Posted in 2020, Aging, Food, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Rice Pudding

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To some of us, this is comfort food like macaroni and cheese or tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich or even the Sunday pot roast.  It takes me back to my childhood and I’m on a family trip.  We stop at a diner for lunch and after my cheeseburger I ask for rice pudding with whipped cream on top.  Not something made at home but relished as we traveled.  Maybe that’s why I love both.

When I looked up rice pudding, I was surprised to find that it is literally served all around the world.  Asia, Latin America, Europe, US, Caribbean, North Africa, Canada are only some of the places it is enjoyed.  Flavors and spices and kinds of rice used vary everywhere.  The liquid used and the kind of sweetener, or not, also vary around the world.

I came across a recipe that seemed fairly easy and most diners no longer carry rice pudding, so why not try.  I am obsessed with arborio rice and have been known to make risotto four times in one week just for myself, so how bad could pudding be with the same rice?

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of arborio rice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or variation of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 egg yolks

Pour milk, sugar and vanilla into a mid sized pot and bring to almost a boil.  Rinse off rice and put into small pot of boiling water, boil for 2 minutes then drain and add to milk mixture.  Continue cooking at a simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from heat and add butter and egg yolk stirring constantly until fully incorporated.  Pour into a tray to cool off faster.  Serve warm or cool.

It turned out delicious and is now on my menu almost as often as risotto.

Here’s a few variations you may want to try.  Flavors, toppings and spices:  orange, lemon, rosewater, pistachio, almond, raisin, walnut, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon or ginger.  These can be added to the mixture or sprinkled on top.  As a child it was cinnamon and whipped cream on top, today it changes constantly.

 

Posted in 2020, 9/11, Aging, Chicago, humor, kathy70, Poland, Quarantine, Quilts, Sewing, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Reflections On A Changing World

The difficulties of today’s world bring to mind other earth shattering events that I managed to live through.  In the early 50’s I was a young child spending the summer with my aunt and uncle and three cousins at their house in the country.  This was something I did many summers at one of my four aunts homes.  All the cousins at this house were older than I was and all were boys, one of them did require a wheelchair and braces to get around as a result of having polio when he was younger.  One day before the end of summer my aunt helped me get ready to come home to Chicago a bit earlier than expected.  I was put on a train and my dad picked me up at the train station and immediately took me to the doctors office.  There I was given a shot.  They had developed a vaccine for polio and that’s what my doctor gave me.  And the world changed.

In the spring of 1963 I went on a trip with my school to Washington DC.  While on that trip we learned that John F. Kennedy would be dedicating a memorial to Paderewski in Arlington National Cemetery and our plans were changed to go to this.  This was a very last minute event and we lined the sidewalk that he walked to get to the podium for his speech. I was about 5 feet away from the President at that time and this made him much larger than life in my eyes.  I was struck by how quickly he walked, how handsome he was and when the sun hit his hair the dark red color of it.  Kennedy spoke about why the composers  body was in this country and not Poland at that time, since Poland was still not a free country.  It took until 1992 for his body to be return to his native Poland.  What an honor we had and no idea we would participate in this.  Later that year he was killed.  And the world changed.

In 1968 I was living just outside Washington DC and that spring I was able to see the display of the Cherry Blossoms in bloom one day before my first daughter was born.  At that time since it was a military hospital I was in a room with 9 other women and there was no television or radio allowed.  We had no knowledge of what was happening unless one of the husbands came in and told us, which they were advised not to.  A few days later while still in the hospital I looked out the windows of the hospital and saw the city of Washington DC on fire.  With plumes of black smoke rising from various parts of the city.  This was the aftermath from the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King.  And the world changed.

A few short months later, I woke in the middle of the night to hear about the death of Bobby Kennedy.  This coming on the heels of Dr. King’s death caused many changes to happen that may not have been obvious to everyone.  Little things  started happening and the citizens of this country were no longer as innocent and may have become a bit jaded and less trusting.  It seemed we had no idea where the next trauma was coming from and in the background of all of this was a war going on in Vietnam.  Protests and marches were going on all over this country people were trying to have their voices heard.  Many were trying just to find their voices. And the world changed.

In the 80’s we had the start of AIDS-HIV in this country and for the most part it was not talked about and we did not really have to worry about it because it only happened to “gay” men. Then confusion and panic that originally surrounded this entire time was very similar to what is happening currently with this pandemic.  Monumental strides have happened in the medical knowledge and the survival rate from that disease but it was not an easy battle.  Sadly, I had friends who died alone because of the initial stigma that was associated with it and the lack of knowledge about how this disease could ever be survivable.  Washington DC was one site for the display of the AIDS quilt panels and I flew in to see this and walked for hours among the panels laid out on the Mall.  I talked and laughed and cried with strangers about the beauty and the sadness of this  display.  I marched for the first time in my life in a protest march down Pennsylvania Avenue with lit candles  to represent the thousands known and unknown represented in that quilt.  I listened to the names being read of those who had died.  And the world changed.

I can only briefly mention the events of September 11, 2001 because I am still very raw in many ways and I work hard to control the trauma I feel daily because of those horrific events. The swift activity and global yet personal nature of that day are often still very fresh and yet the lingering sorrow never seems to go away. I have a young friend from another country who recently said “Well it’s been a long time now and things are just like before aren’t they?” I am sure part of me will never be whole again.  And the world changed.

Today, I cry easily, I have for many years been that person who cried at a Hallmark commercial, now I cry at the weather forecast. I despair because I have no ability to do anything of significance to help except stay at home. This should be a great time to work on those craft projects I have been stockpiling for years.  Then my mind wanders into strange territory and I find it difficult to sit down and try to sketch a simple flower. I have added long solo walks so perhaps I will come out the other end of this a healthier person.

And the world will change.

 

 

 

 

 

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, 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.

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

Challenge# 17 Just The Facts

This challenge is from a small writing group.  We have a large series of questions and the challenge is to select one and write about while sharing it.  A second goal is to complete one each week.

Question:

List five facts about yourself that most people don’t know.

What you don’t know could hurt you?

I am a pretty private person but will talk to complete strangers for hours and we may not ever exchange names and certainly not phone numbers.  So you want me to share with the universe my secrets??  Much of my secret life will always remain a secret, I am just a big fan of not fixing whatever is not broken.  Some of these things I will share my children already are aware of.  They just think these are a part of my DNA and tune out when I speak about any of them.

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I have been in love with Bing Crosby all my life.  As a very small child my  mom became very upset because I broke a record of hers by him,  and she stayed angry about that for years.  It must have impressed upon me that he was something very special.  I did watch and still do watch his movies whenever I have the opportunity.  Who doesn’t love “White Christmas” in the middle of July.

As an 11 or 12 year old I hung out a lot at the neighborhood settlement house.  This was a social meeting place a few blocks from my house where they offered a variety of opportunities.  It is where I went for Girl Scout meetings.  I also signed up for and took Fencing lessons.  For almost 6 months I learned all things fencing.

I very much enjoy concerts, any kind almost that you can think of.  My first was a piano concerto at the Symphony Hall and I truly loved it.  It is one thing that I almost always say yes to.  Over the years I have literally been to hundreds and already have tickets for my next two.

I also enjoy watching parades, again all sorts and sizes.  I was recently walking in the neighborhood where I grew up and as I walked past these 2 houses my first thought was this is where we stood to watch the parade one block away from my house.  I have crossed a couple of bucket list parades off my list, Macy’s Christmas and the Rose Bowl Parade.  Both were big checks on my bucket list.  I have only seen three in other countries and only one was specifically planed for.

I love almost every vegetable except peas.  I love to eat and make split peas soup, I love all varieties of beans and bean soup.  As a kid I enjoyed shucking peas while sitting on the front porch with my aunt, I are them because I had to.  Now that I’m an adult I don’t add them and avoid at all cost.

The rest of my mysteries will just have to stay hidden.

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

Field Museum Again

This is from my most recent trip to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL.  I grew up in Chicago and have been going to this museum since I was a small child and I still find new things on each visit.  What a great way they have of keeping it vital and different, not just the temporary exhibits change, but they constantly reevaluate the permanent displays and rework or repair or replace as necessary.

The temporary exhibit on bugs had a live demonstration while we were there and grandma was the only one brave enough to put out her hand and have the millipede in her hand.  My big (they are 22 and 14 and both taller than I am) grandson’s passed on this choice.

One of the other things we were amazed at were the dioramas that were very old, but absolute perfection.  It really was interesting to see these throughout the museum.

The new dino on display, the panda and items from Tibet were also hits.  Make sure you add this to your list when you visit Chicago next.

Posted in 2020, A Photo A Week Challenge, Aging, Challenge, humor, kathy70, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #13 Special Glow

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

Question:

Name something you wish was “glow in the dark.”

Getting That Special Glow

My first suggestion would be for the back of the remote control.  Somehow, when it falls off the sofa or end table it always falls face down so you can’t see the white buttons.  If it’s night, especially in low light, it blends in with shadows, the print on the rug and my improperly discarded socks.  Maybe it could just have small letters on the back that spell “remote.” That way, if a human in the household or a pet knocks it under the sofa, the letters would glow enough to identify it.

I could probably also use just a small dot of glow in the dark anything on the bathroom door knob.  For the times I wake at 3 AM to use the facilities, so I don’t have to turn on every light in the house and wake everyone up for my 3 AM party.

My cell phone could use like a strip of tape on the back for those times it falls out of my purse in the car and slides under the seat.  While in the car it’s easy enough to use the phone hands-free when it’s connected to the system, so I might miss the fact that it fell out during my trip to the store.

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Something on my glasses.  They are phony tortoise  shell colored and really can become lost in seconds.  Then I have to go in search of another pair of glasses to locate the lost ones.

This almost sounds like a laundry list of complaints from an old geezer who is fumbling around in the dark and has just stubbed their toe on an item out of place.  Sadly, it sounds a lot like me.

Posted in Aging, Challenge, humor, kathy70, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #11 Be Someone Else

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:  Have you ever pretended to be someone else?  Would you?

On Being Someone Else.

Yes, but not  for my personal amusement.  I once worked for a small company that marketed and sold a very specific item.  Part of my job was calling prospective customers and since they wanted to see what was the direct result of our prospecting, I used a pseudonym.  This way any respondents ask for a specific person who was never in the office and I would take a message for her. She would return the call after a while and assist the customers.

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This system worked pretty effectively for that company and they expanded to use the fake name for another person.  We thought of this originally because of some junk mail that came with an obvious fake name and we thought if it works for them, let’s try it.

We have all heard about men and women using a fake name when meeting people in a bar.  I had a friend who would create a story and a name and used that  almost every time she went out.  I never could do that, mix alcohol into that environment and I doubt I could remember anything but my own name.

I only knew one person who could effectively do that, but  I guess there are valid reasons to want to protect your identity.  Now I am much too old for that to be a factor in my life, meeting people in bars that is.

Posted in 2020, Aging, Challenge, humor, kathy70, Travel, Uncategorized, Wisconsin, Writing, Yes

Challenge #10 My Sailboat

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

Question:

You have just bought a sailboat, and you have to name it.  What would you name your boat? Where is the first place you would sail to?

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Our family had a sailboat when I was a small ( 8 or 9 y.o.) child, it was a 2 person boat that was named for our family by using the last name.  It was red with yellow sails and was a beauty.

We vacationed every summer on a lake in north east Wisconsin.  This was a good sized lake and it is 2 miles wide and 4 miles long the deepest part is about 50 feet deep.  There are at least 7 or 8 species of fish in the lake due to the diversity on the lake.  Our boat was stored there and we used it for 2 weeks every year.  We had been going to the same place for several years before the sailboat and about 3 or 4 years after we had it.  Lots of time was spent on the lake either in a boat not just in the water, great deal of swimming, fishing and water skiing and sailing.

After a few years my parents purchased a small tree farm in Central Wisconsin and that is where we vacationed after that.  The sailboat was left with the owners of the resort who were cousins and they enjoyed it for a few years after that.

In today’s world my first thing is to think about what I would name the new sailboat.  As a child I knew what I was going to name the horse I would one day own (that’s not happening).  I like the idea of naming it after me so maybe “Kathy’s Folly”, or “Kathy’s  Keep”, or simply “Kathy’s”.

Now that I have a name for my new sailboat, where will I go.  Since I am not a strong swimmer it will not be on one of the Great Lakes or into any ocean.  I would be very content to find a nearby lake, maybe the size of my childhood vacation lake.   I  have fond memories of hanging out on the lake for hours fishing or just sailing back and forth across the lake.

I can see it now, sailing around in Kathy’s Folly on Perch Lake or Silver Lake there goes Kathy70 drifting along with the breeze doing nothing all day.  Works for me.

Posted in 2020, Aging, humor, kathy70, Quilts, Sewing, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Welcome 2020

I wish you all a Happy New Year.  I know it sounds silly, but I am glad I made it to 2020, as this year came closer to my reality, I just thought maybe because of the number like 2000, lets pray for this to be a great year.  I will turn 74 this year and I hope to add at least one new country to my passport.  I looked up a quote to share for this day and this is the one that hit me most.

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“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”   Robin Sharma

Because I am quickly approaching 75, this kind of hit me between the eyes.  What new things do I need to look at, other than getting older to adjust in my life.  On Robin’s FaceBook page he had some new year suggestions, less of one thing and more of another and I thought that’s good, replace a bad habit with a good one. So I am trying for 20 in honor of 2020.

    1. Less busy work.                                        More quilting.
    2. Less swearing.                                          More quilting.
    3. Less coffee.                                                More quilting.
    4. Less silly spending of money.                More quilting.
    5. Less gossip.                                                More quilting.
    6. Less salt.                                                     More quilting.
    7. Less licking the spoon.                            More quilting.
    8. Less using phone or tablet in bed.        More quilting.
    9. Less chocolate.                                     More dark chocolate.
    10. Less fizzy drinks.                                      More quilting.
    11. Less judging people.                                 More quilting.
    12. Less red meat.                                           More quilting.
    13. Less mindless TV.                                     More quilting.
    14. Less sitting at home.                                More quilting.
    15. Less passing by flowers.                         More quilting.
    16. Less toxic people.                                     More quilting.
    17. Less trying for perfection.                      More quilting.
    18. Less multitasking.                                    More quilting.
    19. Less negative people.                              More quilting.
    20. Less showing up late.                              More quilting.

While I personally do not have all of these bad habits, I think some of them would be easy to fall into.  I really think a short version of this list, maybe 3 habits that you want to change for good habits would be more realistic for me to accomplish.  Now to decide if my first quilt of the year will be traditional or modern.