There’s not been a lot of cookin’ going on in my kitchen lately. What with this being a food blog, and all, that’s kind of a problem, isn’t it? It’s been just too blooming hot. I heard it’s going to be almost 100° here tomorrow. Oh my goodness. I’m going to an anniversary party this weekend. My best friend Cherrie that you hear me talking about all the time, and her husband are celebrating 30 years, and their kids are throwing a big Hawaiian party for them. Bud was born in Hawaii so he asked for an Hawaiian theme. The party will be outside. 100°? Oh my gosh. Note to self: take my fan!
My Northern California family was down here a couple of weeks ago, and Dana (my daughter) made my salad dressing one of the nights we had dinner here at home – the Creamy Garlic Blue Cheese Dressing that’s probably my favorite. She just adores that dressing – I don’t know why she doesn’t make it for herself except that her family is pretty partial to loads of ranch dressing on and with everything. Anyway, there’s still some left, so I’ve been using it to dress salads and cole slaws I’ve made. I’ve fixed my Green Beans with Garlic and Olive Oil a couple of times. I’ve defrosted packages of my favorite chicken curry – the Murgh Khorma. I made a monstrous big batch of it a couple of months ago and froze it in smaller portions. I have a big bunch of chicken breasts left over from the party I threw some weeks ago, the Moroccan Spiced Chicken Breasts. I froze them, but now need to use them or throw them out because once they’re cooked and frozen, ice crystals form and I think the chicken dries out. I’ve defrosted a couple and chopped them up fairly finely in a green salad.
The other night I made a package of INSTANT Hershey’s chocolate pudding – see photo at right. If you haven’t noticed the box at the grocery store, you’re in for a treat. It’s actually VERY good. I’m shocked it’s so good! You literally pour 2 cups of cold milk (I used 2%), sprinkle in the pudding mix, whisk and it’s done. I’m a fan in one short trial. I used the dark chocolate version, but I’m sure I saw a milk chocolate box also.
My granddaughter Taylor went off to college last weekend. Oh my goodness, what a momentous event. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to share the excitement. Her whole family went along to move her in and meet her roommates. Her classes have started and she’s very happy. My college experience, lo these many years ago – I started college in 1959 – was a fantastic experience. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, but settled on business and ended up with a bachelor’s degree in business administration (BBA). Although at the time I was anxious to get going with my real life, I enjoyed all of my years at college (I lived on campus even though my family home was a few miles away – my parents were convinced I needed the experience of living on campus – bless them for that).
Back here at the ranch I’ve been undergoing some major renovations on my house. When I started I wanted ONLY to redecorate my master bedroom. Perhaps I mentioned it here on my blog awhile back, but the décor in the bedroom was 17 years old and I needed a change. I also wanted to install a new front door. My DH Dave, bless his heart, always took care of the wood door – it required varnishing every other year – and he was an expert at it. But with him gone, I’m not going to varnish anything! and the front door needed a new look.
This new door, at left, is made of aluminum with the wrought iron in the middle and I swear it’s as solid as a bank vault and unless you touch the surface you’d not realize it’s metal. It’s black (the trim on the house is black) and it has semi-opaque glass in the center portion. The door was installed a few days ago. I just love it. It lets in a lot more light than the older door, which was stained glass and wood, and very much from the 1970s when this house was built. In case you’re interested, the door is made by JeldWen.
So, that’s what I started out to do, but my contractor – someone I trust because he’d done work for us before – noticed on his first visit to the master bedroom that I had a problem with the windows. Consequently, many of the windows in my house have had to be replaced (Millgard won’t honor any warranty unless it’s for the original buyer – take note – I’m down on Millgard, for sure!). The windows were faulty (long story I won’t bore you with). I’d not planned on replacing windows. But, when they began working on that, they discovered I had a problem with my roof. Here in California, back in the 1980s, the State handed down a kind of a directive about wood shingle roofs. Don’t install them anymore because of our serious fire problems. So, some previous owner of my house, way back, put on a Cal-Shake roof. They were cement and fiber tiles that looked like slate. But the roof tiles have failed, and Cal-Shake was sued into the ground, as well as the 2 other companies who manufactured similar roof products. The tiles on my roof had broken, cracked, fractured and some had actually fallen off. My contractor was amazed I hadn’t had any leaking. So, long story short, I’ve had to re-roof also. But in the process I’ve beefed up the insulation in the attic and added some attic fans to evacuate the summer heat that builds up. Also had a radiant barrier installed. It’s been 3 months since all this work started, and what a mess. They’re just finishing up, thank goodness, and I’ll be able to move into my newly redecorated bedroom sometime soon. I’ll take pictures when that’s done and post them. I’m waiting for the wallpaper to be put in right now, otherwise I’d be in there already. Do you remember grass cloth? Well, grass cloth wallpapers are now back in style. Mine is fairly tame – a kind of a plain taupe color. At right is the fireplace in the master. It’s been used about twice in the 12 years Dave and I lived here. It’s been revamped and I’ll have a remote control for the gas logs on cold winter nights.
Some outdoor fascia boards are having to be replaced – big beams actually – because they’ve got dry rot. My house is big, and I’m not very thorough about walking around it all the time to examine everything outside. Those were things I expected Dave to watch out for, and now it’s my job. I can tell you for sure I’ve talked to Dave in my head a lot of times in this remodeling process, wishing he could provide wise counsel on the decisions.
And, last but not least, I’m taking another trip soon. I thought I’d share with you a photo of the shots I had to have the other day. Does that give you a clue? Yup. Safari coming up. My first visit to the travel clinic cost me $865. Yikes. I had a shot for yellow fever, typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, and a new kind of pneumonia shot. Two shots in each upper arm. And oh, did they HURT. I’m a real wuss about shots. And there was considerable pain and discomfort for over 24 hours afterwards. I had a very hard time sleeping that night because I’m a side sleeper and when I moved in my sleep the pain woke me up many, many times. Last night was better thank goodness. Fortunately I didn’t have any side effects (headache is the most common, and fatigue) other than the arm pain.
Oh, I haven’t shared anything about my darling little (big) kitten, Oliver. I do think he’s grown at least 2-3 inches in the month I’ve had him. He’s chewed off all of his artificial nails – which did a really good job (while they lasted) of deterring him from using his claws to climb furniture – that’s the whole point. I’ll have to see if he tries to climb with his claws in the next couple of weeks – if he scratches furniture I’ll be taking him in for another set of nails until he gets a bit bigger/older/mature. He uses his scratching post and his cardboard flat scratching pad many times every day, so he’s got that part down pat. He’s an absolutely love. I tried to let him sleep with me twice, but he thinks beds are for playing, so that lasted about 30 – 40 minutes each time and into the bathroom he went (where he has a bed, a litter box, food and water).
In the evenings I’m often upstairs in my office/study, in my very comfortable chair (reading, watching TV, playing a game on my iPad mini, talking on the phone with my friends) and there’s room beside me where Oliver happily hops up to take a nap. When he falls asleep I can get in many, many long petting strokes without him noticing. When he is let out of his bathroom in the mornings he wants to be held – he’s very lovable – he lets me pet him, talk to him, purr-purr, but at other times of the day he has to be “in the mood” to let me do that for more than a few pets at a time. Otherwise he thinks I want to play. It’s amazing how this little thing has taken over my life. I love him to pieces. His favorite food is chicken and cheese cubes (a type of canned cat meat). He loves-loves his twice a day serving of meat.
Oh, one more thing – my brand spankin’ new computer (12 days old) had a big, bad black screen event, but after an hour on the phone with Dell, they resolved it (hopefully) having to do with Windows 10 installation. They actually have a utility that fixes Windows 10 “black screen” problems. We’ll see in coming days if I have any further problems. No, I still don’t know if I am able to retrieve my recipes.