Hard times

Try entering things with your right hand after you’ve had it operated on and see what difficulty doing that you have……… You would actually think you were doing better in yet a little thing like holding a dish you’re moving up and you get the tweaking your arm and then your fingers it says you shouldn’t be doing this… So I’m working my way back up the food chain wishing every reader a happy very happy and healthy 2016 and hopefully I’ll be back to actually typing in the blog after the new year. 

 

Blech….

I am due to have a procedure done tomorrow. Quite frankly, I am a little nervous.

When you have had as many surgeries I have, and,thank God, lived through it, you try to be cavalier about it.

This is a different story.

I am in a new town. My doctors are new. I am not really familiar with the hospital. They gave me directions on how to walk through the unit.I thought to myself I have no freaking idea how to find it. Oh yeah, that’s right. I am adult: I know how to ask a question.

If you can throw a prayer or send some good mojo my way tomorrow morning, it would be greatly appreciated. I need all the help I can get.

Thanks. 

 

Party

I am rude.

I am at a family gathering on the phone, doing, of all things, a blog post.I am not the only one.

  
It’s rough when you aren’t a parent, or have made all the conversation possible, and you’re supposed to, uh, twiddle your thumbs?

I guess folks won’t invite me back if they think I’m rude. My guess is they are too busy talking to notice.

Christmas Week Warmth…

…is what they are talking about on the Weather Channel.

  
This was the sunrise shot from the east,as obviously I am not at the ocean.Yet, three minutes after I took this shot, the heavy drizzle commenced.The girls and I are old hat at weather, but as I said my morning prayers as we walked, I prayed for those folks affected by the tornados in the south and Midwest-until it happens to you, you have no clue of major life upheaval, that is, if you are fortunate enough to escape with your life.

I’ve read of people saddened at missing Christmas with extended families due to weather.Fortunately their families encouraged them to stay out of harms’way:they felt their present was to have their loved ones for Christmas coming.

I am going through nothing like this, thank God.My weather is in my heart where it’s raining tears, missing MY dad and MY mom and family I can’t be with.I can only pray for the day to be back with them.This Christmas I will have a smile on my face and get comfort knowing I’ll be with them again one day.This is nothing next to the poor 6 people who died in the tornados.

If you are traveling please be careful.May the protective hedge of the Divine Being keep you safe,

Merry Christmas and safe travels ! 

 
From me and Kasia,whose tongue is always going,,,,

  
And from me and the Zush🌲🎀🐶

  
And from Jim

Vanilla Biscotti- from Food website

My brother-in law makes biscotti and gives them out at Christmastime. I am a purist who enjoys anything vanilla.

I have made these twice now and boy are they good! I figured I’d share the recipe. I gave a few of my friends trial bags and they said they were pretty good.

SERVINGS
36
YIELD
3 dozen biscotti
UNITS
US
6 tablespoons butter
2⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 -2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one large (about 18″ x 13″) baking sheet.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. At low-speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until smooth; the dough will be sticky.
Plop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Shape it into a log that’s about 14″ long x 2 ½” wide x ¾” thick. Straighten the log, and smooth its top and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here. Note: For extra-long, bistro-style biscotti, pat the dough into a lightly greased 12″ x 5 1/2″ biscotti pan.
Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool on the pan anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes; just work it into the schedule of whatever else you’re doing in the kitchen. Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the log, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti much easier.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F Wait another 5 minutes, then use a serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 1″-2″” slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal—for fewer, longer biscotti. As you’re slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they’ll topple over during their second bake.
Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, till they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They’ll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they’ll continue to dry out as they cool. Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
Variations: Add up to 2 cups nuts, dried fruit (dried, not fresh), or chips to the dough, along with the flour. Adjust the spice to suit the add-in, if desired; e.g., add 1 teaspoon cinnamon with 1 cup chopped dried apple and 1 cup diced pecans. Or substitute hazelnut, butter-rum, or your favorite flavor for the vanilla. A classic Italian anise biscotti is made with 1/2 teaspoon anise extract (or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon anise oil, to taste), and 1 tablespoon fennel seeds.

Enjoy!

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SNL Christmas Special

Well, normally I could catch White Christmas on actual television the night before my birthday, but this year it seems not to be.It’s kind of weird, as there are a lot of years I missed SNL so I never heard some of this stuff.

I am thankful for having another year under my belt.I am so grateful that Zosia has made it through a medical up and down year, and is still hanging in, and that Kasia is more of a love bug than I ever could imagine.I am happy that I almost have a full year of city retirement under my belt.I am thankful for my family, and I miss them: things would be good if I got to see them more.

Most of all, thanks, Gentle Reader, for hanging in for another year of my posts: you are appreciated more than you can imagine.

It lasted till the end …

…of 55.

We have a surgeon’s appointment in the area for me today, due to a fibroma grown in my forearm. This bastard is leaning on some nerves in my right arm, and the end result is my lack of sleep.

Tomorrow morning I have a 6 month appointment with the dentist.

Not too bad for the year to date. Two general practice visits, one surgical visit, two dermatology appointments**singing in best 12 days of Christmas voice** and one trip to urgent care….

I hesitate to talk it up, but we are a week short of one year of retirement, and I feel like I am spitting in God’s eye.I am hoping we can keep this up.

  

One Day at a Time

I went to my friend’s Christmas party and managed to keep a smile on my face.

I socialized with folks, heard stories and responded to them and questions. I tried to keep an interested look on my face. My heart was just not in it.

It kicks me in the butt, though, because December used to be my time, birthdays of Mom and me and later Greg, my nephew.Christmas, of course.When you live in a house full of holiday malaise it is rough to get the spirit,let alone keep it going. I got home tonight and heaved a large sigh, as I was happy it was done. Don’t get me wrong: it was a great party and the food and drinks were excellent.

I just need to get through the holidays.

I remember a happy time.Of late,it has not been.I paste a smile on my face for folks and wish them a Merry Christmas, but my heart is not in it.I pray all the time when I am walking the girls,and my mind is just filled the mundane and pressing thoughts of daily life.Perhaps if things were different, I’d feel differently. I respect and love the season: I really do.

Right now though, I am just living for January.

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Christmas Parties

We have another Christmas party to attend tonight.

I am convinced it’s a communist plot to get me out of my Danskin hoodie and make me actually brush my hair and put on some lipstick. After all, I am retired, but, as I constantly say, I have to be in this neighborhood for a long time, so you have to socialize with friends and neighbors.

This social schedule makes me double-time my Fit Bit stepping, and add the fact that it gets darker a little quicker makes it an issue for me. I try to get Zosia’s medicine in her and then we try to go and a decent walk in.Not only does it get my steps in but it gets both girls some exercise and empty tanks, as a rule.

Please be careful, dear reader,if you are out and about, as you realize that alcohol, in some form, is usually at a holiday party.After all, it would be nice to be able to see many more holiday parties for years to come.

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Greg

In the line of family birthdays, my nephew/Godson Gregory is December 19th.

We managed to spend time together on the train when he went to Temple University and I worked in town. We had many good talks together and I miss those times.

He is now a graduate student at Saint Joseph’s University and is also busy working. I am very proud of him and wish him all the best life has to offer.

Happy birthday Greg!

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Mom

  
I was lucky to have my Mom around for 51 of my 55 years. December 18th is her birthday and I am certain someone in heaven made her a 1-2-3-4 cake.

The picture above is Mom with one of her grandchildren. Matthias was not quite 2 when this picture was taken at my godparents 60th wedding anniversary. Mom loved all her kids and grandchildren:she loved the whole family.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. I know she is happy with my family in heaven: it takes some of the sting out of the heartache.

Happy birthday in heaven, Mom. Miss you like crazy!

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Cutthroat Kitchen Holiday 

I usually make chocolate covered pretzels and peanut butter cups and candy bars for my neighbors as their Christmas present. I even made pizelle and chocolate chip cookies this year. Well, tonight,I finished it all up.

To relax I put the food network on and am watching my favorite show,Cutthroat Kitchen.Now they are running the holiday versions of the show.

I have enjoyed Alton Brown, the host, from his early days on the network, especially for his wit.The premise of the show is to get four chefs and put them through a ton of sabotages.In short, when your back is aching from working in the kitchen,watching these chefs takes the ache away because you’re laughing a lot. 

 

Sunny,er Stormy Weather

The girls and I went down to the beach this morning. As I led us down the street, I looked over the bay and said,” huh?” 

 
As we went further down the street toward the bay, the words global warming went through my head as I looked toward the right. 

 
After all the warm weather we had the scenes in front of my eyes screamed December is here. You can imagine my shock when I looked over to my right. 

 
You could actually see the line of demarcation on the large cloud, and the picture doesn’t give the full brilliance of the turquoise sky.

This definitely was a unique walk: you know that living by a bay has weather action potential.I am sure we’ll see much more.

One,Two,Cha-cha-cha

So back to the governmental tango I hinted at yesterday.

I had to bring a form that was supplied to me by an agency;in fact, the agency gave me the form. We drove 30 miles and guess what? It was the wrong form I was given. The woman was quite nice: if I got back by 5 pm, she would honor my 9:10 appointment. We go to the original agency, got a second form which the girl had trouble accessing. She, in fact,ended up using white out on it. Back to the second agency…oops, can’t use a form with white out.

I finally asked the woman if I could go home and print it out.Long story short?

Third time was the charm.

**sigh**

Full Plate

Big day tomorrow.

I get to tango yet again with state government tomorrow.

Yes, again.

Any prayers or good mojo you can put out there for me tomorrow would be greatly appreciated. It gets a little frustrating,getting letters in the mail informing you that yet again, you are on the state’s dance card.

**sigh**

Hopefully, prayers will be answered.

Big Ballet

I was cruising through the cable stations looking for something to watch.

The Ovation network is running a series called” Big Ballet”, which is filmed in the United Kingdom. I missed the first episode and came in on episode two. I find it refreshing that they have former ballet students, who obviously knew their steps not that long ago, come back for a role.

This rehearsal and prep was for casting for “Swan Lake.” The twist on this is the dancers are size 14 or larger. Don’t think 300 pound dancers, but just dancers with a few years and pounds under the bridge.At first it was odd to my eye to watch, but hey, I wish I could dance like they do.

I intend to follow this series: it looks interesting.

#BigBallet

Hair today, not Tomorrow …

Despite our beach walk this morning, I have managed to sneak a hair appointment in for this afternoon. It’ll be kind of weird because Diane, who normally does my hair, won’t be there.

She is home recuperating from a knee replacement : ironic, isn’t it ? Unlike me, she only needed one. However, she had to be out through January, as she is on her feet all day, so they have to make sure her knee is ok.

The girl doing my hair today, Diane assures me, is good…we’ll see.

**fingers crossed**

  

Flip flop weather 

  
What’s wrong with the above picture is that there are usually a ton of people on that porch, hanging around, drinking coffee or sipping cocktails.

But it’s December, right?

  
What a gorgeous day to return for our mid-morning beach walk. I let the girls get their feet wet, the air reminiscent of spring, no one around…it was fabulous.We easily walked 2 miles and in honor of my buddy Belinda,even found two pieces of sea glass.

  
Days like this are tough to take…NOT!

#Iamblessed

Beachcomber December

One of the perks of living bayside is the quiet of off season.

  
The girls and I took our lunchtime walk to the bay, and they humored me by letting me look for Cape May diamonds,shells ,colorful stones and sea glass. I, thanks to my buddy Belinda, have really gotten into sea glass.

  
Even though I cast a larger shadow over them,they dictate which way they want to go, as I know ,although I am the Mom,they get their way so everyone is happy.It was fabulous to be on the beach, even if I had to yell at them to stay out of the water-too cold! 

 
Kasia loves the beach and was ready to keep going.

  
Zush was a trooper and was waiting for me to turn back.

We’ll try to get a walk or two in again before the weather changes.

Pups and Leaves

What is it about dogs and leaves?

  
I could have a completely clear pathway to walk and my girls just pull me toward the side of the leaves. Yes, they want to pee on them, that’s a given. Most of the time, thought, they are sniffing something: if it was a pup friend who was there before them, a dead animal or whatever- my girls are Pup CSI. 

  
They have a thin layer of mucus on their nose, I read somewhere, and this is a part of their DNA for sniffing.The thing that ticks me off is bugs still stay close to the ground,and the girls don’t need any trouble.

I’m ready for the snow- let’s get rid of the bugs.

Ungluing

One of the drawbacks of having to deal with governmental paperwork is feeling as though I am back in the city stuck in a cubicle.You have to compile all the paperwork to submit, or then to verify and..**sigh**

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So in honor of ungluing my butt off this chair, I am going to go, despite the fact I already have my 15,000 Fit Bit Zip steps, and the girls and I are going to go outside.There is nothing of note on cable, which always has me shake my head that there is NOTHING calling my name to watch.In fact, I have Working Girl on as background noise, and after all the times I have seen it over the years, I can probably recite the dialogue by heart.

“I have a head for business, and a bod for sin…anything wrong with that?”

Fresh air waits. See ya!

Ronald

  
I met Ronald McDonald last night after the Christmas Parade.

Yes, I know… Ronald McDonald?

He was there in all his glory and you know what? He was an awesome guy. 

Jim and I watched his interaction with people and he was very sociable and kind. Yes, I know, part of the job, but he genuinely was nice and a joy to talk to.When talking to the two of us, he was articulate and funny.

We got to see the reaction from kids and it really tickled us. They knew him from the television, had big smiles for him, and it reminded me of Art Linkletter’s” Kids say the darnedest things.” He had worked some magic tricks for them and they were intrigued.

  
Granted, I never expected to meet him, but a nicer ambassador for the company McDonalds’ never had.

  
#RonaldMcDonald

Christmas Malaise Conquered

I just came back from the Wesr Cape May Christmas parade.

  
Met my buddy and neighbor,Linda and that  was a nice surprise. It always amazes me that there are so many bands that participate. We even managed to catch some string bands and caught the audio: the lighting sucked, though.When you are in a hurry to run and catch the music, well, it happens.

  
But most importantly I got to see some Christmas lights. If that doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will.

  

Aloof, er, A Leaf

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Leaves are, pretty much, a big thing around here.

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This picture of the barest of trees equal one thing: a pile of leaves on the ground.Unlike the big city, here, you are told to bring your unbaked leaves to the edge of your property and, on an assigned date, the township comes up and collects them. Don’t dare to add any branches, twigs or the like, or pull out your dead summer plants to add to the mix, as they will not take them. They are quite adamant about leaves alone.

The trick is that the leaves start falling late September or early October, and our leave collection isn’t normally until the second week of December.Until that time, usually, the trick is to keep other people’s leaves from blowing back on your lawn that you just raked. It is a never-ending vicious cycle.I have learned since I have been down here, that the oak are the last to lose their leaves, so the dead leaves still remaining on the tree seem to tease you as you look up and see them.

No worries,though.Snow will be here soon enough.

Holiday Malaise

Ok, so my tree is up but I haven’t managed to get out to see any Christmas decorations yet.
We were in Congress Hall the other week and it was Christmas-y but tonight was the actual tree lighting ceremony, but instead we are here.

Friends of Jim’s are coming tomorrow so the house got the once over today and instead of taking in the sights we are here at home.**sigh**

I probably will wait until later and try to catch a Christmas movie on tv, figuring that’s as close as I am going to get, for now.Actually, I have to keep an eye on Zush, as I suspect she is not feeling too well, so I’ll probably be monitoring her to make sure she is ok.

My sister has her Christmas decorations up outside, so maybe we’ll try to go out more when it is dark out, so at least there’ll be a little warmth of the season in my heart, until I can see some lights.

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Old Softie Redux

For lack of anything worthwhile on five zillion stations on cable, I put on White Christmas on Netflix.

Yup.White Christmas.

No, there’s no snow right now in Cape May, but as someone with a first day of winter birthday, I always felt I had squatters rights on this film. My parents watched movies on the television and White Christmas always seemed to air in time for my Mom’s or my birthday. I remember being in my childhood kitchen, and Mom and I turned the tv around into the kitchen so we could watch White Christmas while we made cookies.

#Thankful for those days

  

Soup Weather

I made a crock pot of ham vegetable soup and it’s been pretty good.Next stop on the bowl menu is turkey noodle.

Yes it is December, and now the winds are starting to play their part. In my daily try for 15,000 steps on FitBit zip,now I have to bundle up a little more.

The flip side is we get to go out and see Christmas decorations, and I am rewarded with some nice hot soup.

#Iamblessed

  

Aches of December

The one flip side of moving here to Undisclosed is the dampness of the bay.It is rough, especially on days like today,when it is rainy.

Sure, we walked down to the bay today to see the stormy weather, but I can’t lie: I think the three of us were soaking wet by the time we got back. It took us awhile, post drying with towels, to dry out.

All that’s left for me tonight is a hot shower and shampoo, then the Voice on the tv.I did my 15,000 fit bit steps-it’s time to rest.

Stay warm, folks.

  

A Piece of Dad

  
My Mom had made a ceramic Christmas tree many years ago.It hung in there for a while, and then, it broke.My Dad, ever the trooper, went out to ceramics and made a new tree for my Mom.

I got it out tonight and put it up. I added my little Goebbel/Hummel kneeling angel with Baby Jesus and a balsam candle.

I am smiling tonight because I feel Dad with me. It’s a good feeling!