Observing whatever tickles my fancy

Archive for July, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

Today I baked my first batch of peanut butter cookies.

The few followers I have will say, “What?  You never made peanut butter cookies before?”

No, I have not.

“Why not?”

Because I hate peanut butter cookies.  If peanut butter cookies are the only option on the table I will not eat them.  I dislike peanut butter.  Peanut butter is only used as a last resort when there’s nothing in the house but bread and jam….or a banana.  I will eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but I don’t enjoy it.

“If you hate peanut butter cookies then why did you bake some?”

Ah, well, there it is.  A fine young man fixed my fizzled computer.  I suggested that I would pay him in bread or some sweet treat.  He laughed.  I asked what his favorite cookie was.  Peanut butter, he answered.   I grimaced and wondered if there was any peanut butter left in the dusty jar on the counter.  Was there a recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook?.

Betty Crocker pulled through and the dusty Skippy jar had enough of the creamy gunk for the recipe.

The first and last batch of peanut butter cookies I will ever make.

You must agree that a batch of peanut butter cookies is a better deal than paying the Geek Squad at Best Buy more money then they’re worth.  (The worth of the Geek Squad, that is, not the cookies.)

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Dylan Thomas wrote: “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”.  It is this poem that I think of when loved ones and dear friends pass from this life.

“Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

A neighbor died Sunday.  I’ve known her since I was at least 4, perhaps younger.  All I know is that she’s always been there in the neighborhood.  I played with her children.  I ate at her table.  Her husband would take me along to the beach with their kids. I sat in on adult conversations she had with my mother on the porch.  Iced tea and coffee cake.

 “Do not go gentle into that good night”.

There are those who will say she’s at peace now and in heaven with God and her husband.  Yes. Perhaps, some find comfort in that.  I do not. The finality of death frightens me.  It always has.

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light”.

She died in her sleep so she did not rage against the dying of the light.  I pray she had a pleasant dream as she passed on to eternal life.

God rest and God bless.

Smelly Cat

The title song to Phoebe’s song (from the TV show “Friends”) takes on a new meaning when it’s a dead cat outside the open basement window and the smell permeates the house.   It happened Tuesday night, last week and wasn’t discovered until early Wednesday morning.

A feral cat had taken up residence in my yard about 3 weeks ago.  It, and its partner, wandered the neighborhood for years but belonged to no one.  The cats had a tendency to kill song birds but now and again I would see them nab a mouse or some small rodent out of the bushes.  I never mourned the loss of the rodents.  The loss of the birds ticked me off.

Anyway, I don’t know why the cat decided to move into the bushes and hang out in the vines.  Good small animal buffet?  I’ll never know.  But it was only the orange tabby with the black tip tail that moved in.  I only saw its black and white buddy once.

The cat appeared to be pregnant as it looked like she had a big belly and seemed to “slink” along the ground.  So I named her Slinky.  The cat wasn’t exactly friendly to humans.  It rarely let me get within a few feet of it and I felt no obligation to feed it.  It’s a wild cat.  Like a farm cat it should tend to its own needs.

It had a tendency to lie on the steps of the porch but whenever I came home the cat would dash away.   It meowed at me once, at the beginning of its stay when I told it to stop killing the birds.  (There were four deaths that I blamed on the cat.)

The cat would move itself around the house to stay in the shady cool areas.  But it’s been a hot summer.   Hot with next to no rain.  In the end, I think she succumbed to the heat.  It took me a while to find her (my initial thought that the smell was a dead mouse or bat since the smell came from the basement).  She was laid out in the vines right next to my open basement window.   She was the smell.

That was the first time I could touch her.  In the early morning hours on Wednesday I pulled her out by her black-tipped tail and put her on some newspaper.  The maggots had started on her but they weren’t overwhelming.   I wrapped her up, put her in a bag, then called the Humane Society and asked, “What do I do with a dead feral cat?”  They said they would pick her up and see if she had belonged to anybody.   I am certain that Slinky belonged to no human.  But for 3 short weeks she was kind of mine, my bird stalking cat hiding in the bushes and vines.   Oddly enough, I kind of miss her.

And Then It Roared

Today was the day.

The weather gurus warned that it would be a hot day but I didn’t care.  I baked cookies on a warm Saturday morning.

Today was the day.

Today was the test.

Today was the day I plugged in my brand new portable air conditioner and pressed the “on” button.

And, like an alien ship opening its weapons portals, the unit slowly opened its vents.  Air blew quietly for a moment.  Then it roared.  It roared like a jet engine coming to life.  It roared like an Alberta clipper blasting across the plains.  And the temperature in the house retreated.  78F…76F…74F…ah, sweet comfort.  (But where are the ear plugs?)

Heat

In my post about “Cage Free Eggs” I wrote the line “one can survive in a house without air-conditioning if you know how to play the weather”.  I was wrong.

Mother Nature seems to have read that line and chose to test me.  Starting on July 1st and lasting through July 6th my fair town had temperatures ranging between 94 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperatures mostly hovered around that 100 mark.   (Note: I do not have air-conditioning.) 

I managed just fine through July 3rd.  My trusty fans fought a valiant battle of pushing warm air around the house.  My spritzer bottle sprayed tepid water on my face and body to keep me “cool”.

And then it was the Fourth of July; Independence Day.  On that day we hit 103 degrees.  Our family had a cousin reunion in the park.  We gathered, we ate, we gave “air hugs” (too hot to touch), we talked.  A few little ones had water rockets and had joyous water fights. When I briefly got in the line of fire I wished they would have drenched me a little more.  After a few hours some of us retreated to our homes.  Mother Nature showed her power.

Temp In Garage July 4 2012

I was home by mid-afternoon and entered a house that was at 86 degrees.  I turned the fans on, stripped down to the “bare” necessities, and watched television.  The heat was unbearable.  I filled the tub with cool water and took a cold bath.  That cooled me for a short time.  By early evening, after eating a bowl of cereal for supper, I phoned my sister who has air-conditioning and told her I was coming over.  That’s where I spent my night.

Temp Eight blocks away, July 4 2012

On the 5th I thought I would be able to survive staying home and told my sister that was my intention.  I did okay, until I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and felt miserable.  Gratefully my sis didn’t mind the 2 a.m. call asking her to unlock her house so I could come over and crash for a few hours before I had to go to work. 

 

On the 6th, last night, when it was 103 degrees, I didn’t even pretend that I would stay home.  The weather gods had mentioned there would be a break in the weather but by 9:00 p.m. my house was still at 87 degrees so I went back to my sister’s.

This morning, thinking it would never cool down, I stepped outside to 75 degree temperature.  Oh, miracle of miracle!  There was blessed cool air, and north-westerly winds.  Thank you Mother Nature for sending relief.

Cage Free Eggs

With the summer heat and humidity upon us I have found myself hunkered down in the cavern of my non-air conditioned home.  That is a story in itself. But trust me; one can survive in a house without air-conditioning if you know how to play the weather….and if the humidity stays low.  However, summer survival is not the subject of this entry.  The subject today is the caged egg.

As mentioned above I have found myself escaping the heat of the porch by coming indoors.  If I’m indoors the television is usually on whether I’m actually watching it or not.  It makes for great white noise.  As the summer reruns drone on and what the networks feed us as “real life entertainment” I usually read.  It was while I was reading, or perhaps daydreaming of a good blizzard with whipping cold winds, that I heard an advertisement using the phrase “cage-free egg”.

What the heck is a cage-free egg?

Sure, I’ve heard of free- range chickens. Happy, hippy chickens dancing around the farm yard chasing their fix of seed. Are the cage-free eggs the “offspring of these happy, hippy chickens? Has Chicken Little given birth to Moon Blossom Little?

Let’s wax philosophical for a moment.  How “cage-free” are these eggs anyway?  Isn’t the eggshell itself a cage?  Isn’t that which makes the egg an egg, the yolk and albumen, locked inside of that shell?  Therefore, the cage-free egg is impossible.  It isn’t until the shell is cracked and what’s inside is released to be boiled, scrambled, or fried in the pan that the egg is actually free.  Alas, that freedom lasts only a moment before its “edible” doom.