Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Qathy's Qole Slaw

The other day I spotted a recipe for Cole Slaw that sounded delicious.  I'm so fond of this cabbage dish anyway, and then this particular recipe called for Cilantro!  Wow, over-the-top! I thought.

As luck would have it,  there was a head of Chinese cabbage nestled in the veggie drawer of my fridge, awaiting its raison d'etre.  This recipe listed Savoy Cabbage, but I guessed Chinese would be close enough, and I went off to the grocery store specifically to get the stash of other ingredients to make this dish.

Jump ahead to the finished product:

Reader Dear (pardon my boldness, may I eventually call you Eater Dear?!) there are a few ways I'd tweak the recipe as I made it.  Use Savoy Cabbage rather than Chinese.  The Chinese was a bother to shred.  I felt I had to wash it first since it was a looser head than Savoy.  And it had great big old leaves with stubborn backbones!  Savoy would save you some sanity, I believe.  It's possible it would even give it a classier taste.

Okay, so if you're up to the task, here we go: (Skip step one if you're using Savoy.  Just remove the outer leaves).  If you insist on going Chinese, wash the leaves.
!. Wash leaves.
2.Shave the head (Almost impossible with Chinese, much better with Savoy)  into thin ribbons.

3. Cut 4 Scallions lengthwise into long strands.

4. Chop 1/2 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro (Sniff the heavenly fragrance.  Eat a bit of it)

5. Mix those first three ingredients together.
6. In a separate bowl, put 1 Cup Mayo.  Use Avocado Oil Mayo if you wish to stay true to the original recipe. (It may also be classier,  but I didn't have any, and didn't feel like breaking the bank just to make this slaw).

7.  Add 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of Sugar.  (You can stick with that amount if you wish.  I added more sugar later, since the original dressing was not sweet enough for my taste.  Perhaps it's because I used sugar instead of the honey that was requested (I'd say required, but it was not a demanding recipe).
**(In this case, Reader Dear [just so you know], I thought I had honey in my cupboard, but did not)

8.  Now add 6 Tablespoons of Fresh Lime Juice (It took three limes to produce this juice)
9.  Mix the dressing and pour over the chopped ingredients.

10.  Take a taste.

11.  Add Salt and Pepper to your liking.

12.  Take another taste.

13.  Take another taste.

14.  Use some self-restraint!  Remember that Cole Slaw improves with age.
One small advantage to going the Chinese route:  The discarded stem makes a handy bowl for the scraps (especially nice if you're delivering them to lady fowl [you know, hens.  They clucked their approval at my presentation.])

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Going to be a Hard Winter!

 So says the man who lives with me every time I complain about the fructiferous Chinese Dogwood tree that grows beside our porch.  It's been dropping its pink fruit in historical abundance!  Record plenitude!

It's a bumper crop!

A copious yield!

The numbers, I'm afraid, are driving me nuts!

For you see, Reader Dear, these little balls (they look like cherries with warts) are easily squashed.  Stepping on them, they are crushed.  Leap now to the blight that is created by one vehicular trip over bounteous amounts on the driveway, gluing their soft and sticky insides to the pavement!

I've kept the broom handy.  In about five minutes I can clear the porch and the driveway both, as long as I get to them before they get overly ripe or are otherwise crushed.  But, ah, Dear Reader, they fall like fall leaves!  Five minutes after my labors it's time to pick up the broom again!

Surprisingly enough, this fruit is edible (I recently discovered)!  If I weren't so busy sweeping, I could bake Dogwood Berry pies and put up Dogwood Berries for the long, hard winter ahead!
(At the very least I'd make fruitcakes out of the fruit that is making a fruitcake out of me!)
 Pink blanket compliments of the Chinese



Sunday, September 24, 2017

Final Day of Little School and Old Friends


It was Sunday morning.  There was a morning service at the church during which there was more sharing by younger alumni.  There was more group singing, too.

Lunch followed the service, and it was the final scheduled event of this reunion weekend.

However, there were a few other final things I wanted to slip into the weekend before leaving, so the Yard Man and I did not eat the meal at the school. 

We arranged to have a visit with the mother of my  LTF, and then to have a late lunch out with my LTF herself (Scratching your head?  I have a detailed explanation for you here, Reader Dear, never fear!)

Before leaving the official reunion, however, I squeezed in as much visiting as possible with anyone I'd missed greeting earlier.  Really, just anyone still hanging around after lunch.

I also went and hung out one last time with all those who had left long before.*

*A multitude of them who had left  [throat-clearing]  in a permanent kind of way.

I did a quick perusal of  the photo displays one last time (hallways full of them!)

I had one last study of the  model  community (built by an uncle of mine years ago).

I said a final good-bye to Lucas Creek. (The primitive little bridge that cars rumbled over in my youth is now [long] gone***).

***Yes, yes, Reader Dear, my youth is now [long] gone as well!

I said a final good-bye to the house where I made my first appearance as a squalling infant.

And then, just prior to heading the car in the direction of the North Pole  and saying goodbye to the whole Little School reunion, and the whole group of fellow alumni, and the whole tribe of dearly-beloved family (of the extended sort) and the whole panorama of my childhood,
I said goodbye to the pier, to the Warwick River.

"It's the end," I said to the Yard Man as we headed north,  
"the end of an era."
I wiped a tear from my eye.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Little School Reunion

Here we are, the Yard Man and I, in Newport News, Virginia, at the seventy-five year anniversary of the small parochial school I attended as a child.

The building sits next door to the church, where the hundred-and-twenty-year reunion of that congregation was so recently held.

I knew that we would see some of the same folks we had seen on the previous visit to this area, but I was hoping there would be more.  I was especially eager to see any of the alumni who ran around the schoolyard (jumped on the jumping boards) with me in my student days at this place. (Spoiler alert, I was not disappointed.)

The day began with a bus tour of the old colony (the area where one of my great-grandfathers (along with two other men) came from Maryland for a visit, bought up fifteen-hundred acres of land, and then searched for  other Mennonite families to join them in forming a community here.  (There is good fertile farmland, and a river for fishing! they advertised).

The group who clambered aboard the bus had all grown up in this no-longer-farmland area (other than a few married-ins).  We pointed out to one another old family homes and historical buildings.  The Dear Old Neighbor Man was seated near me.   He knew and remembers a lot more of the ancestors we all had in common and the houses in which they lived.

Back at the school following the bus ride, there were new arrivals come to attend the reunion.  It was so delightful to greet folks I hadn't seen for decades!  Following lunch under a tent,  the group of one hundred and some split into smaller clumps to reminisce.  Out of a possible eighteen to twenty,  six of my former classmates (same grade in school) showed up, with four or five more from the grades just below and above.  It made a good-sized circle of ex-schoolchildren to exchange  memories and stories of past shenanigans.  Reader Dear, we did a great deal of laughing!

It's a lousy photo quality-wise, but it nicely erases the wrinkles!

Here is a classmate of mine who missed the group photo.  He is the dear old son of the Dear Old Neighbor Man, and with him is his dear old uncle.  Please be aware, Dear Reader, that everyone at this event was (and remains) both dear and old.

Well, oops, I forgot there were  recent alumni there. I'm sure they are dear (and they're going to be old in the twinkling of an eye).

Dinner was served, and then the group of alumni gathered at the church (next door) to be entertained by current students of the school (skits and such).

We did some group singing, too.
Listener Dear, they were old songs we were singing.

Is this tale of the reunion getting a bit old?

Perhaps I can think of something new to tell you tomorrow, Reader Dear.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Once Again, Heading South

(It's Day 8, but who's keeping count? In actuality, this trip took place last Friday night).  Friday night!  Now I ask you, Reader Dear, who would set out into rush-hour traffic at five p.m. on a Friday for five-and-a-half hours of traveling south (or any direction, really)?!  (It's a rhetorical question, Dear Reader, no need to answer).  It's only because I wheedled and pleaded that the Yard Man agreed to the foolhardy plan.

The Yard Man and I were returning to Tidewater, Virginia. Can you believe it, I had another reunion to attend?! (No need to respond to that question, either.  It's a fact, whether you believe it or not, Dear One) When we traveled to this spot about six weeks ago, it was the church of my youth that was celebrating a milestone.  This current reunion would be attended by fellow alumni of The Little School (as it's been fondly called by those who attended back in the day [uh, that would be my day, you understand]).

The Little School (now officially called Warwick River Christian School) was founded seventy-five years ago by members of the church (It stands next door to the school).

I was eager to see my old* classmates (those who completed the six grades this school had to offer when I was attending).

*Facts are facts.

But first, of course, we had to get. to. the. area!

We ran into so many traffic jams, it took us twice as long just to leave the county as it normally does on a non-Friday-non-rush-hour.   In the course of our three-state travel, we got stuck in the aftermaths of four--count them, FOUR--major traffic accidents.  It was an excruciatingly long trip south. However, I was grateful to avoid an ambulance ride, and I'm happy to use the word 'aftermaths'!  And we got to our hotel only slightly past midnight.

But it was very late, and the Yard Man was very grouchy.
I'll continue the story after a restful night of sleep.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Day 7:

on which I awoke to the sound of a tree being, uh, massacred.

You see, Reader Dear, it was getting old.  It was threatening to lose limbs onto power lines.  The Yard Man called the tree company and arranged to have it executed, but I didn't know what day they were coming to do the deed.

When I heard the loud and jarring sound of the saws and the chopper, it slowly sank it what was occurring. 

Even though this tree lived at a spot behind the barn and I did not know it well, it did not give me a good feeling to listen to its demise all morning long.  (After all, Reader Dear, just think of this:  It had limbs but no legs to run and save itself.  No way of escape!)

The Chestnut tree that lives in our side yard must have been quaking when it saw the guys with their hard hats and saws approaching.  "Now it's my turn!  They're coming for me!" it must have panicked. "Hasn't that woman of the house griped about my trashy droppings every spring and fall for as long as she's been my neighbor?!"

(Reader Dear, the Chestnut just got a trim.  I went out and reassured it when the tree choppers had left. "Don't worry," I said. "You've got five trunks and give lovely shade.  I'll never let anyone murder you!" 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thus far, in spite of setbacks,

life has been ongoing.  So we've got...

Day 4:  Have you ever contemplated this, Reader Dear, how the battery of a car can be somewhat quickly jump-started back to normal energy flow, but there is no equivalent with the human body?
There's a reason why this little spark of brain produce popped into my head today.

Climbing into the car with briefcase in hand, ready to head off to an appointment for the signing of a lease, I was met with a major snafu.

My situation necessitated borrowing a vehicle from Dark-haired Daughter.   Post-appointment AAA arrived and provided my auto with a kick in the pants (so to speak).  I headed off to see about getting  a new battery.  Car diagnosis and surgery being what they are, a large chunk of my afternoon was gobbled.  But, hallelujah, the life of my car has been ongoing, too!

Day 5:  Dark-haired Daughter, David, and the Itty-Bitty Actor have been living in close proximity to the Yard Man and myself for the past several months.   During this time the Itty-Bitty Actor has been developing his acting skills.

In the course of time, he has made strides (though one might call it simply steps, if one were inclined to downplay the accomplishment)!  Though I have produced no movies with walking roles, I do have these two that crawled into production today!


Day 6: Last week when I had my final re-hab session, all of my offspring (save one) came to celebrate the occasion with me (at the small cafe down the hall from the fitness center)!

There was an exciting fountain coin-toss following lunch.

But then, as day followed day (with nights interspersed, as per the usual) I started to realize that it was imperative I make other arrangements for routine exercise routines.  I went to investigate what would be, for me,  the most convenient gym/health club to patronize.  I got the grand tour!  I got an hour and a half of top-level persuasive talk to obtain a membership without delay!
I could use all the equipment!  I could attend (an extensive array of) classes!  I could use the pool! I could get massages, use the spa!  I could play pickle-ball!  I could box, for heaven's sake! And more, oh, so much more!

It was overwhelming!
I came home, then drove to my dearly-beloved park.
I walked four loops (one mile).
It made me smile.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Reader Dear, I'd like to

Q you in to something.  This post is somewhat of a patchwork quilt (metaphorically speaking).  It might cover the bed (or at least it might cover the past ten days).

Day 1: The weight of checking in to the Cardio Fitness Center three times a week has been lifted!  I have done my final warm-up and cool-down (kindergarten-like activity) and lifted my final weights at this place (not to mention the pushing, pulling, treading, rowing, squatting, and biking, which has now come to an end)!

As tradition goes at the fitness center, when one has completed the entire course of re-hab, one gets to "ring the bell".  Everyone applauds.
(Did I already mention kindergarten, Reader Dear?!)

I rang the bell.

Day 2: Gerry's Pig Roast!  It was the 36th Annual time to eat pig and fellowship at Gerry's house!
Once again it was delightful!  Once again I thanked the pig*

*Yes, of course, I thanked Gerry, too!


I said a thank-you, as well, to this couple  who shared their secret to authentic Asian stir-fried rice.

I believe just a few more annual pig-eating parties at Gerry's house and the Yard Man and I will be friends with all of the other (hundreds of**) guests!
**That Gerry is a generous guy!

Day 3:  I know you were not born yesterday, Dear Reader, but even so I feel I must tell you there are times when unexpected unpleasantness upsets a previously unmarred day!

Because, here's the thing, Dear One--Did you ever find yourself with no car keys and mysteriously locked out of your car, a car that is programmed not to lock when the keys are within?! Did you consequently trace your footsteps back to the very restaurant where you enjoyed the food and fellowship with friends a mere hour ago?  Did you seek assistance with searching under the table for your missing keys (since you, alas, were certain they could not be in the car!)?

Did you then return to the shop with the very intelligent sign which you and your companion had visited en route to your car?

Did you empty your purse and pockets three times?

Did you search the sidewalks?

Did you wring your hands because you recently lost the backup keys to this car, you've got only one set!?

Did you call AAA?

If you answered in the affirmative to all that I asked, Reader Dear, then you know that at times unpleasantness can evaporate at the drop of a hat (or the unlikely discovery of keys in the car)!

(Other days to follow***
***In the happy event that life goes on, Reader Dear)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Here's An Olio

I'll confess, Dear Reader,  that I'm just trying to tidy up my scraps and snippets of summer before the leaves are falling with a fury from the trees,
and the winds are more than just a warm pleasant breeze.

Here's a recent morning at my nearest grocery store:
Please understand, this store has got  much more to offer than simply groceries!
(There's a large playground)
This big spider web that two of my little actors enjoyed got me to thinking.  Suppose it were to be labeled a World Wide Web.  Prior to taking office, world leaders would spend at least an hour of time jumping and crawling with two or three (or more) other world leaders.*

Now we've got the same grocery store.
The same morning.

My Itty-Bitty Actor.                         

Next, a vignette of the Small Actor and Paw Nelson, the cat.
I'm not sure which of the two found greater enjoyment in this activity.

Lastly,  there's this turtledove that I discovered a few days ago, sitting perfectly still on the balcony railing.  Is she dead!? I wondered.  I walked right up to her and she didn't blink an eye.

"Are you dead?!" I asked.  She blinked an eye.

But I inched closer and closer and she didn't fly.  Then I was in a quandary:  Should I just leave her alone and trust she could fly away if she wished; or should I assume she could not fly and needed some type of rescue?

Because the Yard Man was home at the time, I thought I'd give him an opportunity to be Super Man, if a heroic rescue were needed.
 He didn't have a cape to put on when I ran downstairs and found him, but he did agree to come take a look at the poor creature.

As the two of us walked onto the balcony, she left the railing and fluttered to the porch below.   She appeared to be using her wings as a parachute, so I rushed down to the porch (I was willing to be the hero if it were just a matter of Paw Nelson vs. Turtledove.)

The short ending--she flew under a shrub.  When I tried to find her, she took to flight, and even though she was flying close to the ground, she managed to fly off to a far away spot where I could no longer be responsible for her safety and well-being.  I wished her well.
(Sorry, Reader Dear, I have no further news on her.)

*It would be a requirement.  No choosing of fellow web-crawlers.  Names would be drawn at random. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Believe Me, Dear Reader,

my life is not all picnics at the park. 
Now that I've cleared up that possible (but slightly odd) misconception, here's this:

The Occasion(s):  Labor Day. Birthday of the Yard Man.

The Location:  Susquehannock State Park.

The Group: All my little actors and almost all of their parents. (Reader Dear, The Yard Man and I were there, too, of course.  Too obvious,  I'm just verifying).

The Time: Late afternoon into evening (The park closes at sundown.  We overstayed. But, we left before dark, so that's sort of a gray area).

 The Weather: Frabjous     (fabulous)

The Food:  Well, The Yard Man dragged his birthday grill  along, and we feasted on grilled steaks and grilled chicken.    Added to that were salads, watermelon and birthday dessert.

The Activities: Eating (verifying that, as well).

Playing on the small playground.

Hiking to the overlook (Dear Viewer, the park is an exceedingly lovely one, but the highlight is the overlook with its high river view.*)

 *There may be some difference of opinion on this.  The small actors made good use of the playground.