Day 70: Halloween

I am not the biggest fan of Halloween festivities. Maybe I was as a kid — I am sure I was — but I don’t like it now. I think I first began disliking it when I was a teacher because the kids were always very worked up on Halloween, which we added to by providing them sugary snacks during our Halloween party. The following day was often worse, the kids having stayed up late eating their Halloween treats were either as excitiable as the previous day or sullen.

There are other reasons I don’t like Halloween that I won’t get into. They are a reflection on me and not the folks who do like it.

But every Halloween I do think about a delightful Halloween. Our black mitten-kitten (polydactyl) cat, Halloween. She was the friendliest cat ever and much loved by all of us.

Day 69: Fun to Cook Book

When I was quite young I made a meatloaf for my father that he declared was the best meatloaf he’d ever eaten despite the fact it contained green peppers which he hated. I was thinking about that meatloaf a few weeks ago when I had a taste for meatloaf. While I have a decent recipe — mostly in my head — I remembered that meatloaf that my father loved. The only other thing I remembered about it was the fact that it also contained Carnation Evaporated Milk and was from a kids’ cookbook that used Carnation Evaporated Milk in most, if not all of the recipes.

I asked Chef Google and eventually (hours later) found several copies of the cookbook that contained the recipe. I actually thought the book was something I’d gotten through the Scholastic book sales each month in elementary school, but that was a different cookbook. Seeing the cover of this book delighted me. So much so that I ordered a copy on Ebay.

The book arrived today and I am even more delighted. I remember reading it and wanting to make most of the recipes, but I also remembered the drawings.

The cookbook was written by Mary Blake, someone who wrote a lot of pamphlets with recipes using Carnation Evaporated Milk, but told through the perspective of her elementary-school aged daughter, Margie. There’s even a forward written by Margie!

I will probably try the meatloaf, but it is actually a lot like the meatloaf I make, except I use whole milk instead of evaporated milk.

I will also probably try some of the other recipes such as the “Yummy” Strawberry Pie and Orange Pie but I will likely use whipping cream instead of evaporated milk.

How Could I have forgotten this cover?
Except for #1, these are pretty standard for kitchen etiquette.
Here’s the meat loaf recipe my dad claimed he loved.
I guess I wanted to be just like this girl and make my dad proud.
I remember these drawings from the book. I think I made one of the pies. I always wanted to make the Tropical Freeze but mom didn’t let me. We probably never had the ingredients.

I had so many forgotten memories come back when paging through this book. I’ll keep you updated on the meatloaf and other dishes I cook from here.

Day 68: Several Delights

Google suggested I conjure up a 3D ghost with my phone today, and who am I to refuse Google? I was also given the option to create a dancing skeleton. Delightful!

Most Thursdays bring me a large box of vegetables and other goodies from a company called Hungry Harvest that “rescues” produce. Today I received such a box and it was delightful, just like all the other Thursday deliveries.

When I stepped outside to pick up my HH box I noticed that the neighbors received a delivery too. I am pretty sure it was a fire hazard at that point. I don’t know how they were able to get out their front door. Nonetheless, the giggle that escaped my lips was delightful when I saw the overcrowded porch.

Finally, I have repurposed Dean’s side of the attic. I will no longer call it “Dean’s side of the attic” and get pissed off that he has more than one office to call his own when he never, ever works up there. Now that we’ve got a comfy chair, it is my reading room and non-electric writing room. I will continue to keep it tidy because I want to, not because Dean insists I do. The letting go of the anger and resentment is delightful as is sitting in the chair, reading and sitting at the desk writing with a pen and paper.

Day 67: Honeymoon Photos

I spent much of yesterday and today scanning and uploading photos of our six-and-a-half-week European honeymoon to my Google Photos space. When I first opened the album I was dismayed to see the photos looked orange, but relieved that it was the 35-year-old plastic holding the photos and not the photos themselves. The photos, however, are faded which sucks. I did use the “restore color” option on the scanning software, but that might just be making matters worse.

Despite the state of the photos, the content is delightful — even if I don’t remember exactly where they were all taken. I can get a general idea based on where they are in the photo album.

I still have more than half of the photos to scan, adjust and upload, so this will take a while, but despite the monotony, it is fun to see those two young lovebirds on their mini Grand European tour in 1985.

The top photo is Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District.

Day 66: My Daughter the Author

In today’s mail we received the second issue of Oak Journal, a self-described anti-civilization journal. I would have never heard of this journal had Clare not published an article focusing on plastic words in the most recent issue.

I was already delightfully proud of my amazing and talented firstborn. This article only increased that pride. I would likely have been proud of her had I not understood the article, however it was very well-written and even a lay-person like myself could comprehend the entire article. That’s good, because that’s sort of what the article was about — using language that is understandable, not vague or pliable — not plastic.

Plastic words, such as management and development mean many different things in many different situations, so much so that they end up meaning nothing at all, although they sound authoritative in their various contexts.

In the article, Clare goes deeper into discussing a few of the plastic words and the different ways in which they are used. She not only discusses the problem, but proposes a few solutions.

From what I understand, some of the other authors in this issue of Oak Journal are renowned in their fields. For instance, John Zerzan is listed as an American author (and anarchist) on Wikipedia. I’ve not read any of the other articles, but I will.

And I will reread Clare’s. It’s likely I won’t see her until one of us feels safe to get on an airplane again, which may not be for at least another six months. It’s already been 10 months since we were together. I miss her. She’s one of the biggest joys in my life.

Day 65 Dark-eyed Junco at Our House

I know I mentioned seeing a Dark-eyed Junco on our trip to Skyline Drive last week, but I had not seen one in Bethesda until this morning. I was unloading the dishwasher (check that off the list for today) and saw a flurry of movement on the deck. There, a few feet from the sliding French door was a Dark-eyed Junco. I don’t recall seeing them so early before, but they are ground feeders, so I probably missed them at the feeder when it was just outside the window, pretty much exactly where the Dark-eyed Junco sat. It must have detected movement because it flew away, white tail feathers flashing. I then saw several others farther back in the yard, some must have been feasting on zinnia seeds.

While the Dark-eyed Junco is a harbinger of colder weather (which I do not find delightful), the birds cannot help that so I find them a delight.

As I added “flowers in the vase” to my list this morning I had a strong desire to hear Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I asked Alexa to play it. It was delightful.

That song used to stop me in my tracks when it came on the radio or played over the speakers in a store in the days before Spotify and mp3 players. It reminds me of my days in London and the following summer, after I’d purchased the album it was on and played it over and over again to reminisce about that experience. I wrote about it on my song-blog years ago.

Day ~64 Mom and Dad, (addendum to last post)


Photo courtesy Google Street View

A dream in which my dad was pointing out a house to me after remarking that it finally had a coloring it had when he lived near it. It was on a hill and the coloring was a sort of a pale rust, and definitely powdery. He stood behind me, moved my head towards the house and pointed with his right hand, his left on my shoulder. He asked me if I remembered walking past it when I was young.

Later in the dream I realized it was the setting for a Tom Petty music video because I could see people (including elderly women in victorian garb and very weird shoes) and objects from a song he never wrote or sang or made a video of.

I think the house was a building from my past that my mom and I would walk past when we went to visit my dad at the auto shop.


Photo Courtesy National Today Website

The moth with the pale rust colored wings that flew in the kitchen last night and evaded our attempts to shoo it outside again. When it landed on the counter I covered it with a glass and then gently scooped it into my hand and walked it out the door. As it sat on the first knuckle of my index finger I noticed its wings barely moving, but moving very quickly. I was reminded of the dream I had about my mom the night she died, when she stood at the window, her arms behind her moving quickly, but only slightly. I then said to the moth, “Hi Mom! Thank you for stopping by to say hello. I love you and I miss you. I had a dream about Dad last night.” With that she flew off into the dusk.