Friday, November 30, 2012

What Happened to Legos?

I was thinking of getting some Legos for my grand son.

Remember Legos?  They used to be these brick-like stick-together blocks that could be used to construct all kinds of wonderful things.  Possibilities as limitless as a child’s imagination.

They are not like that so much any more.

I found some Star War kits and some City kits at the toy store in the mall.   There were not too many of either variety, but I was appalled at the kits on offer.

Robber’s Hide Away is the theme of one.
How about Prisoner TransportDrug Sniffing Dog?

I could not bring myself to purchase any of these.

What exactly is the message here anyway?

Now I know. This is what the discriminating five-year-old boy is into.


Legos, shmegoes.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Recommendation

This is the most beautiful book—achingly beautiful.

It has left me breathless.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I confess.  I have a love-hate relationship with shopping.

I love shopping when:
  1. I feel like I can afford it.
  2. I have lots of time to devote to the task and really comfortable shoes on my feet.
  3. I know what I want to get and then actually find that item.
  4. I have my lists in hand.
  5. Something perfect speaks to me either because it is just what I love OR I know someone I love will like it.
  6. I pick something out and then learn it is on sale.

On the other hand, I really hate shopping when:
  1. I really need something, but I am feeling short on $$.
  2. I am tired or hungry.
  3. I am looking for something specific and it is no where to be found.
  4. I forget my list, thereby neglecting to get something crucial or buying an unnecessary duplicate.
  5. I don’t see anything that I like but I am under some kind of time pressure.
  6. I shop specifically for a sale item, but it is sold out or not as I expected.
  7. I feel the need to get a gift for Mike.
  8. There are crowds of other people in the stores.

As I get older, and therefore much wiser, I see the beauty in my mother-in-law’s technique.  Open up the L.L. Bean catalog, pick an item, and order one for everyone on the list. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Salmon Recipe

When I was at a friend’s house before Thanksgiving, she told me about a swordfish dish she had made recently.  She gave me some homemade pesto and e-mailed the recipe that afternoon.  I tried it last night.  So good!

I just watched the Cuisinart video again and they did use salmon. (An aside is that swordfish worked well, too!) 1.) They took a bunch of potato slices and placed them in the center of an oiled piece of tinfoil. 2.) Spread about a TBS. or so of pesto on top of the potatoes. 3.) Place a piece of salmon on top of the potatoes. Salt and pepper the salmon first. 4.) Then more pesto on top of the salmon. 5.) They said bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes. (I baked my swordfish at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, and that worked fine. Of course I didn't use potatoes or pesto. I used asparagus. It might take longer for the potatoes?) Enjoy!   I love the casual approach to recipes.  You know, where the recipe is merely some good suggestions rather than hard and fast rules.  I did follow this one fairly closely, but I added a slice of sweet onion over the potatoes. I have a tendency to overcook fish, but this was just about perfectly done—tender and moist.  And baking it in foil wrap—no mess at all.  Love that.

Fresh caught, wild…the best.

Are you a strict recipe follower?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We are heading down to Connecticut for our Thanksgiving festivities.

I will be taking Connie's Butter Buns.  If you missed that recipe, you can find it here.  They look mighty good. 

And they were not nearly as hard as I thought they would be.

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and a safe long weekend.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In which I come clean...

Okay...there were no little old men harmed in any way for the sake of my last post.  That was pure figment of my imagination.

Also, in my opinion Wonder bread is an abomination to the bread world.  My mother may have once put a Hostess Twinkie in my school lunch, but I highly doubt it.  I am overly suspicious of that white stuff inside those cakes and have no desire to actually eat any of them.

I do, however, fondly remember the treat of a Butterscotch Krimpet.   I believe they were made by Tastykake.  I wouldn't eat those anymore either, though.  My palate has refined over the years.  I prefer real food over something my brother may have synthesized from random substances found in his Little Scientist chemical kit.

I do admit that I spaced out, switched grocery carts along the way and lost my purse while doing some grocery shopping.  I also did the frantic search of my car and then the house before learning that it had been turned over to the service desk by the very nice people in the deli department who saw the purse sitting unclaimed for a period of time in an empty cart.

I was going to write about having a serious blonde moment (even though, yes, my hair is now grey...I am in full disclosure mode here).  I just happened to see about the closing down of the Hostess company and about some people starting to horde the snacks on the Google news while I was getting to blogspot.  So my imagination took a little flight.

Fooled you, though, didn't I?

There.  Now my nose is back to its original size.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Say it ain’t so…

Oh, no!  The Hostess Company is not going to fool with striking bakers.  Instead they plan to close down the whole operation and put 18,500 people out of work.   It’s over!  This is it!

No more smooth, soft Wonder bread.  No more Twinkies, always baked unless you go to the State Fair where you can get them deep fried.  Deep frying improves everything.  Maybe I should have tried that with the Wonder bread.  Oh, well.  Too late now.

No more day-glow pink Snowballs with the sprinkling of stale coconut.  No more chocolaty HoHos with that creamy white filling.   What is the American public to do?  Well, I’ll tell you what I did.  I got in my car and to make the rounds of area grocery stores and independent markets, snatching up every Hostess product I could find.

Ha!  You thought I was mad, thought I was compulsive for cleaning out my closets and storage shelves a while ago.  See!  Now I have plenty of room for stashing my horded snack cakes.  Foresight, that’s what it is called.

I’ll admit it, yes.  I worked myself into a terrible frenzy.  Perhaps I was not thinking entirely clearly.  I  know for certain that it was kind of wrong to knock over that 93 year old man who probably only weighed 93 pounds and used a cane just because he was reaching for those DingDongs on the shelf.  But really, such a fuss!  He only had the wind –and his teeth-- knocked out of him.  There were no broken bones.   It’s not like I was having such a great day myself.  I swept all the cakes off the shelves of that first store right into my into my waiting cart and made a dash for the checkout line. 
But when I got there—no purse.  OMG!  I left my purse in the car!  I went to the service desk and demanded the girl there guard my cart while a ran out to my car. 

No purse in my car!  Would I actually go to the store without my purse?  I ran back to the service desk snatching up a paper table cover on the way.  I covered the cart and told the young girl I would be back.  She said she would push the cart into the produce cooler.

I drove the ten miles back to my house.  I may have gone a wee bit over the speed limit, but, dammit, this was an emergency.  Surely my explanation would stand up in traffic court.  Fortunately it did not come to that.  I got home and ransacked the house.  No purse. 

“OMG! MIKE! Someone snatched my purse from my grocery cart!…What do you mean, how can that happen?  When my attention was distracted.  Maybe when I knocked over that little old man who was trying to abscond with Hostess cakes…No, he wasn’t hurt!  Will you please try and focus on what is important here!  My purse is missing…No, I am not calling the police.  I am calling the store to find out if anyone found a discarded purse in the parking lot…Wait…Yes!  They have it at the service desk.”

So Mike insisted on driving me back to the grocery store because I did not have my license on me.  He asked me how much money I had in the purse.  It was not much, but I didn’t expect to see it again.  Then I thought about credit cards.  I hoped they would still be in my wallet but I started making a mental list of the companies I would have to call to cancel accounts.  I was glad I wasn’t driving at that point because I would not have been able to see the road through my tears.

We got to the store and I ran to the service desk, leaving Mike to hobble after me.  The girl handed my my purse.  I opened it and…nothing was missing—not the $35 in cash and not a single credit card.  It seems that a delivery guy saw the purse in an empty cart sitting in the bakery aisle.  When no one came to retrieve it when he had stacked all his hamburger and hot dog buns, he took it to the service desk.  Thank-you!  Thank-you!  I can only guess that I must have grabbed the old man’s cart by mistake and left my cart there with the purse in the baby seat.

So, somewhat happy ending.  I used my debit card to pay for all my snack cakes, but it was too late to complete the rounds of the other stores.  By that time, of course, the word was out and everyone else was making a mad dash on Hostess products.

(Some parts of this story are actually true.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

*There is a drop off at the village store for supplies to be sent to Long Island for Sandy victims.  I think a town resident must have family there and will taking the donations down this weekend. 
I don’t know why this requested item surprised me—heavy duty garbage bags.  Of course!  East coast dwellers are facing massive clean-up chores.  All kinds of cleaning supplies must be needed before they can get around to putting homes back in furnished order.  I am going to put together a bucket of cleaning supplies and drop it off today.  You can check out our country village store

*I have to say that I am very disappointed in secession petitions.  This doesn’t seem to bode well for the idea of coming together to solve problems—and, let’s face it, this country is facing a few.  We all take turns living with election results we may not have liked.  We whine and cry for a while; then we put on our big girl pants and deal with it.

*The local library was buzzing yesterday.  There were four volunteers there for the afternoon to help the librarian.  I was covering new books in plastic and some one else was bar coding them and entering them in the computer system when he wasn’t busy checking in returns.  Someone else was taking care of shelving the returns.  Best of all—a woman who was a professional organizer for corporations in the big city recently moved to town and she is making a huge dent in the freeing up of the general neatness and flow of the place.  I came home exhausted, but I really do enjoy that little library.  I have found that I really do need that little bit of imposed structure to my week.

*I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is only one week away.  We will head to Connecticut for some family, food, and fun.

*Both the writing group and the card-making group made plans for a lunch get together for today.  My social calendar is so busy.  I will be with the writing group today.  We are visiting a book store and then having lunch.  It sounds like a good way to spend a chilly afternoon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Long Weekend

I cooked a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for my son, daughter and grand children on Sunday.  It seems like we never get together on an actual holiday—well, rarely—so I figured I would make the best of it by celebrating whenever.  And it was a holiday, anyway.

The grand kids had Monday off from school so they stayed overnight because their mom had to work.  We had a busy day.  Dane brought his packet of kindergarten homework.  He is in an all day program and he has a packet of activities to practice letter recognition, numbers, and writing his full name.

Here is what I noticed about that.  While we were walking around downtown Burlington (our trip to the city), he was constantly counting things—pigeons on the sidewalk, items in store windows, wrapped packages they were bringing in for setting up under a Christmas tree.  He was reading off the letters  and numbers on signs all over the place, even when we stopped at a light on the way home.  He seemed to be having a delightful time practicing these skills.  Then we got home and decided to do one of the activities.  He has a hard time with the pencil and he got frustrated right away.  “It’s so hard.  I hate school.”  That just broke my heart.  He really does enjoy school though—at least for now.

The library was closed for Veteran’s Day, but I still had a job to complete.  The kids helped me out.  We made puppets.
The story time group is being treated to a puppet show and then the kids are going to  make their own puppets.  We made the examples.  Since we ran out of paper towels during this activity, I made a tube puppet as well.
My daughter made the napkin holder when she was in middle school.  All the schools around here have cut out those industrial art and home economics programs. Schools are making me feel sad today.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vermont Mountain

Mt. Mansfield is Vermont’s highest mountain.  It’s elevation is 4395 feet above sea level.  I guess that is small compared to some mountains of the world.

For the past few days it has been looking kind of wintery.


This view is less than a quarter mile north of my house.  I pass it just about every day. It is stunning at the peak of autumn color, but that was weeks ago.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cearing Out

I am not an overly messy person.  I am far from a hoarder.  Here is my junk drawer:
Everyone has one somewhere in their house, right?

This is my spare room closet where I keep some extra bedding and toys for the grand kids and a few other things that don't have definitive homes elsewhere:
I go through these areas that accumulate stuff every once in a while.  I never think that there is that much that is not being used before I start.
But then I can pull out a pile of stuff that is headed for the Goodwill store.  Honestly, I don't know where it comes from.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cold Snap

Woohoo.  Monday morning there was a spot of sunshine.  I put on my Nikes right away and went out for my walk.  I headed south and the air was chilly but still pleasant.  I had worn a hat and mittens along with my winter jacket zipped up to the scarf around my neck.  After walking for about a mile and a half, I was warm enough to pull my mittens off and loosen up the scarf.  In a few minutes, I looped back in a northerly direction to return home.  The sun disappeared.  The wind started to blow.  It was a most uncomfortable trek back with my hat pulled down and the scarf and jacket collar pulled up, mittens back in place, pace definitely ramped up.  I felt tricked somehow.

Then in the afternoon I did my volunteer gig at the library.  I was wearing a light sweater, but it wasn’t enough.  My hands were numb by the time I got home.  I made a quick supper of egg, cheese, and avocado sandwiches because I had to go back to the library at 6:30 for writing group.  It was dark when I got home at 5:00.  By 6:30, I felt like I was going out in the middle of the night.  In spite of the extra hour of weekend, I just wanted to crawl into bed by 9:00.  So I did.

Some people LOVE this time of year.  I am not one of them.

I went out to vote this morning.  Since then I have been working on sanding a small cabinet I want to paint and I have put together a couple of quilt squares.  I have not yet convinced myself to go out to take another walk today but I guess I had better get out there.  It will be dark again soon.  I am enjoying my sewing project, but it is not the greatest exercise.

 This picture has nothing to do with this post at all.  It is a case i made for my craft scissors a while ago.  Boredom games, my daughter used to call them.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A New Kind of Farming

This field once held hundreds of  roaming chickens, or at other times, sheep and baby lambs.  I am pretty sure there may have been pigs there for a while.  Now the field is given over to solar farming, although there may be days when farm animals graze there as well.



It is not uncommon to see acres of these solar panels when traveling on Vermont country roads.  Are they common in other parts of the country?

I did not see any installations like this on our trip to Florida and back—in spite of the fact that we drove through much sunnier states.   We did see many windmills lining the ridges while driving through Pennsylvania.  Wind mills have been proposed for some Vermont mountain ridges, but they are not popular with property owners or environmentalists.   All I know is that it seems like we have much more wind in Vermont than sun.  I guess I will have to inform myself about alternative energy sources.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Breaks in the Storm


Sandy did not hit our area as badly as it might have.  I heard a meteorologist explain why that was but I don’t remember the explanation well enough to try to repeat it here.  It had something to do with the speed of the storm passing and layers of cold versus warm air.  I know that the winds on top of Mt. Mansfield hit 100 mile hour per hour while we here in the foothills just had a few afternoon gusts.  Our electricity blipped out only for a moment.


While it has been mostly wet and grey for the past few days, there were moments:



The sky was clear and it was warm on Tuesday morning.  The full moon was shining through the kitchen window.


Later that same morning I looked out our front window, which faces directly east.  It was raining quite hard.  I looked out the back door and this is what I saw to the west:



DSCN2194 I am grateful that Sandy snubbed us, but heartbroken at the damage s/he did elsewhere.