It’s never too late to learn something new. I had no idea a group of cats is called a clowder. There are several other names you can use, but I like this one. Here is my clowder.
36 years ago my friend lost her husband to gun violence in the workplace. Children lost their father that day. The person who did the shooting thought he was being fired, he was actually only being moved to another facility. He came in and was looking for a confrontation, there was somewhat of a language barrier, he shot the person he felt responsible and then took his own life. This feels very personal.
I have no answers, I can only tell you that each situation hurts and does not change the pain level at all. The current drive to do something headed by the children involved in the school shooting in Florida hopefully will take hold and they will persist through all the red tape and garbage talk.
Feeling the need to just share some love today. Hope everyone has the best possible day.
This is in a good way. We have all seen the internet fails of people who tried to make something they saw on the internet and it became an epic fail. The head fell off the doll, the soup was saltier than the Dead Sea, or the wallpaper wound up on the dog, cat and human attempting to put it up. Occasionally, I have an idea of something I want to try and it works. This is a success story.
In a blog I read and follow I saw a comment about a Ham Pot Pie. This began the thought process, we had just eaten a made from scratch chicken pot pie, I had just gotten a good deal on ham the week before. This could be a marriage made in heaven, my family was very skeptical since we had never heard of this before and had no point of reference on how it would come out. In my head I had already created the recipe.
I didn’t actually write a recipe, I am more of a handful of this and a pinch of that type of cook. I decided that sweet potatoes would be best in this pie, so I sliced a sweet potato into 1/2 inch slices and roasted until it was soft. I knew green beans had to play a part so I got those. In the refrigerator I found a handful of sliced carrots and celery leftover from the past Sundays gathering, those went in. The whole family likes corn so that jumps into the picture.
To pull as much flavor as possible and to protect my aging belly, I always lightly fry onion before adding it into any dish. So I added all the veggies into the pan with a bit of diced onion to soften and to bring out the flavors and added a fair amount of parsley to this mixture. Tossed this in a bowl with the diced ham.
For a “gravy” I started with a white sauce, butter, flour and milk, in the same pan I used for the veggies to pick up all that flavor. I used a generous tablespoon of brown mustard for my secret ingredient in the white sauce. Next I added about a cup of freshly shredded parmesan cheese to this. This went over all the meat and veggies in the bowl and into the pie dish. Crust on top and then into the oven for about an hour.
With no added salt because of the ham and cheese already included, this tasted really great. Most of us had seconds including the teen-aged male resident who likes nothing new . All of us were skeptical initially, my daughter as I am putting this in the oven said “I will try it, but we do have other leftovers if necessary.”
I even had a bit of leftover pie crust and did what my grandmother always did with it. Cut it into small pieces and put cinnamon/ sugar on top and baked for a few minutes. There is a moral to the story, just do it and say yes.
Near my home is a small opera house that was built in 1889 and is still in use today. It is a busy place and features local dance companies and community theater as well as touring shows. On a recent trip to see a performance we found a pleasant diversion.
In a first floor reception room there was a small display of quilts. While we expect buildings to last well over 100 years, the quilts on display were also very old, some were much older than the building.
I really appreciated the age of all the quilts on display as well as the vibrant colors they retained. They are from a local collection and each of these patterns are some that are still in use today. Another reason to say yes to any and all adventures, you never know what you will find there.
This year is going to be great for me. First I have 2 grandchildren graduating college this year, first one in May the other in June. Then one of my grandchildren will be getting married in the fall.
I have actually been actively working on getting fit. I know, we all resolve to do this every year and it lasts about one or two weeks, no resolution but I started doing this in November and am just sticking with it.
As I try to age as slowly as possible I find new things to occupy my mind and hands. I am one of those who needs several projects going at the same time. I have no idea how any one can retire without at least a couple of hobbies. I already had a few, but have added even more. Doing this blog is a new thing for me, I started 3 years ago and find it very enjoyable and a good creative outlet. It has also moved me to do some other writing and doing the research is always rewarding because I never know where it will lead me.
I have made a couple of silent resolutions, not sure if that is good or not. I kind of have that old world feel of keep things a secret so no one can mess with your plans, quite opposite of how many feel that you speak it and put it out in the universe to make it seem real. Right now, I don’t have complete control of my life and don’t want to upset someone else’s apple cart. Sorry for the secretive attitude.
How do these things sneak up on us, another year in the record books and I have not broken any record or shattered anything.
I had 2 “big” trips this year and a few small ones. It felt like the travel gods were on some other path than mine. In the spring I did go to London and the timing worked out great for the royal wedding. I was lucky enough to be on the grounds of Windsor Castle during the wedding and saw close up the carriage with the newlyweds go right past us.
Then recently I was in Paris for a few days and mostly had a great time. I have been lucky enough to have visited both of these cities previously but did find new and exciting things to see and do.
For the most part, those were the 2 major unique events that happened this year. As is prone to happen people are born and die. I have a new great-grandson born earlier this year, that makes 3 great-grands so far. I lost a second cousin, much too young, this year and a few friends. I was able to reconnect with a couple of old friends and spend some time rehashing much older days. I participated in a craft show for the first time in almost 10 years and certainly enjoyed that.
Not to appear like a slug for most of the year, I have been spending a great deal of time with my grand and great-grand daughters. One is hard at work in her college program and one is 9 and in 4th grade. My involvement is to make sure the little one gets on and off the bus and has homework finished and helping out with cooking some meals for the family. It’s amazing how much time that can consume.
This will continue in 2019 since this is the last semester of my granddaughters college degree. She may decide to go for post-graduate studies, but after tough study and work and home commitments she will take a couple of years off. (She is also planing her wedding in 2019, busy lady.)
For next year, I have put 2 more countries back on my travel wish list, they have been for many years and I really hope to get to them. I can’t wait to see what my grand is doing with her life and career and what level of commitment she may need next year.
At my age it is always time to ramp up the exercise and cardio so I can be the active gram out on the dance floor, not the one looking for paramedics. Trying to get back to some of my favorite cities to visit and find one or two new ones. Take a course in college for anything, just to make sure the gears are all still turning. Oh, I also want a new tattoo or two. Not a super long list, but I know from experience things pop up to change my direction.
I was fortunate enough to spend several days in Paris recently, this was before all the disturbances began. This was not my first trip there and I felt reasonably comfortable trying to navigate leaving the airport and buying tickets for the subway system. A helpful gentleman working at the airport directed me to another type of ticket. This was good for 1 week and valid on subway, buses and trains throughout Paris. Would reasonably get me from the airport to our hotel and everywhere we wanted to tour.
So we happily purchased the tickets and proceeded to board the next train bound for the city center towards our hotel. About halfway there the train stopped and they announced something in French which I could not understand. Then required all of the passengers to disembark. That train left with a number of announcements happening. Another train sitting on the next track was beginning to fill up, so we thought with these great tickets let’s get on. A half hour later no movement and people starting to disembark. As a side note, it was raining the entire time but not cold enough to turn the rain to snow as it was when we landed.
We determined staying was not the best answer so we left the station to find a bus. It was going to take 2 buses, but that was OK since our passes covered it. Both buses were packed to the brim and standing room only with our luggage, but after a couple of hours we got there and checked in to the hotel.
Changed shoes, refreshed and no luggage to take along we set out. First stop was food and there were so many choices we just opted for the closest place. Cell phones are both a blessing and a curse and we used one to help navigate. Taking a subway to get to the Arc de Triomphe so we have a beautiful view of all of Paris. We again opted for a bus for a portion of the travel since we could see all the streets and decorations and the beautiful buildings.
Success. We arrive and see lots of people at the base of the Arc, then a band starts playing the French national anthem. We get to the base and see a very large military presence and lots of flowers by the eternal flame so something honoring or commemorating someone just happened. It is a lot to take in. Next the hike to the top, 11 flights of stairs. We see the Eiffel Tower all lit up with Christmas lights and the view is breathtaking.
Leaving we decide the subway is the best option and using our passes we go through the turn-style and towards our train. There are 3 people in street clothes asking to see everyone’s pass so we show them ours and the guy said where is your picture and takes it right out of my hand. I said what are you talking about, he said you needed to have a picture taken and put on the pass within 1 hour of purchase. First we were told about this. Upshot is he is looking for more than the purchase price of the ticket from each of us. I am getting louder and louder, this sounds like the biggest scam ever. I am not being friendly or polite or nice in any capacity. He is not convincing me. It takes all three of them non-stop talking , a French girl crying because she was grabbed also, me shouting about being robbed in front of everyone, they kept saying we will call the police and we said OK bring them here.
End of story we paid the outrageous fee. As I did curse their miserable lives to their faces, not good, and so out of character for me. Back at the hotel we go online and find out this is a common thing and has been going on for a while.
Next morning ignoring what they told us we ask the front desk about the picture and they direct us to a store nearby. Turns out the pictures are from a photo booth, but must be a very tiny size, so I now am the proud owner of 14 pictures I will never use. Whole situation really turned me off on going to France. Not a cheap transportation method, it will be a very long time before I go back, if ever. How sad.
My recent trip to England took me to new places which is always delightful. My grandson who was traveling with me selected the destination for this day. His choice for this was because of the maze. We have corn mazes which are fun, but he wanted to see and experience the original styles they have in Europe. So underground to the train to the bus to a long walk and in a couple of hours we were there.
Starting with beautiful grounds and just amazing flowers in bloom with the castle as the backdrop for it all. This like many has self guided tours and lots of signs to keep you going in the right direction and with a bit of history to explain what you are seeing.
We found beauty inside and outside the castle. We never did find the maze but loved the visit. As we were told, this was a “proper” castle with a moat and everything and it did not disappoint. Now off to the next adventure.
Thoughts on this day before our country’s Independence Day. First, let me say that I am very lucky to have been born and live in this country. While I may have lived most of my life well below the poverty level, I rarely felt like I was a lower class of person than anyone else I may have encountered. I also never felt that I was better than anyone I ever encountered. Maybe I am the odd one out, but in my mind that is what this country should be all about.
Due to a fortunate set of circumstances, I have been lucky enough to travel to many other places and countries. None more beautiful than this country for all it’s natural and man-made beauty. I do appreciate that this country has the freedom given its citizens to make choices for themselves on almost everything we say and do.
I am grateful to all those who came before me to give this to me. May you have the safest and happiest Independence Day.