The Adventures of Twin and Sis

“They’re back!  They’re back!  Twin and Sis have returned on their annual trip to check on……..Girlfriend!  An’ make sure she’s behavin’ her very own self.  Which she never does…….” Jabberwocky was excited about the visit.

As well she might be!  It was, indeed, a rollicking good time having Twin and Sis here!

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Twin on left, Sis on right

First off, they came to work out with us in class.  This, in and of itself, is an adventure.  For all of us.  Every time.  Especially for Leader (who is getting quite good at herding cats).  

But they kept up and had a smile on their faces after every episode in pain class.  Brave women, them is! 

(To give you a small idea of what it’s like in our workout class, just imagine about 20 to 30 women, all of a certain age, trying their bestest to keep up with Leader.  Who is, well, shall we say, something along the lines of SUPERWOMAN.  And keeping us synchronized is along the lines of………herding cats as previously alluded to.)

“CATS?  Did you say CATS?” Jabberwocky interjected, continuing, “You can’t have a bunch of cats in your class!  You’ll trip all over ‘em and they crawl between your legs when given the chance and you’ll trip!  Asides, they’ll scratch!  And MEOW!  An’ throw everybodies off balance.  Security will be furious!  She thinks cats belong, well, elsewhere…….not with humans at all!”

This is, in point of fact, very true, although I think it is Jabber who is off-balance, but I digress…….   According to Security, only Canines are fit company.   Poodles to be specific.

To show you how true this is, Sis, Girlfriend and Twin went to the Ryman Auditorium whilst on the visit, and saw the Grand Ol’ Opry.  Who do you think was in the front row, keeping company with the peoples there?  Why, of course:

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Security

That’s NOT Security!” Jabber emphatically stated.  “First off, she/he/it has a harness on.  Security would NOT be seen in a harness!  Secondly, he/she/it looks too intelligent for Security….and where are the bows?”

Evidently not as intelligent as our very OWN Security, Jabber.  As you point out, there is no way that OUR Security would be caught in a harness.  Not pretty ‘nuf for her.  Secondly, THIS Security really IS Security.  So, there you have it………..No, I am not sure what relation Security and this Security are.  Likely long-lost cousins.  But I digress…….again……

The big highlight of the Ryman Show was that Sis and Girlfriend’s Hubby were selected to go to the stage and play a game with……….wait for it……..wait for it…………..

LARRY GATLIN!

Yep, were! 

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Above, ON STAGE! Sis on right, Girlfriend’s Hubby on Left!

and, of course, Larry Gatlin in the center!

(at least I think so…….hard to tell, I know.)

So, as we all expected, Sis and Twin were instant stars in Nashville.  What can I say?  Girls, some of us have ‘it’ and some of us don’t.  Obviously, Sis and Twin have ‘IT’!  How fun!

Other highlights of their adventures included Brocanting Tours with entourage (that’d be us’ns), eating Monkey Bread (baked by Mrs. Patmore) after workout class,

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Sis, Girlfriend and Twin

And, of course, the Great Nail Polishing Adventure! in which both Sis and Twin became even more lovely than before and had fun doing it.  Tonight is the farewell supper for all who can join us.  Sadly, Twin and Sis must return to the FREEZING NORTH.  We do so hope the snow is over for this year, but…..one never knows when one abides in the North.

It has been lots of fun having them here and we will look forward to their return!  Au revoir!  Au revoir!  s’il vous plaît revenir bientôt!

 

Downton Abbey Revisited

“Oh, alright.  It’s NOT Downton Abbey.  It’s PollyAnna Abbey and don’t you forget it!” Jabber demanded.  Jabber seldom defends Security, so this is, indeed, a first!

Yes, ‘tis.  Today is Sunday and ergo, it is Mrs. Hughes’ Security’s day off.  We are on our own to defend the fortress against squirrels, rabbits, moles, and gophers.  (We do a poor job of it.  Mrs. Hughes Security does her best, but then, Mrs. Hughes’ real strength is in vacuuming.  As we all know.)

Security is enjoying her day off horizontally:

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Being one of the servants and in our employ here at the Abbey, Mrs. Hughes Security takes her meals after the Family has eaten theirs.  She is sometimes grateful. 

When she approves of the meal, she brings a toy in her mouth to the doorway of whatever room we are in.  Not to give it to us, not to play fetch.  Just to show it to us.  This has been her method of thanking us for some time now and we respond (having impeccable manners, of course), recognize her and say, “You are welcome” when she does so.

(We are quite formal in this household.  Appearances must be kept, you know.  Lately, however, Carson has not been providing cloth napkins and at times—horror of horrors!—he does not measure the silverware so that it is precisely in its proper place next to the plates.  I do not know why.  I must speak to him about this.)

This morning, after a Sunday breakfast which Mrs. Patmore I had prepared, Security did not bring a toy because, as previously established, it is her day off.  And she’s resting.  Therefore, no toy for me! 

However………….TMWLH brought a toy to show me.

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Which goes to prove, you CAN teach an Olde Dog New Tricks!

Pterodactyls Soar!

As previously established, we are SMARTER than a pterodactyl.

“Yeah, well, you might be as OLD as one, too….” Jabber interjected.  Continuing, she said, “I mean consider this—if your age was computed by Dog Years and you are 111, that makes you 777.  That’s old enough to qualify me thinks.”

“And, ‘sides, you are incorrectly referring to Pterosaurs as pterodactyls!” she corrected me.  Correctly. 

And quoted Wikipedia, to boot!

Pterosaurs are also incorrectly referred to as pterodactyls, particularly by journalists.[8] "Pterodactyl" refers specifically to members of the genus Pterodactylus,[9] and more broadly to members of the suborder Pterodactyloidea of the pterosaurs.[10][11

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterodactyles

Whatever. 

My point was going to be this:

We Pterodactyls soared this morning too!  In fact, on our MOUNTAIN, Edwin Warner Park right here in Nashville, TN, we walked to the top which is an elevation of 2,370 feet—qualifies as a mountain!  Yes, DO! errrrr, DOES!

‘Cause Signal Mountain, located in Chattanooga and NAMED a ‘mountain’ is only 1,703 feet high. 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Mountain,_Tennessee

So there Jabber!

“Whatever.  You still have a bird brain, whether you are a Pterodactyl or a Pterosaur.”

I think she’s got me on that one……………

Smarter than a Pterodactyl

Hypothetically speaking.

“Huh?” a startled Jabberwocky queried.

Us.  We are smarter than a pterodactyl.  Hypothetically speaking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterodactylus

“Oh.  Well, that explains it.”

No, actually it doesn’t explain anything, but then I’m not going to.

This is a bunch of ‘us’–

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And these are some of us—albeit in solitary poses:

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image “Doesn’t everyone just hang out whilst standing on one leg?” asked Jabber……..

And some of us are having WAY TOO MUCH FUN!

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Told ya’, didn’t I?  We ARE smarter than a Pterodactyl!!!

My Favorite Writer

Is Vincent Van Gough.  At least at the moment.

“HUH?” Jabber asked.  “He’s not only ‘van go’, he’s done gone.  Sides, he were not a writer.  He were a one-eared painter.”

That is where you are completely incorrect.  He was the alter ego of Kilgore Trout, hero of Timequake.  But only during the time he was living in a homeless shelter.

He continued to write, you know.

Yes, did.  And somewhat, though not persactly of course as I am.  Which is to say I’ve been reading his writing and channeling sort of, mimicking him. Not very good, either, I might add.  Or Jabber might.

And you DO know who Kilgore Trout was, do you not?  NO?

Oh well then, this isn’t making sense to you, now is it. 

Kilgore Trout was the alter ego of the guy who wrote Slaughterhouse Five.  Among other things notable.  He was a bit off-the-wall which is why, of course, I like his alter alter ego Vincent so much.  Oh well, alright.  It was his pseudonym.  (Can you spell ‘pseudonym’?  Well, now you can.  Which is of no consequence since there is auto spell check and who cares anywho?)  Trout’s pseudonym, not the real writer’s.  Who is Kurt Vonnegut.

“I dunno,” Jabber said, “Who is Kurt Vonnegut?”

(I am ignoring Jabber for the moment.)

Yes, yes.  I am speaking of none other than my second most favorite writer, Kurt Vonnegut who did not like computers and auto spell check and fax machines and all that much either.  But he did explain how to end a story according to advice he received as a younger writer:  simply have the main character ride off into the sunset.  The end.

In Timequake the all-encompassing and ever-present questions are asked over and over again:  “Who am I?  And What am I doing here? “

Along with, “What’s REALLY going on?”

And, of course, I seem to be asking those question to no one in particular—might as well BE a Trout, why not?—all the time.  Which is to say, there are no answers, only the questions.  But it’s a good read nonetheless. 

And I seem to recall some vice prez candidaate opened his candidacy debate, inquiry or whatever on TV with those first two questions.  For which he received a lot of laughs.  Not on purpose.

He was an old guy to begin with.  So, of course, when he asked, “Who am I?” and “What am I doing here?” it was a foregone conclusion he was not going to be a big winner. 

But he really DID have the right questions, provided he went to question number 3:  What is REALLY going on?

(But I don’t think he ever got to question number 3.  Most people don’t.  However, I do think he went off into the sunset.  At any rate, I never heard about him again.  The end.)

 

 

Is there a Leprechaun Conference in town?

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“A Leprechaun Conference?  Why’d you say that?” Jabber queried.

‘Cause first I got this lucky green coin from Vanna who got it from the Leprechaun she spotted on Saturday morning……

“ah ha!  I knew she was spotting Leprechauns!”

Anyway, as I was sayin’, first I got this lucky green coin, and then there were all these Leprechauns spotted in our area, and now—what do you suppose I SAW this morning when I went to workout?

HIM!!

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Caught him by surprise, too, I did……….but he seemed like an awfully NICE Leprechaun!

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“I gotta’ wonder,” Jabber pondered, “if you will see any tonight—the night the Leprechauns bring gifts!”

What Jabber?

“It’s St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s the night when all the Leprechauns come and bring gifts to good little boys and girls and puppy dogs an’ all……..” Jabber explained.

No, no, that’s Christmas Eve!  You have it confused.  Leprechauns don’t bring gifts!  That’s Santa and he’s not a Leprechaun.  He’s a……….he’s a……….well, he’s a Jolly Old Elf, that’s what he is.

“Well, you got a green lucky coin, din’ cha’?”

May a good Leprechaun bring you a good gift this St. Paddy’s night, my friends.  If not, then just accept Jabber’s St. Patrick’s Day wish for you:

May your feet never sweat,
your neighbor give you ne’re a treat.

When flowers bloom, I hope you’ll not sneeze,
and may you always have someone to sqeeze!”

http://tacomaweekly.tripod.com/Irish-Quotations.html

Luck o’ The Irish

“Is you or is you not Irish?” Jabber demanded of me.

I is  am!  Some.  Irish.  Not a whole lot, but some, yes.  TMWLH is 100% Irish.   It’s not his fault.  It’s his parents’ fault.  And that was a LONG time ago, so…….

“You are getting away from the topic here,” Jabber interjected.

Oh yes.  Right.  Well, whether you are or you are not Irish, you may be interested to know that yet ANOTHER Leprechaun has been spotted!

“A spotted Leprechaun? Why is someone spotting Leprechauns?  What color spots?  They are fine green, in my opinion.”

No, Jabber.  Has been seen.  Another Leprechaun has been seen.  In our little town.  Early in the a.m.  Yesterday. 

“How early?”

Around about 6:30 a.m.  Right before we went for our 9 mile walk.

“What?  Are you insane?”

Well, yes, but what’s YOUR point by that question?

“You wouldn’t by chance be spotting leprechauns, now, would you?  Being out so early and well…it just sounds peculiar and all………”

I  am ignoring that insult.  If there is one thing I am NOT it’s a leprechaun spotter.

Vanna, on the other hand, might be.  A leprechaun spotter.  Anyway, whilst awaiting her limousine van pickup at our local fine dining establishment (by the name of O’McDonald’s), she spotted him and took a picture for us. 

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Leprechaun spotted by Vanna

“Must a-been before she spotted him.”

Look, Jabber, you’re not making any sense.  Vanna does NOT spot Leprechauns.  She sees them, perhaps, but she doesn’t spot them.

“Well, does Girlfriend?  She spotted one a few posts ago I recall….”

No.  Neither Vanna nor Girlfriend have been known to spot any Leprechauns.

“Yeah, well, they SEE THEM, though, don’t they?  And that in and of itself is a bit accusatory…..”

Jabber is completely out of control.

Okay, so after Vanna and I did our cake-walk of 9 miles (I am not letting Jabber interject anything here—but you can imagine whatever you’d like), what do you think happened next?

LEADER spotted a yard sale!  And Racer Daughter and I went to it—it was a ‘TWO-FER”  This means that there was not just one, but TWO yard sales right together. 

How fun and how much luck can you have anyway?

“WAIT!  It’s LEADER who is spotting Leprechauns, isn’t it?  And now she’s taken up yard sales, too, huh?” Jabber broke through…….

Alright.  Enough.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you.  Do not spot any Leprechauns.

Spring Cometh?

 

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IT’S SPRING!  See?  I can prove it!  Here are the Daffodils which were blooming in the yard just two days ago when the thermometer read over 80 degrees.

I picked them.  Because last night the thermometer read under 30 degrees.  With some flurries predicted.

So, yes!  It’s Spring.

Sort of………………

Never mind.  Since it was going to be another cold evening, I fixed some Chicken Tortilla Soup for supper…with ingredients almost entirely out of the cupboard and freezer, so it was  relatively inexpensive and handy to make. 

This also proves, Weeders, that I really do use that which is put away in the freezer and disproves the ugly rumor that I freeze leftovers and then throw them out 6 months later.  (Take that@! family!)

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Topped with a bit of crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, some sliced avocado and chopped green onions—delish!

Here’s the recipe as I adapted it:

Chop up one onion (or if you have some already chopped and in the freezer, grab that!) 

Place the onion in a soup pot with some olive oil and sauté for a while until soft.  Add in three minced garlic clovers. 

Add in a couple teaspoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of oregano, mix it around with the onions and garlic.  Add in 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed/chopped/whatever tomatoes, about 1 1/2 cup water, and 1 can of chicken stock (if you’ve got condensed, which is what the recipe calls for, use that—if not, add what you’ve got to taste—you can add more later if you want a stronger flavor or more liquid in the soup or throw in a chicken bullion cube or two). 

Now, grab that cooked chopped chicken out of your freezer.   What?  You don’t have any?  Okay, well, what did you do with all the leftover chicken from the last rotisserie chicken you got at the the grocery?  Oh.  You ate it.  Okay, well, then either cook up two chicken breasts and chop them up or grab 2 to 3 cans of chicken from the pantry.  I added a can of chicken to the chopped chicken from the freezer.  Makes the ‘soup’ thicker and more hearty.  Besides, I had the can of chicken and wanted it that way.  That’s why.

Grab the bag of cilantro cubes in the freezer. 

What do you mean you ain’t got no Cilantro cubes? 

Didn’t you freeze it up in ice cube trays with a bit of water and throw it in a plastic bag (labeled) last fall—for your winter culinary adventures? 

No? 

Well, then that you will have go to buy.  Wash it up, chop up about 1/4 cup of it and THEN pull off the rest of the leaves and freeze in ice cube trays for later.  Otherwise you won’t use it up and you’ll be sorry!  This has been a warning from the Cilantro police.

(And be sure to plant some this summer in a pot so next year you won’t be caught short of Cilantro when it’s the middle of winter and there are snow flurries and it’s dark early and you really don’t want to go to the store to get a bunch of fresh.  But if you DO get caught in a bind, here is a Hint:  send the man who lives at your house if you have one.  I always send TMWLH from mine.  Otherwise, I suppose you’ll have to go your own self.)

Put the chopped cilantro (or the cubes) in the pot with the rest of the soup.

So, now you want to open and drain the following:

1 can of black beans (drain, rinse, drain again in a colander)

1 4 oz can of green chilies (you don’t have to drain them)

1 can of hominy

1 can of whole kernel corn

What?  Well, of course you can use frozen corn.  I don’t care!  Use whichever you’ve got on hand.

If you want to be sneaky, you can chop up some of those leftover veggies (whatever) lurking in your freezer—you know the stuff you saved which was leftover?  and you were going to make soup with it?  Well, put it in the blender with some more chicken stock and whirl away.  Pour it into the soup.  Providing it isn’t a really strong-tasting veggie, you can add some additional nutrients to the soup AND get the family to eat the leftovers without even realizing it.  Smile 

Put the rest of the ingredients into the pot.  Heat the soup until it is piping hot and serve in bowls.  Top with any or all of the following:

Crushed tortilla chips (I freeze the leftover ones from take-out—Mexican meals always come with chips, lots of chips!)

Chopped green onions

Shredded Cheese (Monterey Jack is best, but whatever—I had cheddar and that was good, too)

Sliced avocados

Serve it with more chips or if you’ve got ‘em, leftover corn muffins.

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You will be FULL! I promise.  And have leftovers.  This makes enough for 8 servings.  (And yes, I always have a glass of wine with supper.  Because I like it, that’s why.)

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Yes, yes.  I will give you a more sane rendition of recipe described above.  Here ‘tis:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

1 10.5 oz can condensed chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked

1 cup white hominy

1 4-oz can chopped green chili peppers

1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 boneless chicken breast halves cooked

    and cut into bite-sized pieces

crushed tortilla chips

sliced avocado

shredded Monterey Jack cheese

chopped green onions

Directions:

In medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft. 

Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, water.  Bring to boil and

simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in corn, hominy, chilies, beans, cilantro, chicken.  Simmer for 10 minutes

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese and chopped green onion

Serves 8

From Allrecipes.com

Crepes for Breakfast

 

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Sunday morning—something different would be good for breakfast.  How about crepes?

I’d never made them before, so I looked up the recipe on the handy-dandy internets!

Here is the recipe which I adapted somewhat:

1 cup all-purpose flour—sift as you measure and set aside.

Whip up (with a hand mixer) about 8 oz of cream cheese and some powdered sugar (maybe 1 Tblsp or more, taste!) and a bit of cream or milk (about 1 Tblsp).  Set aside.  It should be spreadable.

Place the following in a blender :

2 eggs, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix the wet ingredients and salt, then add the flour

I added 1/3 cup sugar (granulated) and 1/4 cup powdered sugar to the blender as well. If you want a savory crepe, omit.  Add the 2 Tablespoons melted butter.  Mix well in blender.

Heat a 10 inch pan (oh for heaven’s sake—use whatever pan you have that is flat and will allow you to make a crepe—don’t be so particular!) and brush with vegetable oil.  Pour about 1/4 cup of the liquid crepes into the pan, turning the pan so liquid covers the entire bottom of the pan.  After about 2 minutes, flip.  When they are cooked through (about 1 to 2 minutes more), fold in half with a spatula and then into  quarters and remove from the pan.  Repeat the process, brushing lightly with vegetable oil before each pouring.  Keep crepes warm as you cook the rest.

Open up a crepe and spread with cream cheese mixture, rolling as you go.  Top with sifted powdered sugar and if you like a few berries.  (If you were making this for a dinner, you’d omit the sugar in the basic recipe and fill with meat, vegetables or whatever you’d like for a savory filling.)

It’s fairly easy to do, almost fail-safe, and

Delish!

image  A folded crepe on left…….

image  Crepes with berries

A rich, satisfying and very FRENCHY breakfast for a Sunday morning!

 

Half-Way Point

This is what we looked like yesterday (Saturday) as we reached the half-way point in our 9-mile walk.  Pretty happy, huh?  The country road and the day were gorgeous, we were with good friends having a lot of fun just chatting up a storm.  Of course, we only had 4.5 miles to walk back, so who wouldn’t be happy? 

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“You really are certifiable.” Jabber muttered…….

We might be ‘certifiable’, but we’re happy certifiable!

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