Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Close to You and to Insanity in the Hodgepodge

Thanks, Joyce, for coming up with yet another fun Wednesday Hodgepodge. 

If you happen to be reading here for the first time, click here for the hostess's blog. Then join us, won't you? 

1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen? (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash)

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel?

Yes, I watched the Oscars, but not all the way to the end.   I think I actually changed it while Patricia Arquette was yammering on and on and on about equal rights for women in her acceptance speech/political tirade.  How rude! I was embarrassed for her and wondered if she'll ever get another Oscar because of how she performed at the Academies.

Of the Best Pictures, I've only seen Boyhood, which Patricia Arquette starred in. Grrr. The movie was well acted, but boy it went on and on and on.  Do you see a theme here?

2. Speaking of the movies... are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It's Not Easy Being Queen. Thanks Carrie! 

Hi, Carrie!  I've never been to a movie alone, not because I'd be uncomfortable, but because I want someone there to share laughter, tears, share a bucket of popcorn and to clarify things I might not have heard correctly. 

As for dinner alone, I've done that a few times when I've been exceptionally hungry and craving something specific., and wanted ambience. Several weeks ago I ventured into Bertucci's because I  was already out, really wanted lasagna, their rolls, some hot tea, and the cozy warmth of a fire in the brick oven pizza. 

3. What's the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself? 

Some landscaping in June last year. We paid my daughter's ex-boyfriend a little bit (he didn't ask for it) to remove some bushes and replant new ones that were lower maintenance.  It was his  Father's Day gift to hubby,  but actually  the dude didn't do it alone. My daughter helped, and eventually everyone pitched in because it was such a big job on a sweltering hot day in June. We could have done it ourselves. We are DIY people about 90% of the time.

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you're a fan, what's your favorite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown? 

I love Indian food. Chicken Vindaloo might be my favorite. I 've never tried to make Indian food at home; maybe it's time I tried. There's an Indian restaurant within five minutes of my house. I would not go there alone; the service is slow and the portions are huge. 

5. A song that reminds you of your parents? 

Close to You  (by the Carpenters) reminds me of their relationship. I can picture Daddy singing to Mama:

Why do birds, suddenly appear?
Every time you are near
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you
Why do stars, fall down from the sky?
Every time you walk by
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you
On the day that you were born, the angels got together
And decided to create a dream come true....

6. The 26th of February is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day. What's your favorite, or one of your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with a particular fairy tale? 

I liked Cinderella as a child, mostly because I loved the picture of her getting to ride in a horse-drawn, pumpkin-shaped carriage while wearing a beautiful blue dress and glass high heels. (What was I thinking?)  

Childhood memory--yes, indeedy. I got to play the lead role in Rumpelstiltskin in our fourth grade class play.  My part was to make some funny sound, repeated here and there.I don't remember the speaking lines, but I remember loving to make the audience laugh.

7. What's a problem you solved yesterday? 

When I read this question in the early part of the day, there were (amazingly, happily) no problems to solve. The whole day went swimmingly until 10:30 pm when I was having a meltdown over explaining plagiarism to my son. 

"You can't just change a few words here and there and call it your own," I repeated (24 times at least).  You have to take the information, understand it, and rewrite it completely in your own vocabulary and style, and cite your source.  I get on a very tall soapbox when it comes to plagiarism. "It's stealing intellectual property!" I ended up yelling. Not a shining moment for me in the problem-solving department. We ended up, painstakingly, writing his research in his own words.

He told me I was a "literature, grammar nazi."

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I hate science fairs.  As I said on Facebook, they suck the fun out of science.  I can't wait to have Friday night OVER and DONE with. That might be terrible grammar, but his literture-grammar nazi doesn't give a riff. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yellow Rice with Red Bell Pepper and Spring Onions

This is the way our personal chef,  Steven Crowe , prepared rice for us (the one-time, special event that I blogged about here).  It was delicious and I want to post it for my future reference as well as for anyone looking for a way to make rice flavorful.

                       served  with  Pan-Roasted Salmon with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Roasted Asparagus

1 cup of rice  (Texmati or jasmine--he used Texmati with the brown lid)
2 cups of chicken broth  (he used Imagine brand organic, low-sodium chicken broth)
2 tablespoons of butter (cut up into small chunks)
2 pinches of saffron threads or 1-2 teaspoons of ground turmeric  (he used saffron)
1 pinch of salt
1 bunch of spring onions (white and light green parts only--remove outer layer first), chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped to about 1/4 inch dice

Place the rice, broth, butter and spices into a microwave proof container, stir it a few times,  and then cover it.*

Cook on high for 5 minutes, then 13 minutes on half power.

While the rice is cooking, saute'  the spring onion and the red bell pepper in a skillet  with olive oil.
Add it to the rice when it's finished.
Fluff with a fork.

*(Chef Steven used a beautiful clay pot. Later we tried it with a microwaveable rice steamer. Both yielded fabulous results.)


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Daybook Entry, Feb 22, 2015

I'm linking up with the Simple Woman whose blog inspires me to show the beauty of everyday life in word and pictures. 

FOR TODAY,  church is cancelled for the second consecutive week due to bad weather.  Temperatures have been brutal.  (One degree a few days ago.)  Wind whips like it does on the prairie except that, hello, we're not in Kansas anymore!

We also had to postpone my son's 13th birthday party that was supposed to be here this afternoon. 

Outside my window...

I am thinking...

of an old Sunday School song we used to sing as kids, but it came into my head this morning as "Deep and White."

I am thankful...
for a new hairstyle that I like.  I was afraid of going shorter again, but my hairdresser put me at ease. 

In the kitchen...

Hubby decided to make a meatloaf yesterday. He wanted a recipe that did not have the ketchup glaze on top.  From he found this one with cheddar and topped with sliced bacon.  I made Easy Peach Coffee Cake for dessert.

I am wearing...
My old, army green "It's Hip to Give" long-sleeved sweatshirt ,some slate blue sweatpants, thick white socks, and ruby slippers.  No, seriously, I have ruby red slippers!  If I click my heels together, will I be in the Bahamas?

I am creating...
a few little quilts at the same time.   Yesterday I was having fun making this string quilt for a NICU in California. (I have a connection to someone whose grandson was there, and she is collecting quilts for the babies who are often born before baby showers or shopping have been done..)

Which color background do you think looks best? 

I am going...

Nowhere today.  Snowed in and staying put in my happy place--the sewing room. 

I am wondering...

How long it will take for all this snow to melt.  It always does, but we got 10" inches of snow yesterday on top of the 3" already there.

I am reading... (still, because I'm slow)

Death by Living (Wilson)
Captivating (Eldredge)
First Peter, chapter 4 (the Apostle Peter)

I am hoping...

to get my two finished baby quilts (Strawberry Shortcake and Bootsanigee) mailed this week.  

I am looking forward to...

having my son's science fair done and over with! I cannot tell a lie. 

I am learning...

how to make the X block.  I really like it--simple and fun.  Also learning how 
using the black and white filter on my iPhone helps me see contrast better 
when I'm choosing fabrics to use together and arranging blocks. 

Around the house...

are signs of winter.  Thick throw blankets, snow boots, comfort foods.

I am pondering...

when it will be my turn to be a grandmother. 

A favorite quote for today...

"and do not plunge with them again into a flood of dissipation"

From First Peter 4.  It should not have made me giggle, but it did.  I was picturing
a caricature of an old Baptist mother shaking her finger at her 18 year old son. "Stay away from drunkenness and orgies that your former friends were into, and do not plunge with them again into a flood of dissipation!!!"

One of my favorite things...
my baby's face when he's trying not to smile, but all I had to say was "remember the time Mom fell in the pool?"  He can't help it; gets him every time. 

A few plans for the rest of the week:

  • getting ready for the dreaded science fair
  • preparing (hoping) to have my son's birthday party next Sunday
  • having the dryer fixed by my hubby, who is handy, and detected that the problem only involves replacing the heating element (a $21 part)
 A peek into my day...
I made these without a recipe. I was just in the mood for breakfast casserole. 
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, fried 8 minutes (4 min per side)
  • 5 slices of bread, decrusted and cubed
  • 8 eggs and 1/2 cup milk, mixed
  •   savory, black pepper, onion powder sprinkled lightly over each one
  • cooked bacon, cheddar cheese, stirred into each loaf.
  Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes.

Well, that's a lot, and that's it for my Daybook today. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut in the Hodgepodge

Well, well, well!  I got an email  from Sally this morning telling me I'm celebrity and did I know it? Huh? She said Joyce chose my question to use in today's Hodgepodge! 

Funny thing was, no, I hadn't checked the questions yesterday like I usually do.    I was cooking and baking like a veritable Betty Crocker since we had a snow day and hubby was home.

And today, now at 3:15 pm,  is the first time I've had computer access to write;  I'm at my friend Renee's while she's in surgery. I've been caring for her homeschooled sixth grade son by helping him revise a paper. Poor kid. He'll never want me to "help" again.  I am a former English teacher, which is a bit like referring to a retired Marine as "an ex-Marine." There's no such thing. 

1. When did you last have to interact, either by phone or in person, with someone in a government run agency? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the experience? (10 being fabulous and 1 being pass the Tylenol)

Well, that's an easy one.  My sister works for a certain government agency that shall rename nameless, and she and I have been texting a lot about the log cabin in Kentucky that she wants to buy.  Does talking to your federally-employed sister on your iPhone count as "interacting"?  If so, it's  a strong "10" experience.   

2. The current governor of Wisconsin is considering a run for President next time around. Walker attended Marquette University, but never graduated. In terms of any candidate running for the office of President (not asking here if you agree or disagree with Scott Walker's politics) would the lack of a college degree influence your vote or no? Would that be a factor in your support of any candidate running for public office, even a role less weighty than President?

Even though I am a proponent of higher education , and everyone in my family holds at least one degree, I don't think I've ever been swayed by education in voting for a candidate based on his diploma or lack thereof.  I do think it's important to show a different document, like say a birth certificate. It takes NOTHING to earn one of those, does it?   

3. When did you last visit a place or site named for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, and what was that place or site?

Hmmm. As close as I live to Washington DC, I haven't actually visited there in many years.  It advances the greying of my hair to drive not just one but TWO beltways to get there .  Probably my last visit was with a homeschool group when we went to the White House. (I was unimpressed; isn't that terrible?) We also saw Ford's Theatre, which was much more fascinating to me. I'm kind of a Lincoln nerd.

4. February 16th was President's Day in the US, but did you know it was also National Almond Day? I didn't think so : ) Do you like almonds? If so, what's a food/dish/recipe you enjoy that contains almonds? 

I really like almonds. They're a great purse snack by themselves, and even better in an Almond Joy.  I like green beans almondine, cheesecake topped with slivered almonds, and Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds.    

5.The television program Saturday Night Live celebrated it's 40th anniversary this past weekend. Were/are you a fan of the show? If so what has been your favorite (or one of your favorite) skits, sayings, or characters that came out of the program?

Okay, I feel like the only person in my age group who missed the whole glory that was SNL back in the day.  My parents were strict about what we could watch; in high school I heard bits and pieces,  but never really "got" the references from skits.  In college, at parties, I sort of watched Steve Martin ( "a very funny guy") and my roommate would call me "Zoanna Zoanna-Danna."  But I have no idea about what some of you are cracking up about . More cowbells? Guess I'll be getting cozy with Youtube soon to catch up on the comedy I missed in my youth. 

6. Anything purple within ten feet of you? What is it?

My glasses are purple.  I love the color purple (although I've never seen the movie by the same title).  It used to be my favorite.  (It's now blue, which I'm whispering so that purple doesn't get jealous.)  I actually love the pale purplish-blue shade  called periwinkle. 

7. Back in December I asked you to submit a question for a future HP as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I grabbed this one from those entries, submitted by Zoanna who blogs over at Penchant for Pens. Thanks Zoanna!

She asks, "How often do you make your bed, and how do you like to make it-pull the covers all the way up over the pillows, tuck the covers in around the pillows, or place all the pillows on top of the covers?" 

Well, thank YOU, Joyce, for picking my question .  (Isn't it fun to see one's name in print?)  I do feel like a celebrity seeing it as I hop around the Hodgepodge Pond.  Or the HodgePond.

I make my bed almost every day. I like how it makes the whole room feel instantly put together, even if it's not. 
When putting on fresh clean sheets, I make it with hospital corners like my mama taught me.  Then I put on the fitted sheet of cream and the flat sheet in slate blue  (Egyptian cotton, nothing else!), then the thermal blanket, a pinwheel quilt, and then the log cabin quilt of pure white.  After that I stack up the sleeping pillows three high on each side , and center another sleeping/propping up pillow in front of them.  My husband hates decorative pillows so I have conceded to not "cluttering up" the bed with "junk that just has to be taken off at night only to be put back on in the morning."   (That's my logic for wearing a bra, but the logic doesn't convey to the public arena, does it?) 

Have you ever heard  Jim Gaffigan's jokes about decorative pillows?  Search youtube for a good laugh on the subject.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

It's time to put dinner in the oven for Renee's family.  I brought almost all of it with me,  having exercised  my mise en place skills to work in my own kitchen yesterday .  I'm making San Francisco chicken,  saffron rice just like our one-time personal chef made it for us (see yesterday's post), and roasted asparagus, which is supposed to be great for cancer patients (and the general population).  She loves asparagus so this should be a treat when she gets home tonight .

Monday, February 16, 2015

Date Night In: Part 2 (The Chef and his Glorious Food)

So, as I was saying, a few snows ago...

My daughter gave me and my main squeeze the gift of a personal chef to come cook a meal for us.
She made it a complete date by taking our last kid away for a sibs' overnighter. Yay for sisters and brothers who enjoy being together and coordinate their busy schedules to make time for that.

There's a big smile embossed on my heart because of it.

In the 45 minutes between their departure and Chef Steven's arrival,  we had a glass of Edna Valley chardonnay, 2005.  Wow, was it ever good. I may have filled my glass a bit too full as I listened to Paul play his guitar for a bit.  I probably should have had a few crackers and cheese, or something, but I was saving room for every delicious morsel that was a-comin'.

The chef arrived at the door in his crisp white "lab coat," carrying a big black bag.  He was a friendly older gentleman, mid-50's I'd guess, pushing 60.  Paul helped him carrying in two additional bags.

I'm not sure if I said it or just thought it, but judging from all the luggage, I thought he might be staying the whole weekend.

"You are well-prepared," my husband said. Diplomacy is his gift.

"Oh, yeah, I  bring it all."

The meal we chose for him to prepare was an Asian-glazed salmon, yellow rice, and roasted asparagus.   Here he is demonstrating mise en place, as they say in professional kitchens.
I just LOVE the term mise en place (meez awn PLOSS).  It's a French term that means "putting in place" or organizing the ingredients in preparation for cooking, so that everything is ready for perfect timing.

I took a picture. I should have practiced mise on place with my camera settings before he got there, don't you think?

Or maybe I had the right setting,  but just too many ounces of the '05 Edna.

While I snapped pictures, he snapped asparagus.  The trick is to snap off the bitter ends. He says you can line up the stalks and cut them off, but there is a natural place in each stalk between the good part and the bitter part that you can feel.  I never knew that. I was in the stack-and-whack camp.

He then prepared the rice. Folks, this was the best rice we've ever had in our lives. And the best part? He microwaves it!  What?? A chef microwaving rice? Yes! Let me tell you how.

He started with Texmati brown rice (look for the canister with brown lid in your grocery store).

He poured a measured amount (recipe to follow) into a beautiful clay pot, added chicken low sodium chicken broth, perfectly diced red peppers, peeled scallions (outer layer is bitter, so remove it, he told us), some saffron threads. Saffron? Isn't that the most expensive spice in the world? Not any more, he said. We've learned to grow it in the states,  so a small tube of it is only about $8.   He said you can substitute turmeric for the cost and to get the yellow color, but oh, my, if you could have smelled the saffron ....

As he cooked I asked him how he got into cooking professionally. He said he used to be a correctional officer for 23 years, but when he retired, his wife encouraged him to go to culinary school because he enjoyed cooking so much. Why not make money at it?

You might still get cut with a knife, but it would be your own fault ,right?

 I still didn't have my camera meezed on ploss.

He didn't look blurry at the time, I promise.   I was feeling so good. Besides, sharp focus is overrated.

He minced the garlic cloves and told us, "If you want to make a garlic paste, just press your knife down on it sideways hard and slide it across the garlic." (He didn't make paste.)
 He was so incredibly tidy with everything. Every crumb, stray peel, or bitter end disappeared as he went along.

The Asian glaze:  soy sauce, fresh grated ginger (aaaaah-may-zing), honey, EVOO (he says he always uses first cold-pressed olive oil.  That's more important than the brand, in his opinion.  (Read the front of the label; it's there in small print.)

Whisk, whisk on his part. Wine, wine on mine.  The aroma was just as intoxicating as the Edna.

Next up, the salmon prep.  Wild-caught is better than farm raised, because it's more dense, he informed us.  It stays together better , is brighter pink, and just has better flavor.

Get that pan nice and hot.  "About an 8 on an electric stove."

 Skin side down first, sear those puppies. "Check for sticking. If they're sticking, don't try to turn them. Wait for them to sear completely. Then turn carefully and sear the other side. You want that meat to hold together. "

 Meanwhile the rice was cooking in the microwave.

5 minutes on high, followed by 13 on half-power, for the rice. Perfectamundo.

Salmon, which never really appealed to me before, was suddenly transfixed into a picture of gastronomic glory. I could hardly wait to taste it.

The asparagus went in when the salmon was turned.  It came out so shiny, all drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper.  Paul had to pick at it.  I loved watching him toss him head back, grinning and  "mmm'ing and aah-ing".

We took our seats in the dining room while Chef Steven plated our delectable dish.
Is this not gorgeous?  Or shall I say, "gorge us"???

 My version of the meal through the lens:
Hubby's version.  Obviously he had controlled his Edna intake.

I asked the chef to take a picture of us, which he did.  I checked it for blurriness, and asked him for another, but Paul said forget it, let's eat. Chef Steven said, "Yes, eat before it gets cold!" 

His cooking is FAR better than his photography. 

But oh, how happy, how wonderful, how delicious.  I don't think we talked except to utter supper superlatives with every other bite. 

One delightfully memorable meal. 

We ate while he did the dishes. Every single dish he washed, which was just marvelous. Not so much as a fork left in the sink when he left. You can see my card there which we got from Sarah at Christmas and had kept as a teaser on the cabinet door till February 7th. 

And then the men packed up the cheffy luggage.  We tipped the man for his good service, thanked him profusely, and then got on with the rest of our date, 
which was a movie (Boyhood--pointless and never ending) and some apple fritters. 
Yup, hubby wanted apple fritters from the store, so he had brought them home. 
That was the perfect treat with after-dinner coffee and a warm blanket in front of the TV. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No Gaps in a Homeward Bound Hodgepodge

1. Have you ever written a love letter? Have you written one recently? Had one written to you? Did you keep it?

If you mean a romantic love letter, I used to write a lot of them back in the day (and receive them).  If you mean  a letter to anyone I love, I sent my sister a Valentine note today expressing my love for her.  I have not kept any romantic love letters except from my husband, and actually I don't think he has ever written more than a card (and one poem) to me.
He's not a very wordy guy. You could say I balance him out.

2. What's a movie that ends in a way you especially love?

Homeward Bound.   Lost dogs  (and their bratty sidekick Siamese cat) made their long trek home to the family so desperately missing them.  When the kids were young, they loved the movie, and my daughter would ALWAYS cry at the end when the old dog says with a cracking voice, "Oh, Peter."  (Like "Oh, Pete-her!" )  

My oldest son used to always laugh at her for crying at that same spot, no matter how many times she watched it. For years all it took to make her cry was for him to say, "Oh, Pete-her!"  Sarah would yell, "Stop! Mom, make him stop!"


 3. Something that makes your heart sing? And for those of you who are parents, I mean something besides your children that makes your heart sing?

Several things make my heart sing.  Snail mail just for me.   Fabric stores.  Quilts. Pretty wrapped packages. A beautiful sunrise or sunset. A child's laughter. My husband's guitar playing.

4. What's the last event you had to attend, phone call you had to make, routine task you needed to complete, or meal you had to prepare, that you did do, but only half-heartedly?

I attended our school's annual community meeting.  I had already been to the school for drop off, pick up, and a basketball game, so I was physically spent. Plus it was cold and windy . And the bottom line of the meeting is that tuition is being raised again. 

5. Tuna fish salad-yay or blech? If you said yay, how do you like your tuna salad prepared? Hey, this is the Hodgepodge, right?

I like it, but must be in the mood. I like it with chopped celery, lite mayo, chopped dill pickle, dill weed, Old Bay and black pepper.  I prefer it on a 12-grain or Jewish rye bread with crisp Romaine lettuce.

6. What's something you 'know by heart'?

Several Bible verses and hymns, nursery rhymes, song lyrics of many 80's love songs, and my "times tables."

7. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, what two or three word phrase would you write on a conversation heart for someone you love? That someone could be a spouse, child, parent, cousin, bestie...anyone at all whom you love.

To my hubs- "got no gaps"  (was reminded of this phrase by my friend Preeti just recently, but about scraps, not gaps).  Years ago Paul and I attended a Family Life marriage weekend and they told us to look at each other and quote the line from Rocky.  In our best Sylvester Stallone accents, we repeated, "I got gaps. You got gaps. Togedduh we got no gaps."  

It's our little catchphrase.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I think my sister, who just moved to Kentucky, has found her dream home .  It's a big log cabin on almost 8 acres, where she can have her three horses, donkey, dogs, and cats.  I hope her loan is approved soon and that I can go out and help her get settled in. The house is so "her" with loads of character for my nature-loving sister.

Monday, February 09, 2015

"Date Night In" with a Personal Chef: Part 1 (The Set-up)

For Christmas our daughter gave a most wonderful, creative gift: a personal chef to come to our home and teach my husband and me a special dish to make, as a special "date night in."

Originally scheduled for January 10th, we had to move it to February 7th, which I liked better because it became our Valentine celebration.   We have a Valentine birthday boy who turns 13 this coming weekend, and we have special plans for him.

Saturday morning I gave the kitchen a final cleaning, with hubs doing magic on the cooktop with a scrub pad. It's funny the white-glove treatment you'll give your stove, fridge, counters, and sink when a professional chef is coming.  It might behoove me to invite him more often, if for no other reason.

But table decorating is where the fun is.   I edited a bouquet from a tall vase in the kitchen, and made a small one as our "centerpiece." Candles in low votives, red cloth napkins scrunched into heart shapes, two rose wine glasses, a chocolate colored tablecloth, and some bright white plates completed the look I was going for. Big question I had was whether to sit across from each other at a table meant for six (or 10) to stare into each other's eyes (riiiiiggghhht) or to cozy up in the corner where I could touch him and take close-up pictures.

You wouldn't believe how big a deal this was to me. Normally I make quick decisions, but when it comes to seating arrangements, I take forever. Pretty bad when your guest list has just two on it.

Yes, these napkins are embroidered with poinsettias, not exactly Valentine-ish, unless you're a Christmas bride like I was. In that case, poinsettias remind me of our romantic wedding, so it works.

Sarah swooped in an hour before the chef arrived to collect her little bro for an overnighter that included a tour of our old neighborhood, game night with all the sibs, and church with her the next day.

Before she left, I asked her to please give me her opinion on the seating: across from each other like so, or next to each other like so? (I slid the setting over.) She burst out laughing. "Really, Mom?  That's a big decision? It took you all of what--two seconds to move that stuff?"

Okay, so I'm a silly, fussy, hopeless romantic and I love to be as close to my man as possible on a date, so the cozy corner arrangement won out.  Daughter snapped a few pictures (one of which was clearly photobombed by that rascally Valentine baby) , handed us the envelope of money to pay "Chef Steven" (not OUR Stephen), told us not to open it, and then they were off.

To be continued with The Meal.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Wearing the Hodgepodge on my Sleeve

1. Do you wear your heart on your sleeve, or keep your emotions tucked in tight?

I've been told I'm easy to read.  I used to cry easily; I don't so much anymore.  When I'm angry, I tend to stuff my emotions for awhile, but my face doesn't hide it. But if I'm hurt really deeply or feel an injustice has been done to me, and I have no power to change  the situation (as in how I'm treated by anyone in authority over me) I will shut down or avoid that person as much as possible until my heart is soft enough to forgive them.

2. How did you meet your closest friend?

My closest female friend? That would be Barb, whom I've known for 41 years.  I don't remember exactly how we met; either in school or in the little podunk town where my dad pastored a tiny church in Alden, KS. 

My closest male friend, AKA my husband?  He was playing guitar in an inner city church  for a kids' Saturday Bible club.  I went to see if he and his two guy friends needed help with the club because I wanted to either work with kids or the elderly, not just go to school and work.  I fell in love with the tall, quiet guitar player rather quickly. Like Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Store, my "wants and must haves" list for a husband had 31 flavors that I discovered he fulfilled: loves God, loves kids, is at least six feet tall, very intelligent, good at math, rather athletic, a handyman, musically inclined, kind to my family, makes me laugh, handles money responsibly, likes dogs, doesn't show off, wears a suit well, has nice hands, etc. etc., et cet er a....!  Even has green eyes!)   He, by contrast,  had only 3 requirements and I quote, "She loves God, loves kids, and is not a dog."

3.  Pink lemonade, grilled salmon, cotton candy, pink grapefruit, a strawberry milkshake, or raspberry sorbet...of the pink foods listed, which one is your favorite? Least favorite? Which one have you most recently consumed?

Favorite? Cotton candy, no question!  (If you want to read how my kids pranked me one time with cotton candy, it's in my archives!)  Steve and Ambrey gave me REAL cotton candy for Mother's Day last year. 

 Least favorite, thus far, would be grilled salmon, but I hope that our date this weekend with a personal in-home chef will change my mind. Our daughter bought us this "date night in" as a Christmas gift, and we had our choice of things to learn from "Chef Steven"(who is not my son, although he can cook).  I deferred to my husband's affinity for salmon and decided to be brave and try to learn to like something by fixing it differently.  Stay tuned! I'll let you know you next week how it goes. 

Most recently consumed? A Sonic strawberry milkshake.

4. When were you last 'tickled pink' over something? Explain.

It had been quite a long time, by my flower-hungry standards, since I'd had a bouquet from my sweetheart. I decided to pray he would think to do that.  Pray rather than say a word, or rather than put it on a grocery list like I've been known to do. (I kid you not.) About three days later, he came home with from food shopping (which I hate to do, so it's a very loving gesture from him)--and guess what he had brought? I was tickled pink that God had heard my prayer (it's such a small thing, but I was craving mid-winter beauty in the house and wanted some romance, too).   

5. Are you a fan of television talk shows? Daytime, nighttime, or both? What's your favorite?

I don't watch daytime TV except on rare occasions, and I like to watch Ellen DeGeneres.  Favorite nighttime is the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. We tape him and watch him after dinner the next night.

6. When was the last time you wanted to ask a question, but felt too foolish to do so?

I don't know. Usually if I really want to know something, I put my foolish feelings aside and just ask. 

7. My favorite ____vegetable juice______________right now is _Bolthouse Farms carrot juice________________.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I really would like to enjoy cooking again. I used to, but have lost my desire. Any suggestions as to how to get it back?