Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Teaser Tuesday

If you would like to participate in Teaser Tuesday get yourself over to Purple Booker to read the rules and join in.

The idea is to share two random sentences from your current read.  Don't include spoilers! Don't give away too much information!

My current read is This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  My sentences come from page 20:

"After reproving him for avoiding her, she took him for a long tete-a-tete in the moonlight. He could not reconcile himself to her beauty, that was mother to his own, the exquisite neck and shoulders, the grace of a fortunate woman of thirty."

I seem to be in the mood to read older fiction right now by the likes of  Fitzgerald and Hemingway -- does anybody else still read these authors?

Update on the New Plan aka Teaching Old Dog New Tricks

Well, it has been a few days since we started our new life plan here at Maison Brinkley. I have to say it is going well.  I am a morning person (i.e. if it isn't done before noon, it isn't going to happen) so this new scheme  just plays into my sensibilities.

I have discovered that cooking a main meal to be eaten about 11:30 a.m. isn't a problem at all in the morning.  In the evening it is damn near impossible because of our schedule.  So, since Saturday we have been eating "dinner" (a large, noon meal) and I am proud to say that the meal was eaten and my kitchen was spotless before my soap opera came on.  That makes me feel good and accomplished.

I had hoped that this change would make changes in our health.  The results?  I am losing weight -- slowing but I am losing it.  My husband's blood sugar was very low yesterday -- not too low, it never gets too low -- but low enough to see the difference.  Mission Accomplished.

So, for today's meal I am doing something different.  I am not a fan of crock pots even though I have two.  One I never use and the other I use when I have no choice since we are gone from the house everyday.  No, I am not afraid to go away and leave it on "low".  Anyway, I didn't want to use the crock pot this morning so I decided to research slow cooking in the oven.  Seems it can be done since millions of homemakers before me did exactly that before there was such a thing as crock pots. My grandmother had an stove that had four burners and a "well" that could be used for things such as stew and chicken and dumplings.  It cooked slowly and yes, those were the best chicken and dumplings I ever tasted.  Think Aga. Slow cooking in a regular oven can be done -- or so I have read.

So, I dug down deep in the cabinet and I found this --

This isn't mine, mine is a lovely dusty aqua hue.  But, it is the same thing.  The idea is to put your food in it, put ice in the depression of the lid which will allow condensation from the inside to drip off little bumps in the lid into your food to keep it moist and succulent.  I have used mine once but I decided that I would give it a go today.

So, I browned some seasoned, floured stew meat, added some mushrooms and  a cup of water, put the lid on, added the ice and placed it in a pre-heated 300 degree oven.  This was at 7:20 a.m.  Hopefully it will be done by 11:30.  I will let you know how it turns out --if it turns out.

I may be a morning person but I have never been a breakfast person so this new eating plan is a bit challenging in that regard.  In order for a person to eat the majority of his/her calories by mid-day, breakfast  has to happen.  So, I decided to go the whole 90 yards and actually eat at the table, a proper meal and see how it goes.

This was breakfast --

an English muffin with a bit of butter (just a bit) and a bit of cherry jelly, six prunes and a half a container of yogurt -- only half though because the first ingredient is sugar.  A cup of green ginger tea and my meds with a glass of water.  Hopefully that is going to get me through until lunch.  I actually sat at the table and did my Bible study at the same time.  I am trying to get on a regular routine of Bible study and this seemed like a perfect time to do that.

So, my day is started, my laundry is caught up, lunch is in the oven (did you know you can cook rice in the oven as well?) and the house is reasonably picked up.  So, what to do?

Oh yes, I am having a telephone coffee break with my cousin Elaine at 9 a.m.! That should be fun!  Doing a bit of genealogy together.  Isn't technology wonderful?  A telephone.  Not facetime or skype, not email --- just a regular old telephone call.

Telephone calls, slow cooking in an oven -- just call me progressive.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Grands, Grands Everywhere

Last night was a unique experience for me -- a first, actually.  I have four grandchildren -- Caroline, Kathryn, Nathan and Emily.  Well, last night Hubs and I had K, N, and E at our house while Mom and Dad went out for a birthday celebration and C/W dancing. 

It was an experience for me because I have never had three children to care for at one time before.  It was also an experience because of the age difference of the children.  N is 10, K is 8 and E is 2.  I have to say though that E held her own and kept up the pace.  Whatever the bigs were doing, she was going to do as well.

Then it was bedtime.  I had them all settled in my guest room.  Then the hiccup.  The bigs sleep with the light on, the little doesn't like the light on.  What is a Nona to do?  Well, E finally got fed up with it, let us know, she was removed from the dimly lit room, fell asleep on me and ended up in my dark bedroom in the middle of the king-size bed all by herself.  She knows how to score the good sleeping place for sure.

Mom and Dad arrived about 12:45 to take them home.  It was a good evening.  I think we all had fun.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Old Fashioned Ways and Intuitive Eating

It is no surprise to anybody who has read this blog for a while that I have a love/hate relationship with food.  About two weeks ago I realized that I was having a lot of acid reflux issues.  So, what does any self-respecting individual do in that situation?  I googled "acid reflux".  I was handed several pages of things to do to eliminate the issue -- reduce fat intake, reduce portions, reduce acid consumption....operative word -- reduce.  So, I decided to re-think "intuitive eating".

I have never really "gotten" intuitive eating.  Oh, I understand the principals but to actually feel the feeling -- well, it is hard to do when you are sitting with a bag of Chips Ahoy on your lap.  So, after a particularly unpleasant evening of "refluxing" I decided to figure out what that "feeling" was and start listening to it.

The next morning I did just what all the articles said -- I reduced -- everything.  Long about mid-morning I recognized the feeling that I was supposed to identify as hunger.  I ate a small snack, just to eliminate the pangs.  Then lunch came along and while I was hungry I was satisfied enough to make good meal choices.  Mid-afternoon, again with the hunger pangs.  Repeat morning routine.  Dinner rolls around and I do the same with reduced portions.  I go to bed -- not really hungry (I could have eaten a cookie or a dozen) but I didn't, just hit the sack and I slept the soundest I have slept in a long time.

I have continued the process for a couple of weeks, I have lost three pounds, I have apparently successfully shrunk my stomach because I am not hungry enough between meals to require a snack.

I would say I have successfully mastered "intuitive eating".

That brings us to the "old fashioned" part of this blog title.

Back in the "old days" the main meal was eaten at lunch.  Farmers would go to the fields at dawn and their wives would go to the kitchen to prepare a hearty mid-day meal.  The farmers would come in and refuel for the afternoon's work and the wives would save the leftovers for "supper" and continue on with their chores for the day.

In a more modern world, my cousin Dessie used to run her house like this for her husband Pete and their two children, right smack in the middle of San Antonio -- no farmers here and not in the 19th century!

So, I have been thinking about the concept of a bigger noonday meal.  We have late afternoon obligations on a daily basis.  This generally sends us straight to the restaurants.  We both have weight issues and my husband is diabetic -- and he now has a spare tire that looks a bit out of place on his lanky frame.  So, I have decided to further adjust the eating issue in this house.

I read an article that eating a main mid-day meal is healthier overall and for diabetics, it helps with the blood sugar.  So, Hubs is used to eating a light lunch and a full dinner and I am just going to reverse it.

I feel the benefits will outweigh the negatives.  I won't waste so much food because I still grocery shop like I am feeding a teenage boy! I thaw meat, don't get around to cooking it, toss it -- it is a travesty.  Also, I can control all that salt and fat and heaven knows what else that is in the food.  And.....I can get the kitchen cleaned up early and not wait until I am completely bushed.  We will then have our "light" lunch for dinner and then go to bed empty.  My husband tends to snack a lot, beginning as he leaves he dinner table so if he feels his blood sugar will drop too much he can have a snack before bed.  For me, I think I prefer going to bed empty --and waking up empty!

I am anxious to go back in time to explore this old fashioned way of life.  I am hoping that we will both reap health benefits from it and that my pocketbook likes the change as well!

Does anybody here eat their main meal at mid-day?  Thoughts?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

What can I say -- love Snoopy and am 21% Irish as per Ancestry DNA.  We always knew that but it has been duly confirmed.

Have a wonderful day and don't get pinched!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It Takes a While aka Farmhouse Lust

Yes, it takes a while to grow into yourself.  When you are young you think you know what you want and you probably do at the time but you are a work in progress-- not done, not finished perking so to speak.  For any readers too young to remember anything but K cups, we used to "perk" coffee in a percolator.  Sometimes on the stove.  Sometimes an electric device. The coffee was ready when it finished "perking".  I don't think many people "perk" anymore.  I digress.

So, anyway, thinking about yesterday's post I took a little walk down memory lane visiting my former abodes.

 When we were first married we lived in an apartment --

Our apartment was just across the courtyard from this one with the dutch looking one in the middle.  I have some photos but I am just too lazy to go find them so I got this off an apartment rental website but you get the idea.  It was a cute apartment, really sort of fancy at the time -- it had a sunken living room with steps up to the dining room/kitchen and bedroom.  Those steps proved to be quite dangerous if you were racing through with socks on.  Experience?  Oh yes.

Then, after a year of my husband trying to create a workshop in a closet we decided we needed a house with a garage.  So, we looked in a little local newspaper called the Northside Recorder and found this one -- easily assumable with hardly anything down and the monthly payments were less than the apartment so we moved.

This house went through many changes.  We moved the front door, we closed in the front porch, we put french doors on the garage, we added a very large family room, we remodeled the kitchen several times and created a large laundry room.  The current owners have made more changes and not for the better.  I liked it better when it was mine and a different color.  This is the house we lived in when my children were born and lived a good portion of their childhoods.

Then we got transferred.

We lived here--

This is a photo off realtor.com.  This is where my children lived their teenage years.  It was a nice house but the neighborhood was aging so we decided to move on before we became too aged.

Here is where we are now--

poor, lonely little unadorned gate.  I was going to go yesterday to find something to embellish it but that never happened.

So, what is all the point of this you ask?  Other than me looking at my own evolution?

Well, there is no point except to show you that if I were going to make one more move, money were no object and I could actually build it myself this is where I would be...

and this what the bedrooms would look like ...

but since that probably isn't going to happen I am turning my thoughts toward this...

That isn't asking too much, now is it?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Older I Get....

the more honest I am, with myself and everybody else.  Since my birthday I have had several things pop into my head about myself.  Observations.  Being honest and true to myself.  Having opportunity to be honest with other people, hopefully not in a hurtful way.

Here are a few of my thoughts--

I don't like hot food.

I don't like cooking big meals.

I don't like feeling used and I am particularly sensitive about people thinking I am too stupid to know when I am being used.

I will never be a minimalist.

I wish I had an old house with a big front porch, a country kitchen and lots of bedrooms with white iron beds lined up.  I would use white linens and quilts and white flowy curtains at the windows.

I don't like trying to finish books that I don't like.  New rule, if you don't like them just quit reading.

I am a failure at intuitive eating.

I am addicted to cookies.

I hate allergies because all I want to do is go outside.

I don't like my sofa but I feel guilty for not liking my sofa -- some people don't have a sofa and I am lousy for being a sofa snob.

I am slowing down and I actually like it.  I feel like I have been on some sort of a race all my life and now I am not.  Whew -- a sigh of relief.

I don't like to cook, sew, or clean.  I  have given up hobbies because of the mess they make.  The truth is, I didn't like them to begin with but felt like I "should" like them.

I secretly want my husband to cut my hair with his new clippers.  It would be bad but I feel like it would be fun.

I wish I had a screen door so the kids could slam it and I could tell them to stop.

I wish I lived somewhere that there wasn't an HOA.

I am falling out of love with technology except for Rosy, my new iphone.  I still love her.

I want to travel around Texas, maybe on the train.

I wish I could draw.

I wish I hadn't sold my piano and I wish I had practiced more.

I wish I could go to San Antonio for a couple of weeks and just "be" there again for a while.

I miss the 50's and the 60's.  If I could go back just for a day, oh the things I would change!

I have a tendency to live in the past.

I am a deeper thinker than most people think I am.

Ok, now I need lunch.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway

I decided, after "Peaches", to read something of substance so I chose "The Torrents of Spring" by Ernest Hemingway.  A short read, it was.  I was done in a couple of hours and it was entertaining, humorous, a paraody of the authors of Hemingway's early career.

I would recommend if you are wanting to explore Hemingway's works and style.  It was an easy read, it flowed well, it held my interest, I thought it a little odd but all in all I would recommend.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I just finished this book.  I think I got it for free -- surely I didn't pay for it.  My review:  if you are older than 12 -- just don't.

No more free books for moi. 

Monday, March 06, 2017

One Thing Always Leads to Another...

The other day, while looking for tea kettles, we visited our local Sur la Table and William Sonoma.  WS (or Billy S as my husband refers to it) was always the go-to shop for cooking items and kitchenware.  A few months ago our neighborhood acquired a new Sur la Table and my, oh my, what a fantastic place for all things gadget-y.  Now, granted, we didn't come home with a tea kettle from either of those places but that doesn't mean that we came home empty handed.

From Sur la Table I scored these cute little cookie presses.  I make a sugar cookie that you roll into a ball and smash with the bottom of a buttered/sugared glass to make it cookie shaped. I thought these would be much nicer than a plain cookie!  I especially like the honey bee motif.  When I was a child my mother told me that my name means "honey bee" or "sweetener, sweet" so I have always gravitated to "bee" inspired things.

From WS I picked up these two spoons.  I really don't like wooden spoons so I buy silicone.  My daughter has had these for years and they have held up beautifully so I decided to gift myself with them.

I think it would be better if I didn't mention these little goodies....

I didn't come home with those because....well, just because.  It will be a great gift idea when "some-husband" can't think of anything to buy me!

In other news, it is spring here for all practical purposes.  We have had a couple of gray and rainy days here over the weekend but the fact of the matter is, it is going to be 80 here today and no way that can still be considered winter. I have proof...

Look at the redbud!  The crabapple is looking much the same but the pears are lagging a bit behind.

We have five yaupon hollies across the back fence and they were still heavy with berries.  They are usually stripped clean by the waxwings but they seemed a bit late this year.  Then, yesterday, there was a flurry in the trees and the trees were so full of wax-wings they looked like a bird tree! In no time those berries were stripped off those trees and the birds were gone. It happened so fast that I didn't have time to find the camera and snap a pic.  I wish I had though -- it probably would have been better if it was a video -- but it was quite the sight to see.  Maybe next year I can get a photo.

Not much went on this weekend.  We are now looking for a new television.  Ours isn't quite gone yet so we have some time to research and shop which is my husband's favorite thing to do.  The television was mounted on the wall so we managed to take it down and put it on the stand.  I need to lift weights -- that thing was heavy and, while I used to be quite strong in my upper body, I am not strong anymore so lifting the televison was a bit of a stretch for me but we got it down and all is ready for a new set when the time is right.  I  am not one to replace things before their time (like they really have to just give up the ghost for me to replace) or if I get a good deal and know that it is just a matter of time.  So, whenever it happens we are ready and we will no longer put a television on the wall.  Way too much trouble.

So, here is wishing you a fabulous week! See you on the blog-side!

Friday, March 03, 2017

The Quest is Over

As you know, Hubs and I have been looking for a replacement for our recently deceased electric kettle.  After having replaced kettles on a nearly yearly basis, we decided to go with a stove top model.  We have looked at everything from All-Clad to OXO, from big to little, to plain to fancy and from cheap to expensive.  Not being able to make a decision other than we didn't want to mortgage the house to buy a kettle, we made an impulse buy last night.  We stopped at our neighborhood Target store to pick up dishwasher detergent and we ran across this.

Yes, I will say that I purchased it for the color but what would you  expect from someone who chooses books by the cover art.  I haven't tried it yet but Hubs has and he says the whistle will wake the dead.  I didn't hear it as I was drying my hair but I will take his word for it.

In other news, I have been trying to make Facebook a kinder, gentler place (ha! futile, just futile) so I have been posting photos of my favorite things.  I like garden gates and light houses, history facts and inspirational quotes.  Well, ok, maybe not the quote thing so much but honestly, anything but the nastiness that is regularly spewed on FB.

So, today I posted this photo and thought I would share it here --

This is a painting by a Texas artist named Dalhart Windberg.  He is a native Texan, born in Goliad in 1933 and living in Georgetown, Texas.  He specializes in landscapes of the Texas hill country as well as other areas of the state. We own a print of this painting and I always thought it looked familiar to me, like I "knew" it.  Then it dawned on me that it looked just like the entrance to the Harper Cemetery, Harper, Texas.

This is what the entrance looks like now but years ago there was an old wooden gate (exactly like that in the painting) that you had to jump on to unlatch.  Then, about thirty years ago there was a steel farm gate that you didn't have to jump on but you did have to unlatch it.  Now there is no gate -- I would assume that the gates were removed when it was made a community cemetery rather than a family cemetery.  It is all cleaned up now, not as "rustic" as it used to be and there are many new names there.  It has grown, is taken care of and is truly a testament to the pioneer families of the Texas Hill country.
If you visit this link, you can see photos of all the headstones there -- http://www.fbgtxgensoc.org/photos/har/index.shtml.

 The Harper Cemetery started out as a family cemetery.  Anybody related to the Rogers Family could be buried there.  If you visit the link above and look at the headstones  you are traveling through my paternal family tree.  Boyett's, Giles's, Bierschwale's, Rogers -- yes, that is me on my paternal grandmother's side of the family.  There is a lot of history there was well.

So, anyway, that was my "gate" for the day.  I have been posting lovely photos of gates in magazines and on pinterest but today I decided to post one that had personal meaning to me.  Welcome to my world.