Posts Tagged ‘fires’

finalSaturday we were invited to a friend’s milestone birthday party. The location, our old stomping grounds, took us an hour and a half to get to. It was a particularly gorgeous summer day so we enjoyed the drive, our time at the party with old friends, and the return trip. On the way back up the hill towards home a huge plume of smoke, not visible when we left, loomed beyond the mountains. A stab of fear nibbled at the back of my neck. Summer is not our friend here in parched Northern California this year. The tree roots are reaching out for water and the ground is easy prey for a stray spark or a carelessly tossed cigarette. Very unnerving. For me, I will be glad when summer closes her books for 2015 come fall. Hopefully the much touted El Nino will swoop down with a vengeance and bring us the much-needed water we are waiting for. Unfortunately an onslaught of rain in drought areas brings with it the threat of flash flooding and landslides, but our reservoirs and springs are dangerously low so this will have to be the bad with the good to bring our water levels back up to where they should be.

It is now nearly six days into the fire and containment is at 50%. The exhausted firefighters are working in steep terrain and the temps today are threatening to soar up above 100 degrees in Sacramento for the third day in a row. Whew. Suddenly I am restless and yearning for a vacation. Definitely I’m putting this on the calendar some time this year. Our last real vacation was too far back to remember.

This week is one of those frustrating weeks where no matter what I am doing, things seem to go south. Perhaps it is that I have my fingers in too many pies at the moment. I can hear my grandmother cautioning me “it is better to do one thing well, than many things poorly”. Ah yes. Well, Gam, here I am busily doing a lot of things half assed. I’m sure you’d be proud. Actually my grandmother would never have said ass, not even if referring to a donkey. Never did I know her to swear, in my presence at least. When totally frustrated she simply said, “mercy”. That’s telling them, Gam.

Sometimes swearing just comes naturally. When you’ve stubbed your toe and stars are dancing in front of your eyes, “darn it” doesn’t seem to adequately cover the situation. I try to use foul language sparingly but every once in a while when the situation dictates my mouth embarks on a rampage without me.

Truth is I love language, foul or not. Sometimes I cringe when I hear it butchered. I can’t figure out when it began but new words or phrases are becoming the norm such as “I seen it” or “tooken”. Tooken is now in the dictionary from what I understand. It is described as a non-standard version of took or taken. “Mercy”, as Gam would put it.

Grammar and spelling are not emphasized as they once were in schools. Not in school myself for some time, this is second-hand information. However, I believe it to be fairly accurate. With the advent of texting, new words, abbreviated words, and a specific texting language have emerged. Certainly geography is not pushed either, or at least not in one of my grandchildren’s school. I asked him if he new where British Columbia was during a discussion of a visit to the province. His response was “north of the U.S”. Pleased he was correct, he went on to call it a state rather than a province and was totally unaware there were any more provinces other than British Columbia existing in Canada. Sigh. Thankfully, most of the world has already been explored so this generation won’t be taxed with taking out any expeditions to discover new lands any time soon. Unless, of course, it involves space exploration and hopefully someone will have included a GPS or Mapquest directions on where to go once the moon is in the rear mirror.

Someone asked me once if I would go on a space ship if the price of a ticket was included in the invitation. Nope. Not because I don’t have the nerve, the interest, or the curiosity. Claustrophobic people are not a welcome inclusion on any trip involving closed doors with no escape. Trust me on this. Back a few years I was far worse. There were times when flying often for my job I had to suppress the urge when the doors were closed to run screaming down the center aisle of the plane screaming “stop this thing, I have to get off”! The first, and might I say last, time I went on Space Mountain at Disneyland I was so freaked out by the time I got off I wished fervently Walt had thought to include bars in his plans for Main Street along with ice cream parlours. Another time in the park I went in to see Captain EO in 3D with Michael Jackson. Doors closed all around me. Darkness descended and suddenly things were flying in my face and my overstimulated mind began screaming “RUN, SAVE YOURSELF!”. Probably I was one of the few people visiting the attraction who left in the middle of the show. Thankfully, a Disney elf took pity on me and got me out a door before I went postal.

I do love Disneyland. Many fond memories were created there when I was young. My son and his brood are going next week. He told me he could go on a cruise for the cost of three days in the park. Wow. I remember, dating myself again, when tickets were lettered A-E and you could do the whole park for $30 a person. To say it’s been a while since I’ve been there would be underlined by the fact I wasn’t aware there was a California side to the park. This is where they’ll be staying. He said the hotel spared no expense in making you feel your money is well spent even including luggage tags with Mickey’s visage on the front. What a great marketing idea. Little touches like that ease the pain a bit. A check would ease it more.

At any rate, in spite of the soaring temps I baked a pie. It was at 4:30 a.m. so much cooler that time of day. This is an old recipe from Rick’s first restaurant. Definitely has a yum factor.

1Brandy Alexander Pie

1 graham cracker pie crust, baked and cooled
3 eggs, separated
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/8 cup brandy
1/2 cup creme de cacao
1 cup heavy cream, beaten
Whipped Cream

Pour water in medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over top. Add 1/3 cup sugar, salt, and 3 egg yolks. Stir to mix well. Over lo heat cook and stir until mixture thickens. Do not boil.

Stir in brandy and creme de cacao. Chill over bowl of ice until mixture mounds slightly.

Beat egg whites until glossy. Beat in remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff. Fold into thickened gelatin mixture. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into crust and chill for several hours. Top with more whipped cream and raspberries.

Graham Cracker Crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 Tbsp. melted butter

Mix ingredients well together. Press into bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake for 8 mins. Cool on wire rack.

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