Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Well, it's over. And we did it.

We had mashed potatoes, turkey, pork tenderloin filets, sweet potatoes, corn pudding, green bean casserole, radishes and onions, and desserts that included cheese cake and tollhouse pie.

This is pretty much what we have every year but this year we changed it up a little bit. We went easy, breezy, and a tiny bit sleazy. The mashed potatoes were cooked, mashed, and seasoned when I bought them. So were the sweet potatoes (the best Mr. Right ever ate). I made the corn pudding from scratch but it was the best we'd had in years because I finally had the original recipe. (That page has been missing from my ancient recipe book for a long time but a few weeks ago I found a website that replaces missing pages at a very reasonable price and I finally have it back in its rightful place.) Beth brought the brown 'n serves, the green bean casserole, and the tollhouse pie. Amy made the cheesecake and was on hand to help with what little we still had to do from morning til night.

And we tried the 500 degree turkey roasting recipe. Two hours. That's it. While it rested and its carving process was begun, we heated the ready-made potatoes and casseroles. And it was golden. Perfection! Easy.

I intend to do this every year. Because Thanksgiving is about family and good eats and it doesn't have to include a solid day of back breaking, everything from scratch, labor.

Now I finally know that for sure.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Capture - Food II

This week's You Capture assignment was FOOD. Yum. And it so happened that this past weekend I took a trip to Kentucky and had dinner with daughter #4 and she knows how to find the restaurants!

The entree:

That was good, and I enjoyed every single shrimp, but the dessert? The dessert was the best I ever had:

And this photo is just to prove that I did share it......or at least I let Sarah grab what she could between my lightning fast (while still savoring with eyes closed) bites:

For more food captures or to post your own, go to ishouldbefoldinglaundry.

500 Degrees and Roasting

Mr. Right and I were shopping Monday evening for our holiday feast. Previously we've tended to shop the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving but, now that I'm retired, I have to admit we're getting better!

Anyway, while we shopped, he mentioned that he had heard on the radio that many people are now roasting their turkeys at 500 degrees. According to these guys, the turkeys come out crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside AND they only have to bake for a couple of hours or even less depending on the size of the bird.

I'm going to try it for sure. I've often wished I had more than one oven especially on holidays like Thanksgiving. Since that doesn't seem to be an option, cutting the roasting time from 5 or 6 hours to 1 or 2 will definitely free up some oven time.

I promise to record how it turns out including pictures! No matter what.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Eyes Really Do Deceive Me

Many years ago, when I was a bartender in a small neighborhood tavern, one of my regular customers told me he was overweight because he didn't perceive himself as overweight. Interesting.

Ever since I retired, I've battled, or at least sparred with, my weight. When I was working, I was walking about 9 miles a day and I could eat whatever I wanted to. When I retired, I didn't walk at all but I ate whatever I wanted to. I realized this was a problem so I started walking everyday (almost....when I felt like it.....and had time.....and wasn't traveling.....or feeling uninspired). And I started to watch what I ate. Really.....I watched every single bite that I put in my mouth.

And I gained weight steadily. I gained a solid 15 to 20 pounds in just a couple of months. I didn't like it and I was pretty self conscious about it but I didn't feel like I looked that bad.

Then, this weekend, as I drove along on my way to Kentucky, for some reason I happened to look down. And there it was. A great big entity bulging out of my seat belt. It was shocking. And in quick succession I had two other enlightening moments. Before I left on Sunday, Sarah took a picture of me with the kids. Unfortunately when I downloaded them, I let Mr. Right look over my shoulder to view them and there it was again. Where on earth did that come from?

Holy Cow! I didn't know.

Later in the evening, I was enjoying a few Quakes (you know, little cheddar rice cakes that are low in fat and calories unless you eat 5,000 of them which I habitually do). For some reason, I sat down at Mr. Right's computer and there in his monitor, which was off, was a reflection of my giant entity. And my big big shoulders. I actually felt kind of confused. Was that really me? And suddenly the Quakes didn't taste as good and I wasn't craving them like I had been.

So how do I deceive myself? I think that when I step in front of a mirror I subconsciously prepare myself. I look where it's safer to look and maybe I stand a little straighter, pull my stomach in a little, and try to put a pleasant look on my face.

It's just when I'm not prepared that I see what my eyes have been keeping from me. And maybe, if I would perceive myself as I really am, I could win this sparring match with my weight gain. And maybe even turn it into a battle that I could win.

Don't get me wrong. I still love being 63 and retired and life is still sweet. I'm just starting to realize it could be a lot sweeter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Zoom Zoom

This weekend I got to zoom down to Louisville to spend some time with my youngest daughter. She's 36 weeks pregnant and, on her doctor's advice, stayed home while her husband and children visited his family about two and a half hours away.

Being "large with child" (this does not mean she is large only the part of her carrying the baby is large - she's still small) makes things more difficult for her which in turn makes things more sweet for me because I was NEEDED. I could be so helpful. This time could go toward making up for all the time that I can't spend time with her because she's 300 miles away. I could help her get ready for Christmas, we could shop together, and best of all we could have lunches and dinners together. It was the BEST!

Then on Saturday night and Sunday morning I got to spend some time with two of my precious grandchildren that I just don't get to see enough of.

So I zoomed down there in 4 hours on Friday and zoomed back in 4 hours on Sunday. I got to take advantage of the blessing of being retired and the 'new to us car' that we hadn't taken on a long road trip yet. I did it all by myself and felt good about every moment of it.

Life is sweet when you're sixty-three.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

You Capture - Sunrise Sunset

I absolutely LOVED the You Capture subject this week because I absolutely love taking pictures of the sunrise and especially the sunset (you know, because it's so much more accessible). Anyway, unfortunately it's been one crazy week (think wedding, fake Thanksgiving dinner, etc.) and I didn't even look at the subject until Tuesday. And ever since, the weather in this area has been so dismal that I was lucky to get any pictures at all. They're not great but I got pictures that I wouldn't have gotten without this You Capture assignment so it's all good. Oh and it's all sunset.

What's really crazy is that all these pictures are of the same sunset taken within about 10 minutes of each other.

For much more beautiful sunrise sunset shots, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry and consider joining the fun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mary! Duck Your Head!

Of course, that frisbie was nowhere near Mary's sweet little head but it did seem to line up alarmingly well in the picture.

Saturday was a beautiful day for being outside or for being saucy and flirtatious for your husband.

Brian might not look like he was impressed with her incredible sense of style but he was just being shy.

Beth did a post today about finding out the sex of her baby and it included a rare picture of me that I don't hate. Thanks, Beth. If this doesn't prove that she's a great photographic editor, nothing will.

And I saw this interesting note in the paper last night. On this date in 1909 the same newspaper included this note: Football in the county took its toll on Saturday. Two were killed, four were fatally injured, and 16 were seriously injured.

WOW! I guess today's safety equipment has an even bigger impact that I could have imagined. And we can only be grateful that those four people who were fatally injured, weren't killed. Whew! Seriously though, can this be right? Football would have been even more dangerous than war, right? Yikes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Look How Far We've Come!

I was editing vacation pictures from last summer and ran across this shot. Not only do I think it's beautiful, but I think it says a lot!

Don't you?
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Veteran's Day

Wednesday was Veteran's Day. Mr. Right always says that that's the day when all the Veteran's have to work. This cynical observation probably had it's roots in the fact that every Veteran's Day I would have the day off and I'm not a veteran while he had to work and he is a veteran.

Wednesday he came home from work and said that he had seen on the internet that veterans could eat free at Applebee's. We looked into it a little and the article said that there were a variety of documents one could take with them to prove that they had served in the military..papers like the DD214 which is the discharge document from active service. Well, nobody carries that around especially after almost 40 years. So I called Applebee's to see if our local restaurant was participating in this event and the manager who answered the phone assured me that they were. Then I asked what proof we had to bring and he pointed out some of the documents that were listed online. Since we didn't have any of those handy, I said how about his membership card from the American Legion where you have to be a veteran to belong and he replied, "Sure, I'll take that". How agreeable.

The impressive thing about this 'free veterans dinner' offer turned out to be not the offer itself so much but with what class Applebee's conducted this event.

First of all we were in there a couple of weeks ago and were surprised to see them decorating extensively for Veteran's Day. There were flags, red white and blue lights, and bunting everywhere so obviously it was a big deal for them. When we arrived, we were seated immediately and the service was exemplary. The dinner was delicious and I especially love the wonderful Weight Watchers friendly meals that they offer. Even if you're not doing Weight Watchers, it's a healthy alternative to most calorie and fat packed meals. Anyway, we had a wonderful meal which we appreciated very much given it was half price and we went home.

Since that evening, we've heard of several other restaurants that offered free meals for veterans and I think that is a wonderful thing. Even ex-servicemen from Mr. Right's era, when you didn't enter the service because you were brave and patriotic but because you were drafted and you didn't have a choice, were honored. I'm impressed that these restaurants recognize the value of the service regardless of why it was served; just that it WAS served and served honorably.

Hats off to Applebee's and every other restaurant that showed their appreciation for the men and women or once did or are now helping to keep our country free.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Is Our Backyard Stubborn?

I like to mow-rake. Its much more fun than raking and I think it's good for the lawn because the nutrients stay right here rather than getting shipped off to a landfill. And mow-raking works well as long as you don't get too far behind because of unseasonably cold, wet weather like happened to us a couple of weeks ago in the front yard.

We didn't have that problem in our tree-filled back yard because for some reason the trees in the back yard can't let go of their leaves in a timely manner.

About a week ago we mow-raked the back yard and it wasn't that bad because so many leaves remained in the trees. Then our mower went on the fritz and we had to impose on my brother to fix it for us. Yesterday we got it back and I mow-raked almost the entire back yard. There was just a 15 foot strip across the back that I couldn't get to before dark and exhaustion set in.

So this morning I went out to finish and it was raining - not water - but leaves. I had to keep going because if they get too deep, mow-raking can't be done and I didn't want to real rake.

Then I looked around. Look at our neighbors' trees.

The only tree he has left with leaves on the one hanging over our back yard.

Now look at ours.
And watch while I mow-rake what I just mow-raked last night.

And look where I just mow-raked a few minutes ago.

Now what does this have to do with 'Musing of the Sixties'?

I'll tell you. This morning I got to take my grandchildren to school while their mom went to the doctor for a very important appointment.

Then I came home and played on my computer for awhile.

Then I mow-raked and, while I was at it, fooled around taking pictures and writing a post for my blog.

I could do all this because I'm in my sixties and most importantly, retired. I really don't care when our leaves fall. I just thought it was interesting and I wanted to talk about it.

So I did. Because I can. Whenever I want. This is the life.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You Capture - Photographer's Choice

You wouldn't think this subject would be a struggle but it was for me. At least until I got going. Beth's goal at ishouldbefoldinglaundry is to get us out there taking pictures and she's done it again. Once I realized that the object was to capture interesting or good quality photos, I looked around my house and stepped outside the back door and viola!

First my eyes fell on my new 'breakfast of champions' formulated to fit my new goals and, hopefully, lifestyle. I set up my shot, clicked, and cropped and came up with this. It's not too exciting but it's a picture I wouldn't have attempted without You Capture.

Then I remembered that I had not fed my koi babies and thought I'd try to capture their 'breakfast of champions' formulated by me from a variety of koi foods and a coffee grinder:

It only followed that I capture some of the babies who thrive on this strange concoction. Anyone who looked at my blog from the very end of June until the middle of July or so will be amazed at how they've changed from tiny little threads to real potential koi. (This picture was harder than it looks and required me to turn off the flash and use my tripod.)

Taking the baby koi shots reminded my of their moms and dads hunkering down for the winter under their protective netting which is designed to keep out leaves, debris, and predators. My poor camera was begging me to tell it whether I was trying to get the leaves, the net, or the koi underneath and I didn't know how to tell it the koi. So it did the best it could. I have so much to learn.

And then I turned to the obvious. Even though most of the beautiful leaves are now on the ground, there's still beauty (and a few leaves in the trees) out there for me to capture.

I love Beth's You Capture series because it forces me to evolve in my photography and I get to look at so many amazing pictures that other bloggers have taken. It's awesome! So visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry to share in the fun. You'll never regret it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Busy Day, Disappointment, and Triumph

Today my sister and I went shopping. It wasn't your everyday shopping either. We were shopping for a wedding dress for her and a maid-of-honor dress for me. This is her second marriage and we're all very happy for her. And I'm especially excited that I get to be her attendant. When she got married for the first time over forty years ago, I wasn't able to be here. Mr. Right was in the Air Force and we were stationed in the southern tip of New Mexico. Unfortunately, money was tight and I had a new job so a quick flight to Indiana was out of the question. Truly, it broke my heart.

She's my only sister and we're only a couple of years apart in age. We've always been very close. I never could have foreseen that I might not be there when she got married.

Now, this second, small wedding is only a little over a week away and I'm a little nervous and very excited.

Shopping was a bit of a trial since I've packed on about twenty pounds since I retired but I'm determined to not let it put a damper on the occasion. And I think I've finally got my mind right on changing the weight gain into weight loss. We'll see.

So we had a busy day, I was disappointed that nothing fit, but I'm still optimistic and determined to change that weight problem around.

And ultimately, nothing could be sweeter than her wedding and my part in it. After forty years, It's time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mediterranean Salad - Yum

My cousin recently sent me an email with an alert. It seems she bought a bag of Dole Mediterranean Salad. The ingredients are healthy and sound so appealing....a blend of escarole, leaf lettuce, radicchio, and endive.

But, fortunately, my cousin is a conscientious, meticulous type person. She buys 'ready to eat' salads and washes the ingredients before serving them.

Who does that?

As it turns out, it's a good thing she does because the ingredient list should have read....a blend of escarole, leaf lettuce, radicchio, endive, and green stinkbug. Because that's what was in there. Are you cringing? I am. Especially because the color of the bug blends so nicely with the other ingredients.

Now I'm squinting and wondering how many green stink bugs I've eaten in my life. oh no.

So here's your fair warning. Wash and carefully check your ready-made salads because all the ingredients might not be listed on the package.

But there is good news. The 'ready to eat' salad mix didn't have any preservatives in it. So there you go.