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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Crash


Last Friday, Crash gave me a good scare. She was very listless and didn't walk very far before she would have to take a rest.

I realized that I've been cutting back on her food because she is, well, fat. There's no nice way to say it. I've let her get that way. I decided to give her and Burnie (as if I had a choice about including him) some extra food which she ate, so I knew she wasn't sick. Then I noticed that she wasn't climbing onto the couch and she was hiding under the table. Every hour or so I would check on her and wake her up.

When I went out on Saturday, I isolated her in the bedroom and gave Burnie the run of the house. She has no patience with him on a good day, when she's not feeling well, I don't know what she'd do to him and I felt she should have time alone.

By Sunday she was a little better and this morning, she had made it up onto my bed. She also got onto the couch this evening.

She must have pulled or strained a muscle because she really didn't want me to pick her up at all. And she meowed slightly when I touched her side. You may ask why I didn't take her to the vet immediately. Good question. It's very difficult to put her into the carrier, which is very large. She didn't want to be touched. And, since she was eating, I felt she wasn't sick, just a little under the weather. When I brought Burnie to the vet about his limp, the vet said that cats are very resilient and bounce back from injuries.

Each day she gets a little more active. She still doesn't try to jump yet. Maybe she's too fat, or maybe she's just getting old.
I'll keep watching Crash, but for now I think the worst is over.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Good Food

A few years ago I spent a couple of days with my cousin. While I was there, she prepared a dinner of pesto, pasta and shrimp. It was delicious, which is not surprising because she was a very talented woman and great cook.

I've tried to recreate this dish and tonight I think I did it. I had just the right amount of pesto, shrimp and pasta. I made enough for two nights and it was very difficult for me to leave enough for tomorrow.

Needless to say the basil came from my garden. I've been seeing a rabbit around the house lately so I decided I'd better start harvesting and using my herbs before he did.

I just love having all those herbs at my fingertips. What will I make next? Which crop will I harvest next? Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Asking for Help

The other day some friends and I were talking about asking for help. We're all very independent women, but one of our group had a bad fall about two months ago. She was in severe pain for about a month before the doctor decided to search further for her problem. She eventually had surgery and is coming around.



During this time there was very little she could do. She could barely stand long enough to prepare meals and had to rely on friends for help. She's a very independent woman and found it very difficult to ask for and accept help. Eventually, she accepted help.



As we discussed our reluctance to ask for help, everyone pointed at me as being much too independent. I agreed that I would rather do without than ask anyone for help. That got me thinking about why. I came up with two reasons and they both relate to ego or self-esteem.



The first is that I feel, "why would anyone want to help me" and the second is that "no one else can do a job as well as I". Weird, isn't it?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Reunion

Today I was finally able to get together with my grammar school class. There were only eight (including spouses) of us today. We've been trying to arrange this luncheon via e-mails, but there was so much back and forth. Who could only make lunch, who could make dinner but not lunch, etc. I really doubted this day would ever happen.

Finally, one of our classmates who lives in Las Vegas suggested that we make a definite annual date for this luncheon. That way all or most of us would know in advance and plan our schedule so we would be able to attend. This was such a wonderful idea that I'm surprised that no one thought of it before. Thank you Mary.

Back to the lunch, it was wonderful. It's so good to see old friends, especially those who knew us when we were young. We've been getting together for about 7 years now and it doesn't get old. One of the things I miss being a transplant to New Jersey is the feeling of neighborhood. I have no roots here, but when we get together and talk about the old nuns (who weren't that old when they taught us) and other neighborhood kids it brings City Line and all those good time back to life.

Now I know I'll see them again next year, but we girls will plan something sooner.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Harvest

Since my herbs have been doing so well I decided to use some of them tonight. I scoured through my collection of cookbooks and found an interesting recipe in The Herb Farm Cookbook.

All I needed was a boneless chicken breast, oil, wine, lemon, butter, dill and parsley. It felt so good to just go out the back door and harvest a few sprigs of dill and parsley. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, I used one chicken breast instead of two, but I did use the full recipe for the sauce.

It was delicious. I also served some mashed potatoes with butter. For dessert, I made a little dish called "Eve's Pudding". It's hard to explain, but I think I used too many apples. Otherwise it too was very good.

I find it hard to understand why women who live by themselves don't want to cook for themselves. After all, there's no one to complain about the meal and you can make whatever you want.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Movie Night

Tonight we had a special treat at our singles meeting. We had pizza and a movie. One of the "girls" rented Marley & Me. We had some trouble getting the DVD to work and had to call one of the men at home to come and set it up for us. Once we got it started, it was very good.

It was interesting to notice the change in the sounds in the room as the movie went on. At first there was a lot of laughter, then less and less. Toward the end there was some coughing, then some shifting around in our seats, then sniffles, then outright sobs. I guess you could say we all enjoyed the movie.

When I got home, I hunted for Crash and Burn and just hugged them. Of course, they thought I had finally snapped.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Road Trip

Today some members of my photography club took a road trip to the Bronx Zoo. I haven't been there in about 30 years when I went as a helper for my son's class. During that trip, one of the girls from another group wandered off and gave us quite a scare. But, I digress.

Naturally, we had some rain, but it wasn't too bad. There were off and on showers and there are a lot of trees. The zoo has changed considerably since I was a child. It seemed to me that there were fewer animals there today. Either that or my luck with animals has carried through to this year. It seems that wherever I go, the animals are hiding. I went on a whale watch in Alaska and didn't see any whales close by. I never saw bears in the rain forest. In Yellowstone, all I saw were elk and buffalo.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took. I'm quite proud of my camera, I was able to zoom in on some shots. I really wouldn't get that close to the animals.


The lions were just lying around, probably waiting for the sun.


The flamingos were just hanging out.






The polar bear was just walking around his pool.



The sea lions teased us. They kept swimming around in their pool and occasionally would come up and "bark", then before I could get my camera ready, they were back under water.




Even though the animals didn't cooperate with the camera, it was a good day. I'd like to go back some time. When I was a child, every year during my father's vacation, we would take two buses for a day trip to the zoo. It's still fun.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Last night I attended a Mexican Fiesta at our Clubhouse. I've attended concerts and a trivia night, but this was the first sit-down dinner and dance. It was a good night.

Most of my single friends don't like these affairs, so I just did what my friends did and stayed away. I didn't know what I was missing. It was a good evening. It started with "cocktails", liquor-free margueritas and dacquiris. As soon as I arrived I saw the friends I would be sitting with, and then saw others that I knew. I never realized that I know so many members of the community.

After the cocktail hour we went into the ballroom which was beautifully decorated by the social committee of which I'm a member. There were two couples and myself at our table, then a third couple joined us. They've only lived here for 2 months, so they didn't know anyone. It was a very nice group, we changed seats so many times to make conversation easier.

I'm not a dancer, no sense of rhythm, but I do enjoy watching others and I encouraged the others at my table to get up and dance and not worry about leaving me at the table. That has been a problem for me in the past. Usually, one or all of the men don't want to ignore the one single woman at the table, and they ask me to dance. Last night, it was better. No one asked me to dance and I didn't have to show my lack of dancing ability. It was a relief.

I did have one criticism of the evening - the last dance. Traditionally, that is usually a slow dance. Last night, the dj played "My Way" recorded by Frank Sinatra. I really like that song, have liked for many years, but I really don't think it's appropriate for a dance attended by senior citizens -

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than
this,
I did it my way

We really don't need to be reminded that we're near the end of the road.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

I have a few miscellaneous, oddball, non-connected thoughts today. They're only simple ideas and nothing to elaborate on, but I'll throw them out there.

Has anyone seen the recent moon launch. They had a camera mounted on the rocket in such a way that we could see the launch from the rocket. It was fantastic, you could see the clouds and earth fading away. Awesome.

President Obama took forceful action against an enemy the other day, and he has been severely criticized. Did you see the clip where he killed a fly? What made it so amazing to me is that he is left-handed and killed the fly with his right hand. Good hand-eye coordination. Now PETA is angry with him. He was supposed to trap it and then release it outside.

It's a good thing that the stimulus bill was passed. Otherwise according to the Congressional Budget Office, we would have had an unemployment rate above 9%. Congress rushed this bill through and now our unemployment rate is 9.4%. Good work.

It's been three years since I fulfilled my dream of driving cross-country. It was a wonderful trip. I'd like to do it again, but now I realize what an imposition it is to have someone take care of Crash and Burn for about a month. Maybe I'll fly somewhere and drive around the area.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Canasta

Tonight was another crazy canasta night. We couldn't remember whose turn it was, whether or not we picked another card for our red 3. The dealer couldn't even remember who dealt. We all laughed so hard. But, in spite of our forgetfulness, my partner and I managed to win the first game by 4000 points.

The thought that kept running through my mind during all this forgetfulness was, is this a sign of things to come. Right now, we're reasonably sound of mind, what will happen 10 or 15 years from now.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Every cloud...

Here in New Jersey and I think all of the northeast we have had a cool, wet Spring. It seems that every day there is, or has been, the threat of rain. Because it was so cool, my first basil plant that I put outside died. So, I went out and bought some more. I moved them outside on one of the few warm days, then it got cooler and more rain.

...has a silver lining.

The other day I looked out at the patio and was quite surprised to see that all but one of my plants were thriving. I was shocked.

In my attempt to honor Simon and Garfunkle, I, of course, planted parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. It's my little annual joke (very little). Here are some pictures to show their progress.

The sage is doing quite well.

The parsley and thyme are also doing well.

The rosemary got off to a shaky start, but as you can see, it's still alive.

Even my dill and basil are growing. My snapdragons have started to bloom.
Here's my basil that I was so worried about. It only took four plants to get them looking so good.
The other night I went out and cut some basil, parsley and thyme and chopped them up for my salad. It was very good.

My next project will be to go through my collection of cookbooks to find recipes for all of these goodies. I do have a good one for the sage and of course sauce for the basil, thyme and some oregano that I'm growing in the house.

They may not seem like much to a real gardener, but this is an achievement for me. I'm strictly a house gardener. I really don't enjoy working outside in the soil which is why all my plants are potted.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Words

The other day a group of us were talking about cookbooks. Someone mentioned that if you ever need a recipe, just ask Cathy, she has over a hundred cookbooks. That made me sound wierd. So I've decided that I am a collector of cookbooks. Someday I'll share some of the stories about them.

Then I started thinking about the word "collection" and how it makes something seem more respectable.

A miser is a person who hoards his money. Is he any different from a coin collector? They both hoard their money, even if for different purposes.

How about someone who has a lot of guns. Is he a well-armed nut job, or is he a gun collector.

A lot of figurines or vases or even tea cups leads to clutter. But if you put them together in a bookcase or on shelves, they become a collection.

Anyone can be a collector. All you need is about five or six items that share a common theme and you have a collection.

If it's not a collection, it's just clutter and who wants that. Collection just sounds better.

So, I'm a collector of cookbooks. Some of them are very interesting and some of them have been personally signed. I think that makes them a better collection. Now, I think I'll go and check out my collection.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

David Letterman

I saw David Letterman's half-hearted apology for his comments on Sarah Palin's daughter. He claimed that he would never make jokes about underage sex and rape. He and his writing (if you can call them that) staff should check their facts before maligning anyone. If he had, he would have realized that he was "joking" about a 14 year old girl having sex with and getting pregnant by someone she doesn't know. He claimed he was referring to Gov. Palin's 18 year old daughter who, by the way, didn't even join her mother on the trip to New York City. Can you believe his explanation, or is this just one more way for him to insult Sarah Palin and her family.

I would like to ask David Letterman how old his son was when he (Letterman) married his son's mother. Who is he to make crude jokes about an unwed mother. Would he have like it if someone made jokes about his then live-in girlfriend.

I have long felt that David Letterman is no longer funny. He is just mean spirited under the banner of comedy. He's just a crotchety old man whose time has come and gone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prizes

Every year our singles group organizes a luncheon and game day for the community. It's open to the whole community, but as usual, only the women attend. Today was our game day.

Every year we pick tickets for a door prize. These prizes are donated by the members, usually they are new things we have around the house. They're never old or used. Last year I donated a couple of Lenox dishes, nothing fancy or big. In fact, I had bought them years earlier on sale for my collection of last minute presents. There were so many gifts last year that some of them were saved for this year.

I won a door prize today. I won my Lenox dish back. I'm really thrilled because I had to think long and hard about donating it last year.

I guess some things are just meant to be. My dish and I will live happily ever after.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Internet Connection

I've felt so isolated today. This morning we had heavy rain with thunder and lightening. Since I had a TV killed by lightening I'm much more careful with my pc. I had it turned off all morning, then I had to go out for most of the afternoon.

When I got home, I turned it on and surprise, no internet service. I tried everything, checked all connections, turned everything off, turned it on again, still no connection. So I did what any reasonable person does, I ate. I left everything off the a couple of hours and decided to try again.

Voila! It works. Don't ask me what happened, I have no idea. But I feel so much better now. I have my connection to all my internet friends and can get mail again.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Road Trip

Today was such a beautiful day that I decided I simply had to get out of the house. I've gotten very lazy over the winter and we've had a lot of rain so I pretty much stayed home.

I noticed something odd about myself. If I've been away from something for a while, it gets harder to do it. I haven't taken a long car trip since way before last winter and I was a little apprehensive about going for a drive today.

But I forced myself to do it and I'm glad I did. I found a glass museum and got in the car and went. It was about a 1 1/2 hour drive and I put my navigator to work. I've been having some trouble with it lately, but it got me there with no problem. The return trip was a little different. I missed the first turn and I think he got mad at me because he was very quiet while I was driving through a very strange neighborhood. I finally re-typed my home address in and he brought me home with just one little glitch on my block, but I knew where I was so it didn't matter.

I did a lot of walking and took some pictures. I'll write about that tomorrow, tonight, I'm just too tired.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jumping to Conclusions

There I was this morning watching the coverage of the D-Day Commemoration in France.

I had heard some comments yesterday and they were repeated today. It seemed to some of the commentators that Queen Elizabeth II had been snubbed. She is the only head of state who actually remembers that day. She actually served as a mechanic in the Women's Auxiliary Terrirorial Service and rose to the rank of junior commander. I took umbrage at their comments and was ready to get on my soapbox. Yes, why wasn't she invited? After all, England was also involved in D-Day.

Then I saw pictures of President Obama, President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Brown and Prime Minister Harper and another man who looked vaguely familiar. He looked just like Prince Charles. I was right, he was Prince Charles. I guess Queen Elizabeth wasn't snubbed, I guess she was busy so she sent her son.

Again, I've jumped to the wrong conclusion. That seems to be the only exercise I get lately - jumping to conclusions whether right or wrong.

The Chair

Lately, whenever I spend time at my computer Crash is there crying, putting her paws on the arm of the chair or rubbing herself against my legs or just plain making a pest of herself. It's very distracting.

Well, I think I've found the answer. Last night when I came into my office to do a few things and complain about the rainy weather and the fact that I can't go out and relax on the patio in my new chair, there she was comfortably curled up in my chair. I thought about making a pest of myself, but I really don't think she'd understand. Instead, I just went back to the couch and read my book.

She stayed there until bedtime. I think the only reason she's leaving me alone right now is that she's eating. That's a cat's life - eating and sleeping.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Musings on the News

I just have a few thoughts on some recent news items.

First, I believe we've seen a miracle. The Saudi king must have grown several inches in the last few weeks. I noticed that President Obama did not have to bend down so much to shake his hand.

According to a report from Reuters, Hugo Chavez, commenting on the recent US government takeover of General Motors said that he (Chavez) and Fidel Castro should be aware that President Obama is more left than they.

My last item concerns the firefighters in New Haven, CT. Their case has been argued before the Supreme Court and we await the decision. I believe there were 16 firefighters, 15 white and 1 Hispanic, who passed a test for promotion. The city of New Haven denied promotions to these firefighters because no blacks or African Americans passed and they feared a lawsuit claiming discrimination. This was a fair test, the firefighters studied hard for it and passed. I find it ironic that the results were tossed out because the city feared a lawsuit claiming discrimination against blacks or African Americans, yet that's what they got. A lawsuit claiming "reverse" discrimination which in reality is discrimination.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recipes

I'm so hungry.

I've been working on the cookbook that our singles club is putting together. I've been typing some of the recipes and they look delicious. Who wouldn't like Tomato and Basil Fettuccini or a Pineapple Cheese Ball, or Sweet & Sour Franks, or Sausage Spirals?

All of these recipes are well laid out and clearly written, but I just know I'll have to make the supreme sacrifice and test them. And won't that be a difficult job. I can hardly wait.