Friday, August 28, 2009

tomato harvest

I've been away from the computer attending to family matters. I have a little time right now to assure you that I'm still around. I'll be brief.

Just an update on the tomato plant. The season is drawing nigh. Above you see the potted tomato plant. Below is the "abundant"harvest.
There may be only five but those five were good. Dad and I had them for breakfast one morning.

I've seen about three other tomatoes waiting to ripen. The harvest really wasn't abundant but
it was fun seeing the plant grow.

As for the basil plant, it is beginning to flower. I may save the flowers and try planting them in a clay pot since I've never tried to plant from seed. So far I've been picking the flowers off trying to extend its season. If I hurry I can make pesto and freeze it for use during the winter. Besides I have all of those little packs of crushed peanuts from McDonald's. Can't let those go to waste.

Friday, August 21, 2009

TV and digital converter


Before the converter I was able to pick up six stations. Albeit three of them were snowy. They weren't so snowy I couldn't decipher what was being shown. Now I get four stations. CBS,FOX,CM, ION.
<DVD player/recorder/converter sits in a chair on top of a box
I bought a DVD player/recorder/converter combination well ahead of the digital deadline. This combination wasn't available everywhere. I ended up making my purchase from Best Buy.

In addition to that, I bought a top of the line (at least that's what I was told) antenna that the Best Buy clerk said I should get if I didn't have PAY(translate rip off) TV. It turns out that I paid $50 for an antenna that I could have gotten for $19 or $20.

The antenna doesn't work unless I sit it on the floor. (It's resting on an ancient copy of quotes and sayings and a Reader's Digest condensed book. ) Sometimes it still doesn't work.
Any type of aircraft flying overhead causes the picture to blank out, stutter or pixillate. Can you imagine how aggravating this is? Just when the program is getting to an important point the picture is lost and so am I as to who killed the victim.

This is not aesthetically pleasing. If I want this to watch TV like normal people I will have to become a peon to cable TV or one of it's competitors.
I'm still thinking about it.
It's a conspiracy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BOOK REPORT: 90 Minutes in Heaven

Don Piper recalls his experience in heaven after a fatal car accident. Given up for dead, EMT’s cover Piper’s body with a tarp while they tend to other victims. For the next 90 minutes Piper experiences what he later describes as Heaven. He acknowledges seeing loved ones and friends that have passed on . He struggles to describe the peace, and beauty of the heavenly realm and the grandeur of the singing, both of which he is unable to compare to anything earthly. Returning to earth he is aware of someone praying, singing and holding his hand. What happens next defies the laws of nature and man. Paramedics unenthusiastically respond to the unknown prayer warrior’s insistence of medical help for a body which had been declared dead.
Over a period of eighteen months Piper battles depression, immobility, acute physical pain from his injuries and wonders whether his life will ever be the same. He questions why he was sent back to earth to endure such anguish and why he wasn’t allowed to remain in a place where he had never been happier.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Fig Thief

There is a dear family I have known for over 15 years. (I call them my second family). At one time there were two large fig trees in their front yard. If I remember correctly one was struck by lighting and had to be cut down. ( I wonder if this was punishment to the fig tree for allowing Adam & Eve to use its leaves as clothing?) Up until about eight years ago I’d alleged that I didn’t like figs. One day as we were standing out in their yard doing our final good- byes I was urged to try one, and I did.

WHY DID I DO THAT ?! I began to pick them and eat them right then and there. (No I didn’t wash them off, simply eyeballed them.) Those plump, sun warmed fruits were delicious.

Alas, another food I’d fallen for.

Their tree is always heavy with the fruit. Every year they let me know when they are ripe so that I can come over and pick my fill. I was so enamored with the fruit that I jokingly threatened to rob them of their fruit while they were unaware. I even sent them a Power Point presentation along with a story about The Fig Thief. Thereafter, whenever the figs became ripe, I’d get a call asking me to pass on to the Fig Thief that the figs were ripe. They seemed to get a kick out of it.

Things are a little different now with the family. There was a major life change which they are still healing from. I didn’t do a Power Point this time but I did write a very short Fig Thief story and sent it. I could tell it was enjoyed because the reply to the e-mailed story was:



Here is the 2009 version of The Fig Thief

Early one Saturday morning, an unknown entity descended onto the C. property.
Unbeknown to the occupants a fig thief was about to strike!

The culprit eyed the fullness of a tree laden with FIGS.

Striking quickly she helped herself to the luscious fruit, greedily devouring the savory fruit as she picked.

When she’d had her fill she stealthily planned her retreat with this reminder ;


Greed was the downfall of this low life. Law enforcement apprehended the fig thief at the nearby Texaco gas station.

Moral: She/He who overeats figs may wind up in the toilet.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Lemon Pudding or Pie ????

This recipe I clipped from an edition of the Wednesday, Birmingham News. The heading was listed as Diabetic pie recipes.
There was one for strawberry pie, lemon ice box pie, and peanut butter pie.
Here’s the recipe for lemon ice box pie:

* 1 lge. box sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
* 1 small tub Crystal Lite lemonade mix
* 2 cups skim milk or 1 % milk
(* I used almond milk)
* 1 16oz. container lite whipped topping
* 2 fat-free graham cracker pie crusts

a. Mix pudding mix and Crystal Lite mix; add milk
b. Whip as directed.
c. Add 2/3 c. whipped topping, folding into pudding.
d. Divide mixture between two pie shells
e. Top with remaining whipped topping

I chose to add about 4 oz. of cream cheese to give it a little stability. I’ve made it according to directions in the past and when cut it doesn’t present clean uniform slices but the filling tastes great. The filling just sort of oozes to the side and sometimes it takes a spoon to get all of the filling out that goes with the slice that was cut.

* At one time I was drinking soy milk (because of lactose intolerance). Almond milk was on sale one day (cheaper than the soy) so I decided to try it. Loved it! Almond milk also has less calories than soy or cow’s milk.


I have made the peanut butter pie in the past using condensed milk. I was pleased with the diabetic version also. This is the recipe for the diabetic one:

* 2 ½ cups skim milk or 1 % milk (I used almond milk)
* 1 large box sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix
* 4 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
* 4 TBS sugar-free peanut butter
* 4 oz. lite whipped topping
* 2 fat-free graham cracker pie crusts

a. Mix together milk and pudding mix
b. Add cream cheese and peanut butter, beating well
c. Add whipped topping, mixing well
d. Pour into pie crusts
e. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.
f. Cut each pie into 8 equal slices


I didn’t bother to pour the filling into a graham cracker crust. In the past the filling usually doesn’t solidify enough to cut it unless it’s slightly frozen. I had a box of graham crackers so I put some of the pudding in a dish and surrounded it with graham crackers.

Overall, I would suggest putting these pies in the freezer for a while so that they can harden to the degree that when cut will produce clean uniform slices.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mock Apple Pie

According to historians, mock apple pie had its origin during the pioneer days. Being that fresh fruit was not available during winter months, innovative cooks devised a method of making the all American, apple pie using soda crackers. I just wonder how American is apple pie? I found info on several kinds here.

Around 1935 the Ritz company came up with their version using their own brand of crackers. That is the recipe I used . I didn’t use Ritz. I used the store brand.

I’d like to tell you that I have step by step pictures of the pie in the making but folks it was 4:00a.m. during one of those , “I- can’t -get- back- to- sleep” nights. So I arose and made this pie.

I don’t know if printing the recipe would be copyright infringement so here’s the
link to the recipe.
NOTE: Instead of using 30 crackers I used the entire sleeve.
Another story goes that this pie has often been used in April Fool’s Day pranks. There’s more about someone named Magnolia Le Guin in an excerpt from the book Fakes, Frauds and Other Malarkey.
I had work that day so I took it with me and set it on the break room table. I didn’t bother to tell anyone what it was. ( I wasn’t being deceitful, just mum) Most people thought it was apple pie. A couple of people said it was good. Long before quitting time, the entire pie was gone. I revealed to a few people what it was. (I’m pretty sure they told the others)
I enjoyed the pie. It is not diet friendly or carb friendly or any other kind of friendly that involves eating healthy.
I’ve heard there’s a mock pecan pie. I plan to search for that one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Good Thing About Blogging

The thing I like about blogging is that I can talk about anything I want and no one can tell me to shut up. That is, they can say it but I won't hear them. If someone doesn't like what I'm blogging about they don't have to continue reading it. I won't know that they stopped after the first sentence.
Now there are some people who go to the trouble of sending mean comments. Most of these people have ISSUES in their own lives and they're looking for someone to pour their misery on.
That's OK too. Because I can simply delete their mad ramblings and move on. Now in the case of the insistent meanie, I'll block them.
Now if anyone wants to go to the trouble of using different e-mail addresses just to get through to leave mean comments then that person:
has too much time on his/her hands
should probably contact Dr. Phil
and yes, I'm flattered that you would go to that much trouble

Monday, August 10, 2009

Becoming Seasoned

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There’s something to be said about becoming seasoned. I know I have reached this place in life because I find myself beginning sentences with:

“I remember when…”
“It used to be…”
“That’s nothing new. We had that when I was…”

I also find myself talking about old times with my siblings. We have the best time laughing and talking about things that we experienced as youngsters and teens. The story may have been told 20 or more times but we still enjoy it.

In this season:
  • The uglier the shoe, the more comfortable it is.
  • To pick up anything from the floor, I bend at the waist and never at the knees.
  • Must I be abused constantly by the loud boom, boom of what the neighbor across the street calls music?
  • When I go out I’m not trying to get “chosen.”
  • I honestly am happy with my life as a single person.
  • I can say “No” , without making up an excuse, because I'm worried as to whether or not you'll be angry with me. Because, in the words of Rhett Butler, "Frankly my dear,....."
  • On my PT job, I can put up with your rudeness because once I leave work, I LEAVE work. AND, you won’t be at home when I get there.
  • I’m comfortable with what I’m wearing even if it is out of style. The important thing is that I don’t stink.
  • In that same vein, I don’t care that you saw me in the same outfit at a wedding, concert, baby shower, etc. The important thing is that I have showered , my outfit has been cleaned, and I'm having a good time.
  • I don’t have an I-POD. Those tiny ear buds irritate my ears. I prefer the big cushy ones. If and when I get an I-POD I will use the big cushy earphones.
  • I don’t mind not being “cool"
  • I don't care that my dress size isn't in a single digit
  • The highlights in my hair just happen to be gray
  • I'm happy


Saturday, August 8, 2009

BOOK REPORT: Mop Men by Alan Emmins

If you've ever watched CSI or read the news you know that some crime scenes can be pretty grisly. Ever wondered who cleans up the mess?

It’s been a while since you’ve seen your neighbor. Is it too much for a body to take out the garbage. The overwhelming stench from his apartment has saturated your own private living space. Contacting the building Superintendent, he consents to enter the apartment and remove the offending garbage.

The foul odor is actually the rotting corpse of the neighbor slumped over his dining table. Maggots, dripping body fluids and dried blood indicate he’s been disintegrating for some time.

Evidence has been collected, the body removed. Enter Neal Smither to clean up the gory, gooey, ghastly mess? Neal is a Crime Scene Cleaner. Neal prays for death in any form; Suicide, Homicide, Accidental Death. Without it he makes no money. Author, Alan Emmins shadows Neal Smither and his crew as they restore gruesome death scenes to pristine order.

This book is not for the faint of heart. Neal Smither deals with death in an irreverent manner. Scraping brain matter off walls, removing and replacing tile steeped in a month of blood and body fluid, is just another day at the office for Neal. A lucrative business yet grisly one, Neal has little competition allowing him to make a KILLING.

There's a movie starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris and Eva Mendes that involves the work of a cleaner who was once a cop and what he comes across. I won't spoil it just in case you plan to watch it. I enjoyed it.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Free CDs

There's nothing like a freebie. As you know I am frugal
Remember that’s frugal, economical, thrifty. Not cheap.
There’s a difference in the two. Cheap is not giving any
thought to the item. Frugality borders on deep thinking
before purchase and the necessity of the piece.

Not long ago I went to Best Buy with a friend so that she
could purchase a computer. Since she was a first timer at
Best Buy she didn’t have one of their discount cards. If
she’d had one she would have gotten a discount on her
purchase. Being the wonderful friend that I am, I whisked
out my discount card and she received a percentage off of
her purchase.
I had no idea that I would get a credit
voucher for the percentage and could use it for or toward
merchandise in the store. I think the amount came to
around $20 and change. Not wanting the voucher to expire
I browsed the store to see what I could get for $20. Not
much I can tell you. I really think it’s a tease to make
customers use the voucher toward purchase of more items.
I poked about in the store until I came to the music CDs. Music CDs are expensive. Instead of spend the whole voucher on one CD and have to make up the difference out of pocket I chose to go by genres.
I chose 20 Best of Jazz because I enjoy jazz. I chose Piano Favorites because I assumed the selections would be calming. I chose Blues Legends because it was all I could get without having to pay extra money. Besides these could be used as impromptu gifts.
I opened the jazz CD first. I’m familiar with all of the artists but, all except one, George Benson were before my time. There’s Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Tatum and others. I consider these artists the masters. I’m enjoying this CD.
BTW I’ve never heard the one by George Benson. The title is I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over. I guess he’s fond of the word “masquerade” because the song he has that I am familiar with has the word masquerade in it.
The thing about all of these CDs is that the song titles aren’t on the CD, just on the case. OH MY! Could Best Buy be selling bootleg CDs?
Piano Favorites lists the songs on the back cover CD. Among them are Lady in Red, Save the Best for Last, I Will Always Love You, Wind Beneath My Wings. This one has two CDs with a total of 25 songs. The pianist is listed in very small print on the back. His name is Steve Quinzi. Since his name is written so small does he not want anyone to know that he’s done this CD? Also, are those his hands on the cover or are those “stand-in hands?”

Blues Legends includes Mississippi Fred, Big Maybelle, Memphis Slim, B.B. King and others. I love their names. They do get your attention. Check out the pianist on the blues cover. How can a body play piano with all that jewelry?
None of these songs are on my playlist below