Thursday, February 28, 2013

......

A QUICK RUN-DOWN of this past Sunday at the old home place.  In which we:
quickly run down to the pier!


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And then, my goodness--the Small Actor arrives from his home in the state capitol!  He's got his caretakers with him, and I am chortling about this turn of events, and about the pleasant weather!  The Yard Man makes a trip to the end of the lane to fetch items from the junk pile.  He constructs a fetching little picnic table down near the river, and it just follows, Reader Dear, that we'd scrounge up a picnic lunch.

Naturally, and to the delight of all, the Small Actor provides our after-picnic entertainment!
video
video

Well, then we must move along...
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We must say a final goodbye to the shed.
  And a final goodbye to the tractor in the shed.
(It belongs to the Dear Old Neighbor Man [It's been in his family for generations!]


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  And then there's a final goodbye to the house.













                                                                   We climb into our cars, strap on seat belts.
                                                                                 We drive out of the driveway,
                                                                                    past the pile of junk at the road.


And that, Dear Reader, as they say....
is that.

......

(er...what's this lump in my throat?)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

......

JUST THIS YET...Because I can't let you go, Viewer Dear, without some final photos of the pier!
And while we're outside, here at the old home place, you've got to meet the Dear Old Neighbor Man!

Ernie has wandered over to see what's going on, discuss the junk at the end of the lane, reminisce, and offer to deal with a bit of our accumulation in the carport.  What a guy!  He's been the Dear Old Neighbor Man for as long as I can remember, and he's just the most congenial kind of a guy to whom one would ever wish to give this title!
"Come on over and say 'hi' to Ruth Ann," he says.  (She's his wife; she's been living there as long as he has, Reader Dear.)  "You can meet Senorita, too," he adds.

Hmm.   I know that all of the dogs that this man and his family had during my growing-up years were named Peter Rastus (It's true.  While we were naming our successive dogs silly little pet names like Socks, and Cookie, and Mitzi...theirs were all Peter Rastus.  [I thought it so distinguished--a first and a last name!])

But it turns out Senorita's a bird!
She doesn't seem very fond of The Yard Man and me.
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So we don't stay long.
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But now it's late.  I haven't shown you the pier!
And the moon is almost full; the tide is high!
Forgive me, Dear Reader, but you're going 
to have to spend just one more day* at this 
old home place before the final
goodbye.
(sigh)

.....

*night, too, I suppose.
I won't be back until tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

......

AS I SAID, I was running around taking pictures.  If I am never to see this beloved place again as it exists today--in a somewhat run-down condition, yet pretty much structurally as it was built by my dad all those years ago--then I wanted to make sure I got some back-up memory.

Here's a quick little tour, Viewer Dear:  If one enters by the kitchen door, a built-in table is there to greet you.  It's decked with white formica where once it had green, but I would still be able to pull up a chair to  "my place" at this dining surface (of course, the job would be so much easier if a chair were nearby).   I can imagine eating Mama's bread pudding with lemon sauce here, too. (And it's easy to do, even though that delicacy is far off down the hall of time!)


Entering the kitchen, you need only to look to your left to see the dining room with it's built-in hutches, situated on either side of the doors to the screened-in porch.  (My father was a big fan of built-in furniture!  There are at least fifteen pieces in this house that could never be re-arranged.  It's no wonder the place has retained its growing-up look!)



Come on into the living room, Dear Viewer, and you'll see built-in bookshelves aplenty!.


In my parents' former bedroom there's an impossible-to-move chest of drawers, which you'd be able to see if I'd photographed it. (A rather shabby tour, Dear Viewer)  At any rate, please notice the bedside dressers and the headboard-cupboard.  (On the other hand, please don't notice the old bed skirt.  I removed it right after the photo).


Okay, here's what I really wanted to show you--the museum piece, so to speak:  We called it "the girls' bathroom" (My father was a master plumber, so he didn't skimp on rooms with plumbing)

At the time of building, my dad had just helped his younger brother get into the tile-laying business.  So my Uncle Sammy did the black-and-white work in this pink-fixtured room.  The wallpaper has changed over the years, and the toilet tank had to be replaced,  but this vintage bathroom is showing its vintage style, I'd say!

This tour could go on, Viewer Dear, but I'd rather go outside now. It is so much mustier and dustier in here than the photos show!  (And besides, spending time at the river is way higher up on my list!)
 ......


Monday, February 25, 2013

......

WE SET OFF VERY EARLY on Saturday morning, The Yard Man and I.  This trip would be the very last of its kind.  I tried not to think about saying goodbye to a spot of land, and a house, and a river that's been dear to me since I was a six-year-old.

We arrived at the old home place around noon.  A load of musty, flimsy, ratty or otherwise unusable items sat in a pile at the end of the driveway, waiting for garbage pick-up day. My two brothers had already spent some time working at finalizing the job of "everything out" that had been started more than a year ago.  Now that the place is about to change hands (if things go as  planned), we were forced to deal with the odds and ends we'd left sitting last time--oh, so many odds and ends!  Upholstered furniture none of us had wanted, bookshelves full of books that no one had had time to fully peruse, a very heavy item (Well, you see, there was this iron safe in the basement that had belonged to my grandfather; it is nearly as big as a refrigerator and couldn't just be hoisted by human strength) and a hodgepodge of stuff in scattered cupboards and closets.  There was also a large, hand-built loom in the basement.  Many years ago it was made for me by my twin.



He's here now, and greets The Yard Man and me when we arrive.

              
Twin Bro has his truck and trailer fully loaded with the safe (he rented a piece of equipment to handle the thing), and boxes of books and etcetera.  He's sticking around just long enough to help us load up the loom, and dispose of the final--oh, the very last--items from this house.
.....
So we set to work on the loom.  It will have to be partially disassembled, the reassembling of which could be problematic without detailed instructions. ( Ah, Dear Reader, if truth be told it is sure to be problematic regardless of carefully photographed directives!) 



video....

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 We are busy.
While the men lift and carry, I run around photographing,  removing shower curtains and forgotten pictures from the walls, and pondering what's to be done with all these pieces of furniture and boxes of books we are accumulating on the carport...

.....
(to be continued...

......

Thursday, February 21, 2013

......

SICK OF THE SAGA?

When I visited Ann to pick up her passport, I had suggested to her, "You never know, I may be back for fingernail clippings!  It's also possible I'll need to collect a few strands of your hair!"  Quite ironically,  now I am pulling out big clumps of mine! (I figure you can figure that I'm figuratively speaking, Reader Dear.  I am stamping my foot quite figuratively, too!)

"Would you like to speak to my supervisor?"  asks the Social Security clerk.
"Yes, yes, by all means," I respond, and am ushered readily into a room for difficult cases.


Now then.
The Supervisor looks at Ann's passport and tells me it is outdated.
The Supervisor hears the travel story of my five previous trips to this location (though he is not made privy to the plethora of details I have given you, Dear Reader!)
He glances at the  paperwork I carry with me.
He listens to my tale of indignation.
He excuses himself to "check into things further."

While he is gone, I finish up my coffee.
I am emboldened by it.
There's a small likelihood I found amusement in forbidden activity.

Some time later, the Supervisor returns.
He has something to explain to me.
"There are three separate sections to these government records," he says. "There is healthcare, which is Medicare.  There is employment, which is Social Security.  And there is taxation, which is the IRS."
I am listening intently.
"Because two of these files have the correct birth date," he continues, "we are able to correct the file on record with Medicare."

(Stunned silence)


"What are you saying?" I ask.

"I am saying" he explains, " that's it's all taken care of.  You can inform anyone who has submitted claims to wait a few days, and then re-submit.  It will take about two days, but the error will be corrected!"

(There are a few more nano-seconds of brain processing on my part, Reader Dear)

"So... all of those trips, and all of this," I motion to my handful of papers, "was not needed?"
(It was a rhetorical question.)
And, just like that...

THE  SAGA ENDS!
.......

(As I leave the Social Security office, I throw up quietly in the shrubbery  [figuratively speaking, Reader Dear, only figuratively speaking!])




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

......

VI-- S.S.

THIS IS MY SIXTH trip to the Social Security office.  I am likely as tired of talking about this saga as you are of hearing it, Dear Reader!  But I must go on....

I've got Aunt Ann's passport with me today.  When I drove to the retirement home yesterday to see her, and to pick up this important document, we spent time looking through it and noting all the entries. Ann reminisced about her years in Germany doing mission work, and the many European countries she visited.  "There was a time," she said, "when I had visited more countries than I had visited states in the U.S."



That was an enjoyable jaunt into Ann's past.  But now, here I am at a window in the Social Security office (I fear there may come a time,  Reader Dear, when I have visited the Social Security office more times than I have visited states in the U.S.)    Once again,  I hand over the birth certificate, the birth registration, the application form with Ann's signature.  Now I hand over the passport, as well.  The man behind the window glances over the papers as I explain the birth date discrepancy for the umpteenth time.

 "I was told to bring photo ID.  Last time I was here, I was told it could be a driver's license or passport, either one." 


 I wait quietly as he pages through the passport, studies the photo.  Then he says.  "We can't use this!  It's too old!"

"What do you mean? How do you decide it's too old?!"  Dear Reader, I am immediately hot under the collar, even though wearing a scoop-neck tee.  "It's got a photo of her!" I argue.  "It says, 'mole on right cheek'... and she's still got the mole!"



"Well, I'm sorry," says the social security clerk firmly, "but we cannot use this passport!  It has expired!    It expired back in 1958!"

......

Please allow me time, Reader Dear, to collect myself .
It seems MY PATIENCE HAS EXPIRED!!



(...yes, to be cont'd, if we all live
long enough, Dear Reader Dear)



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

......

STORY OF SOCIAL SECURITY SNAFU SNEAKS STEALTHILY INTO A SAGA!
If you are counting, Dear Long-suffering Reader, it is my FIFTH trip to the Social Security office!
The fourth trip resulted in an unacceptably long estimated wait time, which resulted in no wait time at all, which resulted in nothing more than a wasted trip, which resulted in heightened blood pressure (mine), which resulted in damage to veins and arteries and peace of mind (mine).

So  now I've got an "Estimated wait time: 70 minutes."
I take my seat and pull out the daily paper, set to work on the crossword puzzle.

After a few minutes, the Security Guard leaves the room
I glance furtively at my fellow toe-tappers.
I am sorely tempted to test my luck.









Ahem, Dear Viewer,
I admit to nothing!
This photo is of
four windows.
Following a forty-minute wait, I presented my case, possibly at one of these windows.
......

After I had gone over the details and laid out all my evidence, I was met with the following rebuttal:  "This will not do!" said the young man at the window.  "We will need to have something with a photograph.  A driver's license or a passport, something like that."

Dear Reader-Viewer-Sympathizer (oh, please tell me I'm not mistaken about your identity!) I am
taken quite off-guard.   "But I was told....!" I pleaded with the man.  "Last time I was here, whoever helped me explained that I needed to present a birth certificate.  I was given no instructions at all about bringing a photo ID!"

Sorry to say, Dear R-V-S, the saga continues...

......

Monday, February 18, 2013


......

This old codger that I know was having a birthday today.  All of us at the party ate Thai food, but he was the only one to whom the server brought ice cream.

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(Likely you are wondering at the laughter, Viewer Dear.
[It was an inside joke, and anyway] there's no explaining
this dear brother-in-law and his goofy and infectious
sense of humor!)  Wishing Walter many happy returns of the day!

......

Friday, February 15, 2013

......


I AM AWARE THAT it's usually "the third time's the charm"  In this case, I've got my fingers crossed, hoping the fourth trip brings me luck!   Surely, Dear Reader, you know where I'm headed! Yesterday I finally got a chance to visit Aunt Ann at the retirement home.  Ha, ha, I laughed.  "They need proof that you're older than they suppose!  Can you believe it?  They wish to cheat you out of one whole week!"

Today as I pull into traffic, headed for the Social Security office,  I've got not only her birth certificate, but her birth registration.  I've got a copy of her will, insurance papers, some medical papers, and her very real John Hancock on the application form.  I'm all set, Dear Reader, ALL SET!

The parking lot seems filled to capacity when I pass Fisher's Homestyle Salads and enter the area of the Social Security office.  Hmm, a big special on  salads?  Or do I sense a sale at Sensing Devices, Inc.?
Never mind, I find an empty spot, far enough away that I likely could take photos, though it's hard to say.  Gathering up my papers, I walk the sidewalk to the SS office and enter the room.  Great-guards a-gazin', the room is packed with people!  There must be forty or so, lined up in the rows of chairs, and around the edges of the room. It's SRO!  (yup, you got it--STANDING ROOM ONLY IN THE SS OFFICE!)
Not one, but two security men come to greet me.

"What are you here for?" they ask.


They hand me a ticket and the ticket states:  Estimated Waiting Time:  160 Minutes.  I am slightly stunned.  My face turns slightly red and my pulse quickens slightly.  Everything, it seems, appears to be slight except the WAIT TIME!!

"What?!" I exclaim.  "One hundred and sixty minutes?! That's too long!  I can't wait that long!"

"Oh, it's almost never what they estimate!" The two guards hasten to mollify me, but there will be none of that. 

"More than two-and-a-half hours is simply too long!"  I tell them again.  "When is the slow time?"
Their counsel is to come back on another day when it's nearly closing time.  "If you get here before three, and get in before we close the door, you're guaranteed to be taken care of before leaving." (Sorry to say, Reader Dear, but inside my head I am snorting [Inside my head I am also pulling out my camera and focusing right on their faces [as they (inevitably) are lunging toward me with hands outstretched to snatch my biggest blog tool (and billy clubs raised!)])

 Fisher's Homestyle Salads doesn't look all that busy as I exit the lot.  At this location, it's likely just their corporate offices, I muse. As often as I get over this way, perhaps I should get a part-time job there.

......
(to be cont'd.... ......

Thursday, February 14, 2013

......

VALENTINES OUT.
VALENTINES IN.
Oh, the bounty!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

.....

SO MY THIRD TRIP TO THE Social Security office did not end well, even after securely stashing the obscene item I had used to take a photo of the entrance door. When my number was called, after an approximate eight-minute wait, I leaped happily to my feet and approached Window number Two. 

"I need to correct an error that has to do with the birth date of my husband's elderly aunt," I politely explained to the man in charge.
"I'm her Power-of-Attorney."

His response came quickly:  "Oh, we don't recognize Power-of-Attorney here. Is she able to sign her name?  Do you have a birth certificate?"

SIGH.




I left with my paper ticket, my wad of not-so-pertinent information, and an  application form to be filled out for a change in Social Security personal data.

......


*Photo taken at a (somewhat) distant location,  documents spread on the seat of my car. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

......

(Continuing along...)

....
AH, READER DEAR...as the cause of this prolonged stopover at the blog-train station, perhaps, if you thought about it at all,  you were picturing me in prison?

Let me quickly assure you that my offense was not nearly so grievous as all that!  With a few more details conveyed, I am hoping to pick up the story of my...well, my overstepping of a line.

Speaking of steps (as well as lines), I'm stepping backwards in time once again: The Yard Man's elderly aunt, Ann, was admitted to the hospital on that sunny morning of which I previously spoke.  And then she was discharged several days later, cured of her minor infection.  Soon after that, a woman from the retirement home where she lives called me.  "What is Ann's date of birth?" she asked.  Then she told me how Medicare is pitching a little fit regarding  claims the retirement home is submitting to them. "Medicare says that Ann's birth date is May 27, and we've got May 20 as the date," said the woman.  "Is May 20 correct?"

"Yes."  I said , "yes it is.  I don't understand.  They've been paying her claims for a very long time! She is  eighty-five years old!  Medicare is just now concerned about a one-week age discrepancy?!"   I'll have to admit, I was quite puzzled, Reader Dear, that this detail would only now be coming to Medicare's attention.  However, since I am the appointed Power-of-Attorney for Ann, it was necessary for me to straighten up the snafu.  I used the phone number given me, and straightaway phoned Medicare.

(Insert a long dead space here, Reader Dear, while I'm punching away at numbers on the phone, drumming my fingers on the kitchen counter, clearing my throat, and ever so occasionally speaking to a human on the other end of the line).   One hour and three phone calls later, I've been informed that I must make a visit to the local Social Security office.  There is no other way to fix this error, I've been told.  And make no mistake, it must be corrected, Dear Reader!  No more Medicare coverage for this eighty-five year-old woman until she apologizes for trying to pass herself off as a whole week younger than her actual age!

It was four days before I could get to the Social Security office, eleven miles distant.  To fortify myself, and since I've grown a slight addiction, I stopped at a nearby McDonald's for a cup of coffee.  I had the address, but not specific instructions, so it took me a bit of time to find the place, nestled there between Fisher's Homestyle Salads and Sensing Devices, Inc.  And then, at the door to the Social Security office I was met by a  guard.  "We are closed!" he stated emphatically.  "We close at three, I can't let you in!"  It was ten minutes past.

.....
The following day I set out for the Social Security office again .  Just as before,  I stopped for coffee at McDonalds.  I had plenty of time, it was only one-thirty.   But...surprise, surprise, when I got to the SS office, the door was locked!
It caused me to carefully read the sign on the door:

HOURS:  MONDAY-FRIDAY
9AM -300 PM
SOCIAL SECURITY

wed 9am  12pm

....
So finally and at long last, this brings you, Dear Reader, to my third trip to the Social Security office, the day of my transgression.  It was a Friday.  I did not stop for coffee.  I approached the door of the Social Security office at 11:07 a.m.  Pulling out my camera, I snapped a picture of the door.  Then I walked right in and was scanning the room full of lined-up chairs, when the guard hustled over to greet me.  "What are you here for?" he asked.

"Uhm, well, I'm here to change a birth date," I said.   With that, he escorted me over to a ticket machine.  "Here's a number for you," he said, punching the ticket machine and handing me a slip of paper. "Go to the window when your number is called.  They'll take care of you." 

Now, Reader Dear, all around the ticket machine were signs with instructions. Little hand-lettered signs and printed out directives, at least a dozen of them.  Perhaps the security guard takes a break now and then, and ticket-takers must figure out the protocol by themselves?  I mused.  At any rate, I've got a blog to consider.  "I'm going to take a picture of this," I explained to the guard, pulling out my camera again.


My goodness, Dear Reader, you'd have thought that I'd pulled out a gun!!
"NO! NO!  No photos allowed!" barked the security guard.  "Put your camera away!  It shouldn't even be in here!  If you use it, I'll have to confiscate the camera, and throw you out!"  

While I hastily stashed my camera, he went on.  "There are to be no photos taken anywhere around here!.  And that goes for outside, as well!  No photos on the grounds, or anywhere near the building!"








Yikes!
All unawares, I'd already broken the law!

"But...I didn't see any signs," I protested.
"Oh, yes!" he responded.  "Right here at the entrance!"  
He marched me over and pointed to a sign with the image of a camera*.  It had a big red X super-imposed. 
Oh, how I longed  to take a picture of the sign, Dear Potential Viewer! (You know that I did!) The thing is, I had no wish to be led away in handcuffs!
...


*It was such an outdated model!  But, yes, yes...I could tell it was meant to be a photo-taking device.
(To be continued, as, alas, this is not the last of the SS office)


Friday, February 8, 2013

......

HONESTLY, I didn't really mean to, but I may have broken  the law today!
(Be forewarned, I'm giving you, Reader Dear, the very long, possibly excruciatingly detailed version of the back-story!)
.
On the very day that I got an important phone call late in the afternoon causing me to skedaddle off to the hospital to greet my newest tiny actor-star-celebrity, I had already gotten an early morning call that prompted me to end up at a hospital!

Seems an elderly aunt of The Yard Man, who lives at a nearby retirement facility, had fallen during the night and was in need of a trip to the E.R.  It wasn't the call I was expecting, but I rapidly pulled on my clothes and was off to "Follow that ambulance!" to the Ephrata Hospital.
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It was a pleasant sunny morning, and after spending an hour or so waiting around for completion of the "checking out the patient" ordeal, to be followed by the "checking in the patient" process,  I conveyed to the patient that I'd be back later in the day, and I returned to the sunny morning, and went home to drink coffee and brush my teeth.
.....
Well, THEN, Reader Dear.  In the ensuing hours I did this and that (the details of which you will not hear, though it's very possible that even without and besides, your eyes are glazing over).  The afternoon shadows were lengthening when I got myself back in the car to return to the hospital.  As I hurried up the road, my phone rang.  "I am interested in your one-bedroom apart-a-ment," said the caller in his heavily-accented voice.  "Do you have any photos?  Could you possibly email me some photos?"

Hmm.  Yes.  I suppose I could, I told him. And he proceeded to give me his email address. "Hold on, hold on!" I said.  "I need to pull off the road."

Dear Reader, it took me some time to do the jotting; I labored with the foreign-sounding name. In an email address, as one knows, there is no room for error!  In addition, he seemed desirous of an oral description (the excruciatingly detailed version, I believe) Ten minutes later, however, I was ready to proceed toward the hospital.  And it was just as I was pulling back into traffic that my phone rang again.  "Hey, Mom," said someone. "My water broke!"

Well, now THAT, Reader Dear, was the message that caused excitement.  It also caused a U-turn!  And it caused pertinent questions to fall by the wayside as I headed in the opposite direction from the Ephrata Hospital.  My daughter's house is a good twelve or thirteen miles from where I'd pulled off the road, so it took me some time to get there, but my heart was pounding.   Also arriving at the home of the expectant mother was the expectant father.  And shortly after, The Yard Man showed up, too, to carry The Little Actor to the home of his grandparents (the ones who live in the very same house in which I live, Reader Dear!)

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So there I was. I didn't actually have much to do.  As my daughter calmly collected items and  prepared for the super-colossal, earth-shakingly-momentous event about to occur, I finally thought to ask, "Where are you going for the delivery?"

"Ephrata Hospital," she said.   "I told you that when I called you!"

......

This back-story will have to be continued on a later day, my dear reader.  While it is true that I may have also (ever-so-slightly, of course) broken the law on the day I've just been describing, it was with full knowledge of the (ever-so-slight, of course) infraction.   Today's misstep was taken with utter naivete, and had nothing to do with the speed of my car.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


......

TODAY I SPENT some time with my newest little celebrity.  I told him he should be gearing up to celebrate a birthday anniversary!
                                                                                     
"It'll be SO exciting!" I said.
It's one of the 'BIG' ones!"

He looked at me.
 

"You might want to open your eyes very wide, and wave your arms!  Maybe you'll want to kick and make some noise!" I added.
"You'll be a whole week old tomorrow!"

He gave a great big yawn and went to sleep.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

......


WHEN I BOUGHT THE TICKET, it was sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing.  The event sounded interesting, it was for a charitable cause, and it was going to be at Olio, the oil and vinegar store I've raved about in the past, Reader Dear
( if you will recall,....or even if not)   In addition,  the featured guest at this cooking  demo was slated to be a local woman who is very nearly almost rather famous! She's been on the Hell's Kitchen show! She learned to know and worked with Gordon Ramsey!

I didn't really know what to expect of the evening, but I told The Yard Man he'd have to fend for himself regarding supper, and I went out the door, hungry.

When I got to Olio, there was a small group waiting to occupy the seven or eight card tables set up in the shop, and a big guy with a ponytail was hauling in loads of equipment and supplies.
After while the shop owner told the gathered assembly we could all choose seats, so another woman and her teenaged son and I maneuvered our way to a table just a few feet from the presentation area.  I could tell we were in an ideal spot, but I still couldn't identify the chef from among the cluster of folks who were busy getting things set up. Not to fear, the woman who was my table-mate quickly pointed her out.  "There she is!" she said.  "That's Barbie! She made it all the way to the fourth-from-the-final competition on the show!"

Then, Dear Reader, I had to sheepishly admit that I'd never actually watched the show!  Of course, it didn't really matter.  Barbie introduced herself, and she told us all about her six weeks in Hell's Kitchen.

Meanwhile, she prepared dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with bacon, drizzled with fig balsamic and served on a platter lined with a banana leaf from her pony-tailed husband's very own full-grown banana tree!  Whew, and that was just the beginning!   

video Barbie told us all kinds of stories, at the same time making Mushroom Crostini and Chicken Spiedini.  (If you think it's nice how they rhyme, Reader Dear, it was even better how they tasted!)  The owners of the store proffered a variety of  beverages--sparkling lemon water, coffee, and three kinds of wine were among my choices!

 
Barbie kept on talking and made Bagna Cauda.
I can't quite tell you what it is, even now.  But here's how you make it:
video
3/4 Cup Olio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon Anchovy Paste (more, she said, if you want)
1/4 crushed pepper flakes
6 large garlic cloves, finely crushed

Preparation:
Combine ingredients over medium-low heat whisking to mix.  Pour into a fondue pot to keep warm.
Serve with bread cubes and assorted vegetables.
(serves 6)

Won't you try it, Reader Dear. I want you then to tell me how many nights you dream about fields of garlic.

video

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Barbie passed around the dates again, this time without the bacon.  And that brought us to...(drum roll, please)...THE BREAD! 
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videoThe bread was sliced and brought in slabs to the tables with..(.take a wild guess) ..olive oil for dipping.
Okay, Reader Dear, by this point (as my dear father used to indelicately express it) I'd lost my appetite!
Nevertheless, along came Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake, topped with raspberries and whipped cream, and  I managed to eat it with gusto.  Ditto with the tiny dish of vanilla ice cream drizzled with flavored olive oil.

But THEN, it was with mixed emotions I gazed upon the platter full of Miesse Chocolates extended my way.  "Depending on what you like,..." the woman from this local chocolate company pointed out,  "These are the raspberry creams, and here are the nougats..."   

I chose a dark-chocolate-covered homemade marshmallow.  And later, another. And when they passed the platter yet again, I dropped two chocolates in my take-home bag.  Half of me was groaning and preaching myself a sermon, while the other half was doing the Devil-be-Damned-Cha-Cha-Cha-Zip-Boom-Bah-High-Sugar dance and marveling at this fantastic finale!!

......

Saturday, February 2, 2013

......

"THIS WILL BE A MOVIE about two little boys who have never ever seen each other before, and about how they meet and find out they are brothers!"  I told the Little Actor, as we shopped for balloons.  "Because the other actor can only cry, and you are the one who can do the talking, you'll have the lead role!"

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video
video 

(This movie, Viewer Dear, is based on a true-life story!)

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