Friday, March 22, 2019

Let it Ho: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 7 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house. At the end of my post you’ll find links to this month’s other participants’ posts.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics




Remember that "bomb cyclone" they had in Denver last week? Well PurDude's job had flown him into Denver, rented him a car and had him working in their Bolder office for the week. The day after the bomb cyclone, the airport had reopened but the roads were still treacherous and he had a flight out. I was a wreck knowing he was driving from Boulder to Denver. I knew the airport would be a nightmare too once he got there.

He got to the airport (phew) three hours before his flight and called me. He was in a line to check in approximated to be about 3 1/2 hours long, and he said the TSA line was just about as long. He wasn't going to make his flight. I told him to call his company's travel agent and let her deal with it, but to stay in line whatever he did.

Got a text from him saying they let him go to the head of the line because he actually had a chance of making his flight, then another text one minute before take off saying his ran to the gate, just got there as they were delaying his flight. 

An hour and a half and two delays later he's on the flight. And that's when I got this text from him:

PurDude: Sitting in the plane and in comes a maintenance person with duct tape.
Me: Jump out the window and run for your life.
PurDude: Maintenance person with duct tape had a Purdue lanyard so that's a good sign I guess.
Me: Well, at least duct tape guy was well educated. 



Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


At the end of last month on a Friday afternoon I got a text from College Boy about a change in his work schedule. I responded, then a minute later got this text: 

I just saw that Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged in Florida in a prostitution ring. 
Me: I know, I was just PMing with PurDude about it. Aren't you supposed to be working?
Hubs: I am, it popped up on my phone. 

It was then that I looked and saw who I was texting with.

Me: Ha, ha, I thought that text was from College Boy, not you. Sorry, that "working" comment was for him.
Hubs: Ok, I will let that ho.
Me: Ho? Like the kind that got Kraft in trouble?
Hubs: NO! That was a typo. I will let that go.



Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I was driving a route that I take often, and noticed a new sign at the corner where I was turning, telling the cars in that lane to yield to pedestrians.


Yield sign | Picture property of www.BakingInATornado.com
 
And I'm wondering about the need for that particular piece of information. Is it really necessary to tell drivers to yield to pedestrians? Because the other option would be to just go ahead and hit them, wouldn't it?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Our mud room/laundry room is off the back hall, right behind the kitchen. Hubs was in the kitchen waiting for his bagel to toast and I was sitting further away in the den working on my laptop. 

Our washing machine plays a song when it's finished its cycle. Not just a few notes, but it goes on for about a minute. 

The laundry machine completes its cycle and starts playing the song. Hubs stands in the kitchen. It finishes playing the song. Hubs stands in the kitchen.

Me (putting down my laptop, standing up and walking through the kitchen to the laundry room): I'll get it.
Hubs: Was that the washing machine?
Me: No, it was the ice cream truck driving through our back hallway.


Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


Hubs comes home from work, brings in the mail and puts it on the counter for me to go through.

Hubs: There's something in there for PurDude from his employer. 
Me (looking at it): It says it's a tax form.
Hubs: That could be a problem, I've already done his taxes. I'll look at it after dinner, I may need to amend his taxes.

We had dinner and after dinner Hubs goes to where I keep his pile of mail and the letter isn't there. 

Hubs: Where's the letter?
Me: I put it in your pile.
Hubs: It's not here.
Me (looking at my pile): I don't have it either.
Hubs: Where else could it be?
Me: Well, the only other pile is the one I shredded.
Hubs (eyes wide): You shredded a tax form.
Me: Ummm, maybe?
Hubs: That could be really bad.

Hours later I bring the form to Hubs.

Me: Here. I went through the shredder, found all the pieces and put it back together.
Hubs: You did? That had to take you hours.
Me: Well, it was important, you needed it. 
Hubs: That's incredible. I can't believe you did that.

As if . . . I didn't, of course, I found it in the trash (phew). He, of course, didn't ask about it being in one piece or the food stains on it. 

Being a smart husband, lesson #1: 
Do not question the process, just accept the results.



Get out your fork and knife for this Open Faced Shredded Pot Roast Sandwich. The tender roast is slow cooked in the crock pot with vegetables, shredded and served over toasted Italian bread. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #crockpot
Open Faced Shredded Pot Roast Sandwich


Hubs comes into the den from the kitchen to talk to me. His pants and shirt are soaking wet.

Me: You're wet.
Hubs: The button on the back of the kitchen sink sprayer got stuck.
Me (laughing): So you pointed it at yourself?
Hubs: No, it was already pointed that way
Me (still laughing): So you were cleaning the sink with the sprayer pointed at you?
Hubs: No, I . . .
The harder he tries to explain the harder I laugh.
Hubs (half laughing himself realizing I'm not going to stop laughing at him no matter how he tries to explain): Oh, shut up.
Me (laughing): I'll stop talking. But I can still laugh . . .


Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I wrote a post recently about our (now former) internet provider shutting us down. We set up with a new provider and just to be sure whoever is hacking our service, I have programmed the modem to only allow access to certain devices. I had to find the mac addresses of all of our devices and input them individually into the modem.

Everything went smoothly except we could not get Hubs' laptop to connect. We'd go into his laptop info and get the mac address, try, fail, go in again and find another mac address, try, fail. I was confused because each item should only have one mac address, we'd found 3 associated with his laptop.

PurDude came over that weekend and looked into the laptop system and found another mac address. Nope. Finally we saw that Hubs had something turned on the changed his mac address. It was a security feature for when you use your laptop frequently on public wifi. We turned that off, got his current mac address and voila, internet.

So basically Hubs' laptop has spent the past 5 days playing "catch me if you can" with us. And winning. 


Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


I have "comment moderation" on my blog, meaning that any comments that are left here (please comment, I love them), have to be approved by me before they post on the blog. One of the main reasons I have it is because I get all kinds of fake bot comments, often with links they're trying to get onto my blog, which I delete. Often they're strange and off topic. Sometimes they're advertisements.

I had written a blog post for my "Blog With Friends" group, we all pick a topic each month and come up with a project that fits the topic, this month the theme was "Winter Thaw". My contribution is always a recipe, of course. The name of the post was Hash Brown Crusted Shrimp Quiche: Winter Thaw Blog With Friends.

This is a bot comment left on the post: "Thanks for finally talking about Hash Brown Crusted Shrimp Quiche: Winter Thaw Blog With Friends. Loved it!"

All I could think of was "wow, if I had known there was a long standing need for someone to finally address the issue of Hash Brown Crusted Shrimp Quiche, I could have written this post four years ago.


 Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

FB was wonky last week and it ended up totally screwing both my friend Mari and I.

I know that Mari goes grocery shopping on Tuesday and that she was stopping by my house later in the day. I was on FB and saw she was on too so I sent her a PM asking her to pick up some eggs and butter for me. FB gave me an error message and didn't send my PM. I could have texted her but just decided to run out and get the few items. I didn't even think to mention it to her later.

Thursday morning my doorbell rang. You guessed it, it was Mari holding eggs and butter. Apparently FB decided to send her my PM that morning. Mari, great friend that she is, got dressed, ran out and bought me eggs and butter. When I stopped laughing I brought her in the house and made her an omelet. Least I could do.


Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


I told you the story, at the beginning of this post, about PurDude making it home from a business trip to Boulder Colorado during the "bomb cyclone". The Saturday after he returned he was going away with some high school friends so I asked him to come to dinner on Sunday.

Me: Can you come to dinner Sunday.
PurDude: What's for dinner?
Me: Well, it's St. Patrick's Day so I'm making corned beef, cabbage and new potatoes cooked in beer with soda bread.
PurDude: No, I don't like corned beef.
Me: Jeez son, it's about being with your family.

Later on I'm talking to College Boy:

Me: I can't believe your brother isn't coming to dinner Sunday.
College Boy: Well mom, it's not like St. Patrick's Day is a major holiday.
Me: Jeez son, it's about being with your family.

And later still to Hubs:

Me: You sure did a poor job raising those boys.
Hubs: You think I'm going to ask, but I'm not . . .

Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Menopausal Mother 
Spatulas on Parade
The Crazy Mama Llama 
Go Mama O. 
Follow Me Home 



Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics






Open Faced Shredded Pot Roast Sandwich
                                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients:
1 can French Onion Soup 
1 can Cream of GOLDEN Mushroom Soup
1 cup vegetable broth 
1 onion, sliced
2 1/2# beef chuck tender roast
salt, pepper, garlic powder
4 new potatoes, chopped
1/2# baby carrots 
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 Italian loaf

Directions:
*Spray your crock pot with non stick spray. In the crock pot, mix together the canned soups, vegetable broth and onion. Turn onto high and cover.
*Heat a large skillet until hot on medium high. Sprinkle the roast on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add to the skillet, sear on all sides and add the meat to the crock pot.
*Cook for one hour, turn the meat over and cook another hour. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, turning the meat now and then for 3 more hours. Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Cook for an hour.
*Remove the meat, shred and return to the crock pot. Cook for 2 more hours.
*Slice the Italian loaf into about 3 to 4 inch pieces per sandwich. Slice each piece open, toast and place on a plate. Top with about a cup of beef, vegetables and sauce.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By the People, For the People?

We've been hearing a lot about socialism. And oh honey, it's just begun. The truth is that there is a lot about socialism that makes sense. We have adopted social security, medicaid, subsidized housing and food stamps, for instance. What is the option? Letting our elderly, disabled and poor just die?

Does this mean, however, that we are moving towards a socialist form of government?

You can pick and choose policies that are in the best interest of a country as a whole, no matter the assigned philosophical designation, and reject the others. This is, in fact, the foundation of a democracy. Many (most) countries consider health care a right, not a privilege, or make education available cost-free through college. These are not socialist countries, just societies that prioritize human rights, those who understand that a healthy and educated society pays them all back in the long run.

Should we adopt these policies? Maybe. Certainly only if we can find a way to fund them. Should we be discussing them? Absolutely. Discourse is the hallmark of a free society.

And if believing that the basic human right of having a roof over your head and food on the table is wrong, I don't want to be right. No matter what label you place on it.

Ham and Asparagus Fettuccine are thick chunks of ham and asparagus with fettuccine in a creamy, peppery cream sauce. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #cook #dinner

Ham and Asparagus Fettuccine

Many of us who embrace capitalism run in fear of the word "socialism", a term now being weaponized in our country. We do cherish democracy, I get that. But does "by the people, for the people" actually exist at this moment in history? Shouldn't true democracy be a hybrid? Aren't we most able to be our best as a free society by curating individual policies from every option? And I have to ask those who are concerned about discussion of certain specific socialist values, what I am lately asking myself for other reasons, do we really live in a democracy? Because more and more I'm just not at all sure, and the evidence is building.

You do not live in a democracy if . . .

The election process:

Gerrymandering exists as a way to manipulate representation.

The ability to register to vote, access polling places, and the ability to vote on election day are deliberately hampered for a targeted segment of the population

The Super Delegate system manipulates (negates)  the democratic process (in both parties) of one  vote per person in the naming of party presidential nominations.

An inquiry is started into non-existent grand scale voter fraud but not into a foreign entity usurping and manipulating our election process.

The dissolution of norms:

Norms (like a president not publicly lying and not bullying individual citizens) and laws (like the emollients clause) are ignored with impunity.

Unilateral national policy decisions are made based on one person's "gut" or on the express purpose of negating the legacy of previous administrations.

The constant call to lock up political (or even previous) adversaries.

Lying to the American people has become commonplace.

Top Secret clearance is given to candidates unable to secure it, out of nepotism. 

The National Enquirer is held up as the standard and both the legitimate press and reporters personally are publicly called out as "fake".

The justice system is under assault, constantly being undermined and labeled partisan.

The word of murderous dictators is taken as truth.

Official government websites are taking down factual information that does not fit the current narrative.

Legal official special investigations are labeled a "witch hunt" and the head investigator vilified.

The White House tries to ban reporters or new outlets whose stories do not compliment the president.

Bigotry is clearly stated and exhibited.

Propaganda usurps fact.

Nominees to positions in the government are asked to pledge allegiance not to the country or the democracy but to the president himself.

By the People, For the People? A discussion of democracy. | Graphic created by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #politics #USA


On the global stage:


We have lost our leadership as a moral authority by removing babies from their parents and putting them into cages.

We distance ourselves from our allies and global alliances and these relationships are replaced with public adoration of autocrats.

Mention of our president in a vice presidential speech abroad is not applauded, as in the past, but met with uncomfortable silence. 

The president himself is often laughed at in his speeches abroad as they devolve into narcissistic monologues.

Our president actually gives away an ally's classified information to Russians in a White House meeting where only Russian and not American press are invited.

Meetings with dictators are held with either no American translators or, when an American translator is there, the notes are confiscated.

The system of checks and balances:

Congress does not hold the purse strings as per their constitutional mandate, they can be taken in the name of an "emergency", whether it actually exists or is just a political ploy.

The senate majority leader refuses to bring a popular bill to the floor for a vote, even if the result could be a prolonged shutdown of the government.

Transparency does not exist (for instance in the mandate given to the FBI concerning the parameters of their background check of a Supreme Court nominee).

Congressional hearings are suddenly dropped, unfinished, apparently in collusion with the White House, and the reports are not released in full but "synopsized" along party lines. 


I have to admit that none of these are a surprise to me, I've watched it all happen in real time. What does shock and sadden me, however, is the breadth of the evidence, how quickly and easily they all came to me.

And even more alarming personally is my own gullibility, I find myself wondering just how much of this is not new, is just my having believed in a process I did not spend enough time really understanding. Gerrymandering, Super Delegates, targeted voter suppression, this is not specific to our current political situation.

Are you as disheartened as I am? Exercising your right to vote is not enough. Contact your party of choice and start by making clear your dissatisfaction with the voting process itself. Fight for our democracy. We can do it, but the time to be proactive is now.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics





Ham and Asparagus Fettuccine
                                                                          ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients:
1 1/2 # asparagus
1# cooked ham steak
12 oz fettuccine
1 TBSP butter
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 oz diced pimentos, drained
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Directions:
*Microwave the asparagus for 2 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces, set aside.
*Chop the ham steak into bite sized pieces.
*Cook the fettuccine to al dente and drain.
*While the fettuccine is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add the ham steak, heat and stir for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and pimentos and bring to a boil, stirring now and then.
*Whisk in the heavy cream and black pepper. Bring back to a low boil. Reduce heat slightly and boil for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for one more minute. Add the fettuccine. Cook, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, about 2 more minutes.

Friday, March 15, 2019

You Can Do It: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.


Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: destination ~ you can do it ~ wrench~ diabolical
They were submitted by Jules of The Bergham Chronicle.

                          
"You can do it, you can do it." Most of you, my lovely readers, can relate. This is a mom's mantra. No matter the obstacle, it's not in a mom's set of options to just give up. Having kids is exhausting, I don't need to tell you that. Each phase promises (well, in your mind anyway) to be easier than the last, but we all know that never happens. Every change requires a shift in the norm, more thinking outside the box, a different skill set, an incredible amount of ingenuity, mad organizational skills and just plain luck. 

Then there's the money. Surely things will get easier when they're out of bottles and diapers, right? Oh, then there's sports and activities. And do not even get me started on proms and cars.

No matter the phase, the expenses the planning and the saving, one thing you can be guaranteed, nothing is easy. There is not a single plan those diabolical little angels can't and won't throw a wrench in. One day you'll be washing marker (or worse) off of the walls when you're late to the pediatrician and the next day you'll be frantically explaining the inexplicable to the school principal or baking for the whole neighborhood who'd been invited over to play in your minefield of a house.



Nutella Cashew Cookie Bars start with a cookie crust, have a cashew center and are baked topped with a gooey Nutella mix. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #bake #dessert

Nutella Cashew Cookie Bars
Nutella Cashew Cookie Bars start with a cookie crust, have a cashew center and are baked topped with a gooey Nutella mix. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #bake #dessert



No matter the circumstances, just keep repeating that mantra. "You can do it, you can do it" I told myself on this particular day when the boys were very young. One kid on my hip crying with a boo boo on his knee, the other having a temper tantrum in the kitchen over the wrong brand of juice. But I can do it, I'm a mom. Although at this point, quite honestly, desperation is rearing its ugly head. Put down the child on my hip before I drop him. Lick the boo boo (what the hell, the situation has become dire), hand both kids a lollipop (sue me) and focus. My destination is just ahead. "You can do it, you can do it", get in the room, close and lock the door (learned that lesson long ago). Making sure the seat is down takes precious time I no longer have, but in a house full of men I learned that lesson long ago (sadly, with my knees around my ears and my butt hanging in the water). Pull down those pants (luckily mom pants today, no zipper) and pee . . .  with glee. 

Another successful day of conquering the challenges of motherhood. 


Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:





Nutella Cashew Bars       
                                    ©www.BakingInATornado.com


Ingredients:
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Nutella
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour 
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup roasted unsalted or lightly salted cashew pieces

Directions:
*Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and Nutella. Set aside.
*Beat the butter, margarine, sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Carefully beat in the flour, salt and baking soda. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven but leave the oven on.
*Sprinkle the cashew pieces over the crust. Pour the Nutella mixture evenly over the cashew pieces.
*Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, then allow to cool completely before cutting.