Friday, December 31, 2010

Ode to 2010

Another year of blogging under my belt

Blogs telling of what I thought or felt

Typing away, this mother of two and a wife

Still blogging about pieces of my life

Year 2011 lies ahead

More blogs to be written

More blogs to be read

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Too Pretty to Eat...Well, Almost

These are a box of chocolates from a little shop in town called Swiss Connections.

They are handcrafted by artisans and use only the finest Swiss chocolate, quality butter, aromatic spices and fresh fruits and nuts.

There are 36 different confections to choose from. It is not easy to narrow ones choices down to a few as each confection looks beautiful and delicious.

The Colonel and I had to visit Swiss Connections the other day. We needed to drop off some information for the owner so that she could place an ad in the program we are putting together for our museum's annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast. Well, we couldn't leave without buying some of these gorgeous chocolates.

After purchasing the chocolates we had to make another stop, DSIL's house construction site.

I knew I would want to blog about these edible works of art eventually, so I needed to take a picture of them in an artsy-fartsy way.

The Colonel found a discarded palm frond that I could place the boxed candies on and snap away.

I was getting odd looks from the house builder as I was creating my tableau. To stop him thinking I was a complete idiot as I lovingly composed my shot, I informed him of my blogging and to further pacify him, once I was done taking pictures, I offered him a chocolate of his choice. He chose the mango flavored chocolate. I also offered one to the man who was working on DSIL's house. He chose the strawberry.

I know you are curious as to the identity of each of these confection cuties below, so I'll tell you, starting with the top row, left to right.

Champagne, Peanut Butter Banana, Strawberry
Rum Cake, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Pina Colada
Mango, Peaches and Cream, Tiramisu

Almost too pretty to eat....Almost.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New Christmas Tradition in the Making?

The Colonel and I took a day trip about a month ago to a little town near us that is full of antique shops.

We did not come back with any antiques, only the taste of delicious, frozen, chocolate-covered bananas on our tongues, the desire to have more of them and to be able to make them ourselves.

We researched recipes for the bananas on line. We found one and decided to try it. We bought some ripe bananas, peeled them, cut them in half, inserted Popsicle sticks and put them in the freezer. The next day we melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double-boiler and when the chocolate was liquid we added the butter like the recipe said and began stirring. Almost instantly the chocolate became thick and brownie-like and unusable. First attempt...disaster.

The next day we went out and bought more chocolate. Melted it again but did not put the butter in. We dipped the frozen bananas. Delicious, but the chocolate coating was too thick. There had to be a better way.

I found some commercially made, frozen, chocolate-coated bananas in my local grocery store to fill the void until we devised a way to make perfect home-made bananas of our own.

At Thanksgiving, when we had The Colonel's parents and sister here, we all became "addicted" to the bananas. We began to rethink a new recipe for our home-made bananas.

Darling-Sister-In-Law (DSIL) went home after Thanksgiving and began working on a recipe.

She used Smucker's Magic Shell for ice cream. She put some of the shell liquid in a little glass and dipped a frozen banana in.

She then put the bananas back into the freezer. Eureka!

When The Colonel's parents and sister (she brought her little, banana-dipping glass with her) were here for Christmas we put her new recipe into action.

We tried some other Smucker's Magic Shell flavors like caramel (Yam and I thought it tasted like butterscotch) as well as Hershey's Shell (we all agreed that the Hershey brand of shell tasted better than the Smucker's).

We dipped some of the bananas in both shell flavors, delicious! We also sprinkled chopped pecans on some of the bananas, excellent!

The biggest hurdle in our banana production was a way to keep the bananas upright and separated from one another while in the freezer. I took two Styrofoam food plates (the ones with separate food compartments) and stapled them together so that they formed a hollow core. I then cut slits in the plates to place the Popsicle sticks into. It wasn't pretty, but it worked (still need to work on this).

Our homemade bananas were better tasting than the store bought ones.

We all agreed that making frozen, chocolate-covered (and nut-covered) bananas will probably become a new Christmas tradition for this family.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Constructing a House and a Citrus Salad

Darling-Sister-In-Law's (DSIL) house is finally under construction. If all goes smoothly and on schedule it should be done sometime in April.

Watching the construction brings back memories of our house being built.

It will be a beautiful house on a nice little lot in town.

On DSIL's lot are some citrus trees. There is a tangerine tree that produces very delicious and juicy tangerines, a lemon tree whose fruits we have not yet partaken of, an orange and grapefruit tree that DSIL planted a while back that have produced their first fruits of six oranges and two grapefruits.

DSIL and I picked the oranges, grapefruits, some of the lemons and tangerines.

We placed the citrus we harvested on what would eventually become the floor of DSIL's screened-in porch at the back of the house.

It was getting near dinner time so we left the construction site and headed back to my house with our citrus collection.

The next morning DSIL and I peeled the grapefruit, oranges and some of the tangerines to construct a homegrown citrus salad.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Waiting in the Wings

Spud got some great news in the mail yesterday. The large envelope contained a blue folder that held a letter (and other paperwork) informing Spud that he has been accepted by the University of North Florida.

We are so proud of him and happy for him. UNF was the first choice in his lineup of college preferences.

Spud will be an Osprey, the mascot of UNF.

Yam has been an FGCU Eagle for one and a half years now.

I think it is interesting that Yam and Spud (are/will be) both birds, an Eagle and an Osprey.

Bird's baby birds are on the road to leaving the nest and one day soon The Colonel and I will be empty-nesters.

But for now, the empty-nesters are waiting in the "Wings".

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Channeling Jackson Pollock

I think I have been channeling Jackson Pollock for some time now. He was an American artist who was a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement.

This is one of his pieces.

And this is my shirt after lunch a few days ago.

This seems to happen to me quite a much so that I bought myself an adult sized bib at an arts and crafts show a while back. The bib covers my entire front, all the way down to my waist.

Yam, Spud and The Colonel laughed at me when I bought it. I promised them I would only wear it while at home. It has saved a few shirts since I purchased it.

Sure wish I had it on during lunch the other day and I sure hope the stains come out of my shirt.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bringing Home the Bacon

I saw this box of Aplets & Cotlets in a lovely, holiday display in my local grocery store's produce section.

I just had to buy a box and bring it home.

Aplets & Cotlets are not my favorite sweets. They are very similar to, if not indeed actually Turkish Delight candies which I could take or leave (obviously I couldn't leave them this time). The founders of Aplets & Cotlets were two Armenian immigrants who settled in Cashmere, Washington in 1920, so my guess is that the sweets are indeed Turkish Delight candy with a catchy, Americanized name.

Seeing the box took me back to the 1989 holiday season and the only time I "brought home the bacon" since becoming The Colonel's wife.

The Colonel and I had an understanding that I would not work (to me, work is a four-letter word) outside the home once we were married unless our finances dictated it a necessity. It never became a necessity, thank God. I have always been a stay at home wife and mother. According to, all my duties as a stay at home mom (and wife) would equate to an annual salary of $117,867.00. That's a lot of "Virtual Bacon" being brought home.

Which brings us back to the only time I brought home the "real" bacon back in 1989.

A friend of mine was working for Liberty Orchards, the company that makes Aplets & Cotlets, and it was the height of the Christmas Season and she needed help with setting up displays in stores. We worked together for about 3 weeks.

In the trunk of Lisa's car were cases of Aplets & Cotlets as well as cardboard display towers we had to build once we arrived in the stores (put tab A into slot B). Lisa would talk to the store manager first and ask them where they wanted us to build the candy display. Usually they wanted us in the produce section but sometimes they would put us at the end of an isle, the end cap, a highly coveted area in stores.

I remember one set-up in particular in a K-Mart store. Lisa was on her knees on the floor, putting the finishing touches on the cardboard display tower as I was opening a case of candy, getting it ready for the tower, when a young man with Down's Syndrome came up to Lisa and started petting her hair (I really couldn't blame him, Lisa had long, thick, wavy hair, it was beautiful). As he was petting Lisa's hair he informed me that Lisa was his girlfriend. The tress touching lasted a few minutes until the young man's mom arrived and pulled him away without a scene. Lisa was a real trooper about it.

I made around $900.00 dollars helping Lisa out.

The Colonel likes to lovingly tease me about not working outside the home except for that one time, 21 years ago...according to my ciphering, I'm worth more being a stay-at-home-mom and wife.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Robert Roberta

Last week on Friday I was in the doctor's office. I was there because it felt like I had an ear infection coming on and the weekend was definitely coming on and I always seem to get sick over the weekend when doctors' offices are closed and I wanted to preemptively strike any illness before the weekend hit (I didn't thank God, turns out I just needed an over-the-counter antihistamine to help clear my ear canals).

As I was sitting in the waiting room, a patient came in. From the corner of my eye I sensed that something was different about this person. Without being rude, I chanced a longer, surreptitious glance and determined what the difference was.

My mind instantly fixated on a line from Bob Seger's ballad, Turn the Page.

Most times you can't hear 'em talk,
other times you can.
All the same old cliches
"Is that a woman or a man?"

It was a Transsexual. Male to Female.

Her name was Roberta.

I gleaned this information from the fleeting conversation the girl at the front desk had with Roberta as Roberta signed in.

"Hi Roberta, how are you today?" said the cheery front desk girl.

"Not doing too well," answered Roberta in a low octave.

"I bet you're enjoying this cooler weather so that you can wear cute sweaters," cheery girl said.

No reply from Roberta (she probably wasn't feeling chatty from not doing too well and all).

Roberta had on a gray, long-sleeved sweater, an ankle-length, denim skirt and cute (albeit larger than normal women's shoe size) sandals; kinda Roman-esque.

Roberta's hair was shoulder length, an ash blond with a little curl to it. I was sitting when I saw her, but I guessed her to be around 5'10" and about 60 years old (gosh, I feel like I'm giving the cops the description of some perp).

I couldn't take a picture of Roberta, but she looked similar to Stu Rasmussen, an Oregon Mayor. Roberta was wearing glasses if I remember correctly (remember I didn't want to appear rude and stare too long).

Seeing Roberta was a little jolting, for a moment.

I had hoped I, as an adult, and one who had lived in Key West for 3 and 1/2 years and saw much gender-bending going on, would not have blinked an eye when Roberta made her entrance.

Maybe it was the human nature that is hardwired into all of us that made me blink; the nature that causes us to desire and expect that males are male and females are female and never the twain shall meet. Maybe I had been away from Key West too long.

I think people like Roberta are courageous and I hope she is happy now.

I hope she is feeling better now and that it wasn't anything serious enough to ruin her weekend.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It Runs in the Family

A few months ago I wrote a blog entry about my dear friend's knitting design making the cover of a national magazine called, Creative Knitting.

Well, her daughter has made the cover of Kiki magazine. It is a great magazine for girls with style and substance (where was this magazine when my own daughter was younger?).

The magazine is sold in many bookstores across the country (as well as Canada, for one dollar more, as I gathered from the cover).

As soon as I found out about The Young Lady and her cover debut, I went out a purchased a copy of Kiki.

The Young Lady's likeness is also found within the pages of the magazine.

The Young Lady and Yam share the same birth, in a convoluted sort of way, I am feeling a bit of a mother's pride for The Young Lady and her cover girl status. For all of that, I know my feelings are a mere trifle compared to those of my dear friend.

Congratulations to The Young Lady!