Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Beautiful Cabbage Flower

The weather has dipped below 75°F in Tucson this week.  For most people here that means sweaters and comfort food.

To be honest, I love the weather we've been having - temperatures in the 50s and 60s.  And although it warmed up a bit outside, it's a bit chilly in our house.  We have tile floors, it's cold outside at night, and we generally keep it on the colder side in our house. There's a briskness in the air that requires warming up.  So we put up a shot of heat to take the chill off and I eventually make food.

This week I turned to one of my favorite vegetables in the form of another soup - Cream of Cauliflower.  I looked up a recipe and adapted it a bit, using my Vitamix to smooth everything out.

I had three bags of cauliflower rice in the freezer that I wanted to use, I had some heavy cream that I didn't want going bad, about a cup or so of farm shredded cheddar cheese, and more than half a container of chicken broth.  So using the recipe as a guide, this is what I wound up doing:

3 bags of cauliflower rice
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.  In a large pot, combine the cauliflower and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes (do not drain).

2.  In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk and cream.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Stir in the cheese until melted.

3.  Stir into the cauliflower mixture.

Couldn't be easier.  It was delicious.  Ed loved it.

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2018: Waiting In Wilmington
2017: The Wild Life Of Trucking
2016: Special Order
2015: Clooney Was Not At The End Of The Pier
2014: Where They Build Palaces Out Of Corn
2013: Modern Market Girl
2012: A Berry Good Time
2011: Traveling Through Mountain Ranch
2010: Backroads
2009: If Only I Could Fit All Of This Information On A Bumper Sticker…
2008: Gambling Haze
2007: Published
2006: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Big Kid Races The Clock

Middle of the week, middle of the afternoon, eight laps left on his Autobahn card.  So that's what we did before heading off to the Cup Cafe for lunch.

Big boys love playing with toys. 

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2018: Cycle On Down For A Taco Or Two
2017: If Only I Could Bottle This...
2016: Climbing The Regal Horned Lizard
2015: The Valley Of The Temples
2014: The Day The South Fell Apart...Again
2013: Island Graffiti 
2012: Four Seasons Of Food To Conquer 
2011: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head 
2010: As Seen On TV 
2009: Eddie Polishing His Chrome Friday 
2008: Traveling With Your Cat 
2007: Getting Wet In The Next County 
2006: Down With O.P.P. 
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I Can't Contain Myself

I visited The Container Store this week.  I love this store.  I love containers and envelopes and boxes and bins.  I love them, even more, when there's color coordination involved.  I rarely leave this store without buying something.  

This week I got a zippered mesh bag, clear document sleeves, some heavy duty bins for the truck, a few rolls of wrapping paper that were on sale, and a container like this to hold our Nespresso pods.  I'm telling you I love this place.  LOVE.

I'm still a little high from the smell of Elfa closet components. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2018: Laugh Out Loud
2017: American Power
I'd Rather Be Listening To This All Day
2015: North Shore Surfin'
2014: Calling It A Day
2013: Eight Ways To Take It Easy
2012: Dinner With Friends
2011: This Is What Sheer Joy Looks Like
2010: I’ll Have The Tootsie Rolls And The Butterfinger And The Lollipop And The Gummi Bears And The Hershey Kisses And The Snickers Bar And The M&M’s And…
2009: Meals On Wheels
2008: Mercury Dropping
2007: James Cameron For $79.99 A Night
2006: The Town That Big Tobacco Built
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t
start until May 2005!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Access To Pleasure Crafts Just Got Easier

On the way home from his guy's weekend in California, Ed and his buddies stopped at the Quartzsite Yacht Club for a quick bite before finishing out the trip.

A "yacht club" in the middle of a hot, dry desert with less than four inches of rain per year is a bit unusual.  Then again, Quartzsite, Arizona itself is a bit unusual - known for its rocks, RVs, and United States Camel Corps.  But it exsits.

While there, the four guys decided to apply for memberships to the yacht club.  The club boasts having the largest membership in the world, and for the membership fee of $49.99 not only do you get a hat, t-shirt, membership card, and certificate ready for framing, but you actually get to utilize their membership at other yacht clubs around the country.  Apparently, "a good majority of Yacht Clubs around the country offer reciprocal memberships, which means that those belonging to another club can present their card and gain access without a fee."


Now, all we need is a yacht.

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2018: Parked For The Night
2017: Red Lamp District
2016: Walking Along The Canyon Of Gold
2015: Aloooooooha
2014: Better Than No Touch Freight
2013: The First Step Is To Admit You Have A Problem
2012: The Top Five Sweet Scents In My World
2011: A Weekend Full Of Bright Stars And Not Much Else
2010: I’m Floored
2009: Two Worlds Collide
2008: Girl Crush
2007: Silly Boys
2006: It’s Nowhere Near Mexico, Y’all
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

With A Little Help From My Friends.

Last night I went to see The Fab Four Beatles tribute band at the Fox Theater in Tucson, Arizona.  My friend Troy and I were supposed to have dinner together since Ed was out of town but at the last minute he was offered tickets to the show and asked if I was interested.  

Well, my first inclination was to say no.  Because I say no to everything.  But, I figured it's a brand new year and I should start saying yes to things.  I'm not a Beatles fan (at all) but I thought it would still be an enjoyable evening because hey, I like music, right?

Troy's Aunt and Uncle joined us, with the four of us going for dinner at Street Taco and Beer Co. before the show.  I'd been here before, with Ed, and we liked it.  At the time I didn't realize the theater was just a few doors down, so it was a very convenient pre-show meal.

I actually had a really great time.  The food was good, the company was great, and the show was better than I expected.  The theater is small and we had great seats.  And the crowd was very lively.  There were some serious Beatles fans in that room!

There are several musical events in our town that I think I'd enjoy and when we're home, I'm going to make an effort to get out more often and find something we both enjoy.

I can probably get that done with a little help from my friends. 

See what I did there?  Ha!

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Industrially Farmed Land

2017: The Angels Will Migrate
2016: Ed Knows How To Break The Fast
2015: The Mighty Mo
2014: We Work A Lot, We're Fat, And You Can't Get By Without Us
2013: Domestic Cat Life
2012: Being Appreciated
2011: Just A Phone Call Away
2010: A Practically Perfect Circle
2009: My Frozen Kentucky Home
2008: On Tour And Collecting Paper As We Go
2007: Finding Your Way
2006: Trivia From The First Tsar Of Russia
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, January 26, 2019


This weekend Ed went out to California with his buddies to participate in Rock The Bayshore 5K in Long Beach.

I heard a rumor they hand out craft beer at the aid stations.

That's probably why they all got medals.

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One Of The Westchester Castles

2017: A Tree Leans In Atoka
2016: Furniture Recon
2015: Deck Walkers
2014: The Land Of The Blue Angels
2013: Taking A KW For A Spin
2012: New York And Snow – My Two Favorite Things
2011: Doin’ The Math
2010: Well, Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit
2009: I Even Have Time To Go On Strike
2008: Teaching Them Young
2007: You Gotta Be In It To Win It
2006: Cinema Stupido
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Soup's On!

I've made this recipe twice now and I have to say, this soup is comfort in a bowl.

It's thick, creamy, flavorful, and easy to make.  The hardest part of the entire recipe, is peeling the butternut squash!  Seriously - it's an impossibly vegetable to get one hand around while peeling with the other.  This time I did as Ed suggested and cut the squash into smaller pieces first, then peeled it.  It was much easier to manage that way.

It's a quick recipe and it doesn't take long at all for the squash to get soft enough to blend.  The first time I made it I tried my immersion blender but it was taking too long so I just scooped the ingredients out and put them in the blender and pureed it that way.  This time I went straight from pot to blender the same way.  Scooped the ingredients into the blender, got them nice and smooth, then dumped them into a large bowl.  When it was all blended, I put it all back into the original pot to get everything nice and hot again.

It was a big hit with all who tried it.  And it's a perfect cozy soup for this time of year.  

Here's the recipe:

2 cups vegetable stock
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and roughly chopped (I had Gala apples on hand, so used that)
1 medium (about 3-4 lbs) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 sprig fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
A pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup canned (unsweetened) coconut milk

1.  Add vegetable stock, garlic*, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion*, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg a large stockpot.  Toss to combine.

2. Cook on medium-high until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are all tender and mash easily with a fork.

3.  Remove and discard the sage.  Stir in the coconut milk.

4.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  (Or you can transfer the soup in two batches into a traditional blender and puree until smooth, being extremely careful not to fill the blender too full with a hot liquid.)  

5.  Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper, and cayenne as needed.

6.  Serve warm, topped with your desired garnishes - a drizzle of coconut milk, some croutons, a sprinkling of black pepper or paprika, chopped herbs.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2018: Power Over The Green River
2017: The Only Color For Miles
2016: Natural Desert
2015: Ed Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa
2014: NOT An Oasis
2013: Drop The Flag And Take Me Home
2012: Cottonwood Trading Company
2011: Service With A Smile
2010: Getting The Red Out, One Barn At A Time
2009: Obamaduck!
2008: How A Four Year Old Can Make You Feel Like Crap For Trying To Get Out Of Doing Yard Work
2007: Florida Fro
2006: Hail To The McGriddle Gods
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Improving Lives With Every Mile

Yesterday Ed and I went to the Easterseals Blake Foundation board meeting so Ed could be presented with an award for his donation to Easterseals in conjunction with his participation in the El Tour de Tucson cycling event.

There were two people at the meeting who also received awards (Easterseals board members and staff) and a few people who opted to have their awards sent to them.  The meeting was relatively informal, but they did have his name on the screen and the board members applauded his donation and participation in the event.  

In addition to the award, he also got a new cycling jersey.  It was nice to be recognized for both the donation and the participation in the event.  The sculpture is really quite nice - heavy bronzed material on a dark wood base.  I was surprised at the heft and size of it.

I'd say it was worth the 52 miles he rode to get it.

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Warehouse For Rent

2017: C'mon In And Click The Links
2016: I Fell Into A Vat Of Caramel-Colored Carbonated Water
2015: Three Squares And A Midnight Snack
2014: They Were Five
2013: Wake Of Imagination
2012: Woman With Cat
2011: From Blue Grass To Wine Country
2010: Plump With Fat Quarters
2009: Eddie Out With The Old, In With The New Friday
2008: You Can Get Them At Home Depot??
2007: There Are Never Enough Hours In The Day To Do Anything When You Have A Baby
2006: Tequila Sunrise
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

You Talking To Me?

I went to see an audiologist this week to get a hearing test. 

The results show that my speech audiometry is great - I scored 100% on that test - I was able to hear all the words the test administrator was saying to me.  

And my tympanometry is good - the pressure in my middle ear is apparently normal.
But my hearing threshold - the frequency or pitch, measured in Hertz (Hz) - is where I seem to have a little glitch.  The audiometer tests this hearing range and the results are recorded on an audiogram.  

Seems I can hear low frequencies just fine, I start to have trouble with the moderate frequency sounds, and when we get to the high frequencies, I can't hear a damn thing.  I knew this was an issue many years ago when Ed had an app on his phone that made a noise similar to a dog whistle - a very high pitched sound.  Although others around me could hear it, no matter how many times Ed played it, and no matter how hard I strained, I couldn't hear a damn thing.

It seems the degree of my hearing loss is between mild and moderate.  One-on-one conversations are fine as long as there isn't a lot of background noise, like in a restaurant or crowded place, and there is a bit of asking people to repeat themselves because I miss a word or two, but overall, it's not affecting my personal or professional life (which was one of the questions the doctor asked) so I guess for now I can forgo the hearing aids.  

What this doesn't explain is why I can't hear Ed asking me a question (he has a low toned voice) but I can hear the clink-clink-clinking of two plates, in a cabinet, in the sleeper, ten feet behind me, while I'm driving the loudest vehicle I've ever operated in my life. 

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2017: The Hostile Living Conditions Of The Desert
2016: Drop Zone
2015: King (And Queen) Of The World
2014: Winding It Up Before Leaving Town
2013: Who Is A Bahamian?
2012: Pay No Attention To The Cat Behind The Curtain
2011: Papa Can You Hear Me?
2010: The Err Erudes Them
2009: Sorry, no post for this date.
2008: Addicted
2007: When You Just Can’t Decide Between Dinner And Breakfast
2006: Purple Industrial Skies
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Free Poured Art

Today Ed and I went for coffee to an area of town we never venture - the Mercado San Augustin.  Honestly, I didn't even know this place existed until a server at a restaurant told us about it.  

The Mercado, as he called it, houses several restaurants and shops.  It was only when I got there did I realize it's where Augustin Kitchen was located.  I'd been wanting to eat at this restaurant for a while now, just never had the opportunity.  I'm putting it on my list for the next time Marlaina and MacG are in town.

On this visit, we decided to get an empanada from La Estrella Bakery, and have coffee at Presta.  The pastry was good - Mexican pastries aren't my favorite, as they're more doughy and bready than light and flaky - and the coffee was beautiful but a little on the bitter side for me, but that didn't take away from it being an overall pleasant experience.  The courtyard in the Mercado is beautiful and a perfect place to sit with a sweet and a cup of coffee.

The girl who made our coffee was a master.  I watched her make several cups before ours but was able to get a close-up look when she was frothing my milk and creating this beautiful design.  The foam was hot and creamy, exactly how I like it.  And although the coffee was bitter to me, it was clear from how busy the barista was, others didn't feel the same.

After coffee, we poked our heads into a few shops, my favorite being Mast, and then headed home.  

A lovely afternoon with my husband.  

2014: Drill, Baby, Drill
2013: Ruling Color
2012: After This, It’s Time To Close The Left Door For A While
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Smooth Operator

Today Ed used our new Vitamix to make his very first smoothie - Liquid Gold.

Made with golden beets, grapes, lemon juice, and pumpkin seeds, the flavor was, umm, interesting.

Honestly?  It tasted like dirt.

But with a slight beet flavor.

I don't know what I expected.  Beets are root vegetables.  They grow up surrounded by dirt.  They're earthy.

On the second sip, it wasn't so bad. I'd say it's an acquired taste.  It could have used a little more sweetness for my liking, but you'd probably get used to it after a while.  

You can get the recipe here if you're interested in trying it.

Tomorrow a Cucumber Cranberry smoothie is on the menu.

I feel healthier just typing that sentence.

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The Road To A New Beginning

2017: We The People
2016: Two Old Ladies And A Truck
2015: Leaving San Diego In A Lavender Glow
2014: Thin And Crispy. Just How I Like 'Em
2013: Amber Jack
2012: Adding A Poodle To The Mix
2011: If…
2010: How The West Was Fun
2009: Pecking Order
2008: The Sympathy Train Stopped Dead In Its Tracks
2007: Shalom
2006: A.D.I.D.A.S.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

That Famous Smile

The Mona Lisa, known as Monna Lisa or La Gioconda in Italian and La Joconde in French, has been hanging in the Louvre museum in Paris since 1797.

Believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506, it's been described as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world".  It's also one of the most valuable paintings in the world, having an insurance valuation worth nearly $820 million dollars in 2018. 

When we located the room the Mona Lisa was supposed to be in, I wasn't even sure we were in the right place.  I didn't see anything.  The room was crowded and the painting didn't jump out at me as I expected it would.  I actually thought it would have its own area, with no other paintings around.  People weren't lined up to see her, they were just sort of milling about.  Then I spotted her on the far wall.
Once I knew where she was, I made my way to the front to get as close as I could.  The painting was so much smaller than I expected.   I wanted to get as close as I could.  I'd heard it was a small painting, but I wasn't prepared for its size.  It's less than three feet high by two feet wide.  Smaller than a poster!

I squeeze my way in and got right up to the barrier in front.  No one can get closer than a few feet.  There was a guy in front of me who didn't move for a very long time.  A young guy, he just kept looking at her.  And everyone had their phones out.  

According to Wikipedia, "The title of the painting, which is known in English as Mona Lisa, comes from a description by Renaissance art historian Giorgio Vasari, who wrote, "Leonardo undertook to paint, for Francesco del Giocondo, the portrait of Mona Lisa, his wife." 

in Italian is a polite form of address originating as "ma donna" – similar to "Ma’am", "Madam", or "my lady" in English. This became "madonna", and its contraction "mona". The title of the painting, though traditionally spelled "Mona" (as used by Vasari), is also commonly spelled in modern Italian as Monna Lisa ("mona" being a vulgarity in some Italian dialects), but this is rare in English.

Since we're in the age of Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and well, cell phones, we had to get a selfie of us with the painting.  Proof we were really there, in the same room as a masterpiece.  And who says that art and selfies can't mix?

It's really quite amazing to see a work of art so famous, one that we've known about our entire lives, one that's known all over the world.  Even though there are many famous pieces of art in this museum and others, when you get to see them, in person, it just feels special.
I've never had a work of art that I had to see.  But since we were going to be in Paris, I knew I had to see this one.  Prior to the trip, I never thought about seeing it, never talked about seeing it, never put it on any kind of list, let alone a bucket list.  But now that I've been there, I think I'm going to have to make a list just so I can check this off.

I can now say I've seen the most famous smile.

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2018: Southern Italian Bottega
2017: Smile Because It Happened
2016: A Sea Of Blue
2015: We Are On The Biggest Boat In The Marina
2014: The Only Thing I Haven't Done
2013: United Tails
2012: I Grew Up In The O.C. Too
2011: Snowy Arrival
2010: Not A Pretty Sight
2009: Marking This Day In History With A Vibrant Spot Of Color
2008: Lighting To Do Laundry By
2007: The Benefits Of Dating A White Boy
2006: Shhhhhh, You’ll Wake The Driver
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

You Won't Believe Your Ears

A piano in one of the music rooms at Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Cabinet museum in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany. 
The museum is a showcase of approximately 350 self-playing, mechanical music instruments spanning three centuries.  

People used these musical cabinets to entertain their guests.  Some are very rare, some are extremely large, and some are small music boxes you might remember as a kid, the kind you wind up to hear the music.  

It's not just player pianos, like the one seen in the photo above, it's so much more. My favorite was the one with the violins.  It was made my Ludwig Hupfeld.  
I didn't get any real usable video but you can see some of the mechanical instruments in videos other people have taken here, here, and the violin one here.

It's a wonderful way to spend an hour.  You'll feel like a kid again, discovering something new and standing in wide-eyed wonder at the complex configurations that make these machines work and produce music.  It's amazing.

And once you're done listening to the musical contraptions, you must head out into the town for their famous Rüdesheimer Kaffee.

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It's All About The Hat

2017: Stanley Steemer Gets Your Home Cleaner
2016: Cat Nemesis
2015: Bon Voyage!
2014: All This Entertainment For Less Than The Cost Of A Restaurant Entree
2013: Ten Things I Hate About Flying
2012: Teeth Or Another European Vacation? Ooooh, It’s A Real Toss Up.
2011: Not So Wacky After All
2010: Spreading The Word
2009: He Had A Dream. Tomorrow We See It Come True.
2008: Who Do You Know?
2007: South Beach Blue
2006: Jawl Spake Anglesh??
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!  

Friday, January 18, 2019

University's Main Drag

The view of University Boulevard from the top floor of Gentle Ben's Brewery in Tucson, a block from the main gate of the University of Arizona.

We met friends here for a run, a bite, and a few drinks. 

They ran, we ate and drank.

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Meat Sticks Don't Make The List

2017: Blue By You
2016: Fierce
2015: The Nuts And Bolts Of It
2014: Gorgeous, Rich, And Rugged. And That's Just The Bag.
2013: Back To Basics
2012: I Can Think Of Better Ways To Spend Hump Day
2011: Can I Appoint Myself The Baroness Of Cattle?
2010: This Time Losing The Wallet Really Means Losing The Wallet
2009: Marley & Me
2008: Eddie Gets Handy Friday
2007: The Perfect Neapolitan Slice
2006: The King Of The Flying Salmon
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019