Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I was tagged....

Okay, Lin tagged me and she's such a frequent commenter to my blog, I think I'd better cooperate.  Normally, I'm a very private person.  Other than the occasional bragging about my grandkids, not too many people really know much about my life.  Okay, here goes.

Eight TV shows/movies I watch regularly:
Without my TiVo, I doubt I'd watch much television at all, with it I watch
 CSIs (original and NY--don't much like Miami)
The Mentalist
Stargate Atlantis (original Stargate is over)
Eleventh Hour
The Sanctuary
Criminal Minds
Eight things that happened yesterday:
Drove from Salt Lake to my home in Washington
Stopped almost halfway for a burger and Coke (and chips of course)
Visited with Mom for a while
Picked up accumulated mail
Skyped with hubby
Read some J.A. Jance on my Kindle
Caught up on a little TiVo time
--not much else, too much driving time
Eight favorite places to eat:
Lone Star Steak House--when I get a craving for steak or prime rib
Taco Time (not Taco Bell or Del Taco)
Ruby Tuesday--excellent lunches
Famous Dave's--when I need barbecue
Applebee's--generally dependable food
Golden Corral--when I'm really hungry
Arctic Circle for its burgers and fry sauce
La Costa--a little place with terrific Mexican food
Eight things I'm looking forward to:
Warmer weather--I'm a real summer person
Lunch with my former colleagues--maybe next week
Playing with my grandchildren again--just don't know when it will be
Watching my nieces' college basketball game--also next week
The cruise we're planning this summer--hubby's parents celebrating 60 years together
Going back to Alaska and Hawaii--both beautiful in different ways
Learning how make beaded jewelry--especially watch bands
More grapefruit from Costco--they are wonderful and this is the best time of the year for them
Eight things on my wish list:
More exploring of the wonders of the U.S.
Future trips to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, who knows where.
Seeing the Great Wall of China
Staying healthy, no more messy heart surgeries
Maybe losing 10 pounds--can I do it without suffering too much?
Lay's bringing back Dill Pickle potato chips (are last two incompatible?)
Finding more good books to read on my new Kindle
Lots of time with grandchildren
Eight people to tag:
Don't feel comfortable tagging specific people; don't know that many who would want to do it.  Would love to see what others have to say.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bon Appetit

I know French food is supposed to be..ah....fancy.  I know France gets credit for fine cuisine (like Italy for lovers, Germany for cars, Switzerland for banks, you get the idea).  What I don't understand is why American chefs find it necessary to use French terms to describe things.  Wait, yes I do.  It makes the foods and preparations sound so much more elegant, and pretentious, and difficult.  

Duck confit, topped with fresh raspberry compote and creme fraiche; or steak tartare covered with aioli and surrounded with a rich bechamel. 

Doesn't that sound...expensive and delicious?  What about this?

Duck cooked in its own fat, topped with fresh raspberries in syrup and sour cream; or raw steak with garlic mayonnaise and white sauce. 

They're right, the first one sounds much better, even without all the stress and accent marks that I've left off the French words.  Just be sure you know the meanings when you order.  Then you can avoid any unpleasant surprises when you get your food.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Unsophisticated taste

I watch the Food Network sometimes.  I enjoy watching the recipes come together and imagining the  flavors.   Some of the personalities and foods prepared seem more to my liking than others, but I've decided that my tastes are not sophisticated.   I think having sophisticated tastes mean that I have to like everything.  Well, there are lots of foods prepared that I'd be very hesitant to taste: pancake cake with avocado frosting, seared frogs' legs casserole, or goat stew?  Ordinary foods are paired in such unusual ways that I can't envision how it would taste.  Sixteen ingredients for a tiny scallop, or a lovely piece of salmon buried under a crunchy sweet topping and a fancy sauce.  What exactly are they trying to taste?

Exactly how does one get "sophisticated tastes"?  Do you have to eat in expensive restaurants, trying new things each time?  Do you just put odd things together and see how it turns out?  Maybe one needs to buy a snazzy cookbook and try some of the recipes.  I have it feeling it would take quite a while to accumulate an adequate pantry--how often do you use sweet Hungarian paprika or pickled artichoke hearts?

I remind myself that the chefs on television have staffs who make sure everything is on hand and within reach.  There are always fresh herbs of all kinds, unshrivelled lemons and limes, and heavy cream that hasn't spoiled.  My kitchen is not like that.  I will still watch the Food Network, but I'm not pretending to want to enjoy (or even understand) all the recipes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More driving entertainment

Tomorrow I make my 300 mile trek back to the city and hubby's small apartment.  I have a yearly checkup with my Cardiologist and I'll have my hair trimmed and gray (gasp) covered while I'm there.  I decided I had better clear my cell phone of the messages I've left myself--mostly personalized license plates I've noticed--so I have lots of room to record more.

Some of the cutest were a bright orange Chevy HHR (they look very retro) that said PUMKEN, and a lime green VW beetle that said FROG (I think I saw this in Hawaii).  I think some people let their attitudes show a little when they are buying a special plate.  A big, Dodge 4X4--black I think--said BURNED.  I'm not sure of the reference, and another truck said ON EDGE.  I steered a little clear of those.  A red Mitsubishi GT was JUSTFAB but I think that definitely shows the driver's age; as does the pale green MiniCooper that said OVER 50.  

Then there are some that just confuse me.  A lovely new Toyota Camry said MRSFXIT; I wondered if there was a MRFXIT too or just a handy Mrs.  A new Mercury was PEGASOS--because it can fly and other spellings were taken?  And a pretty Chrysler 300 was MORDOTS.  That must have a meaning I'm missing.  I also wasn't sure about the red Mitsubishi that said DOGTOWN.  I didn't see any dogs inside.

I did understand the silver Mitsubishi that was STLCRSN (wow, lots of Mitsubishis this time), and I had to chuckle at the little black SUV that said LALALAA.  There's an attitude, or an easy plate to remember.  Keep reading, I'm sure there are lots more fun plates out there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Glass half empty or half full?

I was a little depressed yesterday.  After I read the morning newspaper, it seemed that there was no good news.  The glass was definitely half empty.  Here are some samples of the headlines:

Stocks extend decline as bank worries persist 
Utah 13th in nation for ’08 foreclosures
Islamists attack Somali forces
Crackers pulled in salmonella scare 
Financial meltdown not a result of deregulation, free enterprise
Teacher held on voyeurism 
Vets given wrong Rx

It takes more than a newspaper to bring me down, but there are always the other worries in addition.  Our children or grandchildren have struggles and problems we wish we could prevent.  There are worries about parents, other family members.  My hubby just did a rough estimate of our taxes and that is an entire post for another day.  All in all, it just felt like there was not much good news, no reason to be optimistic.

For whatever reason, today's headlines were different.  Maybe the newspaper even thought yesterday was too much of a downer---though I doubt it.  Perhaps it is just life's ebb and flow. From today:

‘Miracle on the Hudson’ Pilot saves lives of all aboard crippled craft
Bomb fails to injure Iraqi Official
DVD can teach autistic child what a smile means 
Economists predicts midyear turnaround
Astronaut speaks to students

Good things can be newsworthy.  I think what we need right now is more optimism.  This is an amazing place to live, populated with millions of talented, hard-working, insightful, creative, dedicated people.  We'll be okay--better than okay.  There is nowhere I'd rather be.

Monday, January 12, 2009

False Advertising

I have lived long enough to know that advertising is just propaganda for companies to lure consumers.  I have talked with kids about how cool toys look in commercials, compared to how they look after they are purchased.  Camera angles, action, close-ups all serve to make the toys seem so desirable.  By the time kids are 12, they've been disappointed enough times to recognize the game--but sometimes they still want to believe.  Me too.

I've eaten a few TV Dinners in my time and have often wondered if the companies realize how little their actual dinners have in common with the illustrations on the boxes.   Then, again, if they put a real pictures of the dinner on a box, who would buy it?

I don't want to unfairly pick on LeanCuisine, but that's what I have.  As long as I'm eating a frozen dinner, I might as well have it calorie controlled so I feel better about it.  It is also obvious that I thought the chicken and rice dinners held promise.  

Even if I took it out of the container and arranged it nicely on a plate, I couldn't make it match the picture on the box.  The number of chicken pieces is off, the ratio of meat to rice doesn't match, and the whole thing is saucier.

For years, I've been tempted to take pictures like these and send them to the companies, but they probably already know.  I wonder if they know that we know?  If I run into any that have pictures more representative of the way the food actually looks, I'll let you know.  Don't hold your breath.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Special day

I don't very often do SkyWatch Friday two weeks in a row, but today is special.  First of all, I ran into a beautiful sky on my way back to my southern Utah home.  It was a post-storm clearing and such gorgeous clouds and sky colors.   I know I'm also late, but at my house it is Friday morning.  Enlarge the picture for the full effect.
Second, it is my BLOGAVERSARY!  It has been one year since I decided to take a stab at this.  I haven't been terribly consistent, but I have enjoyed it.  I've met some special people I wouldn't otherwise have known, and I am learning all the time.  I have lots of things still to master, but there are some fabulous bloggers out there who provide inspiration and encouragement.   Thank you to all who stop by, especially those who take a moment to leave a comment.  I will try to be interesting, informative, and/or entertaining as I continue posting in my second year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas would be boring without kids.

Our holiday began in South Carolina with two of our six grandkids.  It was unusually cold and rainy, but our 4-year-old's excitement was not dampened.
Great-grandma (my mother) got soft blankets for all the greats, and had their names embroidered on them.  The kids loved them.
It was fun taking video (of grandma taking a picture) with the new camera.  We had lots of video taken.
In his sister's words, she got "way more presents" than he did, but the nearly 11-year-old got the laptop he really wanted.  A very early morning in line at Best Buy made him happy.
The new kick 'n go scooter will be fun when the rain stops, but it's too slippery to get much traction now.

Now we're home and the California kids (four of our six) are at our house where each gets a post-Christmas gift.
For some reason these sunny, southern California people think snow is fun to play in.  
The other great-grandparents provided the back yard and sledding hill (not shown--grandma was cold).
We managed a SKYPE video conference for the kids using the new laptop in South Carolina and grandma's MacBook.  They had fun with it because they don't get to see each other very often.  
We found time for a warming dip in the community's pool.
There were lots of card games.  31 was the favorite, but with Dad and Grandma involved there was some Gin Rummy too.

Add Image

We did have to get dressed up a little for a wedding reception.  One of Dad's younger cousins got married.  Oh, wait, all Dad's cousins are younger; that's what happens when you're the oldest child of two oldest children. 
That was fun because they got to see lots of family.

Christmas is filled with gifts, treats, fun, and family.  It is best shown by the smiles of the two smallest.  I dare anyone to resist their joy.

I hope everyone's Christmas was a little magical too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Okay, this is very frustrating

I've spent a couple of hours this morning loading pictures to share a little of what I've been up to for the past two weeks.  I added comments, explanations, thoughts, and had everything ready.

HA!  There was something wrong with HTML tags or code somewhere and Blogger wouldn't let me publish!  The explanation would only make sense to a code-writer and was certainly not anything I could attempt to fix.  Maybe there are those of you out there who would have known immediately what to do, but I just deleted and will start over.  It has been difficult enough because I keep getting the message that Blogger cannot be reached so I had to try and upload several pictures multiple times.  Perhaps it is me.  Maybe the technology has really left me far behind.  I will gamely try again.  I may not be the quickest chip on the circuit board, but I am a stubborn one.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Holiday traveling

I have been way too occupied to post for a while; but I will be back more regularly in a few days when my son's family heads back to California.  I did want to join SkyWatch Friday with this fun shot of the sunset--from the air.  I had hubby take a picture through the plane window on our flight from South Carolina.

Consider this my  quick note until I get back to regular posting.  Hoping everyone is having a wonderful New Year.