Monday, January 27, 2020

SIDETRACKED LOOKING FOR CHILI.


My hubby and I headed out to the other side of town, last night. We had been housebound for a couple weeks and had cabin fever. We decided to splurge on some Cincinnati Chili. (See below for a further explanation of the chili.) Anyway, on our trek to get there, my hubby took some back roads. I asked if he was lost. He said he was going a different way. We have lived here for 34 years. He’s an excellent navigator and knows his way around town. (To borrow a quote) I on the other hand, couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag. As we drove along, we talked about this or that. I noticed a small ROAD CLOSED UP AHEAD sign. It said it would happen in, half a mile. I relayed this information to my husband, in case he hadn’t seen it, and wanted to change course. He told me not to worry about it, he knew what he was doing. I said, ‘ok’. And we continued talking. About 5 minutes later, he slammed on the brakes, because right in front of us, was a huge ROAD CLOSED sign with a big bulldozer behind it. The street was completely blocked off. However, to the left of us, was a muffler store and a large parking lot. The only way to get out of this predicament, was to turn around there, and go back to where we came from. My husband remained stoic, as I said, ‘I told you so.’ We  looked at each other for a second, laughed about the situation, as he turned into the parking lot to make his u-turn. It was then we saw another sign that put us in stitches giggling. It said, SIDEWALK CLOSED. It looked open to us as far as the eyes could see. The only thing blocking it’s path was the sign. And you could walk around it. No big deal. But I suppose you had to use caution near a construction area, so it really wasn’t funny, at all, was it? So, we headed on our way. Within minutes, my hubby was in more familiar territory and had turned down a few more side streets, finally arriving at our destination. We anxiously got out of the van, and headed inside, for a regional dish, critics have hailed, either good or bad, depending where you come from. Have you ever gotten lost in a place you call home? And have you ever tried Cincinnati Chili?


*****What is Cincinnati Chili?*****
“The Mediterranean influence is a result of Macedonian immigrants inventing the dish.The origins of Cincinnati Chili can be traced back to a small burlesque theater called The Empress where, in 1922, several Macedonian brothers started serving chili on top of spaghetti, labeling it "chili mac." Cincinnati Chili is also unlike its counterparts in that it's ordered/prepared with a "way system." "Two way" is chili served over noodles, while "three" way is that with a thick lid of un-melted, shredded cheese. Add onions to mix to make it "four way," and "five way" includes layers of spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, and beans, while oyster crackers should be added at the diner's discretion. Chili powder and spices like paprika or cumin drive the savory side, and chocolate is rumored to be the ingredient behind the sweet element. But some folks say that is a myth and instead, they say the sweet component is typically cinnamon, allspice, and/or nutmeg, though the whole package holds a distinct Mediterranean flavor.”


INFORMATION ABOUT CHILI  WAS GATHERED FROM SEVERAL SIGHTS ON INTERNET...I've put quotes around it so you know that it wasn't me writing...

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A COLD WINTER DAY


This has been a pretty mild winter until now. We got a couple inches of snow overnight. And then freezing rain and sleet on top of it. Made the roads slick and tricky to navigate this morning. And then, by afternoon, everything melted. And the temperature climbed up to 42 degrees. As evening approached however, the temps began to tumble, and the wind picked up. It was fierce outside. According to the local news, it’s going down to 10 to 12  degrees overnight, with wind gusts of 50 mph, and wind chills making it feel closer to zero tonight. No precipitation is expected. So… we can be grateful for small favors. I think we’re going to sleep in. Comfy, cozy under the covers with our electric blanket on high. Our arthritis and my neuropathy are worse in the cold weather. So we want to nestle in bed as long as possible, where it is warm. My partner likes to turn the thermostat down to an inhumane 62 degrees. Exiting the bed each morning is a shock to the system. And tomorrow the temps are not expected to go up much. So walking around the house all day is going to be very chilly, indeed. He’ll be wearing his flannel shirt and I’ll double down with a couple sweaters. Later, we’ll be making some oatmeal with apple chunks and cranberries for brunch. And then have to decide... if we want coffee, tea or hot chocolate. I think I’ll go for the cinnamon tea and my hubby will probably have coffee. Nothing more comforting than wrapping your cold fingers around a piping hot cup of your favorite beverage. It’s comfort in a cup. Then we’ll spend the rest of the day lounging around, online… or watching a movie on TV. No heavy duty chores. So wherever you are, if this latest frigid cold streak hits your area... take advantage of indoor activities. And if you must venture outside, be sure to bundle up, like you did when you were a little kid. ‘Cause baby it’s cold out there. Very, very cold. Stay safe.


PS) The jpg I’m using at the beginning of my post, is a painting from artist Mervin Jules. It is my favorite piece of artwork ever. When I first saw it many years ago, I got shivers running up and down my spine. I saw myself in the young girl featured in it. I swear it is me standing there, all alone, as the wind whips through my hair on a brutally cold winter night, far, far away.
PPS) At the end of the post, is my mother and I, once upon a time. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

THE OLD SWITCHEROO


It’s winter. And the temperatures here have been on a roller coaster ride. Up and down, for weeks on end. Last week it was in the lower 20’s. While this week, it’s been in the 50’s and 60 ‘s, almost 70, and is going down to below freezing tonight. Makes you crazy every time you walk out the front door. What coat do I wear? Or more importantly… the real dilemma for me is… whether to get a cold Raspberry tea, at the only drive-in town that has it. OR to travel farther down the road, to another drive-in, that serves up, an African Autumn tea latte… piping hot, to warm up my frigid fingers.  For Christmas last year, and again this year… I got $30 gift cards to the local coffee shop called Biggby. It’s my town’s version of Starbucks. It’s there I get the tea latte. At home I drink Harneys cinnamon tea. But when I go out, it’s a treat to use the gift cards. Well, imagine my surprise… on a bitterly cold day… (when I opted for warmth to run through my frozen veins) and chose to get an African Autumn tea latte… only to find out… they no longer carry it. It had been removed from their menu. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. Why had this happened? I was freezing, sitting in my car, with the window down, asking why they didn’t have my beloved tea. Not believing the Barista at the window, I drove across town to the other Biggbys. Surely the woman had been mistaken. I figured here I would get my tea latte. But this Barista told me the exact same thing... no African Autumn tea latte. I was devastated and asked if they had dropped the Harney Tea line. She confirmed that, that was indeed the case. And then, she suggested... I try one of the new teas, they were touting, by this different company. I was reluctant. I had never heard of Frazer Tea. But I agreed to become a guinea pig. So she made me a cup of their cinnamon tea. And off I drove, still disappointed and upset, that my African Autumn was never coming back to Biggbys. I knew I could probably get it on Amazon, but it’s not the same. The Barista froths the milk, adds a touch of honey while engaging in casual conversation. You hear the music playing in the background. They put it in a festive cup. Then they add a sleeve to it, and hand it to you, through an open window... or inside a quaint shop, decorated to soothe the soul. You hand them a tip. It’s an ‘emotional’ experience. One that calms me. And fills me with positive vibes. One I enjoyed immensely. But Biggby pulled the old SWITCHEROO. There was nothing I could do, to change a corporate decision, that ruined all that for me. So I took a sip of what I was left with. The Frazer tea was terrible. I hated it. Absolutely hated it. I came home and dumped it out. I sat down at my computer, and wrote Biggby a letter, telling them how disappointed I was. Then I got up and made a cup of Harney's cinnamon tea in the comfort of my own home. I intended to shun Biggby from now on. Have you ever had great expectations about something, only to be let down by the reality of the situation? No matter how big or small the circumstances. 


(CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)
then maybe you can read what my cup says...
"I'm a BAG LADY,  I drink tea."

Thursday, January 2, 2020

STANDING ON MY SOAPBOX


One last story about 2019. When I wrapped and packaged my daughter’s Christmas gifts… it took me a while because I have neuropathy in my hands. I did it with love, hoping a smile would pass her lips, as she opened each one. She is in failing health and is on portable oxygen. I mailed the packages USPS, priority mail. I tracked them across the country all the way to Colorado. It took three days. Problem is… USPS says they were delivered a week and a half, before Christmas. But she never got them. Inside were restaurant gift cards, cash and an Echo Dot with Alexa. I was so-oo aggravated she did not get her presents. I figured I needed to put a trace on them and file a claim to collect the insurance. She was devastated by the loss. And there wasn’t much I could do here. Being on a limited income I couldn’t send her replacements, ‘til we got our next Social Security check, in January. This just ruined all of our Christmas spirit. But as it turns out, management at her apartment complex thought something fishy was going on... when she told them about it. So they enlisted my daughter’s help and ours... to see if they could find those packages. What happened is this. If my daughter gets a package, the mailman is supposed to leave her a key in her mailbox, to a bigger box in the apartment mailroom. He did not do this, in the case of these missing packages. Instead what he did… was leave her packages in a box, with the key still in it, in the mailroom. Which meant anyone had access to them.  Not to mention the fact, it was way across the room… from the box my daughter was supposed to have her packages left in. The apt. managers took my daughter with them to investigate. They were armed with the pictures of both packages, I had sent. They found them in this box with access to everyone, as I previously stated. The Amazon Prime package had been slit open, but appeared to still have the gift inside.. And the other package was intact. So all is well, that ends well. Or so you would think. The apt. managers warned my daughter… that they thought… perhaps the mailman had an accomplice, and that the two of them were up to no good. And they suggested she inform the local post office about what happened and they would too. So that was it, or so we thought. Christmas would be celebrated from afar with the gifts we had sent.Thank goodness. And my daughter could breathe a sigh of relief, at long last, and enjoy her Christmas, though she was alone. Unfortunately something else happened to put a damper on the holiday. The card we sent her separately, from the packages… was from the kitty cats here. In it… we enclosed an Applebee’s gift card. Would you believe it never arrived... and neither did the second card we sent her, for New Years. So, somewhere between here and Colorado, they were both stolen... most likely by my daughter's mail carrier. When I was a young women… starting out… the mail got delivered through rain, snow, sleet and hail. The mail carriers were dedicated to that motto. You could count on them to get the job done. Nowadays... it's a FREE for all. Who deliberately steals from their customers or neighbors… taking what’s not theirs, and pocketing it for themselves. So sad, this is happening more and more with postal carriers around the holidays. If we can’t trust them to deliver the mail, who can we trust? And as for those other porch pirates, that's another story played out on the news, nightly. I don't need to rehash it here. I sincerely hope the new decade... starting with 2020... brings more civility, kindness and honesty into focus... we deserve a better tomorrow for ourselves and our children. And hopefully it starts today, with each one of us making a sincere effort… to really care about each other, whether we know each other, or not. Because what happens on our watch, affects each and everyone of us... We need to set better examples for the children. No more bullying and name calling. No more stealing. The truth must prevail. And the disinformation thats being shoved down our throats daily, must be thwarted. We have eyes and ears... and know deep in our hearts, the difference between right and wrong. It's time to hold the liars and cheats accountable for their actions. And let the rest of us breathe easier. I am now going to step off my soapbox and move forward. 


Sunday, December 29, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR


To all my blog buddies, friends and family
I wish you a
HAPPY NEW YEAR.
may 2020 be a year of hope,  peace of mind and good fortune.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

CHRISTMAS IS HERE


Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate life and the things that are important. I have been plagued with bad health and am tired of the blood tests, MRI’s, hospital visits and doctor appointments, etc.  I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. Living with pain is something I’m now used to. So I’m putting better health on the top of my list to Santa.  And on a whim... I’m also telling him to note that… I dream of living in a coastal town, one day… where I can eat seafood to my hearts content. Where I can start my life over. Perhaps own a little secondhand clothing store where I sell my wares and jewelry. I know it’s kind of farfetched, to think this will happen in my lifetime, ‘cause I’m getting too old to make life changing decisions. But it's up to Santa. It's on my list. I've been GOOD, not BAD. However, I know the reality of the situation. But at this time of year… I get nostalgic and have the wonderment of that small child, I used to be. "Anything is possible”, I tell myself. Anything at all. To my friends, family and blog buddies. I wish you love, peace of mind and a glorious holiday filled with special moments. Take care. I’ll see you in the new year.


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

KINDNESS DURING THE HOLIDAYS


I was at a Verizon store waiting, when a woman came in to pay her mother’s bill. It was about 186 dollars. The clerk told her she needed three more dollars, because they charged a fee to process the order. The woman told her she had no extra money and couldn't pay it. Then she called her mother. Though the conversation was one-sided on this end, it appeared they were both afraid to let the bill go, to the next month, because the mother would then owe double. And at this time of year, she would likely need the money for something else. The clerk was adamant that unless that extra three bucks was paid, she couldn’t do the transaction.  I had been sitting there, patiently waiting my turn, listening to the conversation… and decided to help. I reached into my change purse and removed three ones. I got up, went to the counter and laid the three singles... there in front of both of them.The clerk’s jaw dropped.The woman who needed the money was shocked… her eyes flew open wide, and she told her mom on the cell phone, that a stranger had just paid the fee.   When she hung up, she gave me a big hug with tears in her eyes and told me to have a wonderful holiday. I wished her the same and went back to my chair waiting for the clerk to finish. As she was leaving, the woman thanked me again and I said, “you’re welcome.” When she left the store… the Verizon clerk came over to wait on me, and said ,”You know you didn’t have to do that.” I told her that I believe in kindness and paying it forward. And while three dollars isn’t a big deal, to the woman who needed it,… it made a difference. And she supposed I was right. The clerk then dealt with my phone problem and told me she had to go in the back to finish up our business.  When she returned,  she gave me… one of those cordless chargers for my phone. I told her I didn’t have enough to pay for it and she said, ”I’m paying it forward. You did something nice, now I am. It’s yours... free of charge.” I was speechless. Thanking her,  I too left the building. Though I must admit, while driving home in my car,  I wondered why the clerk just hadn’t waived the fee to begin with? Then she wouldn’t have felt obligated to give me the cordless charger which was over fifty dollars. Or... maybe I was being too cynical. Perhaps there was a lesson learned by all of us that day. That a kind gesture is the glue that binds us all together. And none of us should take it for granted.


(CLICK ON ON PHOTO)
TO MAKE LARGER