I spent a pre-Easter weekend with my daughter and her family, a lively bunch. Between my daughter, myself, her two daughters and their friends drifting in and out of the house my son-in-law only found peace and quiet once the lights went out. It was a fun and frenetic few days. My oldest granddaughter flew in from Phoenix while I was there to gather up her incredibly neurotic hybrid Yorktese (Yorkie/Maltese blend), Jasper, who’s been boarding with my daughter until my granddaughter got settled.
Jasper lost his mind on seeing his beloved owner for the first time in months. In the thrill of the moment he left a trail of urine from the front door to the kitchen worthy of a St. Bernard. Bladder empty, the dog rolled over on his back passing out cold as a wedge from the excitement. I’ve never seen a dog do that behavior before. Fainting goats, yes, but small dogs not so much. Maybe we humans should quit splicing dog breeds. The results seem to be somewhat left of perfect. Jasper suffers from acute separation anxiety if left alone. Viewed on the nanny cam he looks like a furry pogo stick jumping up and down behind the closed front door until his owners return. The dog seems unable to stand his own company for more than a minute. To be honest, his disposition could use some fine tuning, having felt his teeth at the back of my leg a time or two. He trails along after my daughter as though tied to her ankle by an invisible string. Perhaps the inbreeding makes them odd or high-strung, particularly when you blend two breeds both already known for that particular trait.
My odd sleeping habits, mainly falling asleep early and waking up in the middle of the night, make it difficult for me to spend the night away from home. To add to this, with a full house at my daughters I was assigned the couch on the first floor as my sleeping arrangements. It became obvious later in the night the twenty pound cat received the same notice. I awoke with his furry tail in my face to find my lungs deflated and unable to catch air. The huge tabby circled five times then made quite himself comfortable on my chest. Unable to take a hint with gentle nudging he didn’t seem inclined to move to the other couch anytime soon. Sleep not being an option, I reached my book on the coffee table and rested it on the cat’s back clapping my hands to turn on the lights. The Clapper. Remember that? Probably not. It is an invention whereby clapping of the hands causes the lights to turn on or off. My son-in-law found it at a garage sale. I’m amazed it ever made it beyond the light bulb stage, no pun intended. At one time, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, The Clapper ranked right up there with Pet Rocks, lava lamps, and Silly Putty. My mother gave my stepfather one for Christmas when I was a kid. For days afterward like two pre-schoolers with a new bike they delightedly illuminated and darkened our living room to such an extent it prompted a neighbor to stop by and inquire if everything was all right. Parents, go figure.
There are inventions on the market for everything. The “As Seen on TV” aisle is alive and well in most pharmacies and large discount stores. I have to admit I’ve been caught in the net a few times. Our garage sale featured a few must have items like the Veggetti and Perfect Polly. Not that they’re not great products (ahem). Perfect Polly was a gift for Boo, the Queen of Cats, from my Mother. Our Perfect Polly (a plastic parrot whose head and tail move as it tweets) never quite found her pitch. Polly met an untidy end when the poor bird’s head fell off while Rick was trying to make it work. Boo, the Queen of Cats, was not impressed.
So many inventions over the past decades have made life easier for most of us starved for a moment of free time. Still, with all the peelers on the market I defer to my hand-held potato peeler when the need arises. Once I purchased a tomato slicer, which produced pureed tomatoes seamlessly, but never actually made a thin slice of tomato while in my possession. In the end, I took out my razor sharp knife and it got the job done.
I have noticed with some of these new conveniences the cleanup is far more laborious than with the original item it is replacing. In the example of the tomato slicer by the time I took the machine apart and cleaned it after I used it, I could have washed one knife and been done. As much as I use my food processor, when it comes to grating cheese, which it does very efficiency, cleaning up the processor after you’re done might have made pulling the hand grater out a more expedient option.
Over the weekend I was explaining to my granddaughter and her friends that when I was their age there was a cord attached to the phone, and the phone was often attached to the wall. While using the phone the speaker was limited by the length of the cord attached. Back in the day the phone was well, a phone. I know! The receiver was only that a receiver. A phone contained no visuals, no Internet, no camera, and no keyboard. What! This was too much information apparently for one sitting. If I had told them I’d just run over a baby chick they couldn’t have been more horrified. Further I went on to explain there were no phones in cars. If one needed to speak to someone while on the road you pulled into a gas station and used the pay phone. I caught several of them eying me suspiciously after that revelation as though I was of an alien species. I half expected them to hang a sign on me and call the Smithsonian.
We’re having guests for dinner. Allergies are dogging me this week and keeping me from my usual high energy level. Millions of webs are descending from the trees in the yard draping barely visible filament all over everything. Earlier I got outside to tackle the situation but it became obvious armed with a broom wasn’t going to be enough. As soon as I swiped twenty down, thirty string along behind them. Our first spring here, this is a new phenomenon for us. Webs drape across car windows and paint. This is probably not good. Fortunately, our garage will allow two cars parked inside at once. Unfortunately, if one is an SUV once parked you cannot exit the vehicle. This could be a problem. I like our garage, don’t misunderstand me, but not on a permanent basis. Little snags in an otherwise glorious spring day.
This is such a pretty salad on the table without much effort from the cook. Perfect for a day warm enough to allow for open windows permitting a hint of a breeze to move through the house. Lovin it. I took the picture before I placed a line of hard boiled egg slices along the top.
Shrimp and Fresh Asparagus Salad with Simple Caesar Dressing
1 lb. asparagus, cooked, drained and chilled
1/2 lb. small cooked shrimp, tails on
1 container of cherry tomatoes, halved
4 button mushrooms, sliced thin
1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced and quartered
1/3 cup yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Line plate with a single layer of asparagus. Top with remaining ingredients. Line one sliced hard boil egg on top. Grind freshly ground black pepper over top. Drizzle liberally with dressing.
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. dried mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
Place in food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate preferably overnight. Shake before pouring.