Saturday, January 31, 2015

Salad Dressing

I found this recipe for salad dressing on Pinterest.  I made some for my salad supper last night, so I can attest that it is indeed scrumptious.

Smash up an anchovy and a clove of garlic. Finely dice a shallot (or two) and put this all in a jar.  Add 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (any mild vinegar or fresh lemon juice works really well).  Let it sit for about ten minutes.  Whisk in 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard, then slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of olive oil.
google image

I poured some on romaine lettuce, avocado slices, and fresh parsley.  So fresh and yummy!

I learned how to slice an avocado without getting it all over my hands when I visited Mike's daughter on the trip to Florida in December.  Maybe everybody knows this already, but it was a revelation to me!

You split the avocado in half with a knife, working it around the pit in the center.  Perhaps you will want to refer back to the circumferential method of splitting an English muffin as exposited by Sextant on a previous post of mine.

The pit will remain in one half.  Whack it with a nice sharp knife and give it a twist and, Voila!, out it pops.  Then carefully run the knife down each half of the avocado, slicing but not piercing the skin.  You can feel the blade hit the inside of the tough skin.  Then with a spoon, lift the slices of avocado out of the shell.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Toy Lab

My grandson's birthday is coming up soon.  Hard to believe he will be turning eight.  Grandchildren really do grow up just too darned fast!  I don't understand how they manage it.

I looked up area toy stores on line and I found a small, local place called the Toy Lab in the heart of historic Sarasota.  It had some outstanding reviews so I decided I would brave the season traffic and check it out.

It was a charming little store, filled with all kinds of interesting things.  Not a video game in sight, but I don't think even an eight year old would miss them if he found himself standing inside the place.

It was a challenge to make a final selection.  So many fun and interesting things--and educational.  Pity the grandchildren of educators.  They know they are going to get educational toys for birthdays.

I chose this:

They are magnetic pieces that can be used to construct different gizmos  This set has gears that add some movement to the creations.

Since my grandson can spend hours building forts out of cardboard tubes, I figured he could have some fun with this.

I also bought a package of clay.  He used to love playing with playdough, and I thought playing with clay might be good for his fine motor coordination (or lack thereof).  See what I mean about the educational thing?

I will also send along a book (of course!!) of optical illusion puzzles as that should play to his strength.

 I do hope he enjoys his gifts...even if he learns something as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  I have heard it is being made into a television movie.

Wow, she looks like a perfectly lovely, normal person, doesn't she? How she comes up with the darkly macabre story lines is a source of wonderment to me.

I won't be a spoiler here, but I really did think I had the crime figured out pretty early in the game.  And towards the end I was moved to shout, "AHA!!  I knew it!"  But I was wrong.  Not entirely wrong but I had not solved the case and I really had not seen the actual solution coming.

Murder mysteries have always been my secret vise ever since I first started with Agatha Christie.  This one was a step beyond a Miss Marple.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Well,  I have avoided the flu so far this winter.

Not so for my computer.

Some kind of infection wormed its way into my MacBook Air.

My Mac!

The virus had the effect of keeping me out
of any site I might have any desire to access.


the very site that brought me the virus
offered to diagnose and fix it all for a fee
of unspecified amount.
(How thoughtful of them!)

I decided to take it to a real person
who, fortunately, got me back on track.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

English Muffins.

I am determined to bake a decent loaf of bread.  It is a family heritage that somehow skipped leaving an imprint on my DNA.

Not that it helped this time, but I was reading about bread making in The Joy of Cooking.  I came across a recipe for English muffins.  It involved scrubbing out a half dozen tuna cans so I did not attempt it.  What caught my eye, though, were the instructions for fork splitting them.  The method involved two forks held back to back and a prying motion.

Well, I had just never heard of that!  And it seems kind of awkward.  So I googled fork splitting English muffins, two forks.  Nada.  Involving two forks, anyway.

I did find this though.  (Had to post it, my friend!)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My walk on the beach leaves me in a bad mood...

Okay.  I know I make fun of signs and silly rules and regulations.

There is something about posting rules for things that should be common sense or matters of simple human curtesy that raises my hackles.

Maybe it was coming of age in the 60's when authority was to be challenges and those over thirty not to be trusted.

But, you know what is worse?  The lack of common sense and simple curtesy to self, others, and the world we live in.

There has been an incredible amount of beach erosion in the past year.  And there are plenty of signs asking beach goers to PLEASE, please stay off the fragile dunes.  And yet, right next to the board walk over the dunes:

This picture doesn't even capture how deep the rut in the dune actually is--all worn down in the past year.

Now I am not saying that there should be a law enforced by the police department handing out tickets and hefty fines.  But why can't people have more respect for the earth?

People who leave food and drink containers or poopy diapers on the beach should be arrested though.  Seriously.

And then someone told me that I really needed to color my hair...RED!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Curious Things

Laws can be curious things.

I have been seeing a TV ad informing Florida citizens that child booster seats are now required by law.  I assume that means if you actually have a child in the vehicle.

Kind of sad that we always have to legislate common sense.  Still, I have to wonder why it is that Florida is so late in this particular game.  Maybe the child seat manufacturers finally got around to make campaign donations to Florida law makers.

I believe it was the state of New York (certainly no stranger to passing and enforcing laws to regulate every aspect of behavior observable in a vehicle with an out of state license plate) where I saw the advisory: TEXTING prohibited for all.  Cellphone use prohibited for teenagers.  What kind of enforcement nightmare that must be!  And why presume that only teens are distracted by cell phone use?

Florida legislators also recently banned all computers and smart phones in the state.  Please don't turn me in.  They didn't really mean to.  They were trying to outlaw internet cafes and got carried away with the language.

This wasn't a law, but I did see a sign outside a fire station in Vermont:  Always wear a helmet.  That was it, always wear a helmet.  I wanted to stop in and check that everyone inside the building was indeed wearing a helmet, but since I did not have my own at the time, I didn't risk it.

And this ad in the paper's coupon insert...for a razor:   "Scented Handle"
Now, truly, what is the sense (or scents?) of that?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

On the Water

Google image

In this picture, Venice on the right and Nokomis is on the left.  If I remember correctly, what is now Nokomis was once the old Venice--but don't quote me on that and, quite frankly, I am feeling way too lazy right now to look it up.

I just thought that this aerial view spoke to why the name Venice was chosen for the area.  I have not seen a gondola around anywhere, but if you had a boat, you could definitely spend some time on the water without even venturing out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Sometimes it seems too bad that gondolas are not the preferred method of transportation.  There are three draw bridges in Venice, Florida, to accommodate the tall masts of sail boats or the sheer size of some of the yachts you might sea cruising the Intracoastal Seaway.  Best not to be in a big hurry to get to the beaches on a good boating day.

Someday maybe I will get to ride in a gondola in Venice, Italy.  But I wonder if the color of the water will be quite as lovely.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wellness Visit

I have a primary care physician in Vermont, but she is now semi-retired and I was not able to schedule my annual "wellness visit" before leaving for Florida.

Last year I was referred to a physician here in Venice after my bike accident.  I called his office to schedule the wellness visit.  I was given an appointment with the nurse practitioner in his office, which was fine with me.  I don't have any real issues and I trust a NP perfectly well to take my blood pressure, discuss my exercise and eating habits and do a little assessment of my cognitive functioning.

I was somewhat struck by the differences in the questions though.

Vermont:  Do you feel safe in your home?  Are there guns in your home and are they unloaded and locked  up?

Florida: Are there any scatter rugs in your house?  Can you draw a clock face showing 10:45 as the time?

I don't know why that amuses me so much but it really does.

Well it is time for a colonoscopy, cholesterol screening, and a bone density test--so that is all in the works.  Gotta do these things because insurance pays for them at certain intervals, not because any alarm bells are triggered.

I can appreciate my good health tonight.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Step Forward

Florida has taken a step toward marriage equality.   The State's first same sex marriages will legally take place on Tuesday, January 6.  There will be celebrations.

Why it should be any of my business who another consenting adult person chooses to love and honor and live with is beyond me.

TRADITION!!??!!  You cannot marry outside of your race, your ethnic background or country of origin, your religion.  How many of us would even be here then?

I say this is an argument that does not even need to be happening.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Ahead

I was inspired by Lisa of Grandma's Briefs to think about things I would not do in 2015.  Well, that, of course, segued right into a resolution!  So here it is--TA-DA!:  I resolve to no longer "brown" meats, onions, or any other tidbits I might throw into a pan.  For the whole of 2015, I resolve to "caramelize." Way, way yummier.

So, New Year's Day.  Tomorrow I will put away decorations.  I have a young man coming to pressure wash the aluminum siding and then I will take out the outside furniture.  I will get some annuals to plant for the "cold" season.  Some pansies, perhaps.

Also, Santa time is past.  I can now, without the tiniest shred of guilt, start in on the Lake Champlain chocolate Santa my brother gave me the day before I left Vermont.

Oh, no!!! Poor Santa, missing his foot.  But, AHA! Me with a satisfied grin on my face!