Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner, the expression twirls around my mind with memories; mingled with fancy dresses that hid crinolines. Mary Jane’s and cuffed white nylon socks decorated our feet. After Sunday Mass, we returned home with jelly donuts and a thick Daily News. Later in the day, some of us watched football while the others played tag outdoors. Dinner was late afternoon. A wooden ironing board placed across two chairs provided additional seating when we had guests. The guests were family who traveled the 40 minutes from the Bronx to Long Island for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

More recently, Sunday dinner triggers thoughts of Tony Soprano and Sunday gravy. I have the Soprano’s cook book and have made many of the recipes. Some of you may recall my post, The Not Really Italian Bolognese Sauce.

The new movie, The Many Saints of Newark will be released this October. The young Tony Soprano is played by Michael Gandolfini, James Gandolfini son. Michael is twenty-two years old and I’m looking forward to the movie. David Chase lamented when interviewed on CBS Sunday that people are not tired of this story!

This Sunday I made Ziti al Forno (Baked Ziti with Little Meatballs). Vegetable Lasagna and Caesar Salad. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the guests seated around the table enjoying the food. We had a great time.

I miss Sunday dinners. Do you?

* * * just saying

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The Remote Problem

 

 Today’s the Day

Today is the day! I’m going to solve the remote problem. I have six remotes in my home. Only one works. It’s a long story, so I’ll try to make it short.

It was an ordinary day when the bedroom remote stopped working. Spectrum responded quickly and mailed a new remote. After using a magnifier to read the instructions I thought it best to phone and talk to a live representative. She was extremely helpful and concluded, since none of the ten LG television codes worked I needed a different, aka another, remote.   

In closing she asked, “Can you change the channels?”

“Yes, with the living room remote.” I responded and did.

However, when I returned to the living room and changed the channel, the guide went wacky. Yes, I tried rebooting and lots of other stuff. Nothing helped.      

“Described wacky,” said the next customer representative.

“When I press channel number 1060, 1103 appears and a prompt to subscribe or cancel” 

He sent me two more remotes before I could explain one was already on the way.

In the morning the television was magically restored form wacky to normal. I could change channels on both televisions successfully.

Until that evening, when wacky channel suffering returned.

Now I was yelling, “Do not send me a remote.”

After what felt like eternity this representative restored the old remote to normal in the living room and threatened to send a new box.

“Please don’t,” I pleaded.

“Why not?” he asked.

“The last time they replaced the box they had to rewire inside and outside my house.”

That was one week ago and we’re able to watch both TV’s by borrowing.

The first remote is working, the second remote stopped working, the third wouldn’t work and the next three may work if I can find the courage to try.

* * * just saying

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September

September

Weather wise it isn’t horrible outside. It is cooler here and I was able to sit outdoors with a glass of wine after dinner. The was no breeze just the quiet sound of birds calling. I imagined their tweets to be something like, “Thank God it’s not that hot.”

That hot is like a heavy cloak on my chest.

Labor Day in the north signaled the end of summer and back to school. If the weather turned warm again it was referred to as Indian Summer.

I long for those cool temperatures. The careful selection of back-to-school clothes. The smell of a leather school bag. The gradual enfolding of colors; green to gold, to yellow, then bright orange and burnt red. And waiting for the first snow fall.

* * * just saying

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A New Favorite

Afternoon Coffee

I’m a coffee lover. There is nothing more enjoyable than a great cup of coffee. At thirteen years of age I fell in love with the aroma, taste and boost, and was allowed to have a cup of coffee in the afternoon. It was instant coffee, brewed by boiling water on the stove in a tea kettle and poured over exactly measured one teaspoon of dark crystals.

Over the years I graduated to a Corning Ware and then Farberware electric pots. Today of course a Keuric is the way to go.

But it got even better when my daughter introduced me to a frother and I found ecstasy., cost; $15.

Steps to making a great cup of coffee

Heat the amount of half and half you like in a large mug in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Use an electric milk frother to froth.

Brew your coffee into the cup.

Add a sugar to taste, or something sweet, like a lemon cookie and I’m happy.

* * * just saying

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Pinwheels

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Thirty days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have thirty-one, except for February.

Today is September 4, 2021 and there are 118 days left in the year. Our local newspaper prints this information daily.

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is November 25th, or 83 days away and Christmas is 113 days from now.

Yikes! Where has the time gone? To quote the lyrics from a Floor Cry song, “My mind is spinning like it’s a colorful pinwheel.

What were today’s headlines?

Covid deaths outpace 2020, “Since Jan. 1st, Volusia County has reported 609 COVID-19 deaths, a 35% increase over the 449 coronavirus deaths reported in 2020. The county had a total of 1,058 deaths as of Wednesday.”

They continued to report, “This year we are seeing younger and otherwise healthy people to be among those who are losing their life to COVID-19.”

Other headlines, Biden tells La.: “We’re going to have your back’ and US set to admit over 50,000 Afghans

We can find housing and relief for immigrants . . . but going to help citizens?

My head is spinning like a colorful pinwheel.

* * * just saying

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In the Way

In The Way

It is 10AM on the morning. I’ve been up since seven, read the newspaper, had breakfast, even exercised and showered. I’m dressed and headed to my office with a fresh cup of coffee to write when something gets in the way.

As I pulled my desk away from the wall, ever so slightly, to retrieve a slip of paper, the jewelry holder fell to the floor tangling the necklaces that dangled from her golden arms and stretched neck. I considered throwing the mess in the garbage, but the doll, a collectable figurine by Heriloom Edition was a gift from my mother who is now deceased.

Mercury Retrograde was at it again. I scooped her up, rested the damage on the bed and turned on my computer. I refused to be deterred. I didn’t take the detour, the roundabout way to writing.

Several days later I summoned the fortitude to untangle the numerous strands of necklaces, without yelling, screaming or cursing. There’s some real personal growth taking place here Dr. Trugillo. I remembered to count to ten, take deep breathes and do whatever else needed to behave sane. “I am an adult.” I repeated to myself again and again.

However, it was a reminder that retirement is highly over rated. You think you’re going to do what you want, go where you want, eat what you want . . . all your wants will be cared for.

But no, I wake up to new health challenges, world disasters or situations that need attention, daily.

Staying focused is a challenge. Should I wear a face mask again, get the booster vaccination before or after the flu shot? The increasing concerns make me dizzy and worn out. I wasn’t going to mention the remote situation, but will, briefly. Spectrum had to mail us four new remotes, none of which turn the bedroom TV on.

And then the guilt! I don’t have loved ones near the fires, fighting or returning from Afghanistan, in Ida’s path or battling covid,

But damn it, I’m going to have fun and be happy even if it kills me.

* * * just saying

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Big Feelings

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Big Feelings

People are angry. They are worried, anxious, nervous, and disappointed, all in public.

New statistics show a rapid rise in plane rage incidences. In a typical year, the FAA sees anywhere from 100 to 150 cases – only a fraction of those since this February, a reported 1,300 cases.

“These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusal to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. capitol,” said the FAA.

Gayle King quoted more alarming numbers; a jump from 300 cases to 4,000 on CBS This Morning Show and didn’t place blame, but pleaded with viewers to treat the Flight Attendant with respect.

It’s not fake news, violence has become a frequent response to discontent, regardless of the source.

In France, fans threw objects at soccer players; the situation escalated. Players and fans clashed resulting in cancellation of the game.

Factor in the debate over wearing protective face masks in schools . . . well, Chicken Little might be right. The sky appears to be falling.

In CBS This Morning interview, Grover and Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio, Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop, said, “It’s because we have big feelings.”

They were talking about children, however, agreed the approach can be applied to all human beings.

“Children don’t have words to identify their feelings,” said Dr. Truglio.  

Grover spoke about Headspace, a free app program for children and gave the following suggestions.

  • Deep Belly Breathes
  • Monster Meditation
  • Slow Down and Count to Four

“Well, I have big feeling, too. Dr. Truglio.

I’m having trouble finding the words to express them, and deep breathing is not helping.” I yelled at the television.

Dr. Truglio didn’t respond.

So, I screamed, “And counting to four sucks!”

“You’re the adult, try counting to ten!” she yelled back.

                                                   * * * *    just saying

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Mercury Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde

“The planet Mercury rules communication in all forms—listening, writing, reading, speaking, and so on—as well as activities closely related to communication, like negotiations and contracts. It also rules travel, automobiles, shipping, and mail.” And according to my neighbor lots more; like air conditioner failure.

Three times a year, the planet Mercury appears to travel backward across the sky. It’s an illusion but nevertheless associated with confusion, delay and frustration. Hence the term Mercury Retrograde, AKA backwards, reverse or decline and might also be responsible for the nail stuck in my car tire.

Here’s what happened. After driving 600 miles, we arrived home to find our central AC shut down. My husband, Bob, tired and in crossword puzzle withdrawal, was on the brink of a melt own. So, I phoned for emergency service and spoke with another Bob who from the tone of his voice was equally fatigued, if not more. He explained he’d been on call in addition to working his regular job for the past ten day before asking, “Do you have a shop vac?”

“We used to.”

“The line is more than likely clogged and needs to be suctioned. It will take me at least one hour to get where you are and cost you at least $200 dollars.”

“Are you talking about this white pipe sticking out of the ground?” I asked.

He agreed to come, I hung up and immediately phoned my Mercury Retrograde neighbor and  shared what was going on.

“I have a shop vac! I’ll be right over,” she said.

Wearing a designer skort and sequined flip-flops, she arrived within minutes carrying the shop vac.

“My AC line got clogged and I had to pay big bucks for it to be repaired. So, I purchased this on Amazon,” she said kneeling on the wet grass.

My Bob came outside and I had the other Bob on the telephone explaining he didn’t have to come after all. Everyone wore smiles. Well, I couldn’t see the other Bob smiling, but I knew he was.

“Thank you, Johanna!”

Next morning, I figured new day, no problems and went about unpacking, doing the laundry, opening-up the mail, oblivious to Mercury Retrograde who was secretly hanging around.

Later in the day I was driving on route 95 when yellow alerts appear in the dashboard, the print too small for me to see, but soon discovered my right front tire was losing pressure quickly. Normal pressure is 33 to 35 this tire had 20 pounds of pressure, YIKES!

Turns out I had picked up a nail in my travels.

I didn’t have to consult my neighbor to know, “when Mercury is retrograde, try to remain flexible, patient, and understanding, allow extra time for travel, and avoid signing onto any new contracts that you’re unsure of. Double check your email responses and check in with reservations before you take that trip.”

                                               * * * * just saying

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Back In Florida

We’re Back

Sunrise Lake

We’ve returned to Florida after spending four weeks at Sunrise Lake in Milford, Pa., and an additional week in Delmar, New York, visiting family. We’d considered a trip to Yellowstone National Park to celebrate our 50th Anniversary, but due to health issues, upcoming medical procedures, and what not, put the trip on hold.  Twelve years ago, we retired to Florida and in retrospect would have made better snow birds. We wanted to escape the heat.

It rained frequently at the lake. The temperatures so cool, we jumped in the lake only once. But, our grand kids, daughter and old friends; well let me restate that, people who we’ve been friends with for a long time, visited. Although, they are truly old friends; we met when I was thirteen and been friends for sixty years.

Smoking cigarettes at Puffy’s Creek, (behind Martin’s house in Hensonville, N.Y) nobody thought we would be old, or still be friends. It rained cats and dogs when they visited, and we huddled on a covered screen porch laughing our heads off, trying not to get wet.

Our favorite restaurant in the area is the Walpack Inn. It’s hidden deep in the woods, In order to get there we crossed Dingman’s Ferry Bridge, one of three privately owned bridges in the United States. Twenty-four hours a day someone stands in the middle of the road collecting the one dollar toll (cash only) and says repeatedly, “Thank you. Have a nice day,” to motorists crossing the Delaware River into or from Sussex County, New Jersey, via Old Mine Road. It’s a narrow bumpy bridge and kind of like threading a needle.

It was great to visit with everyone and I had mixed emotions and quite grumpy leaving Delmar at 6AM on a Monday for the 584-mile drive to Roanoke, VA. I’d not slept well the night before. However we made good time and got in bed early.

The next day we were on the road by 7AM., traveling Route 81, a scenic parkway through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Around 9:30 AM we stopped in Hillsville, Virginia for gas; to use the restrooms, and buy the newspaper. Bob reads the paper and does crossword the puzzle while I drive. We are not back on the road five minutes when he announced there is no crossword puzzle in The Carroll News which he paid one dollar for and the paper was dated August 4th, several days ago. It’s a weekly publication.

But there was news of interest.

The 85th Old Fiddlers’ Convention, held at Felts Park for six nights was expected to draw 50,000 to 60,000 people from all fifty states and several foreign countries. The paper reported the big controversy over face masks in schools, but there was no debate at the convention; no one wore a mask.

New material at the Carroll County Public Library was another headline. The list of new books, videos and CDs was extensive, diverse and took up several pages. There are six branches however, who was getting what book was left out.

The paper, more than likely, reflected what was important in the community

It was a the poignant story highlighting the Golden Girls return to work at Blue Ridge Designs that enthralled me.

Blue Ridge Design’s Golden Girls, Rubye Edwards, Cathie Grimes, Carol Montgomery, Sue Worrell

Look at the smiles! These women in their eighties, work part time at Blue Ridge Designs. Rubye retired at 87 and returned to work at 88 saying, “It’s an easy job and better than sitting at home.”They re-sticker UPC hang tags for garments. Sue Worrell believes in the “Move it or lose it,” health approach and after work went home to make 10 pints of blackberry jelly. Cathie Grimes does it for “The money!” Carol Montgomery said, “I’m still working because I don’t like staying home.”

We arrived home early and thought our re-entry would be easy. However, we were not in the door an hour when the air conditioner stopped working.

* * * * just saying

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What’s A Podcast?

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A Favorite Thing

Podcasts are my new favorite thing, well not that new. I started listening to the Serial Podcast several years ago. Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig, is nonfiction stories told in multiple episodes. Season one investigated the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old high school student in Baltimore.

Wikipedia defines a podcast “as an episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that a user can downloaded to a personal device for easy listening. Streaming applications and podcasting services provide a convenient and integrated way to manage a personal consumption queue across many podcast sources and playback devices.”

That is a mouth full.

A podcast, for me, is like turning on the radio and always getting good reception. I download podcasts to my cell phone and listen usually when walking. It makes the time fly bye and podcasts are free! I’ve never paid for a podcast, although when asked to subscribe question if it is really free?

Yes, so let’s clarify the free aspect. Spotify offers a free service but also a premium service that is promoted as free for a month. Read carefully, the basic service is free. If you have a iphone, the Apple podcast is free, however you can also download any podcast free to an iphone.

Speaking of free, CCleaner a service/download to clean trackers, cookies and the junk that slows your computer down, similarly is free but also offers a premium service free for a month. I have used the basic free service for years.

According to Podcast Insight “There are over 43 million podcasts as of January 2021.”

The industry is growing rapidly. I could have a podcast attached to my blog with WordPress, but don’t (not yet anyway).

Currently in my podcast library

  • Florida Writers Podcast hosted by Alison Nissin
  • CBS The Morning Show
  • Lori & Julia
  • Clear & Vivid with Alan Alda
  • My Brain is on Pause by Michael J. Fox

This morning I listened to Alan Alda interview with Goldie Hawn She’s Got Your Brain on Her Mind. “The celebrated and beloved actress on her successful mission to help schoolkids use their brains better.” It was extremely interesting and I’ll talk about it next time.

. . . just saying

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