Spring really is here … right?

Working on a couple of things, but they require me to think so it’s slow going.  Plus spring fever makes me want to sit on my balcony all day drinking various things from coffee to wine while Maddie wanders in and out and sasses the neighborhood.  The Bradford pear trees and forsythia are in bloom, the sun is out, and a Rasta chick just walked down the sidewalk in a barely-there top, skinny jeans, sandals, and a stocking cap over her hip-length dreads.  Rasta chick white.  Cool.  #whymeloveitsomuch

This is Lawrence and how the day feels …

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Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Let’s do a recipe — my kind of recipe …

baked potato

Cottage Cheese-Stuffed Potatoes
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large baking potatoes
1 cup (low-fat) cottage cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions

Preheat oven to 425º F and place rack in the center of oven.
Use a fork to prick your potatoes in several places and place directly on oven rack. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until tender.
In a large bowl, mix together cottage cheese and sour cream until combined.
Then add in onions, cheese, dill, chives and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Remove potatoes from oven and cut in half lengthwise and across.
Spoon heaping amount of cottage cheese mixture into potato.
Optional: return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Spark Recipes

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Moving on …

Life progresses in loops and whorls, never backtracking but occasionally slipping into neutral.  Gearing up again and finishing a few things is always a thrill, so we’re celebrating the fact that after eighteen months and a half-dozen or more 600-mile round-trips, the condo is EMPTY — and if there are still two things there for other people to get, nobody told me about it, I know nothing.  We’ve re-listed the property with a different agency and an agent who from all indications is a winner — selling the heck out of the town in all price ranges and she’s fabulous to work with.  Keep a good thought for us — this is the last piece of the “Move” puzzle and the only one that didn’t drop into place right away, due entirely to the housing market there.

Rainy and chilly today and we’re in recovery mode.  Kim turned gray at one point yesterday while we were hauling stuff up the stairs, and I’m perpetually not much help at all, in fact “if you need to sit down that’s great but you can’t stand there” is mostly what it’s about for me.  An inhaler fixes his problem but not so simple with mine such as they are.  And Madison, for the first time in our experience, got carsick on the drive home.  Riding in her backseat bed, watching the landscape roll by, head on her paws, making eyes at us and smiling … when we turned around again she was curled in a ball looking like a sad bedraggled little weasel.  Luckily we caught a break in that she never did upchuck the googly bits we shouldn’t have been sneaking her from the road-food bags, and happily this morning her lethargy and ennui have passed.  She’s doing tricks for treats again, and she’s had a bath — there was really no choice, she’d picked up so much dust and dirt while she was “helping” she looked radioactive.  The little mop is sleeping it off now, after giving me the stink-eye about the bath — she loves them but didn’t appreciate shivering and considered us hard-hearted, I’m totally sure.

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May ye’ be completely ate up with the luck o’ the Irish!

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Little St. Paddy’s road trip.  May your day be filled with green beer and laughter …

A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he might buy him a drink.
“Why, of course,” comes the reply.
The first man then asks, “Where you from?”
“Ireland,” replies the second man.
The first man responds, “You don’t say, I’m from Ireland too! Let’s have another round to Ireland.”
“Of course,” replies the second man.
Curious, the first man then asks, “Where in Ireland are you from?”
“Dublin,” comes the reply.
“I can’t believe it,” says the first man. “I’m from Dublin too! Let’s have another drink to Dublin.”
“Of course,” replies the second man.
Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks,”What school did you go to?”
“Saint Mary’s,” replies the second man. “I graduated in ’65.”
“This is unbelievable!” the first man says. “I went to Saint Mary’s and I graduated in ’65, too!”
About that time in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar.
“What’s been going on?” he asks the bartender.
“Nuttin’ much,” replies the bartender. “The O’Malley twins are drunk again.”

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Cinnamon Roll Cake!

Yes, since you’ve all been so good about not making note of little inconsistencies in these trying times … other than that original Bad Girl, Miss Snarky Pants, http://paltrymeanderings.com, who for whatever ungodly excuse has yet to tag me in a new post of her own … we’re running a Sunday Bonus.  Kim made this cake yesterday before the KU/Iowa State game and its gooey buttery brown-sugary goodness gave both of us reason to go on after our team’s unfortunate loss.  You in turn are guaranteed to need this recipe before March Madness ends, and I know you’re thanking me: CinnRollCake Cake: 3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping:
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Directions: Mix the CAKE ingredients together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. For the TOPPING, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
enough milk to make a runny glaze, about 6 or 7 tablespoons
1 tsp. vanilla

Drizzle glaze over cake after letting it cool slightly. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and try not to weep at first bite.

{And although the luscious photo up top looks similar to the Honey-Bun Cake Recipe that’s been enjoying a decent run here … not the same, not the same.  Two cakes, each fabulous in its own right.}

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PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP CREAM CHEESE COOKIES

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Yes, these exist, and they melt in the mouths of those who eat them, I have that on good authority.  They’re also fun to make, pretty to eat, and you can switch those two things around for entertainment.  Tell me this doesn’t look like your grandma’s kitchen when she was on crack.

Ingredients:

1 can seamless crescent rolls (or pinch together seams on a regular can, or make your own.)  {WHAT??}
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
¾ C mixed peanut butter and chocolate chips

Directions:
Beat sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth and creamy.

Unroll the crescent roll sheet onto lightly floured surface. Stretch dough (you can use a rolling pin), then trim the edges for a nice rectangular shape. A pizza cutter is great for trimming edges of dough.  {I didn’t say that about the pizza cutter because what would I know?}

Spread the cream cheese mixture over top of the crescent sheet, leaving 1/2″ around the edge.
Sprinkle chips on cream cheese – press lightly to aid in rolling.
Roll the crescent sheet up tightly, from long side to opposite long side (helps to have four hands) and wrap in your favorite brand of clingy stuff.
Place in freezer for at least 2 hours. It won’t get really solid as the cream cheese mix won’t freeze hard.
When chilled preheat oven to 350°.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (prevents sticking and helps in cleanup).  {Honestly, there are still phrases out there that make me want to go back to the kitchen, but so far the short-term memory thing is still kicking in on demand.}

Slice the crescent roll into 1/4″ slices. They won’t keep the precise round shape, but that is fine!  {You bet it is, because your mother isn’t standing over your shoulder anymore oh hi whoever’s mom, you are so lovely in that sweatshirt is that the color this year?  Jeez, who knew you could appear out of nowhere like that, somebody’s mom … or whoever?}

Look at the ghosts, living or dead, that haunt your creative-idea board, the ones that turn your Pinterest projects into panic attacks because they WILL.NOT.TURN.OUT.F*CKING.PERFECT.   AND.THE.WORLD.IS.NOT.FAIR.DAMMIT.  {Yes, that IS part of the original recipe, I’m frankly surprised you would ask.}

Bake on prepared cookie sheet for 12 -14 minutes until crescent roll appears golden brown.
Cool on the parchment paper or wire rack.

{I don’t know how many melty things this makes because I am not the cook.  Clearly a bit of attentive hands-on research would not be out of line.  I’ll get back to you … but please don’t bug me about it.}

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Let the record show …

sopleased

 

Scrap heap in the bedroom?  Handled, biotches!

NEXT!!

No worries, you know those person-size Rubbermaid tubs that are a hoot to fill and then can’t be lifted except by committee?  We have a selection of those from the move … lurking … blaming … shaming …

Just kidding, I’m not losing sleep over it, but I don’t want our sons to have to deal with see what we leave behind in thirty years or so.  Starting early and staying dedicated to the task strikes me as a wise plan.

And there’s always every kind of sorting to be done.  Since taking a semi-sabbatical from Facebook recently, I’ve spent hours dumping folders full of junk, document files that were spilling their guts, emails by the thousands, including my FB stash back to 2011, and a lot of things I apparently saved in the middle of the night after “wine tastings.”  I’ve consigned so much drama to the irretrievable past I’m feeling light-headed and may float away.  Sounds all right …

TGIF, kiddos — enjoy!

Dragging out a couple more boxes after breakfast.

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It’s throw-back Thursday, let’s throw pictures …

Don’t ask about the migrating pile of paperwork, I don’t want to talk about it.  Spoiler alert: today’s list doesn’t look discernibly different from yesterday’s, subject closed.  And if it mattered I’d feel guilty or something, but as the boss of me I’m shockingly indulgent — all the hurry has leaked away and it’s heaven.

I found a little slice of Throw-Back-Thursday heaven … my mom’s cousin Chet … in the Philippines … WWII era.  Enjoy while I think of something to do with this mix of have-to-keep and need-to-toss that won’t go away.

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Tuesdays were for what?

The Grand Purge of 2015 is currently underway here at Chez Smith so everything that was on my desk … sticky notes, calendar pages, scribbled-on envelopes, wrinkled business cards, Twix wrappers … is in a heap on the bed and I can’t remember what Tuesdays are supposed to look like here on the blog because my notes are in there somewhere.  And who has the energy to scroll back … ?  Getting rid of that big stupid pile in the middle of the bedspread was my Tuesday goal.  Instead, oh look, it’s WEDNESDAY already!  Time to shift the detritus from love seat to bed again and see what happens.

Seems to me Tuesdays have been about thankfulness lately, which rhymes with beauty, which gets us back to Monday’s good intentions.  Are you OCD at all?  What are the things that hook you in and you can’t get enough of twenty-four hours a day because they engage your brain and ignite your passions?  And then a morning dawns, the next week or years down the road, when you wake up and can’t find two fricks to give about any of it.  And it feels kind of sad but mostly it feels like the most liberating thing that’s happened in too long.

Facebook and I reached an impasse like that the other day, one of many but this time totally out of left field.  We’ve agreed to stay friends, but we’re negotiating a little break from each other for health reasons — it’s an increasingly unhealthy place for me to hang out because my reserves are so pathetically low.  I can cite chapter and verse, but for now it seems sufficient to say that I’m out of energy for the general ugliness, and sharing my truth just annoys the crap out of people if it isn’t also theirs.  I woke up last Thursday with the settled knowledge that it’s not my job, man, and I have to tell you I feel SO much better now that I no longer care.

So I’m trying to make Facebook about relationship again without selling out.  We’ll see how long and how evenly my psyche handles the dichotomy — it’s guaranteed to be fascinating.  We should talk more about this tomorrow because I clearly haven’t solved the whole puzzle yet and I have a feeling there’s helpful advice out there that could open some windows.  I know it all comes back to beauty and beautiful places — living in them, creating them, facilitating them.  God, it’s probably something as cliché as “Be the beauty you wish to see in the world.”  Nooooooooooo, that sounds so pathetically passive and ineffective.  But bottom line, probably yes.  Because the really beautiful people do get trampled in life, but while stuff’s hitting them they’re shedding pollen and sloughing off seed pods that take root like science and make places for change to happen.

It’s obvious that the earth is losing its sparkle and could benefit from a beauty infusion, so I’m going to let myself think about all this for a while because it’s what we here in the office like to refer to as overwhelming.  Meanwhile, from the Playing for Time desk, a wonderful Wednesday to you all.  Make your corner of it beautiful if you can.

what you love

 Does this mess with your head like it does mine?  

I mean if you could know.

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Coming to you from beautiful downtown Lawrence …

Sunny sky, high clouds, shadows like spring, a little green in the trees.  Somebody’s running a weed-eater.  Maddie’s sleeping, Kim’s writing, TV’s murmuring, I’m observing.  Below my window, the intersection of 8th and Rhode Island is a shifting collage of cars, bicycles, walkers and joggers, fire trucks and ambulances, gaggles of people who clearly have no clue but are just as happy as if they had good sense, couples, families, lone souls, old bushy-bearded guys who sit on the wall for a while, plastic grocery bags hanging on their walkers, dredging up resolve to make it on home.  Sometimes nobody, nothing, for a whole minute.  And then parents and babies, big kids and buses, and so many dogs.  Students going back and forth to Mass Street or the Hill, and after dusk, revelers.  Yummy little word.  Revelers.  Revel.  Revelry.

rev·el·ry
ˈrevəlrē/
noun
noun: revelry; plural noun: revelries
1. lively and noisy festivities, especially when these involve drinking a large amount of alcohol

“sounds of revelry issued into the night”

Sounds right.  The energy flowing from Mt. Oread infuses everything here with youth and hormones so that even the commonplace has a zingy undertone.  It’s a beautiful place to be, this town, and lately I’m seriously thinking about beautiful places.  More tomorrow …

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MASS STREET IN FULL REVEL

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2014 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Today’s drama on As the Eye Turns …

March-HD-Wallpaper-500x313

March — it’s what time DOES.  Snow fell all day yesterday and the ground is white, but spring is, even as we speak, gathering up little robins and crocii and dandelions, wheee, and it will all be showing up here any minute now!

The passage of time is so very relative, and that effect seems to be accentuated when your brain is on the fritz.  The day of the initial biopsy my surgeon said, “If it’s malignant we’ll do an excision, and if necessary a skin graft ….. you’ll come back in five to six weeks, we’ll remove the stitches, and you should be good to go.”  Crap, what did I know from what he actually said, I don’t hear for beans!

The day before my six-week check-up we figured out that I’d misunderstood parts of the process, but it was not yet clear just how delusional I was.  And then the appointment took all of ten minutes, not counting iPad time in the waiting room.  I’m not complaining, let the record show, my doctor and his assistants are lovely people who excel at what they do and I adore them.  But it was quickly apparent that no stitch-release stuff would be happening at that present time.  Ninety-degree turn in the Expectations Hallway.

THE GOOD NEWS:  The graft site is healing beautifully and we’re right on schedule (the correct one). After the next six weeks there’s an appointment to see how much longer the graft needs to cure.  I was indeed self-deluded, but now I know and all is well. Most important, this is neither fatal nor permanent. And life goes on.

So it’s at least a year-long process to reach total healing — I have friends who will deal with health issues for life.  One lost an eye at age two … and I’m whining about stitches holding an eyelid down for a few months.

NOTE TO SELF:  You are not allowed, for the duration, to apologize for looking demented, not to anybody, even if you happen to bump into President Obama on Mass Street next week.  {Sorry, deal’s off for the president.}  But you’ll get to walk away from this at some point, maybe even by summer, and that’s almost not even fair.  Your friends who’ve had to actually give up body parts are hoping nobody notices, too, and they don’t get a pass, so own your I’ve-been-drunk-for-a-week eye and live your life.

So yeah, “March is the month that God designed to show those who don’t drink what a hangover is like.”  –Garrison Keillor

ENJOY!

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