A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

Raisins

Raisins 1

Me: Mom, don’t you like raisins?

Mom: Yes, I like raisins.

Me: Then why did you take all the raisins out of your cookies?

Mom: Those aren’t raisins.

Me: Yes, you have oatmeal raisin cookies. Those are the raisins.

Mom: Oh. I thought they were just junk.

Me: Why would they put junk in your cookies? They’re raisins!

Mom: Okay.

Raisins 2

Me: Mom! Why are you still taking the raisins out of your cookies?

Mom: What? I can’t hear you.

Me: WHY ARE YOU STILL TAKING THE RAISINS OUT OF YOUR COOKIES?

Mom: Because I don’t want them.

Me: Do you want me to buy you different cookies that don’t have raisins?

Mom: Do you want them?

Me: No, I want you to have cookies you like. Do you want me to buy different cookies?

Mom: No, these are fine.

My husband is doing yardwork today, which means he has the garage all disarranged with bikes and mowers and all kind of things in the normal walkways.

I am in the office and hear my husband’s voice yelling, which tells me that he is trying to convey some kind of information to my mother. Upon investigation, I find that she wants to get the laundry basket from the garage in order to gather up her dirty laundry, and even with all the clutter in the way, doesn’t quite understand why she can’t just get the basket and get her laundry going.

After a few minutes, I remember that she has her own laundry basket, purchased specifically for her, as the latest in a series of attempts to keep my Clean Laundry basket  used for only clean laundry.

The first volley in this on-going battle happened several months ago, when I found the Dirty Laundry basket (normally kept on the floor of the garage) sitting on top of the chest freezer filled with my clean laundry Mother had helpfully removed from the dryer. In an attempt to keep this from happening again, my helpful husband got out his trusty Sharpie and labelled it.

2015-03-14 12.58.50

We thought that took care of the issue, until I realized Mom was using the Clean Laundry basket to carry her dirty laundry from her room to the garage. My helpful husband again pulled out his trusty Sharpie, resulting in both baskets being labelled.

2015-03-14 12.59.16

It also occurred to me that the hamper Mother had in her room might be too unwieldy (sample pic below – hamper is already gone).

plastic hamper

So, I purchased a smaller basket for her to use for her laundry, took the hamper away and placed the basket in her room.This is what is looks like today:

2015-03-14 12.52.43

This afternoon, I’ll be making another trip to Target, this time to purchase a set of wall hooks for my very helpful husband to put up just above the basket in Mom’s room. All I have to do is get Mother to buy into the idea of using them instead of piling all her clothes, some of which she “might want to wear again”, on top of upside-down basket. Oh, and using her own laundry basket for her dirty laundry so she’ll leave my Clean Laundry basket alone.

When my husband makes himself a “grilled cheese” sandwich, he takes his little waffle iron/press grill and presses several pieces of cheese in betwixt three pieces of bread. I say this is not an actual grilled cheese sandwich, but simply cheese pressed between bread, with an extra piece thrown in there for bulk.

A REAL grilled cheese sandwich begins with butter.

Real butter - not margarine!

Real butter – not margarine!

The bread is then flipped over and while the butter melts and starts to brown, cheese is layered across the top.

Layers of cheese

Layers of cheese! (Why is this upside down? It’s making me dizzy to look at it and it looks right-side-up in the photo editor. *sigh*)

If you were going to add other ingredients, like already-cooked bacon or tomato slices, you would add them in now.

Then the top bread and more butter, which I forgot to photograph because I had turned the heat up and the bottom was already beginning to brown.

Hmm. My griddle doesn't heat evenly on the electric stovetop.

Hmm. My griddle doesn’t heat evenly on the electric stovetop.

But that’s okay, because at this point, the melting cheese holds the bread together nicely for flipping the sandwiches over until they are browned to your satisfaction.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

As we didn’t have any tomato soup on hand, I served our sandwiches with bread-and-butter pickles on the side.

While my husband did not concede that mine was the better sandwich (even though it is), he did clean his plate.

Every morning,as part of my daily journaling session, I draw a single tarot card to study. In my journal, I note it as “COTD” – Card of the Day – and write down what I feel is an apt interpretation. Then I pull interpretations from three different tarot books I keep handy for comparison.

Swords in general are not warm, fuzzy cards, and fives of any suit are not that positive, either. So, the Five of Swords would be expected to be doubly unpleasant. It is generally interpreted as a card of humiliation, defeat, and, at best, poor sportsmanship. We’ve got the guy in the foreground having won all the swords. The guy farthest in the background has has face in his hands, presumably in tears. Yesterday, though, I took greater notice of the guy to the far left, who seems to be just walking away. He’s got his cloak thrown over his shoulder, he’s not slumped over in defeat or crying into his hands. He’s just walking away from a person, a situation he no longer wishes to engage.

So, yes, the Five of Swords still indicates some loss, but on a more affirming note, also making the decision to cut your losses and walk away from a losing hand.

I like cloth napkins. I like having a substantial bit of cloth to completely cover my lap, catch crumbs, and absorb spills. I can launder them and reuse them over a matter of years and both my pocketbook and my conscience are satisfied with not having to buy consumable paper products. My husband prefers paper napkins. He says that once he’s used a bit of the cloth napkin, he’s never sure where a clean spot is for the next swipe of his mouth. In the spirit of marital harmony and choosing my battles, our household uses paper napkins.

I also like using generic products when they are of equal quality to name brands, but we’ve found that Bounty napkins are really better than generics or any other name brands. So, we have really good paper napkins. So good that Mom saves hers to reuse until she feels they are truly used up – which never actually seems to happen. I end up throwing away the used napkin stack every few days to keep it from taking over the table.

Mom's seat

Mom’s seat at the table

Since she is at home during the day, the napkin holder is right by her seat at the table so she can easily reach it at lunch time. At dinner time, since I sit in the middle of the table, I take napkins from the holder and pass them to my husband. A few weeks ago, I handed him napkins from the napkin holder and he immediately protested that they were dirty, and so they were. I asked Mom if she was putting dirty napkins back in the holder, but she said she wasn’t.  We finally decided that the cleaning ladies, who come every other week, must not realize that the stack of napkins are used and had put them back in with the clean napkins in the holder. I started trying to remember to throw them away more often.

My husband also keeps a short stack of paper napkins on the dining table near his lunchbox, so he’ll remember to take them each day. Last week he came home from work and told me that he had found that the napkins in his lunchbox had been used ones. That night at dinner, when he asked me to pass him a napkin from the napkin holder, I cringed a little, and carefully examined the paper napkins before handing them off. I couldn’t take it any more.

Napkin Solution

Napkin Solution

Fortunately, there’s a Target on my way home from work. We now have two napkin holders for the table. And I’ve asked Mother to start throwing her paper napkins away after every meal, but as these photos were taken this morning, you can see just how well that is working.

Casa Tina

Menu Salsa Chips 2014-09-06 14.52.27

This afternoon I found myself in Dunedin well after lunch time, but before I had had a chance to eat lunch. I drove down Main Street looking for something interesting and found an open parking spot near Casa Tina’s. I hadn’t had real Mexican food in quite awhile and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. As I approached, I realized that, in Florida, I wasn’t going to find the kind of Mexican food I’m used to – Tex-Mex – but figured it would still be at least somewhat familiar.

The interior was dimly lit, a nice break for my eyes from the bright afternoon sunshine. I was immediately seated and very shortly received a basket of light, very fresh, tortilla chips and a bowl of chunky, freshly-made salsa. And shortly after that, a tall glass of freshly-brewed iced tea. (Only available unsweetened, but then, I’m not in Texas.) I was pleased to find that the lunch menu lasted until 3:00 pm, and I had arrived just in time to choose a cup-of-soup-and-half-a-cheese-quesadilla combo, to which I added a small side order of guacamole. They had several soups listed; I chose posole, described as chicken stew with hominy and ancho chiles.

Soup n Quesadilla 2014-09-06 15.04.16

It arrived steaming hot, with a plate of fresh garnish and small warmer filled with three hand-made corn tortillas. (Yes, that’s only two – I had already eaten one before I remembered to take a picture.)

Hand-made corn tortillas 2014-09-06 15.14.36

It was all very flavorful and the only thing that was a little spicy for me was the guacomole. But it was a nice, familiar kind of spicy that made the whole inside of my mouth tingle with the heat, and made me sweat just a little on my upper lip. And there was so much, I have soup and tortillas waiting in the kitchen for my dinner.

Colorful decor 2014-09-06 14.49.15

The decor was colorful and definitely Mexican. And since we’re near the sea, there had to be mermaids, right?

Tin Mermaids 2014-09-06 15.25.30

Casa Tina also has a full bar and quite a few specialty drinks, one of which is a coffee with Mexican cocoa, cinnamon and other spices. It’s called “Cafe de Olla”. The drink they call “Cafe Mexicana” is coffee served with kahlua and tequila, topped with whipped cream. When I made the mistake of simply asking for the “Mexican coffee” and was brought the high-octane version, the server very graciously replaced it with the beverage I had actually *meant* to order.

Cafe de Olla 2014-09-06 15.34.15

It was a quite wonderful ending to my solo lunch. I will definitely be going there again, next time with a designated driver.

 

Casa Tina on Urbanspoon

Stuff, American Style

storage bins

 We spent the day clearing out and reorganizing  some of our stuff. Not all of our stuff, just the stuff in two rooms in our house, one of which is completely devoted to storing our extra stuff. We call it “the spare room”, but there is nothing spare about it. It is full of off-season clothes and bedding, crafting stuff, sewing stuff, overflow office stuff, a file cabinet almost completely filled with absolutely necessary paper stuff, and stuff we haven’t looked at in years except to move it from here to there but no, we can’t get rid of it because it is Very Important Stuff.

We did clear out some old computer hardware and software – things that have zero compatibility with any computer still running anywhere – and I identified some things to take to family in Dallas when we visit over the holidays. My husband picked up some drawer bins at a garage sale a few weeks ago (from someone able to actually let go of some stuff), and I’ve washed them and put them in the already-crowded room in an attempt to at least have better access to all the stuff.

A lot of difficulties we encounter in our society are decidedly first-world ones, but I think dealing with an overflow of consumer goods is a peculiarly American problem. We not only have aisles in box stores completely devoted to storage, we have entire stores. I saw an article recently that said that if Britain were to join the U.S., it would be the 2nd poorest state, behind only Mississippi. A Forbes article makes a correction to that based on local cost-of-living rates and points out that taking that into consideration leaves Britain dead last. 

The original writer based a big portion of his conclusions on the relative GDPs. So, that means that the U.S. produces more stuff per person. And we work more hours than workers in European countries in order to produce the extra stuff. Then we’re too tired to do much more than watch television programs developed for the sole purpose of advertisers buying time to sell us stuff. So, we buy stuff we don’t really need because we have a little extra money made from making extra stuff. Or we buy stuff we need only because of the time-saving aspects so we at least have a little extra time to relax before we go back to work to make more stuff.

I would really love to have the opportunity to work fewer hours so I could have more time and less stuff.                 

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers