Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Shower Head

Thanksgiving Day, the screen for the shower spigot was clogged. When Himself went to re-attach the shower head, the plastic coupling cracked and the shower head  leaked. We had saved the metal shower head that was installed when we first renovated the bathroom four years ago., but neither of us could remember where we had put it. I figured we'd have to be like pioneers and shower under the spigot. No biggie. Then Himself found the old shower head. Happiness was a shower head that blasted water to the other side of the shower stall.

While stirring the accursed carmel mixture, I heard TV news stating a store in New Hampshire had opened at 6 AM on Thanksgiving Day.

"That's deplorable", I said to Himself. "What could you possibly need at 6 AM on Thanksgiving Day?"

"A new shower head."

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Friday Five - Inner Betty

Every once in a while, I get the urge to get creative in the kitchen and get in touch with my inner Betty. I had half a can of evaporated milk left over because Himself bought a giant can of Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix instead of a can of pumpkin. The can of mix requires evaporated milk. So here I am a cup left over, so I decide to make carmels.

1. The ingredients are pretty simple. White sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract.

2. The recipe directions, found here, are pretty simple. Dissolve everything and boil until the mixture reaches 250o F. Oh, yeah, you need a candy thermometer.

3. The recipe doesn't tell you, it will take days for the mixture to reach this temperature. You will be standing in front of the stove stirring and stirring until your arm falls off. If you do this while preparing your holiday meal, stir until you are one hour past the time you would put your turkey in the oven. Fortunately, we were not hosting company, and my family doesn't care when they eat.

4. I didn't have the size pan noted in the recipe so I used a 9 in. x 13 in. pan. The yield is a million carmels which must be cut and wrapped in small pieces of wax paper. The carmels are sinfully delicious. Bet they would be good melted in a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

5. Would I make them again? Not for a very long time.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Did you know that every 30 days it is necessary to clean the computer screen from the inside? Many people ignore this fact and do not know how. Manufacturers take advantage of this ignorance to increase their sales. My IT guy shared this and said feel free to share this utility with my contacts. To clean the screen from the inside, click here 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Major Deal

for fans of The Six Million Dollar Man starring Lee "He'll Always Be Heath To Me" Majors: the first three seasons at $12.99 each at Target. Sweet!

Keep an eye out for seasons 4 and 5 and let me know if you find them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ear Worm

"Wheat Thingies",  altered book spread commemorating
 July 2006 road trip to Sunrise, Minnesota, birthplace of Richard Widmark, 
This morning, I woke up with an ear worm. I know where I got it, too. On Saturday, I brought some paper, ribbons, lace and stuff over to Red's. She's on the Waters' Farm Preservation Society Board. The farm will be one of the stops on the town's Chain of Lights Festival

Red is in charge of making decorations for the farmhouse built in 1759, and I told her I would help. So a few of us sat around her kitchen table making Victorian Cone Ornaments, snowflakes and paper chains.

Talk around the table turned to preserving agricultural history through song. That's when I started thinking of

Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.
Do you, or I, or anyone know,
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Appointment with The Doctor

If you need me today better come and find me before 2:50 PM ET. I have a very important appointment with The Doctor for the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Friday Five - In Memoriam

2. September 1918 - 14. November 2013
A week ago Thursday evening, my Ma quietly passed away. She was 95 years old. Five things about Ma

1. She graduated from East Boston High School in 1935 at the age of 16. She was the shortest girl in the whole school and at school assemblies and functions she led the entire school into the auditorium.

2. There were only two ways of doing things. The wrong way and Ma's way. Even in your own home, Ma would tell you when it was time to clear the table and do the dishes. I have no doubt she's whipping Heaven into order.

3. When she was a kid, someone told her Chinese food was made with cat meat. She never ate Chinese food, and she wasn't fond of cats. She was also superstitious and would cringe when Ink would walk past her.

4. Ma cured a headache with a bowl of water and a tablespoon of olive oil. Italians will understand the ritual.

5. She loved her home and cooking and cleaning. She was an immaculate housekeeper.(I didn't inherit this gene). Curtains and bedspreads were changed twice a year with the Spring and Fall cleaning. The living room furniture was covered in plastic. She would go to bed early, right after supper after the kitchen was cleaned. She'd get up at 3am or 4am to do her housework before she left for work at 7 am. She would spend weeks and days before family celebrations cooking and cleaning (and also working in the factory). If she got tired when we had company over, she'd excuse herself and go to the bathroom to take a power nap. It was her little secret we weren't supposed to know.

Some of you know that in 2006, I became Ma's chauffeur and started a blog called Whine and Cheeze to find the funny in dealing with elderly parents and Old People's Disease (OPD). One of the places Ma loved to go was The Mahket and because some of you really enjoyed the Mahket stories, here are five of them. And yes, Little Debbies are involved. Enjoy!

Ma's obituary is here

Well, Ma, I miss having cups of tea with you (and Marie (my MIL)), I miss your ravioli, eggplant Parmigiana, and pizzelle (Italian waffle cookies). I even miss butting heads with you, but I don't miss the excursions to the Mahket. Givadien.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sometimes A Banana

I had a dream the other night. I tried to remember as much as I could, but as usually happens with dreams, one is left with a wispy fragment.

The dream started in a school or some sort of  building with rooms on either side of a long corridor. The corridor is well lit as are the rooms. There's a lot of activity going on. Apparently, I was supposed to teach a class, and I was looking for my room.

There's a location shift or else a huge chunk of dream I can't remember or having a dream about teaching a class, but not being able to find the classroom is boring. I'm outside a row of triple-decker houses like the kind my Auntie and Grandma lived in East Boston. My new blue car is parked in front of one of the houses though I don't recognize any of the houses and don't know anyone who lives there. My car is not parallel parked as you usually find in the city. My car is nosed in like you would park in a driveway. Course this might be because I can't parallel park to save my soul, and I avoid the task at all costs.

I'm standing on the passenger side of the car. The door is open, and I'm cleaning the dashboard. Only the dash is made of glass, and I can see the gleaming parts of the engine, wheels, curb, and street. I'm industriously cleaning the glass with a blue microfiber cloth. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice an older woman standing next to my car, in front of one of the houses. She is holding a large pot of chicken soup. She's the mother of one of my colleagues at the museum. He recently had emergency surgery and was home recovering (for real, not just in the dream). Holding her pot of chicken soup, his Ma calls his name. No answer. She calls again. And again no answer. So she calls louder and uses his given name. "Andrew!" He had once said his Ma was the only one to call him by his given name. He comes out of the house and takes the soup pot, and he an his mother go in the house. They do not notice me, and I pretend I'm not eavesdropping or notice them. I just continue cleaning the glass dashboard of my car.

Now comes the weird part. Actor, Lee Marvin, the villain in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance comes out of the house I'm parked in front of. Apparently, he was inside scrubbing the bathtub. A couple of people come out of the house after him. They are discussing what they should do for him. Someone says, "When someone does you a kindness, aren't you supposed to do a kindness back?" I recognize this line from The Little Princess starring Shirley Temple. Again, I'm invisible to Marvin and the other players. I'm just busy cleaning the glass dashboard.

That's all I can remember. I have no idea what any of it means other than sometimes, a banana is just a banana.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Labyrinth

When Himself and I dropped off my artwork for Light at the Golden Thread Gallery, the gallery director invited us to follow the path to the labyrinth.

The gallery is in the Holy Family Retreat Center. The center is nestled in woodlands. There are marked paths to wander for contemplation. Benches to sit and rest awhile and in the middle of the woods, a labyrinth to walk.

Unlike a maze which is design to trick and confuse a person, a labyrinth is designed to guide you to the center and to bring you back out. The labyrinth is symbolic of life with twists and turns. At the center of this labyrinth was a stone circle created by stone mason, Dan Sieracki. There is no mortar holding the stones together. Just their weight and position of a keystone.

The path was wide enough that Himself and I were able to walk the labyrinth side by each. The woods were eerily quiet and still beautiful even though most of the trees had lost their leaves. Under the influence of too many movies and an overactive imagination, I thought there should have been a flaming eye in the center of the stone circle.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


During the day, I'm apt to catch sight of certain numbers. It started with Himself telling me he sees 11:11 on digital clock faces. My number is 8:18 which happens to be our anniversary (and Robert Redford's birthday). Now, I see both his number and mine.

Are these significant numbers? Messages from the Universe or just coincidence?

Saturday, November 16, 2013


16. November 2013 to 4. January 2014

The Golden Thread Gallery
At Holy Family Retreat Center
303 Tunxis Road

 W.Hartford, CT 06107

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Friday Five - All is Lost

Teague and I went to see Robert Redford in All Is Lost. It's the story of a man sailing alone in the Indian Ocean when his sailboat has a collision with a shipping container.

1. This is a minimalist story. There is no back story as to who he is, why he's there, or about love interests or family.

2. Redford is amazing as he tells the story without much dialog. I would have been screaming colorful phrases  because that's how I roll when I get really upset.

3. The story is about spirit and ingenuity.

4. Hope is the driving force

5. There were lots of tight close-ups of Redford. I wish he had done this movie thirty or forty years ago when he was still drop dead gorgeous.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Won

Bupkiss! Guess we won't be giving up our day jobs any time soon.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Dad, age 23 yrs.
Military Service: 3. March 1942 - 25. December 1945

SEARCHLIGHT N.C.O.: Directed and supervised crew in operating searchlights utilized in detection and illumination of enemy aircraft or naval craft. May direct various crew chiefs by telephone, designating targets to be tracked and relaying information.on approaching aircraft. Has knowledge of Fighter Squadron searchlight tactics.
Served 26 months in the Pacific Theatre of Operations with
Battery B., 350 Anti-Aircraft Artillery Searchlight Battalion.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recurring Dream Theme

Still from 9/ 2012 video showing SDO's view of the sun being
partially blocked by Earth. Credit: NASA/SDO 
I have a recurring dream theme. I dream of incredible sky and star vistas in gorgeous shades of blue. The dreamscapes rival the images from Hubble telescope. I don't have these dreams often usually when everything is going well, no stress, no worries. It's been quite some time since I've had one of these dreams.

This week I dreamt of a solar eclipse. It's the first time I've ever dreamt of an eclipse and most likely it was induced by the decongestants I was popping like candy. Not my usual glorious blues, the image was still beautiful in its fiery hues. Besides the eclipse, I have a hazy recollection of two giant figures holding on either side like supporters in a coat of arms. That's all I can remember. I should have written about it right after I woke up from the dream. Still things are going well, and life is good in spite of the nasty cold that won't let me go.

Do you have recurring dreams?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Friday Five

Five movies I want to see.

1. All is Lost with my hero, Robert Redford. Teague and I were supposed to go see it on its opening day, but I got whacked with a cold I can't seem to shake.

2. Thor, The Dark World. I like the action films from the Marvel pantheon and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is packaged nicely.

3. Captain Phillips, the story of the captain of an American cargo ship that was hijacked by pirates. I like Tom Hanks

4. Carrie the remake. The ending of the original film with Sissy Spacek in the title role scared the willies out of me when I saw it at the theater for the first time eons ago. The original was silly in places, but I had a crush on William Katt who played the young man who takes Carrie to the prom. Piper Laurie who played Carrie's whackjob of a mother in the original was magnificent. Not sure how Julianne Moore will measure up in that role.

5. Gravity. The trailer looked pretty good for this sci-fi adenture, but this film got so much hype I wonder if it's just lost in space.

Have you seen any of these movies?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Jury is In

The Candle, 8 in. x 10 in. acrylic on canvas
Tuesday, I wasn't feeling well, was moping around and then received word the piece I had submitted to The Golden Thread Gallery for their upcoming show, Light. was accepted into the show. Yup, i felt instantly better.

I chose to interpret a quote from Edith Wharton: "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. I let my wick burn out--- there yet remains to spread an answering surface to the flame that others kindle."

Entering juried shows is always such a gamble. So much to wonder about. Did I interpret the theme correctly? is my work edgy enough? Too edgy? Too traditional? Not traditional enough? And the list goes on and on.  For me, the biggest hurdle was entering. I'm trying to make more of an effort to put myself "out there." Being accepted is icing on the cake.

If you're in the area of W. Hartford, Connecticut, the show opens on  16. November 2013 and runs through 5. January 2014. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Land Line

I've been thinking of dumping my land line home phone in favor of my cellphone. As it is when I leave the house, I have the land line calls transferred to my cellphone. And the only reason I do this is to be in contact with the nursing home if a problem happens. Otherwise the only calls coming on the land line are telemarketers, or political candidates.  We'd save a little bit of money over the year which would be a plus.

Just curious. Do you still use a home phone land line or have you gone cellular?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Standard Time

Don't forget. Fall back to Standard Time. If you are in the USA, set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed tonight. (Unless you live in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and America Samoa. These states and protectorates do not observe daylight savings time and remain on Standard Time all year round)