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final

Yesterday truly was the most ridiculous day. Sometimes I look at my life and wonder whether to laugh or cry.  After several months of recovery from his meningitis ordeal, Rick is beginning to venture out into the world again even reintroducing driving into his daily routine. Indian summer is lingering here in Northern California leaving temperatures in the eighties making it nice for getting out and about.

The SUV has been taking up space in our yard plagued with a dead battery since Rick’s illness.  Once back on his feet, he got the battery charged and we took the vehicle in for a much-needed bath and fluid check. The mechanic said the diagnostics indicated there was an impending spark plug issue but he felt this should hold for a couple of months. Deciding it might be fun to take the car for a run in the country on such a lovely day we made a plan. Colfax, a historical little mining town about a forty minute drive from us, was where we chose for a late lunch and to take a look around.

Unfamiliar with the restaurants in that area, I keyed in “best restaurants in Colfax, CA” and located four with excellent ratings programming the addresses into the GPS. Yea. In particular I was hoping to try the Mexican restaurant. The reviews were excellent and the menu intriguing. There are three Mexican themed restaurants in our area, none of which stand out over the other, so the idea of a great plate of enchiladas and an icy margarita made the trip all the more enticing.

The drive through the hills provided us with a preview of the fall foliage beginning to emerge in the prolific trees in our area.  Heeding the instructions from our GPS we turned off at our exit and quickly located the Mexican restaurant which was our destination. Having eaten a light breakfast early in the day my taste buds were on high alert. Yum. Parking the car we got our first good glimpse of the historic downtown area. The weathered buildings and rustic sidewalks still retained a hint of its original gold rush glory. If you closed your eyes and used your imagination you could picture miners driving horse draw buggies through town and hear laughter emanating from the saloon still standing several doors down from the restaurant.

Approaching the doors to the restaurant, we found them locked. Hmmmm. Looking at the signs posted in the glass display box out front lunch was served until 2:00, and it was now almost 3:00. Dinner, it appeared, was reserved for Thursday’s and Friday’s only. As it was Tuesday, my cheesy gooey enchilada bubble with the salt rimmed glass of limey goodness burst before the first hint of tequila touched my lips. Not to be discouraged, we headed to the number two restaurant on my list. At the second location the building gave the immediate impression of being closed. No lights were on and nobody was home. My stomach was beginning to protest. Ach. Reading the notice on the door, dinner service began at 5:00 and there was no lunch service.  Finding the same situation at the last two addresses Rick gently pointed out that perhaps I should have gathered this information prior to leaving the house.  A look from me indicated perhaps he should hold his suggestions until I’d eaten. I’m not at my best when hungry.

Deciding to head back down the hill and eat in Auburn, we reprogrammed out trusty GPS and headed south. The car, apparently over the whole program, turned on it’s “check engine” light and began to shudder and creak as we drove along. Great. Meanwhile the GPS was guiding us deeper into a heavily wooded area. Winding around a dirt road we came upon a sign reading “one lane bridge”.  The other option at this fork was marked “PRIVATE ROAD” in capital letters with an exclamation point. Whoever put it there didn’t seem receptive to unwanted company. Hmmmm. The problem with the bridge was a sign leading into it with a large arrow pointing in the direction from which we had just come. Feeling this was some sort of omen,  we turned around and headed back to civilization. The idea of getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to eat surrounded by unwelcoming homeowners wasn’t sitting well with either of us.

Limping into Auburn we ended up at Panera Bread ordering soup and a sandwich. Still hungry after my meal, I got back in line to pick up a pumpkin cookie I’d seen on the way in. Thinking a cookie wouldn’t be more than the $1.50 I’d grabbed from my wallet I was surprised when the cashier rang up $2.89 on her register. What? It’s a cookie. I said I’d only brought $1.50 with me and put the cookie back. Going back and sitting down next to Rick he asked where my cookie was. Explaining what had happened, we got up to leave. A lady who had been behind me in line stopped by our table and rested a conciliatory hand on my shoulder. Extending her hand she handed me the pumpkin cookie smiling gently at me.  Huh? Realizing by her behavior she was under the impression I hadn’t purchased the cookie because I didn’t have enough money to pay for it I reached in my purse to get her $3.00. Remembering I only had a $100 bill and some change I asked if she could wait while I got change for the large bill. She smiled knowingly and said “pay it forward”. Good God. Ah well, my humiliation was now complete.

Accepting this as a kind act from a stranger, I decided to simply say thank you and indeed pay it forward at the next opportunity. In the end the thoughtful gesture made my day and reminded me there are lovely people out there hiding just at the tips of our elbows.

Another ridiculous day put to rest. Ach. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! One of my favorite holidays. No costume or party this year unless you include a red, red nose from my first cold of the year. Thus I am living vicariously through those brave people I see manning the cash registers in stores wearing lime green clown wigs or those serving burgers in Wonder Woman outfits. Yea for them for keeping the kid alive beyond graduation.

These beans are really easy and incredibly yummy. Rick says he could eat them for dinner without a main course.

Blue Cheese Green Beans with Baked Mushrooms

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup crumbled buttermilk blue cheese
1/3 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cover a cookie sheet with tin toil. Spray well with cooking spray. Toss mushrooms and garlic with olive oil. Spread in single layer on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 mins. turning several times until golden brown.

Meanwhile place green beans in deep frying pan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat. Cook on high simmer for 15-20 mins. or until tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Add butter and salt and pepper and stir until melted. Sprinkle blue cheese over top and place lid on. Add mushrooms and stir

Serves 4

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final
Today was my first day at the gym. Managing to put this off since I first received my membership card, in desperation I made a pact with a friend with a membership at the same establishment to go together. If I know someone else is counting on me, I will get my lazy behind in my Spandex and hit the road. You never realize what bad shape you are in until you are faced with such medieval torture devices as the elliptical machine. The first time I stretched and bent these squeaky old knees it put life in perspective. Good news, there is one muscle in my right index finger that is not screaming my name.

For me this has been a busy week. I feel uncharacteristically scattered. Usually I can remain organized in chaos but this week has stripped me of my sash reading “Extreme Multitasker” leaving me unfocused and a bit cranky. Perhaps it’s the weather. It has been odd. Day before yesterday the thermometer was hovering around 90. I know! Today it is in the 70’s and rain is on the horizon. Outside everything is blooming with my allergies following suit and flowering themselves. Aside from looking a bit like a hungover lab rat, I spend my hours sneezing and blowing my nose. Whine, whine, whine. I hear you. I shall stop now. Thank you for allowing me to vent.

My mother recently went down to the DMV to renew her license. Studying vigorously for the written test she passed with flying colors, but when she got to the eye test she stumbled. Unfortunately, her macular degeneration had progressed making reading the chart on the wall impossible for her to do. I explained to her she would not want to be on the road with poor eyesight becoming a danger to herself and others. Nodding her head as I spoke I could see that as much as she understood what I was saying, accepting it wasn’t going to come as easily. I can only imagine watching that last piece of true independence exit out the side door must be sooooo very difficult. Not being able to hop in your car when you need something such a hard thing to accept. For a person as independent as my mother having to lean on other people will be a hard pill to swallow.

I have been told I’m a bit male in my approach to such things. When faced with a problem I tend to immediately go into a solution mode. First I looked at public transit solutions for alternate transportation. Often they fall into categories. There are those provided for low income seniors. Then those for fiscally solvent older citizens. These all start at $40-45 one way. Hmmmm. This is me stroking my chin again. At this point, I turned in the direction of Lyft or Uber. These two would be obvious solutions but for the fact my mother is technologically challenged. I am being polite here. Several years back I attempted to teach her how to use the computer. This took us down such a prickly path, I ended up enrolling her in a class at a local adult school. She attended four classes after which I believe the teacher tendered his resignation. Not true, but mother did not persevere. The blocking point is her intrinsic fear she will “break” the computer if she hits a wrong key. Though she types like a pistol (typing- done on a machine called a typewriter plugged into the wall), she finds keying daunting which holds her back. On some level she would have to learn to manage the APPS necessary to summon drivers for the two above mentioned services in order to use them. Again, hmmmmm.

In the middle of working on the driving situation I have been doing a lot of side work for the food ministry I volunteer for. They are a lovely group of humans who donate their time to help people in our county who cannot afford the food necessary to feed their families. Working with them is good for the soul I find. In the midst of an unsettled world it is lovely to find human beings giving freely of themselves for the sake of those around them with no repayment expected except for the joy of doing so. Like it. Like it a lot. As well as nurturing my soul my “job” for them if you will keeps my computer skills fresh. Although I’m sure technology with regard to the graphic arts has long since left me struggling in the dust, I can still whip up a catchy logo or create a media campaign suitable for publication. This is a good thing. I don’t exercise my artistic self as often as I should these days. It’s not that I don’t have time. Actually thinking about it, I don’t. It’s more that I don’t make the time. When I finally do sit down and put my feet up I find my hands are more likely to want to remain in my lap rather than search for a pencil and a piece of paper. Signs of the passing of time I would suppose.

To add to my busy schedule Murphy is acting up at our house. Things always seem to fall apart in threes around here. You know, like when one famous person passes away, two others often fall quickly behind them. First the battery went out in our car. Not a big deal, they weren’t running out at the store. Then yesterday the refrigerator stopped working. This is a bigger deal. It is a relatively new refrigerator (4 years). I have noticed that a refrigerator never ceases to function before you stock up on groceries, rather lying in wait until you’ve just spent half your check at the local market on food. Hopefully, we’ll break the three’s a charm rule and stop at two this time. I have my fingers and toes crossed. This brings to mind living in Alabama during a particularly hot summer. At the time we kept a dedicated freezeer in the garage to hold overflow items. Before leaving for vacation (naturally) we had loaded it up with fish caught on a recent day on the lake as well as venison given to us over the winter months and a 20 lb. meat package recently purchased at a local butcher. After a glorious two weeks on vacation we returned home to a garage so ripe I’m amazed it hadn’t exploded. Ewwww. No one willing to open the lid on the offending object, we ended up paying a local hauler to remove it as it sat contents and all. For months the garage smelled like a crime scene no matter how many cans of room deodorizer we exhausted on it.

These veggies are such a hit at our house. The tomato sauce is amazing.

Green Beans and Corn with Cherry Tomato Sauce

1 lb. green beans trimmed
1 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 red cherry tomatoes, halved
10 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Trim beans and cook over high heat covered with lightly salted water until tender. Drain. Add corn and heat on low.

In another saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add pepper, sugar, and basil to pan. Add tomatoes and cook and stir until tomatoes begin to wilt but not turn to mush. Add salt and additional pepper if desired and parsley. Pour over vegetables and toss gently to combine.

Serves 4

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finalBlogging is definitely not for you if you’re overly sensitive, because there are simply going to be times when something you write is either not well received, not read, or simply isn’t the best piece of writing you’ve ever done. I’ve been writing this  blog for over five years now, and all of the above have happened to me. Like everything in life sometimes you’re going to ace it, and sometimes you’re sadly going to fall flat on your face. Cooking is the same. Every meal is not going to be met with raves when you bring it to the table, and some, hopefully a fairly high percentage, are going to be hits.

Many times I’ve written about the bumpy road I followed to learning the ins and outs of my first kitchen. With each meal I cook I take something besides the end result with me. I thoroughly enjoy researching what goes on our plates here at our house. I like to blend flavors and tweak recipes to try something new and different. Alternately I like the old favorites like the Beef Wellington I just posted. I don’t expect anyone to be surprised by the recipe, it’s been around a long time, but this is the best version I’ve tried personally so I put it out there for someone looking for a good one.

Entertaining, for me these days, is for the most part fun.  Personally I lean towards small intimate dinner parties or barbeques on the deck over larger groups.  Human nature being what it is, people tend to gravitate towards their comfort zone. The bigger parties often end up with the people who know each other talking amongst themselves in individual pods around the room.  Two to four couples create a more intimate mood with couples more likely to engage the other in  conversation.  This gives you an opportunity to get to get to know each other better when the evening is over.  At least, it works for us.

Planning a dinner party involves some work in either case.  I like to set the mood and create a colorful table with fresh flowers, a candle or two, and mix and match dishes with cloth napkins (dish towels cut in half work well if hemmed).  Back when I was starting out I rarely cooked an experimental dish for company, but these days I throw it in the pot and make sure the wine cabinet is stocked.

What you put into the dinner as far as ingredients will definitely influence the end result.  Fresh vegetables, a good cut of meat, excellent cheese and an intelligent wine choice really make a difference in achieving a dining experience your guests will remember.

This brings to mind a dinner party that I went to in my thirties.  Danville, California, was home at that juncture of may life. An upscale, yuppified community in a beautiful hilly area on the inland side of the Bay Area. Being Team Mother for my son’s soccer team helped expand my group of acquaintances more quickly than usual when moving to a new location.

Married to my second husband at time,  a gregarious sort of human who loved to entertain and thoroughly enjoyed having a group of people around him to hang on his every word, of which their were many.  Women used to remark frequently how “lucky” I was to have him.  This is me being quiet.

One couple often found seated at our table asked if they could reciprocate our hospitality by inviting us to a barbecue the following weekend.   Offering to contribute an appetizer plans were made and directions exchanged.

Arriving at their home the following Saturday night, we found a gorgeous two story home in the country. As if the inside of the massive house wasn’t impressive enough the backyard should have been decorating the pages of House Beautiful. Three separate decorative brick patios rose in levels up the hillside culminating at a beautiful lagoon type pool where our children were already happily swimming. Clay pots large enough to decorate the pyramids were evident everywhere overflowing with lovely floral displays. A Yorkshire terrier named Charlie ran about barking warnings as people began to invade his territory. Chaos in paradise.

All this opulence overrode a comment made by a friend that the Lord of this manor was a bit tight.  By this I don’t mean he was hitting the margaritas a bit heavily, but more that his wallet hadn’t been opened since Nixon was impeached.

Sitting in the lovely setting we enjoyed the sun and pleasant conversation.  Baked potatoes in foil covers could be seen under the hood of the gigantic built in barbecue. Next to the edifice an enormous piece of round steak waited its turn on the grill on a serving platter.  Now, I’ve done a lot of things with round steak in my time.  I’ve marinated it for several days, slow cooked it, tenderized it, pressure cooked it, pounded it into Swiss steak, but barbecuing it without any of these steps never occurred to me.  There is a reason for that. Intrinsically round steak can be a tough cut of meat. Slapped as is without tenderizing on the bottom of your shoe it would serve as protection if trekking from the west to the east coast.

The host explained that he had gotten the slab of meat on sale and preferred it to filets. In what universe was that? I asked at that point for a refill on my cocktail, having a feeling I might need my teeth to be slightly anesthized for chewing as the evening progressed.  Asked how we liked our meat cooked, I opted for rare leaving at least an opening for getting it down. Several cocktails to the good the cook then proceeded to char the entire side of beef well done. House fires leave less cremated remains.

That first piece of meat took me fifteen minutes to break down.  During that meal I left the table so many times to use the bathroom and get rid of pieces of meat I finally said I was suffering from a bladder infection, so as not to hurt my host’s feelings.

Dinner finally over, with half the meat still sitting on my plate, I was offered a doggie bag.  My husband was on his own. Unusually quiet, he persevered cutting the meat in miniscule pieces so as not to choke on it.  Arriving home our golden retriever, Barnaby, accepted the “doggie bag” quickly burying it under the plum tree in the back yard. That tree went bad the following year, we always wondered if there was some connection. Forgot to mention it was chocolate pudding cups for dessert.  Mmmmm.

They were very nice people. We enjoyed their company and appreciated their hospitality, but I remember the dinner for all the wrong reasons.

An array of fresh fruit with an assortment of cut cheese, or a bowl of ice cream with berries is not expensive but sets the mood.  If you can’t afford a nice cut of meat, a pasta with a delicate sauce or tuna salad with deviled eggs at the side. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just well thought out. I’ve eaten peanut butter and jelly with the crusts cut off and thought I was styling. That’s all I’m saying.  Anyhow, my thoughts for the day.

These beans are absolutely the best. I like the sauce so much I sometimes add some chicken and serve these over a bed of pasta. The radish crisps are the perfect topping (also good by themselves or in salads.)

Greek Green Beans with Radish Crisps

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (less if you like)
2 15 1/2 oz. diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. dried dill
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Radish crisps

Heat oil in deep saucepan over med. heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 6-8 mins. Add garlic and pepper flakes and continue cooking for 1 min.

Add green beans, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Cover and continue cooking for 40 mins, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add feta and dill mixing well. Top with radish crisps.

Radish Crisps

Oil for cooking
4 large radishes, sliced thin
Garlic salt

Heat oil over high heat. Oil should just cover bottom of pan. When shimmering add the sliced radishes in batches. Brown well on both sides until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.

Serves 4-6

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final
For some reason I’m dragging today. Perhaps the weather shifting from shorts appropriate 80’s to overcast 70’s in the blink of an eye has something to do with it. Also, it could be the pending nuptials and all that entails. No answers here.

Actually I’m looking forward to going to Arizona again. This will be my fifth visit to the state. During several marriages the subject of actually living in Arizona has been broached. Each time it was vetoed by me. Not because I don’t enjoy it while I’m there. I do. Well, I do when the heat is at a tolerable level. I’m not a cut out for intense heat. Desert vistas are beautiful to my eyes in a stark and minimalist sort of way, but I prefer more lush surroundings where I make my home. A personal choice, naturally, as many people immensely enjoy living there from the looks of the expansion in the metropolitan areas. Obviously somebody noticed I preferred cooler climates when I was waiting to be born, and set me down in Nova Scotia where I could thrive.

After five visits you’d think I’d have stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Each time a trip there was planned, and each time something got in the way. Perhaps my lack of coordination would have me catapulting over the edge into the great abyss, so the universe is trying to save me from myself. A close friend took a raft trip along the canyon floor. For him, it was the trip of a lifetime and he talks of it often. That would definitely be a vacation I’d like to add to my bucket list. This visit won’t be the one to break the chain either as there will be little opportunity for sightseeing. We’ll be landing on a Friday and departing on a Sunday with a wedding and rehearsal dinner squeezed somewhere in the middle.

Yesterday we ordered a suit for Rick. It’s been quite a while since life necessitated him wearing one and when we took his choices out and looked at them we decided they would be better suited for one of those sepia pictures of the old west you can have taken in Las Vegas than father of the bride material. Also, the good life has added an inch or two here or there, well mostly there, so both sides of the waistband refused to merge no matter how much we coaxed them.

My mother, who rarely misses an opportunity to worry about something, suggested I might need a coat. I assured her unless left in the middle of the desert at midnight I’d probably be able to avoid hypothermia without one. Been awhile since I’ve boarded a plane, at least three years. The last was when my mother and I flew into Toronto and on to Guelph, Ontario for a bit of a family reunion. I’ll have to refresh my memory or update it as to what is and what is not allowed to be packed. I took hair spray on the Canadian flight, confiscated at customs. Apparently people remove the insides of aerosol cans and place less desirable things inside. Who knew?

Rick, coming from Egypt originally, always get nearly strip searched before boarding. He handles this good-naturedly, because he understands it is necessary to keep us safe. However, it usually results in us boarding the plane a bit later. The last time I flew with my mother before she became a U.S. citizen, I thought I was going to have to leave her in Canada. Her green card picture was the same one she’d had taken when we originally came to the U.S. when I was a child. Not one to admit her age, I would assume there was some vanity involved here, but customs agents aren’t known for their good humor and understanding natures. All I saw was my mother being whisked into a side room for questioning. Picturing my mother’s mug shot on a police department wall, I followed after her. Questioning the obviously vicious felon, they finally released her in my charge with instructions to get a new picture taken before her next flight. She showed them, she was sworn in as a U.S. citizen before she would go to Canada again.

The push is on for me to become a citizen. I know, I know. I’ve been here since grade school. Why I drag my feet I have no solid excuse for. There’s something about leaving the last of my heritage behind that makes me hesitate. In the end I will probably opt for dual citizenship, allowing me to hold on to what Canadian parts I still have in me. So for now I sit on the fence, or border as it may be. This is something I’ll figure out down the road when I’m planning my trip to the Grand Canyon.

These green beans are absolutely excellent and look pretty on the table.

Garlicky Green Beans and Peppers

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 large red bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
1 large yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
Pepper and salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
Zest from 1 lemon
1 Large tomato sliced
1/4 cut Feta cheese, crumbled

Place beans and peppers in large deep skillet and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels.

In same skillet heat oil over high heat. Add red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook and stir until garlic has lightly browned, about 2 mins. Add green beans to pan. Continue cooking, stirring and mixing, for about 3 mins. Add thyme and lemon zest. Mix well.

Transfer into microwavable casserole dish. Place sliced tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with Feta cheese. Place uncovered in microwave and cook on high for 4 mins.

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2

What an odd day. I woke up to a fine mist decorating the windshield of the car, the skies overcast, and the air heavy. Atypical of Northern California weather this time of year, it’s a bit unnerving. Old timers used to refer to weather patterns of this sort as “earthquake weather”. To add to the odd mix the weather’s serving up, our immediate neighbors are moving out. We are friendly with them casually, not what I’d call friends. However, I am used to waving good morning or catching up on their lives while collecting the mail. Every afternoon like clockwork their cat comes down the hill to drink out of our bird fountain and in the heat of the day he catches a siesta underneath our car. It feels odd, if you will, not to see a light on in their window.

Not to be a nosy neighbor, but our living room window faces out on their driveway, we have watched the proceedings as they unfolded. Early yesterday morning five vehicles pulled up and people poured out. Since then a U-Haul has made numerous trips and all the pickups filled and emptied many times. Reminiscent of those videos of people exiting a car that just keep filing out one after another, loads keep exiting the house. Where on earth all this stuff was stored in a house smaller than ours boggles my mind. Watching the proceedings has served to cement my resolution not to move again any time soon. Another strange occurrence is the new occupants are moving in before the old have moved out. Never tried that before.

To add to the confusion, our new cell phones arrived. Droids, ach. Compared to the technology floating around at the moment they’re like comparing a caveman’s club to a scud missile, but for us they’re a step up. The moment we deactivated the old cellular service if became quickly apparent we had no idea how to either make or receive a phone call on the new units. To be honest, I couldn’t even figure out the voice mail message. When a call did come in the caller was informed I was too stupid to know how to set up a voice mail account so they’d have to call back when I located an active brain cell. Nice, a phone with attitude. First I had to figure out how to get into the phone as it was locked. Having accomplished that, another call came in. Three phones appeared on the screen, one white, one green, and one red. If you went with the logic used at a stoplight one would think pushing on the green phone would achieve the desired effect. Apparently this would be too easy. Repeatedly pushing all three phones, the call finally went to the voice mail guardian who once again reported I was too ignorant to own the device. Trial and error proved you have to move the green phone inside a circle in order to engage a caller. A glimmer of hope.

Next, I went to the contacts. Figuring out how to access adding a new contact I began the laborious task of entering all the numbers from my old phone. Usually the contacts could be moved along in a simple transfer on a sims card. Our old phones, so old the technology probably only exists in a dusty garage somewhere, aren’t compatible with the new not allowing this to occur. Fortunately there’s an X to erase an incorrectly entered letter because you need to have fingertips the size of a pencil eraser to do this with any accuracy. I am here to report it is most amazing these little phones aren’t floating in the toilet at the moment, but I am not one to give up on a good fight.

As of this writing I still have no voice mail message in place, and have no idea what an app is or how to own one, but I will in short order. It puts me in mind of learning the computer. How confusing at first were the floppy discs, yes I said floppy discs, and files floating on a computer screen which stored your information? Just learning to maneuver the mouse was incredibly awkward. Now it seems as familiar as tying my shoes (They still do that don’t they?). In the beginning the instructor might as well have been teaching me Mandarin Chinese. To stop for a moment on tying shoes, I was interested to note while working in my daughter’s day care children aren’t taught this skill anymore. Along with telling time, done digitally these days, velcro has replaced laces eliminating the necessity of tying anything when putting on one’s shoes. I certainly hope they’re never faced with a pair of laced tennis shoes as adults. No matter how many times you try to get laces to stick to one another, as yet I’ve never owned a pair that did. Also, if confronted with a clock on the wall with hands and numerals will they have to ask someone when to go to lunch?

Another constantly fluxing media would be music. There were 8-tracks, which were huge. It was like inserting a loaf of bread in the 8-track player which took up half the dashboard. If you carried more than five in the car you had to travel alone, as there was no place for a passenger to sit. Cassettes followed, much smaller and easier to manage. With each innovation new devices were necessary to use them ensuring just as you crested the learning curve, another upgrade would swoop in to recreate the bog in your brain. CD’s came along once we’d gotten a grip on the cassettes. Naturally, a CD player, CD case, and of course the CD’s themselves were necessary to get into the swing of things. Many times over the years my garage sales have been kept afloat with leftover pieces of each bit of technology as it became outdated.

So I continue to strive to keep up with each technological jump. I fear I am trailing far behind, but like Hansel and Gretel I am leaving a trail of used devices to mark my way.

These are some of my favorite green beans. My bins are stocked with fresh vegetables and this is a great way to put them to work.

BLT (Bacon, Lemon and Tomato) Green Beans

l lb. green beans, trimmed
Garlic salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 button mushrooms, sliced thin
4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled

Lemon Sauce

1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Place all sauce ingredients in small saucepan over med. heat. Whisk and cook until butter is melted.

Place beans in top of steamer over 2″ water. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Steam green beans until fork tender, about 10 mins. Drain.

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in skillet over med.-low heat. Add garlic, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. Saute about 6-8 mins. until tomatoes are wilted and mushrooms cooked.

Add tomato/mushroom mixture to green beans and toss with sauce. Top with crumbled bacon.

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