Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pasta (briefly) but mostly, Miss Potter

If you haven't read my last post, go back and read it. Then read this one.

Two nights ago, I made spaghetti. My husband usually removes the bay leaf before he serves the kids. As I sat down, he said, "No bay leaf?" Yep, that's right. "Oh, I must have forgotten it." Man, it's getting pathetic. I made kosher hot dogs last night - no ingredients to leave out there! I'm beginning to lose confidence in my cooking ability. But that's not what I want to write about here.

I have been absolutely delighted with the movie, "Miss Potter", do you know of it? It is the story of Beatrix Potter, mostly during the time of her publishing, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". It covers her childhood briefly and her adult life in her early 30's. We have watched it several times this week and I get something different from it each time I watch it.

What I enjoy most about the movie is her journey towards acknowledging herself as an artist/writer. A published author. Giving herself those labels, to me, seem significant. She published her books at the turn of the century, no small feat for a woman. She was a tenacious woman, persistent by Victorian standards. The acting is great and the sweet romance is fun to watch. I enjoy quiet movies, safe movies (by all standards) and this is one of them. We let the kids watch it with us a few days ago and they enjoyed how the characters in her drawings would move when she spoke to them (a fun special effect but not cartoony, just subtle, and fun.) I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates lovely movies. Also, it's filmed in and around the areas of London where she lived, with some really beautiful scenery.

As a fledgling writer, I find myself watching this movie from that point of view. I am very familiar with all aspects of printing and publishing, having worked in the business for many years before becoming a mom. But having a book published - that is my goal. So that aspect of the movie is a thrill to watch. The first time she sees her book in a book shop window - I feel the joy right along with her.

Tonight, my daughter handed me "The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher" to read to her at bedtime. I looked at it in a different light. There on the credits page was Beatrix Potter's publisher's name, the same one in the movie! And looking at the characters in that book, I remembered things said and shown in the movie about them. It was too fun! I now see her books in a totally different way. A real person wrote them and now I know the "rest of the story". I love it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Read The Recipe

It's too bad there is no title given to moms who are famous for leaving out an ingredient (or two) when preparing a recipe. I would definitely be a finalist. What could that be called? Mrs. Always Something Forgotten? Mrs. Oops, Didn't See That? Mrs. Total Airhead?

Here's where I'm going with this ... on "my other blog at HSB" I posted, just a few days ago, about making a chocolate cake with my daughter. And if it weren't for her astute observation, I would have left out the sugar. O.k., it was funny at the time, we laughed and life went on. Tonight, I made a quiche, with bacon, Swiss cheese and broccoli. I decided to leave out the salt, on purpose, because I thought the bacon and Swiss cheese were salty enough. Well, I was wrong on that account so, lesson learned. Even so, my husband said the quiche was delicious - that is HIGH praise, folks! But later on, after dinner, my husband was just about to leave for work and was putting on his shoes near the door. I was standing there, looking at the quiche recipe. And I said, "Oh, I forgot the butter." He said nothing. Either he was silently shaking his head at yet another faux pas of his poor wife's cooking abilities or he just didn't hear me. Let's assume the latter, for my sake.

Before I sat down here, I got to thinking about just how often I do this. I either misread the measurement of an ingredient which sometimes results in a better outcome (but usually not), or I leave out an ingredient entirely. What's the problem? I don't know. And it concerns me. It's not age because I've done this for 20 years. I was young when I got married and first learned to cook from my dh. He sometimes makes fun of me because I usually stick so close to the recipe, I'm often afraid to wing it. And even if I do follow a recipe to the letter, the same recipe may not come out the same way, twice. Take my cornbread pursuit.

For years, I just made cornbread using the Jiffy brand mix. It's easy, it's always good, no problems. But when I started becoming a label-reader, I wanted to make a more healthy cornbread and began looking for recipes from scratch. I have tried several and I just can't get it right. There's one recipe for cornbread that I've made at least half a dozen times and it never comes out the same way. I don't know what the issue is. It perplexes my dh. That's not a surprise.

So every now and then, I buy the Jiffy mix just to save my sanity. What's a little lard, right?

Maybe I should just have my daughter read my recipes to me. She knew we needed the sugar in our chocolate cake and she didn't even read the recipe (she's not that good at reading yet!)

In the meantime, I'll muddle through. My family will be patient. And I'll look for a good sale on Jiffy mix!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Funny Postman

Last Saturday, our neighbors two doors down apparently had a family wedding. There were lots of cars parked all over the cul-de-sac we live on. One car parked directly in front of our house, as close to the driveway as they could get. This is no big deal except for the fact that our mailbox is located in this exact spot. We were told years ago to leave 2-4 feet in front of the mailbox to allow the postman (in his mail truck) to leave the mail without having to get out of his truck. We have followed this request faithfully, also not a problem since we seldom park on the street.

When I saw that car there, I was a bit irked. And it wouldn't have bothered me if it wasn't in my view for most of the day. I had a lot of dishes to do that morning and the car was in full view, all morning long, from my kitchen window. So I simmered. And I started worrying. We have a nice postman and all but this was out of my control. We didn't know who's car it was and I hoped it would be gone before the postman arrived (usually in the mid-to-late afternoon). I started making my excuses in my head long before he got there. I even wrote a note, saying we didn't know the owner of the car and apologizing for the inconvenience, and taped it to the mailbox. I don't know why it was bothering me so except maybe my hormonal-triggered anxiety state.

Later that afternoon, I was changing my clothes when I heard the mail truck go around our corner. I heard the brakes squeak as he pulled in front of our drive way and parked. I heard the gate. Then the doorbell rang. I was running down the hall, trying to zip my pants and shouting to anyone who was within earshot, "Get the door, please!" My husband finally answered the door and I heard the postman say, "You've got a vehicle parked in front of the mailbox, would you please sign this form." I pushed past my kids, who were crowded around my husband, and nearly shouted, "We don't know who's car it is!" The surprised postman stepped back and said, "No, no, I'm just kidding!"

Geesh! This seemed like such a set up, you know? I stammered just a sec, recovered and said, "I ought to thump you!" So, everyone laughed and we chatted a bit, lamenting on the inconsideration of the owner of the vehicle. Then we took our mail, thanked him and said goodbye. Before he left, I managed to say, "Hey, where's that form, we've got a shredder!"

I'm still a bit embarrassed about this situation though I still laugh at the irony. He'll never know just how worked up I was over that stupid car (although maybe I gave that away). Later that day, the car was gone. Still don't know who it belonged to. But I'll bet their postman isn't as funny as ours!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dancing in the Sun

Some of you know that I used to take belly dancing lessons (my instruction is not teaching at present - bummer) My last class was in March but apparently my daughter hasn't forgotten.

We were walking down our hill the other day and it was a rare, sunny afternoon. The sun was shining gloriously on the bay below. It was stunning. I said to my daughter, "Look how the water is shimmering in the sunlight."

She said, "I know what the water is doing, it's belly dancing."

I corrected her, "Well, yes, shimmying is a part of belly dancing but the water is actually shimmering."

She said, "Yes, it's belly dancing."

O.k., Carmen, you win.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Denim Deals

I was so thrilled by this, I had to post it. A few weeks ago, our local major department store (the only one in our county!) of which I've been a faithful card-carrying member since I was 16, sent me a coupon for $10 off any purchase. Wasn't that nice? I needed a new pair of jeans, so off I went (without kids).

I found a pair that fit, amazingly, and saw that they were $36.00. O.k., that makes them $26.00, still not bad. But when the clerk rang them up, they were actually on sale for $19.99. That made them only $9.99!

After a few days, that same store sent me another offer, this time 15% off any purchase if I used my card (of course, I'll use my card!) My dh always says that if you really like something, get two of them. So, back I went, the jeans were still $19.99 so I bought two pair, a dark and a light wash. The cashier not only gave me the 15% but she also gave me an additional % off (perhaps for my pretty face LOL) which made the price of each $14.94!

Now, I'm used to seeing boot cut, stretch jeans for $50.00 and up in catalogs (that's how I do most of my shopping). So to get 3 pairs of jeans for under $40.00 was awesome!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Good Things

My dh had a fun surprise yesterday. He went out of town for an appointment and when he was done, he stopped by a big grocery store for some things that cost more here in our area. He was in the check out and he turned around - behind him was my blog friend at leingangs! Isn't that amazing, that they were both there at exactly the same time? We have met and gotten to know her and her family, so my dh knew her right away. I know the Lord likes to surprise us with little things like that - running into someone you know when you are far from home is always a trip!

And something really terrific has occurred for mamaself - her military dh is HOME! It is such a joy to see her family all together, after his being gone for over 6 months. Praise the Lord for keeping him safe and also for taking care of his family. Mamaself is a strong woman - I encourage you to get to know her! (See my sidebar for links to both of these bloggers.)

Blogging has added more joy to my life. I love praying for my cyber friends and getting to know them is always interesting. Meeting one and her family has also been a joy.

So tell me, what has blogging added to YOUR life?