Day 230: Aviation Cocktails

Before I learned about The Last Word cocktails I didn’t know that Luxardo Maraschino existed and that I should have some in my liquor cabinet at all times. Searching for other recipes that called for Luxardo Maraschino I came across the Aviation cocktail, but then had to find Crème de violette as well. Once I did and tried the aviation cocktail, I knew we also needed to always have Crème de violette in our ever growing liquor cabinet as well. I am not sure which of the two is my favorite.

Because today is Friday, cocktail hour day, and because the first news I read this morning was about the death of Prince Philip I decided to make a cocktail in his honor. Apparently he liked beer but we had no Boddingtons (and beer is not a cocktail). I first thought we’d have simple gin and tonics, but then noticed the lonely bottle of Crème de violette and remembered the aviation cocktail. Since Prince Philip was once in the RAF, I decided that is what we’d drink and with what we’d toast to Prince Philip’s long life.

Day 229: Delightful House Plants

I’ve become delighted with house plants. For years and years I thought I was a plant killer — nothing would stay alive for me. My new interest in house plants started after my trip to Europe in 2018. I noticed that a plant that my sister-in-law, Diane, had on her lanai had “babies”, and I asked if I could take one. I did and planted it, only to have it die. I was ashamed and put it outside in the spring, planning on using the pot for something else. Imagine my surprise when the plant started putting out leaves. Today it is quite healthy and getting bigger each season.

The last trip I made to the grocery store before the pandemic restrictions were put in place was just before St. Patrick’s day 2020 and I bought a shamrock plant for the holiday. It continued blooming all year long, although the foliage and flowers became very thin. I call it my pandemic plant.

When I met up with my friend, Rosanne, I took a cutting of her Swedish ivy which is now a full-fledged plant.

I’ve written about my success with propagating a wintersweet plant — it’s still growing strong.

Armed with four successes I’ve asked Andrew to pass along cuttings from his vast collection of houseplants. He gave me a pothos a while back and more recently a “wandering Jew” (that he has renamed as a “wandering dude”, believing that the original name is slightly derogatory).

Today I repotted the shamrock, Swedish ivy, wintersweet and wandering dude.

As noted above, the shamrock’s leaves and flowers had thinned out considerably — likely because it was terribly root-bound. I replanted it in a much larger pot and saved part of it for Andrew. It’s likely to go dormant now since I disturbed it, but I have confidence that it will be back after a while.

The Swedish Ivy was fine, but I thought I might as well put it in a larger pot since it was growing so well.

The wintersweet was in a tiny (but lovely) pot, but I knew it would outgrow that quickly so I put it in a not-so lovely larger pot.

Finally, while the wandering dude’s pot was not too small, the soil was infested with fungus gnats. Against Andrew’s advice I removed all soil from the roots and repotted it into clean, gnat-free, soil.

Fingers crossed that all the plants survive.

Day 228: Inside, Outside

Inside

Delightfully Fast Computer

As mentioned in an earlier post I bought a refurbished desktop computer for my study. Today I upgraded the memory and can multi-task a lot easier than before. It is still an i5, but now it has 32GB of Random Access Memory instead of 4GB which means I can have more than one application open and the computer does not slow down. It might be overkill, but whatever. It does mean that I actually spent twice as much on the computer than I’d planned (it was only $150 from Woot but the memory cost about the same). Still, not bad for a new-to-me computer.

Outside

Peepers and more

Dean texted me a week ago or so to tell me he heard spring peepers on a bike ride with Andrew. I was surprised, thinking they only sang at dusk. Today he wanted to show me where they were to hear for myself. Sure enough, once we got close to the ephemeral pools in an area of Rock Creek Park I could hear them sing.

Possibly even more exciting were the many spring wildflowers. It reminded me of a fieldtrip to Trout Park with my college botany teacher (including Dean’s sister Debbie who was also in that class). I could just see Mr. Steinbock trembling with excitement as he pointed out trout lilies, trillium, May apples and skunk cabbage.

Addendum to the Last Post: Daughter’s New Job

As I wrote the last post I kept thinking that I needed to remember to add something about my daughter’s new job, but I ended up not including it. That’s just as well because it really needed a post of its own.

Pretty much ever since my daughter moved to Olympia she had her sights set on working for a non-profit organization called GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty). She worked as an intern there for a couple of years and applied for a position at GRuB several times over the past few years. Over the past year she had a temporary position at GRuB doing several things including updating the website and posting on the organizations various social media pages.

GRuB finally offered her a non-temp position as the grants coordinator. This is such a wonderful opportunity, not only because she’s now working for an organization she admires, but she’ll have lots of experience with grant writing, something she’s done for her current position at a second-hand bookstore.

This move is not without some angst because she loves working at bookstores and considers herself a “bookslinger” at heart.

I’m so proud that she persevered and will be working at a place she loves.

Days 206 – 227: ~21 Days of Delights

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s day is my favorite holiday only because of my last name. We made corned beef with braised cabbage, carrots, and mashed potatoes

A Murder on the Deck

The crows are back. While there are always a few around during the winter, they mostly hang out at a local roost. They’re back now though, and remember our deck for the treats I’ve provided in the past.

Range Fixed — Sort Of

The repairperson came out from ABW and fixed our lemon of a Bosch range. He was able to fix the heating issue (the heating element was burned out and cracked) but the door still does not close all the way. At least we can use the oven. The door issue is temporarily solved with strong magnets.

Artwork Up

We’ve been given a few pieces of art in the past year and we’ve finally hung them on the walls. Dean’s reluctant to hammer nails in the walls, so this is an absolute delight.

St. Patrick’s Day v.2

Andrew and Alex came over for dinner the Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day. I made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie for dinner and a raspberry trifle for dessert. Alex made a Guinness cake. Alex also showed us her juggling skills. Also I picked some Lenten Roses.

Books, Books, Books

I think my lack of writing was a direct result of my nose being stuck in a book (metaphorically since I read on my phone) 24/7.

  • Finished listening to The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (Delightful!)
  • Read all 4 books written by Abbi Waxman (Delightful, delightful, delightful, delightful)
  • Finished Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods (not delightful, but not dreadful) (I read it because I watched the Netflix series based on Woods’ books and wanted to know what happened next)

Quilt from Kevin

A while back my brother, Kevin, asked if I wanted any of the blankets in a photo he sent. I said I wanted the quilt and he said he’d set it aside. It turned out that he sent it and it arrived on March 26th. I don’t know which of my ancestors made it, but I’ll try to repair it and then store it.

More Alone Time & Sewing

Dean and Andrew went biking and I stayed home. Delightful.

I did use my alone time wisely though and tackled a project I’d meant to do for a while. See, we have a down quilt with a duvet cover but the quilt never stayed at the top and ended up bulging out of the bottom like a hernia. I’d tried to convince Dean to agree to get a new quilt and duvet cover with ties and loops but he never saw the need. So I dusted off my sewing kit and repurposed some shoelaces as loops and ties and now the duvet cover stays on the quilt and the quilt no longer herniates out of the cover. (I sewed the shoelaces as hoops to the corners of the quilt and as ties to the inside corners of the duvet cover and connected them when I replaced the quilt in the cover. Delightful!

Sunshine and Raindrops

The setting sun through raindrops on the window looked like fairy lights.

Serviceberry Trees!

My Serviceberry trees were planted! The last image is more recent — and today all the blossoms are full.

Vaccines

We became eligible for our vaccines during this time. Dean was able to secure a spot for a Pfizer vaccine at the mass vaccination site but due to a computer glitch, I was not. Later, when the glitch was resolved, the provided dates didn’t work out for me but I was able to secure two dates for Moderna about an hour and a half away.

My first inoculation was on April Fools’ Day. I stopped at Wegman’s on the way back (delight!).

Clouds and Flowers and Zoom, Oh My!

I bought some tulips at Wegmans and they are truly delightful.

Our bookgroup discussion of Such a Fun Age was quite delightful, although I didn’t remember a whole lot about the book (which was my choice).

Just before the meeting I took a photo of clouds as the sun was setting.

Lilacs and RAM

Yesterday I noticed that our lilacs, which have not bloomed in two years, have at least three sets of buds. Delightful!

I bought a refurbished desktop on a whim a few months ago but it is sluggish because it only has 4GB of RAM. I’d read that it can take up to 32GB so I ordered 4 8GB RAM and will install it when it arrives.


The delightful image at the top of the post is my gift to Dean for Easter. A Dr. Fauci bobblehead.

Day 205: A Book and A Bird

The Book

Back in January 2020 I bought the Kindle edition of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill for $1.99. I was probably reading something else at the time, but thought the cover and description sounded fun and two dollars was not much to spend, even if I didn’t like it. It wasn’t until today that I started reading it. I’m kind of glad I waited because I really had no other delights to share today.

The author, Abbi Waxman, is clever and funny. Here’s the opening paragraph of the book:

Imagine you’re a bird. You can be any kind of bird, but those of you who’ve chosen ostrich or chicken are going to struggle to keep up. Now, imagine you’re coasting through the skies above Los Angeles, coughing occasionally in the smog. Shiny ribbons of traffic spangle below you, and in the distance you see an impossibly verdant patch, like a green darn in a gray sock.

Waxman, Abbi. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (p. 3). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Practically every page is sprinkled with this kind of humorous writing. I highly recommend you put this on your to-read list. I think you’ll like it. I’ve already put all of her other books on hold at the library.

(Photo snipped from Abbi Waxman’s website)


The Bird(s)

This evening while we were preparing dinner (leftovers from yesterday) I glanced out the window and saw four very large birds fly in a diamond shape over our house. My birdbrain kicked in and I shouted, “Great Blue Heron!” although I was not 100% sure that is what they were. A few moments later my suspicion was confirmed when three of the four flew back and I could see them better.

It reminded me of the day, long ago, when I stood in our upstairs bedroom and a Great Blue Heron flew past the window at eye-level. I could not believe my luck.

Day 204: Alone Time & Mezze

Dean had to go into work this morning so I had the house to myself. It was delightful.

This afternoon I spent all day in the kitchen making a few Greek dishes for dinner including avgolemono soup, something that I’ve been wanting to learn how to make ever since a friend made it for us in Pittsburgh in the 1980s. I also made pita bread, baked feta, hummus, and a lettuce Greek salad.

A few months ago Dean came into the kitchen, hungry and wondering when dinner was. I mentioned that I’d been cooking all afternoon and it would be ready when it was ready. He said something like “you always cook elaborate things”. I took it as criticism but when he said it was a compliment I let it go, although I still think he was criticizing me. Yesterday, expecting a similar remark, I said that I think that cooking is becoming a hobby. Now that I have the time to try new recipes I like to make meals whose dishes go together. He was impressed with everything last night. Delightful, but making it was delightful.

Alas no photos of dinner but a bonus delight in the way of Dr. Fauci on Dean’s computer from earlier in the week.