Posted in 2020, Aging, Food, humor, kathy70, Quarantine, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Oatmeal Obsession

It’s not that I really have an obsession, but I do like it a lot and eat it quite often.  Back in the 80’s, as a single mom with 3 kids and 3 jobs I read an article about ways to streamline your life. One of the suggestions was to eat the same thing for breakfast every day so you don’t have to get up and think about it and waste time.  So I decided oatmeal would be my go to.  There are endless varieties and it’s easy to make and it does good things for your health.

So every day I would get up and pop my oatmeal in the micro, go put on my makeup and come out and eat breakfast.  Many weekends I would eat it even if I had more time, I just liked it.  I did not use instant because the regular oatmeal was cheaper per serving and just as easy to make. My quick go to for a topping at that time was brown sugar or maple syrup about 90% of the time.

I have recommended it more times than I can tell you and it truly made my day start in a much better fashion.  I was out the door on time and not starving half way through the morning.  I think it has helped with my cholesterol, because I have never had bad reading but I have eaten the same breakfast, mostly, for over 30 years.

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With the stay-at-home requirement right now, my old friend is back.  Most mornings now I want to use the food already in the house so I am getting creative.  I like fresh fruit and dried fruit and nuts as additions to my oatmeal.  I will also use jelly sometimes to come up with new flavor combinations.

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Right now I am using fresh fruit, so I cut up an apple in about 1/2 inch cubes which is considerably larger than the instant oatmeal packages.  I will cook it for a few minutes in just a tiny bit of water before adding the oatmeal to the pot.  My additions to the apples are either craisins or raisins and walnut pieces.  I enjoy sliced strawberries and bananas  or blueberries really any kind of berry works and those I just toss in fresh.

I challenge myself to try and create unique combinations that are delicious also.  Pistachio and blueberries is another favorite along with dries cherries or my frozen ones from last summer and pepitas, this list could go on and on.  It’s hard to go wrong when you use any fruit you enjoy and toss in a few nuts. I try to avoid adding sugar and the fruit seems to satisfy completely.

Once while eating out at a restaurant we began talking to a couple at the next table because they thought it was unusual to order oatmeal when eating out.  I explained that I ate it every day,  this was easily over 20 years ago, and it seemed to make sense then.  They confided their favorite food for breakfast was also oatmeal, however they topped it with ice cream.  It had a large variety of flavors available and they reasoned it was the same as adding sugar and milk.  I have never tried it, have you?

Posted in 2020, Challenge, Computers, County Fair, humor, kathy70, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #21 Easter Bunny

This challenge comes from a small group.  We have a series of questions and the object is to answer one of the questions  every week and share it with the others.

Question:

Create three original screen names and passwords that the Easter Bunny may use when logging in to check his e-mail.

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As with much of what I write, I start with the research.  This seems like a simple enough subject, I should just be able to sit down and write but I also like to educate myself a little bit and let’s face it I’m old and may have forgotten some things.  I truly do not remember all the books that I read to my daughters over 40 years ago.

So, what to say about bunnies, there are other names they are called rabbits, cottontails, hares, jackrabbits there are dwarf bunnies and my favorite are the lop eared.  The ears go down instead of up and they are the cutest things ever.  Over the years I have come home from the County Fair with a bunny and my girls were pretty responsible about taking care of them.  We did limit ourselves to just one so we would not have 90 in a short period of time.

What surprised me was when I began looking up books with rabbits in them.  This challenge asks for three responses and I did use mostly the books for inspiration and I stopped at fifteen, just because.  In no particular order here are the screen names and passwords and they could all probably be swapped.  I do think it would be fun to create a new email for myself with one of these, well maybe not.

Screen Name                                        Password

  1. P. Cotton Tail                                           Mrs. McGregor 4
  2. Velveteen                                                 I am Real 2
  3. Sleepy Rabbit                                          Turtle Wins Race
  4. Wise Rabbit                                             Lion In The Well
  5. Hare Today                                             Gone Tomorrow
  6. Br’er Rabbit                                            Uncle Remus
  7. Queen Janet                                            Bunny Planet
  8. Pooka Harvey                                        Elwood P. Dowd
  9. March Hare                                           Alice In Wonderland
  10. Roger Rabbit                                         Jessica Rabbit
  11. Runny Babbit                                       Beddy Tear
  12. Uncle Wiggily                                       Pipsisewok
  13. Fifteen Rabbits                                     Hops
  14. Golden Hare                                         Masquerade
  15. Fiver                                                      Watership Down
Posted in 2020, Aging, Chicago, Food, humor, kathy70, Quarantine, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Self-quarantine or New Normal

As a person of a certain age I thought it in my best interest to isolate myself from potential carriers of the new virus.  Let me be clear, I have no symptoms nor have I been around anyone who has been exposed or who has traveled outside the country, that I know of.  Maybe I will be OK, but as much of a risk taker that I am, this has me a bit spooked.

Today in Chicago is rainy and on the cold side, schools have been closed for 2 days as well as restaurants and bars.  My thinking is only a few dog walkers and me will be outside.  If you are forced to stay inside due to events beyond your control it is still possible to catch cabin fever very quickly.  Currently I am the only person in the house other than the unseen upstairs neighbors.  This is a good news/bad news situation, no one to bug you also no one to interact with.  Loneliness can set in quickly or you become Tom Hanks on the island with only Wilson to talk to.

So, I went to the store and was only looking to purchase a few items to help keep me alive.  Some chicken broth a can of beans to make some soup some fresh fruit, just because it is so much better.  Shelves were bare especially in the aisle of canned goods, do adults still really eat those pasta meals in cans????  I don’t think of myself as a snob, I ate that when I was a kid and fed some of that stuff to my own kids, as an adult there is no way.  I really can’t even handle canned or packaged soup anymore.  Oh well, I guess if you have 4 minutes to prepare a meal and that is all that is in the house you eat it.

A few people were wearing face masks, but only a few, we are about 6 blocks away from a large hospital maybe they are staff on their lunch break.  I was wearing regular winter gloves the entire time I was in the store, did not pick up anything without covered hands and they went directly in the washing machine once I got back. People were polite but focused.  Knowing that this might be the last trip to the store for 2 or 3 weeks.  There were much fewer people in the store having gone about the same time a few weeks ago and traffic on the street was much lighter than usual. Quite a few youngish children in the store with the parent who has this shift today or perhaps a grandparent called into service.

Since  this is a big city with excellent public transportation many people do not even own cars, they walk or bus it anywhere.  I wonder if the suburban or small town scene looked much like this.

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I did make one “luxury” purchase.  In my household some form of chocolate has always been a pantry staple.  Even those shelves were pretty bare, this looked worse than any store after black Friday.  It is a good thing we are resilient and creative as well as optimistic, somehow I am sure this will become an interesting passage in our history books.  Now for a piece of chocolate.

Postscript

Another big part of all of out new normal is wiping down every surface touched every day with wipes to prevent germs.  Trying to become creative with whatever food we already have in the house or have spaghetti for breakfast and oatmeal or an omelette for dinner.  How do I get my walking or running done at home without  destroying every wall in the house.

.

 

Posted in 2020, Anchorage, Challenge, Food, humor, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #20 I Love You

These challenges come from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  (Sort of like being in a writing class where you are assigned the topic to write about.)

Question:

Come up with a more exciting way to say “I love you.”

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My Love Story

Does it still count if I say it in another language?

Ich liebe dich is German.

Te quiero is Spanish.

Je t’aime is French.

Never having had any of these versions said to me in a romantic situation,  I searched for some others.  One of my favorites is from the movie “The Runaway Bride,”  “I guarantee that some point one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing.  But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.  Because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.”

You most certainly can have the only piece of dark chocolate candy in the box.

Yours is the only face I want to see on the pillow next to mine, every day from now on.

Yes, we can spend an extra week at the cabin on the lake.

I already paid for your hair appointment today, and I added a pedicure so make sure you get there early.

Do you mind if I cook dinner today?

I would love to find just one more quilt shop today.

Your spaghetti sauce is the best I have ever eaten.

Let’s get an extra session in at the health club this week.

Today is your ladies card game here, let me help you clean house before I go to my brothers.

Of course I think this is the year we go back to Alaska for at least a week.

Since we all have different love languages, it’s fun to take a small look at what it might look like to different people.  It’s easy if you are in a long term relationship to forget that we often hear and say things in many different ways.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Soup For One

Every so often I have a food craving that only I am interested in.  I often cook in quantities larger than one person can eat at a single serving, I also love leftovers and soups or stews or one pot meals.  Some of this takes a bit of advance preparation, but none of this was done with a pot of soup in mind.

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A week or so ago I had a small quantity of heirloom tomatoes left and I was concerned they would go bad before I could eat them.  So I had something else cooking in the oven, I put the cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet a little oil and salt and pepper and roasted them for about 45 minutes.  Popped them into a container and into the freezer.

A few weeks earlier I had purchased a rotisserie chicken and took it apart for several meals from one chicken.  It was soup, hot chicken salad and risotto as well as a couple of chicken sandwiches.  So the little bits and pieces were in a container in the freezer, waiting for their opportunity.

Many years ago I heard about a way of having a “free” vegetable soup in your freezer all the time.  The secret is have a container that you toss in any leftover veggies that are not enough for a full serving, corn, green beans, cauliflower, peas or whatever.  When the container is full add it to a pot of broth and you have soup with a large variety of vegetables.

Tonight’s soup was a little of this.  The leftover chicken was put in a small pot with a bit of broth, the roasted tomatoes were added plus a handful of spinach from the refrigerator.  I added a bit of seasoning, mainly parsley and paprika and some leftover spaghetti noodles.  All warmed together in the pot it was about 15 minutes of cooking.

This was not a mindful combination, I knew the chicken and tomatoes would be used in something.  As I was looking for the leftover pasta I spied the spinach and grabbed it to add.  One of the best pots of soup in a while and dinner took less than a half hour to prepare.  I added a salad to my meal and loved my quick weeknight serving.

Posted in 2020, Challenge, Chicago, Georgia, humor, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #19 Ghosts

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.

Question:

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever been or lived somewhere you thought was haunted?

ghost

My Ghost Story

Always kind of thought they were real but not for any specific reason.  Maybe watching too many cartoons as a child of Casper The Ghost.  In my old neighborhood  the house two doors down was one everyone said was haunted.   Far too many people said as they sat on the sofa in the living room they would experience a cold feeling on their feet, especially around the ankles.  Like a cold wind was blowing just under the sofa on their feet.  There was a  painting on the wall that always crooked no matter how many times you straightened it.

Watching a small child talk to a wall, they may see someone we don’t.  A dog or cat staring or barking at an empty part of the room also makes you thing maybe they are seeing or hearing or smelling something we can’t.

Right now I am visiting a friend whose home is well over 100 years old.  On a day when I am the only person in the house and suddenly a closet or pantry door is slightly open???  Something I put next to the kitchen sink is now in the sink.  This is not any scary kind of feeling, just a warm friendly feeling almost like someone is glad I am staying here right now.

I went on a haunted tour of  Savannah Georgia and according to the tour guide this was the second most haunted city in the US. The guide explained that because there was a hospital here during the civil war there were many restless spirits here. He also went on to explain that before the war the mixture of pirates and upright citizens often clashed creating some of those ghosts.  This was an entertaining and interesting tour and I would recommend it to any visitor to Savannah.

Posted in 2020, Anchorage, Chicago, Chiditarod, humor, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

CHIditarod

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Alaska has the Iditarod starting today, Chicago ran the CHIditarod on the same day.  This is a fund raiser for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Teams of five costumed participants push a shopping cart around city streets between check-in points.  Each team has five people, four as the sled dogs and one as the musher.

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Each team also collects food items and funds for this good cause.  The whole time having lots of fun in both the planing and the doing.  These are a few of the teams I saw arriving at the check point I was at.

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The checkpoint I stopped at had a live band playing on the street in front of the building, lots of loud music inside and refreshments of all kinds.  The people participating and just the people in the area certainly were having a good time. There were games to participate in each check point for the “dogs and mushers.”

Many of the costumes were very creative and it was obvious they also spent a lot of time gathering the decorations for the cart.  People participating were all ages and had a glorious spring day for this event.   My favorite were the ones in the safety vests looking like city workers.  I will certainly be participating in this at some capacity next year.

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Posted in 2020, Challenge, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #18 Sunset

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one question per week.

Question:

Write a poem about moonlight or sunset.

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Sun Is Going Down

The sun is going down

Today will remain a memory

The good from today carries forward

This was a day of goodness among us

This was a day of both joy and sorrow

The sun is going down

Tomorrow is full of new promises

That day is waiting for excitement

That day is full of happiness to come

That day is waiting for good things

The sun is going down

Posted in 2020, Birds, Chicago, humor, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Late Winter Day At The Zoo

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It is not quite springtime yet here, they still have snow in the forecast, but it was a great sunny day so off to the zoo I go.  More excited about being outside for a couple of hours and not getting frostbite.  Chicago area is fortunate to have more than one zoo nearby and the Lincoln Park Zoo has a long history here.

The zoo opened in 1868 and is one of the oldest in the US.  It is also one of a few free zoos around.  It is on the North side of Chicago right near the lakefront and covers 35 acres of prime real estate.  Portions of the zoo are undergoing renovations now so not all the animals are in residence.  Many have been sent to other zoos during this time.

All year long the zoo plays host to a large variety of events designed to bring awareness and educate us all.  It has transitioned greatly over the many years I have been going there all with keeping the animals healthy and happy.  Mid week on a sunny day was a marvelous time to walk in the zoo.

Who knew flamingos liked to be outside in our cold weather.  A couple of local birds in with them?

From inside the Primate House.

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These zebras are enjoying the day as much as I did.

Don’t forget to add this to your list of places to visit on your next trip to Chicago.