I will finish the Pennies from Heaven art journaling story next week. It's a lot of pressure, especially in light of voting this week.
It's stressful to vote, not to mention the fact that they write the initiatives in another language. I resent having to research stuff just to understand what they are trying to say. I also hate when they roll several concepts into one initiative. What if I agree with only part of it?
While I'm voting, I feel as if I should be sweating with the gravity of it all. I want to write essays explaining why I was swayed to vote the way I did. And if I change my mind or made a mistakes, don't they need a Power Point presentation to justify the change? What if the person opening the ballot is disappointed by my decisions?
Do they know I didn't really understand and had to depend on websites that explained and maybe even declared which way to vote? I'm not a political person and I try to ignore it for the most part, but I want to be compassionate for those who have worked so hard to get their opinion on the ballot. It must feel like a personal affront when something doesn't pass, or maybe if it does pass.
I'm just saying, it's a lot of pressure and I'm glad I only have to deal with this kind of thing every couple years - or at least a ballot as big as this one was.
So now it's time to accept my part in the state of our nation and eat something good. I'll start this out with my mother's birthday cake, because there is nothing like cake to soothe the non-political voter's soul:
I got part of this recipe from Food Network Magazine - a Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake - but my mother wanted carrot cake for her birthday, which we celebrated last Saturday. I figured what worked for a chocolate cake would work for a carrot cake. So the carrot cake I just got from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (they called it new, it's not new to me).
I'm just going to post the swirl and glaze part, I'll leave the carrot cake part up to you:
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Swirl and Glaze
For the swirl:
For the cake:
For the glaze:
This next one I've been thinking about making for a long time. It was initially inspired by all the limes I kept getting from my mother. Then Weight Watchers had some margarita mixer on sale at the end of summer, which was a couple months ago. The mixer has been sitting on my counter for a long time, and I got more limes recently, so it finally all came together. It was worth the wait and a nice change for grilled chicken.
This last one was inspired again by my mother's offerings - too much spinach, because I already had some. But I'm not one to pass up spinach, especially in light of the whole Popeye/strength phenomenon and the fact we had to vote this week. We needed all the stamina we could get.
Portuguese Pork Stew with Spinach
It can be made in a slow cooker to cook for 6-8 hours if you prefer.
There you have it. Comfort food and cake, too, for a less than comfortable week. The votes are in, now I'm just going to roll myself into a fetal position until this is all over.
I'm not a political person and I've been avoiding watching any debates at all. But as a Washington State resident I thought I would at least watch the governor debates. All I can say is politics makes me sad.
The most controversial I'm going to get here is how one should handle the phrase:
Politics makes me sad. or
Politics make me sad.
So I looked it up. Grammarphobia.com says:
“Politics” can be used with either a singular or a plural verb, depending on your meaning. In general, it's singular. It's plural only when it means a particular set of political beliefs.
So there you have it. When I was at my lowest of lows last night after I turned the TV off because one candidates got his panties in a bunch and didn't want to follow the rules, my youngest daughter came in to my room.
I asked her about the above phrase, told her how sad politics made me, then told her I watched the gubernatorial debates. She said, "well, if nothing else, the word 'gubernatorial' should give you something to smile about.
Right? If the governors' race is gubernatorial, does that make the person who runs our state a guber? Then I ate too much crockpot mac and cheese and thought about how politics make/makes me sad and how happy I'll be when this latest bout is over with and I can put my head back in the sand.
This morning, as I dealt with my mac and cheese hangover, I did the only thing I could do, I refilled the hummingbird feeder outside my office window and waited for the hummingbird battle to begin.
Really - who needs politics?
The weather has most definitely turned to fall. I know this because our older cat, Cally, is extremely upset by the change of events. She runs outside, then runs in, out, in, out,in. You get the picture. Every time she comes in, she complains that it's raining, only to return outside to see if the weather has changed again.
Yesterday she was either out or in, and I needed to get something out of the freezer that's on the patio. She yelled at me for the state of the weather as I stepped out the door, then I had this momentary lapse in my senses with the feeling that she was going to lock the door the moment I closed it behind me.
I'm sure she would have because she was so disgruntled at the weather, which was somehow my fault in her mind. God save me if she ever grows opposable thumbs.
But on to even more important topics. Dirty keyboards. Every time I'm in my office on the phone I have the pleasure of staring at my keyboard that had become embarrassingly dirty. Just plain dirty. Not a little bit, not a few smudges, just white trash yucky.
I've been contemplating it for many moons and for whatever reason decided I could not stand it any longer. So I took it into the kitchen, popped all the buttons off, and ewww.
So I'm taking a big risk here showing this to all of you because it's some statement about my housekeeping or that we are prolific eaters over the keyboard, and it's really just my husband and me, but probably mostly him (because I'm the one writing this). I think it's important to point out that this could happen to anyone. And if the cat doesn't lock you out of the house, it's time to stage an intervention and clean it. These things need to be talked about. Here's what I did to clean up this mess:
Carefully pop off the buttons with a knife or other prying implement. Ewww! It wasn't just crumbs, there was hair in there acting like a web holding the crumbs together. Carefully scrap what needs to be scraped with a knife or other implement. Dump out crumbs as you go. Then clean with cotton swabs, cotton balls and a solution of rubbing alcohol and water (the rubbing alcohol makes the water evaporate), being careful not to get any moisture in the key holes where the electronics are.
Then take the keyboard back to the computer so you can look at your screen shot of the keyboard map as you start replacing them. Don't plug the keyboard back in until you are finished. I cleaned each key with a baby wipe before I replaced them. When you start replacing buttons and wonder which arrow key goes where, not to worry, there are tabs on the keys that match the holes on the keyboard, you can't go wrong.
I just think with all the turmoil our country is going through right now, we need to be open with these difficult issues and just come out and talk about them.
You're welcome people of the Northwest - or at least in my vicinity. The big storm that was to be was not to be that big. I'm crediting myself because I was prepared. I had my husband get the camp stove and my stove top coffee maker out of the RV AND I actually ground coffee ahead of time for the big event. Citing Murphy's Law and all, I'm taking the credit for the uneventful event.
The last time we actually had a power outage I had the stove top coffee maker and the camp stove out, but totally forgot to grind coffee. So I was frantically traveling around in the teeth of a storm trying to find a Starbuck's that was still open.
I know, I know, I have a lot of gall taking credit for Mother Nature's lack of fury, but I'm just saying, if I hadn't ground coffee, we would have lost power.
I'm extremely grateful to whoever was actually responsible for our weather, because, finally, finally after a couple years, my in-laws' home on Whidbey Island is sold. My husband, my youngest, and I went to check on it yesterday to make sure it weathered the storm, which was much worse there. There's to be an inspection today, but was fine. A little sea wash off the stairs took only a rake to pull the garden wood chips back in place.
My youngest went with us because there is a stark realization that it's the end of an era. It was probably the last time we'd see the house. My oldest had to work, but was glad she didn't go because she didn't want to see the drastic change. She told me it used to upset her when she was little and grandma rearranged the paintings. This is funny to me, because she fully embraces changes I've made to our home over the years, even changing her own spaces. The paintings were the only thing her grandmother ever changed.
But grandma's house was a huge part of her childhood and she hated to see that chapter close. As long as grandma lived there, she still felt like a kid. Not to worry, though, Grandma and Grandpa are safely ensconced in a retirement home a short 50 minutes north of us with their other son and daughter close by.
Still, as we wandered through the house, it was no longer the place where my children grew up and spent all their Christmases. The house echoed with emptiness, ready for someone else to love it like we all did.
I stole some plants out of the front garden and a piece of driftwood. A little reminder of our years there and the childhoods that got away.
We are soon to switch back to standard time and no matter how many years I've gone through this and researched it, I can never wrap my head around whether it's lighter or darker in the mornings. So I had to look it up, because inquiring minds wanted to know - it will be lighter, which is good news for my morning walks.
Have I mentioned how much I love Autumn food? It's the comfort food time of year and I'm digging it, or rather digging into it.
I have had to back off the last couple weeks on cooking every day of the week, because we are overrun with leftovers by Thursday, especially if I've cooked on the weekend, which I don't normally do unless I'm thoroughly inspired like I was last weekend. But I find those couple days or so give me inspiration for what to cook the next week.
I'm not sure if I'll cook much this weekend. I've already walked this morning - a whole hour and ten minutes (okay, 8 minutes and 51 seconds, I took the minute, nine seconds as collateral just for walking out the front door), that's 2.99 miles to me. Now I figure next time I take that route, if I walk the far edges of the roads I can push that last .01 mile. The fact is I've already won the day.
If you remember on Monday I mentioned I failed last Friday, but had a do-over on Saturday and ended up cooking meals the entire weekend. This weekend, I have plans Saturday night with some other moms whose children are also all out of school. Weather permitting, we're going out to dinner and some sort of show. I've been studying the wind warnings for the Pacific Northwest and they aren't predicted to be overly wild in my area, so I'm hoping it's still a go. One of the mom's daughter is away at college in California, she needs a night out about now.
But back to comfort food. It's been such a delicious week here in my household. I hope you enjoy my latest discoveries.
This is the delectable treat I hinted at on Monday. I found it on Facebook, it's from delish.com:
Apple Crisp Cookie Cups
Then on Wednesday, I slid some corn chowder in the crockpot and served it with hard rolls. I found it on Facebook, and it's from spendwithpennies.com. Yummy in the tummy!
Slow Cooker: Creamy Bacon Corn Chowder
I think next time I make this one, I'll lighten it up by throwing in some clams rather than bacon. I also used 2% evaporated milk, but I'd probably just use non-fat milk next time, since I think it's just a delivery system for the cornstarch.
Did I mention how much I love Autumn food?
I was thinking this was the last week I'd be able to hang laundry outside and sit on the patio for breakfast. However, I was just sitting out there this morning, and though pouring down rain, it was a balmy 51°. I may have stretched the laundry gods to their limit, but you'll find me outside until it's downright freezing and my dahlias have died from the frost. And the mums; I can't forget the mums.
I sit out there and plan my garden for next year; mentally rearranging flowers, adding plants, moving things from my front yard to my back yard. Too bad all that thinking doesn't actually get the job done.
Though I am enjoying the fall weather; rain and all, I'm not ready to say goodbye to my rock garden. I still have a little time left, because the blooms I'm enjoying will last until there is a deep freeze. Mother Nature is toying with me, though. It was in the high thirties early this week, I thought it would be all over by the end.
It won't be long now. Soon we will be fully immersed in the holidays. I'm really not ready for that.
Right now, I'm setting my sights on the next few days. We made The Weather Channel videos, if only one. There's a storm a brewin' in the Pacific Northwest, but it is not clear how hard the impact will be to the interior - that's us. Wind is a big deal around here; we're surrounded by a forest, so anything could happen. It's Mother Nature's way to get the rest of the leaves off the trees, though she's a bit premature since they just started turning the last couple weeks. Maybe a survival of the fittest situation.
It was enough to deter my husband and me from covering the RV for the winter yesterday. High wind whips the cover around and tears it up. If the weather prediction isn't correct, we've just wasted a perfect sunny day to cover it, but if it is, we've preserved the cover for another year. It is all cleaned and winterized and ready to be tucked in.
I just hope the storm that's a brewin' stays outside and doesn't let itself in. I've got things to do.
I forgot to mention yesterday, that one of the things that really spurred me on for my do-over day on Saturday morning was that the kitchen elf struck, in the form of my youngest daughter, and the kitchen was clean when I got up.
I usually clean the kitchen before I go to bed, but I guess there is no explanation needed considering the mood I was in on Friday. Some days I just let it go and figure I'll take care of it in the morning, but I hate waking up to a messy kitchen, so often, even if I think I'm going to leave it, I'll take care of it right before I got to bed. So to wake up and find it all tidy on a day I was determined to have a do-over, was rather spectacular.
Anyway, I took the dog to the groomer this morning. Poor old dog. She sleeps in my youngest daughter's room. If you remember, my youngest is a night owl so sleeps until late morning, and Pip has been sleeping right along with her, sometimes into early afternoon. She's fifteen now. I had to wake her up for her early morning beauty appointment and she was not particularly happy about it.
Her groomer is in a nearby neighborhood which takes me past the elementary school my kids attended. The school's electronic sign posts all the late arrival days and days off for teacher workshops. Driving by there and being reminded that this week is a late arrival day, which used to be met with cheers from my kids, was a different kind of surreal. I don't have to care.
Although I'm happy they are out of the school system now, they are dealing with adult situations now. And I can't help but long for those elementary school days when problems were easily handled with hugs and a walk in the park.
These days it takes at least a container of Ben and Jerry's.
Coffee with Gleigh
These are my morning musings. Have a cup of coffee with me and we'll solve the problems of the world, or at least laugh at them until they make sense!