Monday, April 30, 2012

SCRAMBLING BACK UP....and look out, Reader Dear, I've got a sack full of past experiences:

The Yard Man and I tripped over the bridge to Cape May, New Jersey, this past weekend to celebrate a long-ago event.

En route on Friday afternoon the weather was just amenable enough for us to take a little break in our journey and enjoy a walk of death while eating pastries (mmmm, cinnamon bun and peach turnover!) from a tiny bakery we spotted along the road.

There were old stones and odd stones,
and it was a fascinating forty minutes we spent there!

Resuming the drive, it didn't take us long to get to our destination--this place of beaches and boats and (lots of) shopping.

Yes, Reader Dear, even the kind of shopping that brings to mind The Yard Man's chickens and their waywardness that irks me so!

But there are plenty more things more pleasant to contemplate, oh, yes. I'll have to tell you plenty more things another day, Dear Reader Dear.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


DO I REALLY NEED to say it again, Dear Reader?
I'm at the grocery store, okay?!
All around me at the little cafe tables folks are relaxing; one woman chats on her cell phone, a man reads the morning paper. One or two persons are eating an early lunch (though it may be a late-morning snack, alas, I can't tell you for sure.) In spite of the bright sunshine, a fire still burns in the gas fireplace.


Moments ago, a sweet woman stopped by my table to tell me, "I noticed your purse; it's very pretty! I love those colors; it's something I would choose!" A random act of kindness, Reader Dear, that compliment.

It made me think of yesterday's random act of kindness--a warning--also from a stranger at the grocery store. I'd solicited his advice about the preparation of salmon (Well, there we were at the counter, waiting while the store employee divided up that sizable filet for the two of us.) "How are you going to prepare yours?" I'd asked. He would simply bake it, he said. Eight minutes on each side--350 degrees. Then off he went, and as soon as I'd gotten my paper-wrapped hunk of salmon, so did I. But that wasn't the end of it, Reader Dear! A few minutes later he was back at my cart: "Always get the wild salmon!" he cautioned. "You can get intestinal worms from the farm-raised!"

"Hmm? Really?"
I discovered he had far more to say in regards to his warning! His stomach-turning saga of colonic cleanses (and even a gall bladder clean-out) lasted a good fifteen minutes! (I realize how bizarre it must sound [and I'm cringing (much as I did yesterday as the minutes ticked by]). I simply couldn't help myself, Reader Dear, standing there in the grocery store aisle with shoppers scurrying by--collecting food for their savory recipes, overhearing snippets ..."the worms looked like little bed sheets!..." My mouth was agape. His tale was so fascinating for its in-depth detail (no pun intended), but most of all for his unabashed telling of it!

Not to mention my unabashed recording!
(Consider my act of kindness, Dear Viewer: this video is brief!)


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


HERE I AM. AT the grocery store, once again.

(My backlog continues to grow [as well as my complaints]!)
Reader Dear.
Oh, Dear Reader.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I NOTICED HOW blogspot was giving me absolute fits! (Wouldn't let me organize my thoughts! Wouldn't let me post my videos! Wouldn't even let me nibble my chocolate bar! [ eyes are downcast, Reader Dear]).

And then!  As I struggled with rising blood pressure and tried to breathe deeply, it came about that my whole blogging world went black! "Oh! What the what!" I loudly exclaimed. "Now I can't even connect!"  Mumbling complaints to The Yard Man accomplished not a thing. Neither, alas, did calling the phone company (my "server") and following their instructions the whole long extended way to the tee.

*Thus here I am at the grocery store. They've got a little deli, complete with cozy gas fireplace (the weather's turned cold and gray). They've got comfy upholstered chairs. Cheerful vases full of fake flowers. Pretty lighting and picture windows.

 And wifi.

Unfortunately, however, they can't give blogspot a kick in the pants for me, Dear Reader.  Would you be so kind?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


DEAR READER, the "I" of the tale is no longer here.
Alas for the glass!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


IT WAS AN EXCELLENT DAY for piling into a car with three of my sisters-in-law and running all over the country ( It was limited to that part of the country that is in this county in which we all live. It's a beautiful part of the country; our travels were mostly through the countryside; the countryside was so lovely on a spring day such as this, and I could go on blathering about the country, but I'll take you quietly back to the county, because it just so happens that this traipsing around that we did today was all part of the Secrets of Lancaster County Tour*).

We visited greenhouses, galleries and gift shops,
not to mention way many other small businesses...too numerous to mention.

Though, of course, Dear Reader, I have to comment on a few (did you think not?): like this glass-etching company that had the high honor of etching drinking glasses for the Academy Awards. "Here's one," the workers explained, "that we made for Brad Pitt, but the letters aren't quite perfect so we had to make another." They showed us the glass, and sure enough, it read Brad Pitt. The letters looked just fine to me, but I suppose that one cannot be too finicky when etching a glass for the likes of Brad Pitt!

There was a little game set up exclusively for tour members whereby we pretended to be blindfolded, and pretended that there was only an iffy chance of winning a free glass. All winners took their choice from a hodgepodge of etched drink-ware (Brad Pitt's rejected glass was not up for grabs). When it came my turn to choose a glass, the choices had dwindled. I claimed one etched with an "I" though it seemed just ever so slightly edging on self-absorption to choose a glass with an "I" when my name is not Isabella or Isaac...or....uh....hmm... (Dear Reader, I believe there was a clear reason for the surplus of glasses etched with "I").

Truth be told, we played little games at many of our stops...whatever the shop owner had cooked up for us tour members. We got multiple tickets for door prizes (who knows when you may hear, Reader Dear, that I've won a copper-topped birdhouse?!), and many discount coupons and refrigerator magnets and small wrapped candies and other trifles....

...too numerous to mention.

When hunger pangs beset us (which took longer than one might suspect due to refreshments set out for us at nearly every tour stop), we stopped off at a "cozy ice cream and sandwich shop" enticing us to put them on our itinerary with free beverages:

And ooo-la-la, in spite of the somewhat unfriendly guy who greeted us at this place, those mango-lemonade drinks led us directly down the path to knowing we'd made the right choice (yes, we did a bit of raving !)

I'd like to show you more, Viewer Dear, of our stops on the tour. There were so many more! But I've just got to stop! The reasons are, well....too numerous to mention.


Monday, April 16, 2012


TODAY WAS ONE OF THOSE WARM-blue-sky-all-green-light days.


But late night brought a flurry of phone calls and an abrupt end to the easy-breezy-still-got-time-to-meet-that-April-deadline feeling! My yard man and I had to sit up late and wait! I asked the phone-answerer who was speaking for the tax accountant who was chewing the midnight lead: "Do you have to stay up all night?!"


Saturday, April 14, 2012


DEAR READER, ONCE AGAIN the roadblocks of life have thrown up their "Use Caution" warnings and the days are filled with detours and distractions. What I mean to say is, this blog is no longer trickling toward the cliff's edge; it's gone right over it! However, with this current posting I see it has caught on a jutting rock. It appears to be clutching that rock for dear life, and I've rushed to the rescue with an olla podrida.*

Buoyed up by my fast and furious meal of a week or so ago, I got to patting myself on the back and pondering my acting ability (alas, debacles so easily forgotten!) Instead of racing to the store for ingredients, today I pulled a block of frozen ground pork from the freezer and contemplated what marvelous mere-minutes-long miracle might "beef up" (apologies to the pig) my resume.

Now, lacking a microwave is a great disadvantage to nimble food preparation, but my small-sized food processor helped to speed things up! I tossed that block of meat into a casserole dish and set it to baking while I put that processor to use on some garlic bread. Viola! Crumbs sat eagerly waiting to be poured atop the pork when it came from the oven about twenty minutes later!

Next I processed a big  sweet onion.

Off course, I knew I needed eggs, and I didn't even have to go and beg the chickens to "process" them for me!
(Those biddies are always busy! I've got plenty of eggs in my fridge) It took about a half minute to add two of them to the coming-along meatloaf.  This was followed by a nice hefty helping of salt, herbs and seasonings.

And a dash of black pepper.

Well, then I studied that conglomeration of foodstuffs in the casserole dish and tried to determine the most efficient and effective (and speedy) way of enhancing their co-existence.

There was only a short pause as I contemplated this.

I discovered, Dear Reader, that a hand with a thumb and four fingers is an excellent tool for this job.

 All I had to do next was clean up the neighborhood around the edge of the casserole and pop it into the oven for another twenty minutes.

(Now, twenty minutes is more than enough time to cook collards and quinoa, Dear Copy-cat Chef, [or a green and a grain of your choice]. One can set the table at one's leisure and still have time for some lovely pre-dinner lolling!)

And, oh-pleasing-palatable-porcine , was that piggy meatloaf good! The yard man agreed, and he didn't just say so in so many words, but added some piggy noises!

* All those ingredients that went into the meatloaf--
I'm afraid there's no time to mix up an olla podrida, Reader Dear,
(though that was my full intention)!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LAMB AND HAM! How magnificent to have an extended family who loves to gather together, cook with gusto, eat with relish in the garage with in-laws and in-laws of in-laws, laugh often, and lie on the grass in the warmth of an Easter afternoon and watch the youngest generation as they toddle, sprint, or crawl after Easter eggs!

Easter happiness to you, Reader Dear!

Monday, April 9, 2012


MY EASTER SUNDAY MORNING started with a pep talk to myself: "Get moving!" (I was responsible to help serve an Easter breakfast to fellow church-goers.


Sunday, April 8, 2012


FIRST OF ALL there was Easter Eve, concerning which a sister of my Yard Man had sent out an email: Everyone is invited to our place Saturday evening for supper and a shuffleboard tournament. Come for supper about 6, pulled pork BBQ sandwiches. Let me know if you are coming so I can set up the teams. Hope to see you all!
And so there we all were: Myself and my Yard Man, plus both my tiny actors and their support crews, amidst a noisy crowd of kith and kin!

We ate up the delicious supper of...well, Reader Dear,
were you paying attention?! Though you can't know, of course,
that added to the pork barbeque was a yummy array of other edibles,
some of them carried in by the shuffleboard players.

While it's true that most of the shuffleboard players
carried something in, only two were able to carry
something out:
The Grand

Dear Reader, there was not a single seasoned
shuffleboard player on any team, which made
it no less amusing and amazing that I, myself,*
walked away with the gold!

Well, they're more of a yellow color, but a
pretty sweet prize,***
at any rate!

(*Along with my teammate,of course [a daughter
of mine], who carried away her own flower
(**That generous sis-in-law of mine who organized
this event dashed upstairs for a second pot of
flowers she just happened to have, and pressed
upon each of us winners a bag of candy to boot!
"I thought there'd be at least one man on the winning team!" she
laughed, "Maybe two. The candy was going to go to them!")
(***Though better than any tangible prize was the fun of playing
against brothers-in-law and nephews who excel at wisecracks!)

Saturday, April 7, 2012



If you were to see the eggs act that I do, Reader Dear,

you would know eggs-actly what I mean!
*Chicken to Table
(or beyond, if you wish to go there. For myself,
I much prefer to pass the plate of deviled eggs
and let diners gleefully help themselves to a second
[or third, if so inclined], with no mention of it!)


Friday, April 6, 2012

And by all means, I'm wishing you: A Happy Happy Easter!

Presenting: Bunnies in the Breeze

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I'M NOT A REAL COOK, Reader Dear, but I try to play one in real life. Today I bragged to The Yard Man, when I had dinner steaming and ready to eat, "A half hour from store to table!!" Now, considering that the trip from store to home is fifteen minutes (though it may have been only twelve minutes today, so heavy was my foot), I feel I truly outdid myself!

I was speeding home from the grocery store, schlepping those bags of food into the house and flinging chicken tenders into the frying pan so fast I think I was just a streak. I hardly had time for any photos. Then, once I had those fresh broccoli florets steamed and that mile-a-minute salad on the plates*, the skillet full of chicken and veggies was done to perfection, and I was so busy exclaiming over it and gobbling my dinner that...when next I thought of it, there was nothing there but empty plates! (The Yard Man, himself, pronounced it Very Good, [equaling two moans and an mmmmmm, this is simply to die for in my rating system!].)

Fast and Furious Flavorful Chicken:

About 2/3 of a 1-lb. Package of chicken tenders
(Or use the whole pound and add half again as much of everything else; or use the whole pound and add whatever vegetables you've got, in whatever quantity [though, if you're going to do that, well....harrumph, I know just what you're thinking!])

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
(preferably flavored)

1 Whole sweet onion, roughly (and speedily) chopped

3 Cloves of garlic (straight from a zip-lock bag in the freezer, already peeled--how handy!) put through a press

3/4 Cup of chopped red pepper
(also from the freezer, already chopped)

1 Teaspoon (or to taste) All-Seasons Salt
(I can hardly cook without the stuff, Reader Dear! Could never put on the cooking act that I do without it! One could likely substitute with salt, paprika, cane sugar, garlic, onion, celery seed, oregano, turmeric, and [yummy, yummy] silicon dioxide; but I should think it would behoove the would-be chef to buy a bottle of the already mixed-up ingredients. It certainly enhances one's odds of pulling off the "fast and furious" aspect of this dish!)

Several dashes of black pepper

Saute the chicken in the oil
for about five minutes
Flip tenders over, push to one side of skillet and
Add all remaining ingredients.
Cook, covered, for an additional ten minutes or so, gently stirring and rearranging everything every so often for even cooking

If you don't live more than fifteen minutes from the store, Reader Dear, (and are brave enough to [slightly] exceed the posted speed limit** [and have the good fortune of all green lights], and wish to give this fast and furious "recipe" a try, you just might be able to pull it off!) Bon apetit!

*For the complete experience, head home with a head of fresh broccoli and some salad greens all ready to go; wash, trim and put that green head of yours to steaming in a separate pan during the first five minutes of chicken-cooking (In spite of the fast pace, please try to keep the other one on your shoulders!) Arrange salad greens on plates and add some carrot slivers (be sure you've got a bag of baby pre-scrubbed carrots) and any other "salad fixin's" during the last ten minutes of chicken-cooking. Quick now--set the table!
**It's tasty, Dear Reader, but honestly NOT worth a speeding ticket;
so keep that in mind! I don't wish the "furious" part to know...


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


NOW THAT THE PARK has become my second home, no doubt you'll be seeing a lot more, Dear Reader, of the other folks who populate it (Well, mostly they're just visitors; no one calls it home like I do!)

Today there were two fishermen. One of them was only there for the sport of fishing, so he said. "They're all bottom-feeders! Fortunately, I don't eat fish." The other guy didn't say too much about his intentions. He agreed that these fish would not be so tasty. "They're catfish," he said. "Did you ever eat catfish from this area? They're grainy, hardly have any flavor!"

"Look at all of them down there! Can you see them?" they asked me.
I stared and stared at the water, looking for some kind of fish. "Nope," I said.
And then suddenly those fish jumped right out of their camouflage--a whole little school of them! Each was about ten inches long.
"This seems kind of unfair to them," said the non-fish-eating guy. "This will be so easy!"
"Okay, then," I told them. "I'm walking on...making a loop. I'll be back in ten minutes to see what you've got!"

But, nine minutes later ("That wasn't ten minutes!" they accused me), they hadn't caught a one!
The Non-fish-eater had been persistently dangling his worm in front of a non-biter. "I think he's vegetarian!" he explained.
"Hmm. Well, you've got nine more minutes!"
I warned, and set off on my fourth loop.
Those catfish were wily, however. They'd still managed to avoid the hooks when I came round again!
"Okay, that's it,"
I said. "I'm leaving. Good luck!"
Then I leaned down and looked at those catfish, swimming in the sunny creek. "And good luck to you, too!" I told them.

(I have no idea where that
good luck landed)

Monday, April 2, 2012


I HAD NO IDEA when I climbed out of bed this morning that this afternoon I'd be visiting with a cousin I've not seen in almost thirty years. Danny and his wife happened to be in the area on their way home from three months of living in Bangladesh. Their home is in Washington state, but Danny's father (my uncle, you see) lives here in Pennsylvania, and they stopped off on their journey home in order to see him. I can't tell you how long Uncle Harry has lived in Pennsylvania, but I do know he's lived at some spot or another for a very long time!

Very nearly as momentous (and just as unexpected) was the fact that I whipped up some Chocolate Chip cookies today! (One event had a lot to do with the other, as the whole idea of cookie-making sprang into my head when I searched my cupboards for "a little something" to serve to my guests, and found quite a bit of nothing! [A quick dash to the grocery store followed].)

As might be expected, Reader Dear, a slight problem arose, however, with the cookie-baking: About the time I began measuring ingredients into the bowl (I substituted coconut oil for half of the butter, a move I highly recommend), my guests arrived!

Dear Reader, one doesn't concoct cookies while visiting with relatives who've just come from Bangladesh, and with whom one has never really ever visited before (playing with toys from the basket together at Grandpa and Grandma's house doesn't count; nor does briefly chatting at funerals.) It just isn't done!

So we spent a lovely forty-five minutes together (Uncle Harry is still hale and hearty just two days shy of ninety-five; Danny and his wife served as houseparents for seven young people who were English teachers in Bangladesh; they likely will not go back, Danny's wife was allergic to the dust; Danny and his wife have twenty-six grandchildren [I did some exclaiming, Reader Dear!] And lots more of interest, but of course I can't tell it all!)

And we ate nothing.

As soon as they left, however, I finished making those cookies.
And then, alas, I ate more than a little of "a little something"!*

*Warm from the oven, chewy with chocolate oozing.
Can I be blamed, Reader Dear?!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


IN HONOR OF APRIL FOOL'S DAY, which was coming right up, I played the fool! I did it quite openly and honestly, with full realization of the unreasonableness of my actions.

Two days ago, Dear Reader, I spent a candy bar's worth of hard-earned money on lottery tickets! A "tax on stupidity" is what my dear old dad would have called it. But I had such a grand time in the ensuing hours throwing cash out the car windows, and feeding the starving masses, and establishing a foundation for the advancement of humor, and surprising all friends and acquaintances (and yes, even a few strangers, Reader Dear!) with gifts of eye-popping value... that I'm still thinking of it as money well-spent, despite the fact those slips of paper have now made a dunce out of me!