Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Wimbledon Whites

The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament started on Monday, the first of 14 days, in what is most likely the most prestigious tournament  of all.

Wimbledon is a British tradition, and no one does tradition better. There are the grass courts, and of course, the players all dressed in their tennis whites.

It seems strange, at first, after watching players in their bright and often neon colors. No colored shoes, socks, the matching shirts and shorts and the coordinated head and wrist bands.

I remember that when my Dad played, he wore all white. He played almost every day, at home and in Florida in the winter, and because he wore whites and, well, because sweating was involved, it meant a lot of laundry.

As my Mom was not big on housework, of which laundry is a part, Dad learned to do his own, as far as tennis clothes went.

But, a shirt, a pair of shorts, socks and briefs, don't make a full load. Dad would pull items from the dirty clothes to add to his light colored load. When the wash was done, he'd fold everything nice and neat, but he only put away his own clothes.

I guess he felt drawers were private, and arranged to the owner's preference. He would leave a small pile of Mom's unmentionable whites (usually T-shirts, bras and panties) on the foot of the bed for Mom to put away.

When I saw that little pile of clothes, I knew Dad had been doing laundry again, and it always made me smile.

This is why I watch Wimbledon, for the loving memories it inspires, of my Dad, my parents, both gone for too many years. Love and miss you both.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Payback, Gotta Love It

In an earlier post, I related the insult I felt when my granddaughter didn't have faith that I could get her to work on time, because I drive slow, or so she thought. The link to the original post is below.

I decided a little bit of payback was in order. I was to pick her up at school today, after her exam. Imagine the scene, so many cars in front of the school. lined up to pick up students, and all sorts of students exiting the school.

My girl got in the car, van actually, (Velma the van who also felt the insult) and we started 15 km an hour. I drove, hunched up over the wheel, and said "This is Granny driving!" I proceeded at this slow pace to the stop sign, where we'd leave school property.

There was a line of cars behind us, also going slow, as they had no other choice. My girl was freaking out, looking at the side view mirror and then twisting to see out the all those cars.

I was laughing. "Granny driving, granny driving."

She tried to explain, to apologize, to take back what she'd said. We made our way along the street, part of the convoy of slow moving vehicles. She was totally embarrassed, and I figured I'd made her suffer enough, almost.

We had lunch, and then I drove her, regular speed to pick up three of her friends, as I was going to drop them off at the park. As we pulled out on the main street, the busy main street, I said "Granny driving".

We made our way at slow speed as my dear granddaughter explained. we were all laughing, and I figured now, she had suffered enough.

Besides, I hate driving that slow, it was hard to maintain.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Addiction Enablers

Okay, I admit it, I am addicted to yarn. I try to limit my purchases, buying only when I have a specific pattern and project, but, it doesn't always work that way, Last winter, I went a little crazy at the Michael's Buy-One-Get-One-Free sale. A minor relapse.

People are always giving me yarn, as they know I love to crochet. Not too long ago I was given a basket of yarn, a big, big, basket, worthy of being a small coffee table. And the yarn was excellent.

I like working with cotton yarn, and there were numerous brand new skeins in an off white color, plus a couple skeins of varigated yarn, with some balls of coordinating colors.

Then, I found numerous skeins, some sort of rusty brown, the others a soft green, and I mean soft, baby soft. I was wanting to  make a couple of baby gifts, so I got right to work...and got carried away.

I love making these Lovies, a combination stuffed animal and security blanket, I've managed to use up a great deal of my left over yarn as I went along.

I have three more heads made, a grey cat, a white rabbit and a white ?something, waiting for their blankies. And then I think I'm done.

I still have all that cotton yarn, what shall I make, what shall I make?

Velma on a Road Trip

I made the tour out to my son's on Sunday, and we dined out at Mankado's, a really terrific food place, especially the loaded fries. Definitely not a heart friendly, low cal meal, but it was Father's Day, so we indulged.

I love my new camera, and take it with me everywhere. My son is great at indulging my creative ideas (hence the boards I scavenged from his garage). He knows I love abandoned buildings and knew of an abandoned house, so we set out on a road trip after dinner.

Velma (my van) drives for these trips, as we need the space for three adults and two kids. For a few minutes there I was afraid for the old girl, especially when my son turned down a road with a warning sign...un-maintained road.

The path was a narrow, dirt road, but very pretty as we meandered through the fields and woods. I was lost, this was more than back roads, and I had no idea where we were. Eventually we came back to pavement, so I figured we had basically driven around the block.

He found another road, this time warning no exit, and it seemed to go quite a distance before we came upon a deserted house and the old mill. There was a second house at the dead end, a beautiful, three storey brick, but whether it was abandoned, we weren't sure as the grass had been cut and it now looked as if someone was doing the maintenance.

The road was rough, and I couldn't imagine how difficult it would be to maintain in the winter. I like isolation, but this was an extreme case. I still like to have the option to leave the house.

I took my pictures, but would love to get back, and this time venture closer. Maybe in the fall when all the green has dies down, and the house can be seen better. I know my son will be up to another road tour, he's just like his father in that regard. So long as the roads are country.


Monday, 20 June 2016

Road Trip

Well, am I insulted, or what?

Yesterday, I was at my daughter's for her son's birthday, the one with the ice cream cake. My granddaughter was scheduled to work, and as that was in the other town, where I live, I said I'd drive her to work on my way home, save everyone else the trip.

But, we would be cutting it close, time wise, which of course, made the young girl fret. She told her Mom that if I was driving, we wouldn't make it on time...I drive slow apparently, and I don't take the highway.

I can hurry if I need to, but the last few times we've been out, we've been on a road trip, no hurry, no rush, no specific destination.

I'm going to have to sit this girl down and explain some of the finer details about driving. Road trip is like the words of that particular place to go. Day trips are a drive out of town with a specific destination, like when my friend and I tour to the north country or east to my favorite store.

Everything else is just...pick-up, drop off, errands or appointments. Driving with a purpose.

Yes, K. we will definitely be having a talk.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Birthday Cake

The day before his birthday, my grandson was excited, knowing his Mom and I were going to be, not baking, more assembling, his birthday cake. He had very specific ideas for what he wanted. Damn that YouTube, it gives these kids too much knowledge, and raises their expectations.

Because the picture he'd seen had chocolate syrup, sprinkles and a sugar cone, we made one smaller cake and decorated it just for him.

Of course, I think my peanut butter sauce makes all the difference. You can't beat the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

I'm sharing the recipe, but it comes with a tastes great all by itself and it's hard to open the fridge and not have a taste. You can find all sorts of ways to use it, on ice cream, dipping cookies, and my daughter likes it on bananas. Enjoy.

In a small saucepan combine:  3/4 cup peanut butter
                                                  1/4 cup light corn syrup
                                                  1/4 cup half and half (I use coffee creamer, 50/50 with water)        
                                                  2 Tbsp butter or margarine
Cook over medium heat, just until margarine melts and mixture is smooth, remove from heat.
Stir in 1/4 cup powdered sugar, beat until smooth and creamy.
Cool completely.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Some time ago, I was having lunch with my daughter and her kids, and when it came to the dessert, my grandson's choice was the ice cream sandwich, rather than a sundae.

I had recently been on Pinterest, and seen a recipe for making the cookie part of an ice cream sandwich, and made the mistake of mentioning it.

I found myself promising this 7 year old I would make them for his birthday. Well, his birthday is days away, and I've never checked out the recipe.

He never forgot, has mentioned it often, and the other day brought his tablet over and showed me a YouTube video of a cake made from ice cream sandwiches.

Remind you of an elephant?

No Frills kindly had boxes of ice cream sandwiches on sale, and as my daughter frequently reminds me, do it the simple way, don't make life difficult.

So on Friday, I'm making my famous peanut butter sauce to add between the layers of ice cream bars, then when all is done, we'll 'ice' it with Cool Whip. Taking the easy way out.

I've learned a lesson here. These kids never forget a thing, and I need to take care in what I promise.

Looks good, doesn't it?

And apparently so simple. Happy Birthday Cole.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Drapes and Depression

When I moved here, three years ago, I was delighted to finally be able to hang a pair of drapes that I loved, but had been unable to use. They were a big flowery print, in shades of dusty rose and burgundy, with a beige/off white background.

Since the walls here are builder beige, and I have so many dark colored bookcases, I liked the spot of print and color. My sofa sits in front of the picture window, a soft green that coordinated with the greenery in the print.

I hung a set of champagne colored sheers, and added the flowered drapes, but found that they were not wide enough to cover the window and could only be decorative side panels. Well, damn.

Not willing to give up the color, I switched the sheers for solid white rod pocket drapes. Not as nice as the sheers, but the new drapes allowed me some privacy, especially at night. The problem with rod pocket drapes is that you can't open and close them on the rod, you need to tie them back.

My drapes came with matching tie backs, and I inserted the hook to use them. I didn't take into consideration how much it hurt my back, leaning over the sofa, trying to tie the white drapes back, and doing it all behind the pretty side panels.

I gave up and stopped opening my drapes. I made my world smaller, and for that time that my back was such an issue, it was already quite restricted. This kind of situation can affect you more than you realize.

When my daughter moved, her living room drapes didn't work in the new house, and she offered me the old ones. It was a generous offer, but then she's a generous person, who hates flowery prints. The new-to-me drapes were a soft green, with a tone on tone design, and they looked great with my sofa.

I changed the drapes and changed my world. Gone were the solid white, the showy flowers, and in their place I had drapes I could open and close at whim, using my handy grabber, as the tops were those large grommets rather than pleats and hooks.

I have let the sun in, or my view of the winter's snow. I can see that there is a world out there, see the comings and goings of my neighbors. I realize I had shut myself off, in more ways than one.

With summer almost here, I'll need to close my drapes again, to shut out the heat. The downfall to a window that faces the sunset. But I found a solution. I bought a new pair of drapes, and hung them under the green, on a tension rod. Both sets have the grommet tops and can be moved easily across the rods.

The new ones are a light brown, to match my chair. When closed, I can view the outside, and though light and semi sheer, they give me a break from the too bright afternoon sun. When it gets hot outside, I can close both sets, and hope to keep my place a shade of cool.

Never again will I let myself live in the doom and gloom, it's too depressing. Let the sunshine in.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

On an Adventure

My fourteen year old granddaughter and I went on a picture taking road trip yesterday. I will admit we had fun, but we're scaredy cats at heart.

I love to take pictures of abandoned buildings, and on a road trip with my son and is family the other night, on our way to lacrosse, he showed me an empty and abandoned school. So that was out destination.

It was sad, to see the school over grown with weeds, the playground empty and neglected. The swing sets were still standing, but the swings removed, The climbing jungle gym rusted and lost in the weeds.

The side of the school closest to the road had the drapes closed, so we couldn't see in, but the other side had some boarded up windows, the drapes gone. We had a peek in, empty spaces, broken glass, silence.

My granddaughter looked in the back door, and we could see down the empty hall. It's just habit, I suppose, but she tried the door...and it was open. There was a sign posted on the inner door jamb, about private property and such, and I so wanted to venture in. My companion thought it was all creepy, and I admit it was eerie feeling. I only stepped in the door, took a picture and we left.

What a gutless pair we were. If I ventured back, I bet the door would be locked. I lost my chance. That's what you get when you play by the rules.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Table Trade Off

My daughter delivered my new table, assembled, of course. It fir the space perfectly, which is a lucky thing as I just pulled the wall width from my head, not always the most reliable source.

My granddaughter has been asking for a desk, so the timing couldn't have been better. I asked if she wanted anything painted on it, and she was happy with her name only. So I did her name in purple and black, (her room is painted purple), and bought her a black pencil and paper holder from the dollar store.

I asked if she wanted some ribbon on the black mesh like desk things, and she said yes. I used some satin ribbon from my stash and added a couple of bows.

Her Dad picked it up so she has her desk, and as this is my grandchild who loves to paint and draw, it should get some good use.

We talked about some summer projects last night at her brother's lacrosse game. Did I know how to make windsocks? Could we paint rocks? Could she do a canvas like I use?

Oh, it's going to be a fun summer.

New Tables All Around

I bought a new table yesterday, not the sort usually used indoors, but it suits my purpose. I have such a small space, the table I used, not to eat at or anything useful, seemed to work for storage only.

When I do art work I like to stand, and sometimes walk around whatever piece I'm working on. Impossible when working at the kitchen counter or a low table against the wall.

My new table is a counter height cart, I guess you could say. It has two wheels on one end, and legs on the other. I can easily move it away from the wall and walk around it, to work without killing my back.

It came in two boxes, but was delivered today, assembled and ready to use. I'm all set to start a new art project. But first, I have to paint my granddaughter's name on the old table.

It's old, and more of a desk than a table, with a handy small drawer in the front. Perfect for a little girl who loves to draw. I have to give her a signature on the tabletop that is as unique and inspiring as she is.

Finally, a family member interested in art. I can't wait to see where she can take it.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Where Have All the Gentlemen Gone?

I remember when I was a girl, and found it curious that when walking with my Dad, he kept moving from one side of me to the other. I asked him why he did that, and he informed me that a gentleman always walked on the curb side of the street.

A gentleman always held the door for a lady, took her arm or had his hand at her back, being thoughtful, and protective, I suppose. When a man is attentive like that it makes you feel cared for, and okay, not politically correct maybe, but it also makes you feel feminine.

I feel good that I raised my son right. He may not walk on the curb side so much, but he opens doors, carries loads, offers his arm in assistance. His son does the same, at age 11.

Friday night I went to the high school to watch the parade of grads, as my oldest granddaughter is graduating this year. The tradition in town is for all the grads to arrive for prom in old cars. One by one the old cars, some souped up ones, even a few trucks and floats, arrived and the grads exited and made their way to the school.

Some of their teachers formed a reception line, and shook hands with each student before the grads were introduced and entered the school. There was quite a crowd gathered on both sides of the street, friends and family eager to see their grad dressed in their prom finery.

What I found interesting is that for the majority of the time, the guys walked to the reception line and left their date to follow behind. And half the time they hadn't made any effort to help the girls from the car. What is wrong with these guys? Were they never taught any manners?

One couple arrived sitting in the back of a half ton truck, and it was going to be difficult for her to depart in a long dress and heels. She crouched down and he took hold of her at the waist and lifted her down. The crowd cheered, maybe because all of these parents and grandparents watching recognized the actions of a gentleman.

I think it's sad that all these young woman, dressed in such beautiful long dresses, and the young men in their suits, are missing out on that old fashioned kind of interaction between men and women. You know what I mean, that flirty feeling, finding that feminine mystique, feeling pretty and appreciated. and for the guys, a chance to be that gentleman, to be attentive, to be the strong male.

They looked fantastic, and I'm sure they had a great time at the prom, but for me, I feel they are missing out on something, that could have made their night even more perfect.

Maybe these young adults should watch some old movies, or even a few red carpet events to see how it's supposed to be done. Or at least how it was done, and done well, back in the day.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Living With Disappointment

My neighbor belongs to a group that meets every Thursday afternoon to play cards, and enjoys a pot-luck dinner after. When we were shopping earlier in the week, she bought what she needed to make peanut butter marshmallow squares, her contribution to the meal.

We share meals back and forth, and other tasty treats. It means we might have one less solo meal to cook, or won't be eating leftovers for the week.

I fully anticipated that she would share her peanut butter squares with me, as I shared my recipe with her and drove her around to get the required ingredients. And, oh look, it's Thursday.

I heard her knock at the door and watched her enter with my cookbook and the empty dishes I'd given her earlier in the week...full.

She was on her way home from the dinner, mentioned she had been to Costco the day before. She handed me a cookie/cracker thing, individually wrapped,  purchased by the box.

I had to ask. "Did yo make the squares for the dinner?"

She said "No," she'd make them the next week. So, I got this thin biscuit that looked like Melba Toast, with almonds and cranberries. Like a thin slice of biscotti, maybe?

I tell you, it was no peanut butter marshmallow square, and now that I've had my mouth watering for a taste, may have to make my own. It's a simple 3 ingredient recipe. One package of butterscotch chips mixed with 1 cup of peanut butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until chips are melted and mixture is well combined. Add a package of mini marshmallows (the colored ones make a colorful treat), mix and pour into a buttered 9x9 inch pan and refrigerate. Soooooo good.

This is one of my must do, expected, traditional recipes at Christmas, but I don't see any reason it can't be enjoyed as a light summer treat.

And then there's Ambrosia, or what I've always called 5 Cup Salad, now I want some of that too. I see a trip to the grocery store in my near future.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Poached Eggs

I was thinking my fondness for poached eggs came from the breakfasts I used to enjoy with a friend. After I left work, but before I left the city, we would meet for breakfast, before she went to the office.

We had the same thing every time, poached eggs on toast, with bacon.

I always thought there was a knack for making a good poached egg, so never attempted to make them at home.

So many restaurants offer an all day breakfast, and I've usually ordered scrambled eggs, until recently. Out with another friend, I threw caution to the wind, and decided to try poached eggs for a change, and they were excellent.

Last night I made a corned beef hash, and it needed a poached egg to make it complete. I remembered that another friend had given me two silicone cup things, for making poached eggs. They float in the boiling water, and you can put the lid on the pot, lower the heat and cook them to your desired level of doneness.

And they worked great. I added a touch of butter to the cup, and when it was melted, the egg. The cup floated, and never tilted even when the water boiled.

Dinner was very good, if I do say so myself. But today I had other memories coming back.

My Mom had an egg poacher that had four metal cups that sat in a frame in a special pan. You filled the pan with some water, added the rack, added some butter to each individual cup (before the nonstick era) and then the egg.

I also remembered that my grandmother made my grandfather a poached egg on toast every morning for his breakfast. I can picture him sitting at the table in their place in Florida, having his breakfast.

I'm adding poached eggs to my list of favorites, my list of comfort foods, there are just too many good memories associated with them.