Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Blast from the Past

Finding four woven wicker circles in a storage box I decided to bring them upstairs. In case you can’t guess their purpose, especially considering my lame photo, they support food laden disposable plates. These came in handy at church picnics and family reunions.

Isn't the design pretty?
Finding them available online today made me happy. So does seeing these virtual antiques in use since my husband uses paper plates now and then. Unfortunately my China dishes are too large as I’d hoped we could protect our hands from hot plates. Oh, well.

The plate looks upside down... Weird.

t it funny how the shadow play creates that optical illusion? Have you seen or used these?


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Polly’s Follies – 3

Our sweet Polly doesn’t cause quite the destruction disruption as her sister Terra, but don’t let her fluffy cuteness fool you. One day I stood before the bathroom medicine cabinet, drawer open off to the side, and heard a scrabbling sound. There was Polly, hanging onto the drawer by her front toenails.

Here Polly poses with my Krotchy doll...
If you're brave, you can read about the
video game character toy here...

Another time my cell phone atop the nightstand rang. The ringing stopped before I had a chance to answer, whereupon Polly knocked it to the floor. ~sigh~ Below she is about to do the same with our garden produce.

Early on I used empty water bottles to divert her from chewing on electrical cords (!) which has blessedly kept her from being electrocuted. After Polly punctured a full bottle I quite storing cases within easy kitty reach. When she found one of my favorite snacks unguarded, the crackling wrapper must have posed too tempting.

The last of my Kind snack bars...

Would you allow such a ferocious beast into your home?

The next video is her fierce attack on a plastic bottle. I cannot believe how much smaller she was in February!


Friday, October 8, 2021

Tenacious Terra – 2

Ever the athlete, our juvenile kitty Terra continues causing minor trouble. Finished showering, I heard a thump and entered the bedroom to the following sight.


The likelihood that Polly or Jezebel knocked over my bench are slim to none. And this dried pepper from our garden may have been knocked off the counter by Polly but her sister drags all the toys around.

Guess what this looked like in the dark...

One of her favorite pastimes remains shoving a toy mouse beneath the sliding bathroom door. I like to call it ‘mice hockey’.

Can you believe those wicked looking claws have only ever harmed me by accident? And she (grudgingly) lets me trim them?


Thursday, October 7, 2021

My Syrup Returns the Favor

Ginger cookies.... Mmmm...

On the same day as my moldy maple syrup discovery I decided to bake molasses ginger cookies. After assembling, measuring, and mixing all dry ingredients, the butter soft and stand mixer ready to go, one missing item became glaringly obvious. We were out of molasses.

Of all things, I thought. And once again I wasted time and effort by jumping into action before gathering every ingredient.

In a strange twist of fate, real maple syrup makes a respectable molasses substitute. As an added bonus, my husband found and implemented another Internet tip on stopping a stand mixer from bouncing up and down during use. The racket is awful and that movement can damage attachments.

A simple screw adjustment does wonders.
Here is the Youtube video.
If you don’t now, would you ever consider owning a stand mixer? Did you know there are KitchenAid stand mixer attachments for use with fruits, vegetables, and even meats?


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Another Lesson Learned

My husband introduced me to 100% real maple syrup a while back. It’s so superior to the corn syrupy substitute we both grew up eating. So this morning I decided to cook up French toast.

Noticing a strange white papery film skimming the surface, I poured it off and enjoyed my breakfast. Yum!

Well, this last time buying the stuff we purchased a larger bottle. Twice now I refilled the small one due to its easier handling. It needed done today.

To my surprise, obvious mold showed as white fuzzy little islands. Oh, no! This stuff isn’t cheap. I looked closer at the label, which stated ‘refrigerate after opening’. Oops!

Something told me to seek out salvage solutions because maple syrup is mostly sugar, which is mildew resistant. In fact, centuries ago humans learned honey can help prevent wound infection.

A quick online search saved the day. I strained off the fuzzy bits and heated the product to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Vermonters don’t all take the second step according to the Maple Farmers blog article. With a specific mold allergy I didn’t take that chance.

Are you better than me at reading all product labels? Have you made this mistake?


Monday, October 4, 2021

Catch of the Day

When my husband showed me the route to a fast food joint he wanted to try I asked about a nearby body of water on Google maps. It turned out to be Armco Park. Driving by the sign many times over the years I thought the name indicated an employee-only company facility. Was I ever wrong. The website told me it’s part of the county park system. And entrance is free! My husband agreed to a quick visit after lunch.

A resident crane.

Amenities include a huge number of shelters, lots of playground equipment, a golf course, baseball fields, hiking trails, and a fishing lake. That last caught my attention. My last fishing trip happened over a decade ago. A daylong fishing pass costs a mere $7. Proceeds from those, various watercraft rental fees, and boat ramp access charges (all reasonable) are said to go toward stocking the lake as you are about to see.

An unhappy grass carp...

It took me several minutes to remember how to thread a fishing reel that Tuesday night. Come Wednesday morning I gathered sunscreen, insect repellent, a little cooler complete with peanut butter sandwich, my tackle box, fishing rod, and headed over. The drive didn’t take twenty minutes. Finding an attendant took almost as long. Instead of being at the boat house like his colleague the day prior, this fellow was busy chatting with a fisherman and completely oblivious of my arrival.

"Come on, human...
Enough photos, already."

Anyway, I got my ‘paid’ sticker and a box of live worms. Around two hours later I relearned some casting skills and caught a single tiny fish. I came home happy. Several worms remain, too, so I plan to return soon. Wish me luck. Perhaps I’ll catch a tasty walleye or catfish large enough to bring home and cook.

"Let me go! Now!"
And so I did.

So those fishy images are all of my catch. ~grin~ By the way, Culvers makes tasty burgers and one of the best root beers we ever drank. Their diet version tastes intensely rich.

Have you tasted root beer soda? Do you like it?


Friday, October 1, 2021

Jezebel - Old and Wise, Feline Style

Must I speak again. ~sigh~ Okay...

Well, it's Jezebel here again. The delightful Pam asked for my expertise and thus I decided to change my blog title.

But I'll let my human tell this stupid story, long as usual.
~rolls golden eyes~
Darla here, so thank you, Jezzy. Ahem...

As our cat Tilly got older I noticed she liked nestling onto my husband's heating pad, even unplugged. I began turning it on and finally decided to purchase a pet specific unit. Sad to say, the item arrived the day after Tilly passed away quietly at home.

Regarding high temperatures, one year our cooling system failed and the cats left tiny sweaty footprints. We kept plenty of water available and all ended well. So that's all for now. Be well!


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Polly's Follies - 2

I’m not sure that numbering the posts relating to our feline masters’ antics are worthwhile. But I’ll see how it goes. Many of dear Polly’s escapades aren’t photogenic. In fact she often acts behind the scenes, if you will.

Here Terra oversees Pollys inspection.
Who needs a plumber?

Her skill set is less athletic but more technologically oriented than that of her sister. Her strategic step upon our ceiling fan remote control taught us that the light has a dimmer switch. Polly also managed to turn off my portable speaker. One can only guess she didn’t care for my music selection.

Taste tested, Polly Approved...


Should Polly be enrolled in a trade school? After all, wouldn’t it be nice if our furry friends could contribute to household finances?

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Jezebel – Just Being Me

Jezebel here. I understand that some cats get an online voice. I’ve been around a while and think speaking out is my prerogative. Call me too tolerant but first off I’ll admit that those feline interlopers, Terra and Polly, are mostly okay.

My humans say I’m doing great with them here. Whatever that means, I discovered the joy of treats. Those brats shouldn’t get all the goodies. ‘Nuff said about them.

Is there anything better than naps? Do any of you kitties out there have your own heating pad (its corner is poking out above my paws in the above photo)?


Monday, September 27, 2021

Diet Sprite

I feel so fortunate that we live in a comfortable home among nice neighbors. For whatever reason, however, this ranch style abode with a walkout basement has flooded more times than I can count.

Two separate water heaters failed, both dumping their entire contents. Another time the cellar toilet broke. I even failed to unhook the garden hose our first winter here. At least that waterfall could be turned off.

Some of the less destructive incidents, not all confined to downstairs, are mindboggling. One drinking water tote sprung a leak after being mysteriously crushed (?) and a jug of distilled water long stored beneath the hall bathroom sink dripped out through a sudden (?!) pinhole. We even have reverse issues like the seldom used bathtub faucet that stopped flowing.

We named the culprit a water sprite and know it could be worse. Referencing my title, no events left a sticky mess.

There are scars. Half the cellar carpeted, ragged edges resulted from being pulled up several times. A crack in the brick chimney foundation (!?!), at last detected and repaired, left lingering mildew concerns. And we weren’t the first to suffer, it would seem.

I wish my laptop skin dragon could come to the rescue...
Can you believe someone left a roll of Christmas wrapping paper beneath the stairs to camouflage some water stained drywall? How did the home inspector miss that? And who carpets a basement anyway?


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Are You Still Here?

The lovely Strayer amused me by pronouncing that her more feral charges prefer she leave the house daily. That reminded me of my last office job. Most truck drivers and many coworkers wanted to stop and chat, perhaps not understanding my need to concentrate. Many workdays left me mentally exhausted. I’d return home craving solo exercise time and fiction writing.

Meanwhile my husband worked from home. Upon my return he’d talk nonstop wanting to share this or that. It got to the point I sometimes stayed late writing on a company computer, personal documents then saved via thumb drive. Third shift employees found me amusing. So did my understanding husband once I confessed. Heh…

Not us, thank heaven...

Do you have similar stories or childhood recollections of this domestic conundrum?


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Currying Favor

Since acquiring my driver’s license I never minded being behind the wheel. But after a third day driving my husband (and myself for various endeavors), I demanded diverting through Dayton Ohio’s historic Oregon District. Among various establishments, Thai 9 serves fantastic spicy hot tofu massaman curry. I’m about to heat the last third of my leftover lunch portion now. Yum. And the chicken satay with peanut and cucumber sauces is equally perfect.


On the subject of peanuts, are you allergic? And if not, do you like peanut butter? Do you prefer crunchy or smooth?


Monday, September 20, 2021


My husband discovered a new Mexican restaurant. Once there, I talked him into outdoor dining.

What a mistake.

You see, for the first time in decades I ordered a sugary cocktail. Yes, my peach daquiri tasted good and fruity. Unfortunately, local bees wanted a taste. Too bad I didn't think to take a photo of my glass covered with napkins, a hole punched through for my straw. And I'm not a fan of whipped toppings, so I dumped a few spoonfuls on the ground a few feet away, which also helped to a degree.

Are you a fan of sweet cocktails and/or nonalcoholic drinks? Do you like whipped cream?


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Tenacious Terra Episode 1

Terra Cotta Dactyl has tried my patience more than once. This feline athlete goes to great lengths for attention. Try watching television and you might find yourself looking at something like this in her wake…

A ghost reaching out from beyond?
Or something more sinister?

Exasperated one day, I threw a lint ball at her. Silly Terra carried the thing around like a trophy. Finding it across the house next to their water bowl, I stooped to take a photo.

The ball consisted mainly of cat fur
collected off my comforter.
Fitting, no?

Another toy rescued from drowning -
classic brat cat behavior.

Having knocked this little cabinet over
she promptly lay atop it before
boredom sent her seeking
trouble elsewhere...

Can you believe nobody has gotten hurt yet? Anyone want to take bets on how long before her ornery self breaks my fish tank lid and lands in the water?


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Long Overdue – An August Adventure

I’ve known of Hills & Dales Metropark for many years. The off-putting name always sounded like a department store. Me, a linguistics fan, should have known better.

Its many literal hills and dales, a pond, trickling creek, various trails, bridges, wildlife, picnic shelters, and local history riveted me for an hour plus. Cheeky critters adapting as visitors abounded made for another fun (if bittersweet) find. Here a few views and if you’re interested you can learn more.

A Later Find; I Pulled Over to Photograph...

Cat tails!

My only issue was the sound of landscaping equipment that permeated the summer air. But nearby houses are some real beauties. I wish I’d gotten more photos of them but didn’t want to risk pulling over on those narrow twisting streets. Oh, and mosquitoes. They swarmed me on the shadowed trail once I began perspiring.

Can you believe something so mundane as breakfast led me to this treasure? On that note, have any of you Midwest US (Ohio and Michigan) residents ever visited a Barry Bagels location? What do you think of their seasonal offerings?


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Black Cat Appreciation Day

I learned the significance of this date thanks to Eastside Cats. For those who don’t know, on August 7th the family lost beloved kitty Paddy O’Malley far too soon. I know their hearts still ache, so bless your humans, sweet PO’M, for resuming the heartwarming blog so soon.

Now that two “holes in space” own us now, heart to hearth, here is another portrait of the pair. The Dactyl sisters and their extra toes certainly keep me on mine.

Want toy meow!

Jezebel is doubtless not impressed. Don’t tell her, though, but we’re sure she has benefited from the activity. A long ongoing and increasingly frequent leg tremor is now all but nonexistent. It’s as if losing her complacency has somehow rewired Jezebel’s brain.


Shouldn’t every day of the calendar year celebrate a certain wild creature or family pet? Don’t you think animals offer more to celebrate than things like ice cream and hoagies?


Friday, August 13, 2021

Lucky Me - A Friday the Thirteenth Edition

I don’t consider myself a true superstitious person. And the luckiest, most joyful find in the last four years have been these beautiful brats er… angels er… doll babies.

These blacks cat can cross my path anytime. Just look at them!

Too bad they don't love one another, eh?

Are you familiar with tossing spilled salt over your left should to ward off the devil? Or that saying 'bless you' when someone sneezes is meant to do the same? Does your family lore have superstitions?


Saturday, July 31, 2021

Polly’s Follies Episode 1

It seems likely this will be a semi-regular subject as Polly Esther Dactyl is every bit the silly kitty one could want. Terra’s own feature will be soon forthcoming. She is the ringleader, after all. Here, persistent Polly has followed her sister’s determination on ‘supervising’ kitchen activity. While not as good a jumper she figured out how to use my stepstool.

~rolls eyes~

Thank heaven our GoWise USA has a washable inner pot and we have plenty of antibacterial wipes.

This thing needs a cuteness setting...

Who knew this home’s airy, open floor plan would become a detriment? And what is it with my shoes?


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Jungle Jim's – Southwest Ohio's Foodie Paradise

After my last post, the awesome blogger from Eastside Cats posed a good question. What is Jungle Jim’s?

Silly me forgot to provide any other information. So here is their website link.

A sample from the store's Chinese product flyer...

A second location opened a few years ago while the original in Fairfield is expanding. They’ve provided tours for years, as well as hosting various events. We enjoyed the Weekend of Fire one summer.

Vietnamese Offerings...

Contractors made huge progress in the month since our last visit. Additions include a huge collectible toy display room and expanded culinary teaching facilities. A new annex for our furry friends offers a dizzying array of products. We animal lovers have our pick of house wares and whatnot, too. I only wish they provided seating here and there so my husband can rest his back?

Have you ever taken a cooking class? Could you, like we, lose hours browsing such a store?


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Dragon Fruit

Today's trip to our local international market inspired me to try dragon fruit. Marketing aside, this colorful green and red beauty attracted me.

This photo was taken in my kitchen.

The texture is juicy, its mild flavor hinting of strawberry, while the seeds give a nice pop without sticking between ones teeth. I feel blessed to have this available.

Would you try this fruit? Are you, by any chance, heading toward Cincinnati, Ohio and want to check out Jungle Jim's? The place gives tours, believe it or not.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Microwave Magic – No Muss No Fuss Corn on the Cob

July in the Midwestern United States means a wonderful thing – fresh produce, including corn on the cob. Yum! We bought our first half dozen ears at Saturday’s outdoor market.

In past we bought it from the grocery store. Not anymore. The sweetness begins turning to starch fast, and this process accelerates as soon as the ears are shucked. That last was news to us.

Last summer I painstakingly peeled back each husk, removed what silk I could, pulled up the husk, then soaked them several minutes while my husband fired up the grill. Then my guy found this YouTube video by
Matt Taylor.

What a revelation! Popping an ear straight from the shopping bag into our (1100 watt) microwave for three minutes cooked the kernels to perfection. And just as shown in this image from his video, the silk came away clean.

Is that not beautiful?
Do you know why they are called ears? Is there a similar shortcut you would recommend for a favorite vegetable?


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

My husband and I have the good fortune to live about a half hour drive from a huge (and expanding) international market. It’s fun to browse as well as bring home some interesting finds.

This hybrid of various orange varieties proved to be absolutely delicious. So I’m glad we didn’t let the appearance put us off.

Do you think the lemons feel intimidated?

Have you heard of the Weird Explorer, Jared Rydelek, who travels the world tasting unusual fruits? Did you know there are over 70,000 fruit species in the world?


Monday, July 12, 2021

Following a Theme... (WARNING: Fake but Graphic Gore Ahead)

During a recent meal out my drink came chilled by a very cool looking solid ice sphere. It made me wonder if someone made skull shaped ice trays.

And they do! My husband found several silicon models and purchased the one
rated highest on Amazon, which only cost a few dollars. My fun experimenting with ever creepier additives has been priceless.


If you don
t want to risk getting grossed out you should skip the photo at bottom. Hint: adding a dollop of tart cherry jam proved to be my best idea yet.

Have you ever seen a novelty ice cube? If you were to buy such an ice tray, what shape would you choose?







Do you see a tiny second skull?
Here is a bonus fact for those horror fans who hung in there:

Adding cooked rice fragments grossed me out. Tinted green with a dot of wasabi, those
‘maggots’ looked way too real as the ice melted. And the feel of them... Ugh!