatment. Even so, they look happy to me. 🙂


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