Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bringing home the bacon

Hi friends ... how are you?

I know some of you will go to any lengths to avoid grocery shopping, but I've a new favorite past time ....
hanging out at Kroegers (aka, Fry's).

It was a sad, sad day when I first moved to Arizona and discovered there were no Publix supermarkets.  Neither was there any Hellman's Mayonnaise .... practically a Deal Breaker before Tom informed me, "West of the Rockies it's sold as Best Foods."  (Now, that commercial jingle makes sense: "Bring out the Hellman's and bring out the Best!")

OK, I digress.  Again.

Anyway. I appreciate that someone smarter than myself discovered a long time ago, consumers are drawn to good lighting, wide aisles and clean, attractive displays.  I think Kroger takes it one step further, hiring folks who, for the most part, seem to love what they're doing.  One cashier confided he'd left his corporate managerial role, because he "enjoys making people happy."   

So all was well until my hair guru asked one day if I'd checked out the new Camelback store.  It's a few miles further, but boy oh-boy!  (Oh-boy!)

This is but one section of their more than 100 varieties of cheese.  They've even a 'concierge' who makes recommendations and logs customers' favorites!   Once she let me sample the Espresso Bellavitano, I was a fan.  Similarly, DH enjoys their whiskey cheddar.   I told Tom, I may as well start rooting for the Green Bay Packers, on account I'm becoming a real cheese head!

A few feet away, a fellow was preparing and distributing samples of rib-eye steak.  It's hard to make out, but their sign says, "We will gladly grill your meat or seafood purchases free of charge."

I can easily imagine the adjacent bar becoming the latest place for young people to go enjoy a nice glass of wine and steak dinner - at a fraction of the price - before bringing home the Pampers.

Tom's not as easily impressed; I think he's privately amused at my 'oohs and ahhs.'    Kroger has a similar store in north Phoenix where they even feature complimentary valet parking!

What he not so amused by, I've developed the silly habit of placing our groceries on the roller-thingy, first by taxable v. non-taxable, then by category.  (OCD, much?)  Hey, it makes me happy and no-one's getting hurt. 

* * *

Such a creature of habit, I am ... buying products because "that's what mother used", etc., etc.
Does anyone else do the same thing?

So, MadSnapper ...I finally broke down and purchased my first bottle of Dawn detergent the other day.  :)
Except when I was rinsing the dinner dishes and those adorable little bubbles rose and exploded, there came to mind an olden, unmistakable scent of ....  Geritol!  
Troy's dad (aka, my 'starter' husband) used to give it to me for 'iron-poor blood.'  (LOL)
Now, my 47-y/o little boy says, "Never heard of it."  Hmpf.
Like the nice young lady at DSW, he probably doesn't know what oxblood shoes are, either.

Color me, lost in the oldies tonight.

Please, have yourselves a wonderful new week!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Of Birthdays, Bowls ... and Cars that go "Zoom!"

Hello friends!

Like my high school boyfriend recently quipped,
"Now I get to tell everyone, I'm only 67!"
(Oh, com'on ... my face is far too time-stamped to fib about my age!)

... plus, I regard each St. Paddy's Day as my very own (fiscal) New Year. 
Another chance to get it right.  Right?

So, yesterday Tom took me shopping at my favorite consignment shop in Phoenix ..... then to what I call, the Happiest Place on Earth (i.e., Cheesecake Factory).

I've never worked in the food-service industry, but that place seriously amazes me.  I was telling my son, their menu is like 12-13 pages long and we've never had even a less-than excellent meal.   (I keep thinking about what Troy said: "Wouldn't you love to watch their kitchen in action?"   Why yes. Yes I would!)

Tom had his usual Colby burger and fries, and me the Firecracker salmon rolls.  As is tradition, we each ordered our desserts to go ... and enjoyed for supper last night:  Carrot-cake/cheesecake and lemon-meringue cheesecake ... Tom pronounced better than any of the chocolate varieties he's ever had.   Hungry, yet?
(Alexa even sang 'Happy Birthday.'    Ha!)

* * *

Not a birthday present, necessarily, but Tom sure gladdened my heart when he took an off-hand remark and ran with it.

I love these olden mixing bowls ... a wedding present to my parents back in '38.

While the mid-size (aka, tapioca bowl) acts as a catch-all in my 'ish' room, I was crushed when Mother's dough bowl took an unfortunate spill.   Knowing I was reluctant to part with it, Tom did his best to repair the break ... but still it leaked.
What to do?

Well ...

He drilled some holes for drainage ... hot-glued a section of screen to the bottom ... added a wee bag of aquarium rock and soil, and would you lookie here!

If I listen real hard, I swear I can hear my mother chuckling!

* * *

Today's back to the tile store (I'm sooooo confused!) then running errands .....
when what I'd really, really like to do is run over to P.I.R.
DH's enjoying sitting out back and watching the private jets flying low over the house!

Unfortunately, there's no 'running over.'
With Tom's limited mobility, my dislike of crowds -- and today's 96-degree forecast -- that's probably not a great idea.   (And, there's little likelihood we've enough disposable income to get anywhere near the pits!)

I won't go so far as to call myself a true-blue fan, but I sure respect NASCAR's patriotism and values.
Any questions?

Have yourselves a great weekend!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Life With Alexa

So, it wasn't until DH expressed a desire to download some favorite tunes,  I had an 'eureka!' moment what to get him for his birthday.
(Only two days before the fact, but who's counting?)

Sure. I'd seen Amazon's promos everywhere, but paid little attention .... until, like a proud parent, they boasted their wunderchild 'Echo' could become a virtual jukebox, containing 'tens of millions of songs' on request.  
(Tom doesn't play so much any more but, hands down, music IS his passion.)

Both of us being techno-challenged, I was surprised how obliging Alexa-the-Echo was to set up.
Leaving Tom to his own devices, I'd retired to the other side of the house when all of a sudden an ear-splitting version of 'Honky-Tonk' began blaring.  The walls seemed to vibrate and I heard my sweet man screaming, "Stop, Alexa!, "Stop!"     

Like most women, I don't suppose Alexa appreciates being yelled at.  Hurrying in, I said -- in what I hoped passed for a pleasant tone of voice -- "Stop, Alexa."  Silence.

Perhaps his is a tell-tale sign of aging, but I'm constantly having to remind my darling that the correct term is 'blue-tooth' - not 'blue-nose' ... and her name is Alexa - not Alecia, not Alexis.   Unlike most women, however, she doesn't seem to mind being called by another's name.  Go figure.

Now I'm not unaware of concerns friends and family have voiced about smart phones, televisions, etc. being transmitting/listening devices for 'whoever' might be listening.  I'm certainly not inclined to refute that claim, but being the daughter of government employees, raised in a government town, I'm not especially concerned.

Then again ...
Early Friday morning I was visiting with the pups, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a thin blue light come on and begin circling Alexa's lid -- letting me know she  was listening.  
Then, Tom shared something he'd read online.  I scoffed, "Ya, right."   ... until I tried it myself:

Me:  "Alexa, do you tell the truth?"

Alexa:  "I always try to tell the truth.  I'm not always right, but I would never intentionally lie to you or anyone else."

Me:  "OK, do you communicate with the C.I.A.?"
... whereupon, she shut herself off.
Once, twice, three times!


Call me na├»ve, but if someone wants to take time to eavesdrop on us, I say: "Knock yourself out; I hope you don't die of boredom."
"Oh! and I hope you like Bill Doggett."

Have a beautiful new week, everyone!
Hugs from toasty Phoenix,


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Perfect Hodgepodge

Congratulations to Joyce for hosting her 300th Hodgepodge hullaboo! 
Click here to join in the fun!

What is one area of your life where you're a perfectionist?

Ha!  I'm somewhat rigid about our bed being made up every day.  DH used to venture: "It's just going to get messed up again."
(He doesn't say that anymore.... )

Is that a good thing?

I may not have control over most of the stuff in my life, but at least I can control my bedsheets.  LOL.

What's something you find perfectly ridiculous?

Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but the sight of lovely young women with purple/blue/green hair makes my teeth hurt.

What's a skill you've developed by way of that old fashioned saying, 'Practice makes perfect'?

No matter the effort, I can't think of a single area in my life I've 'perfected.'   
... but I'm getting darn good at Defensive Driving.  Phoenix drivers are the worst!!!

What's your idea of a perfect breakfast?

I've not indulged in a while, but Eggs Bubba -- featured at one of our favorite hole-in-the-wall establishments -- is pretty unforgettable:  Two eggs sunny side up, atop buttermilk biscuits and chicken fried steak, and covered with cream gravy.

What's a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you've taken that you'd rate a perfect 10?  Tell us why.

Now defunct, Sitmar Cruiselines offered once-in-a-lifetime experiences (1983/84/85).
Their smaller, more intimate ships offered tableside Caesar salad preps, an adorable Italian crew, and opportunities to don formal wear more evenings than not.
Did I mention the touchy-feelie, adorable Italians?

What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now?  (If you can't do perfect, how about one that comes close?)

Does a song count?  Lately I've been thinking a lot about Bob Seger's "Against the Wind."

How would you spend $300 today?

That's 'found' money; not to be spent on anything practical.  Right?

OK! I'd probably buy a nice bottle of Masi Amarone, indulge in a facial (a first!)  -- then donate the rest to a local rescue, no-kill shelter.

Insert your own random thought here.

As the mother of a Gulf War veteran who suffers from PTSD, I wanted to share a bit about (former Army Ranger) Jon Jackson's grass-roots organization, StagVets.  
Our nation's first acute veterans crisis agriculture center, they focus focused on rehabilitation, reintegration and most of all, rekindling our heroes' strength.  

Don't you love it when good things happen to good people!

Hugs everyone!


Sunday, March 5, 2017

This n' That

Holy cow ... it's been a while!
Still, if my thoughts had become print they might have rivaled War and Peace.  (OK, I exaggerate.  A little.)

I've nothing remotely remarkable to share, but here are a few excerpts from the days we called February.


Unlike DH, I'm not much of a television watcher.
But watching him gaze longingly at others' whizz-bang, smart TV's, I agreed it was time to part with our elephantine, 90's-era set. 

Unfortunately, the existing cubbyhole that seemed so charming when the house was built in '03 precluded our getting anything larger than a 36" screen.   What were we thinking?!?

We tried sitting it atop the cubby, but someone complained didn't appreciate being unable to see down the hall.

Next, my OCD kicked in because it looked too short to occupy the cubby.   Thankfully, DH had a vision ... a skill saw and can of flat white paint.

Where I expected just a block of wood, this almost looks like a custom piece, plus it hides all those homely cords.

* * *

So, with an eye on listing our home next year, I'm anxious to replace our beyond-UGLY carpet. 

After much back-and-forth, we settled on a ceramic tile that looks amazingly like warm cherry hardwood.  

Now, I've never pretended to know much about interior design.  But something in me chaffed big-time when informed at the design center (that) we'd require a 3"-4" border/transition between the existing and new flooring.  All they offered were  jeweled-tone tiles that look much like a kitchen backsplash.
Their idea seems not 'trendy', but 'tacky'... especially in a smallish room.   Is it just me? ... or does this look like a diamondback slithered inside, exclaiming "look at me!" 

Whoops ... Oversight alert!
This photo was lifted from the internet because it resembles our kitchen ..... but we've had nothing done YET.

Back to the drawing board.  (sigh.)  Where are Chip and Joanna Gaines when I need them?

* * *

So, last weekend DH turned 75 ... with little fanfare.  I loved your suggestions (thank you!), but in the end we're low-key sort of folks.

Still, I wanted to surprise Tom. 
Remembering the German Chocolate cake he loves ... that his daughter used to promise to bake each year (for naught) ... I consulted the internet.   While I didn't find any nearby bakeries that carried that delicacy, there was one in NYC that promised overnight delivery.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed before I agreed to pay $60-plus for a 6" cake. 

In the end, I pulled up my big-girl panties and decided to make one myself ... from scratch.   It's been a long time since 11th grade Home Economics -- where I swore I'd never sift flour again -- but afterwards I felt (almost) proud at his delight.  

Ugly as home-made sin, but he's eaten almost the whole thing!
... and no, I'm not anxious to repeat the experience.  LOL.

* * *

In spite of my misgivings, we're supposed to warm up 'for real' by next weekend.   (Like there's anything I can do about it?)
'Must remember how thrilled I become each Fall, the first day the mercury doesn't hit 100.  Perspective's a great tool ... when I remember to use it.

Have a wonderful new week, everyone!
Hugs from Phoenix,