Rants and Riffs Installment #16: Dogs as therapy. Pie too.

  1. Okay, I admit it…on my DVR, I still have 40 minutes of Hallmark’s A Happy and Friends Yule Log. Gotta say, it’s nice to watch cavorting puppies and kittens to break from the daily chaos and mayhem…and I’m just talking about my latest forays in the kitchen. Such as…

sunshine squash pieRecipe at bottom of post

2. Could someone please tell me where the TV remote is? I know, I know, one of you out there is going to snark that I’d track it better if I didn’t mindlessly pop it in my pocket and drop it off, say, in the garage.

3. I  know, I know…snark is a noun. Language snobs notwithstanding, it works just as well as a verb.

4. Shouldn’t there be holsters for TV remotes?

5. And finally, here’s a very useful and interesting language website that answers the age-old teacher question of, ‘How is that word used in a sentence?’.sentencedict.com


Sunshine Squash Pie

I picked up this recipe from denisonfarms.com, our CSA supplier.

Squash Pie

Sunshine squash makes excellent “pumpkin” pie. This recipe comes from the 1975 edition Joy of Cooking:

1. Line a pie pan with pie dough.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

3. Mix until well blended:

  • 2 cups cooked, mashed squash (see newsletter week 20 for instructions to bake squash)
  • 1 1/2 cups undiluted evaporated milk or rich cream (or coconut milk for dairy-free)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar & 1/2 cup white sugar (I usually reduce the sugar, since squash is sweeter than pumpkin)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt,
  • 1 tsp cinnamon,
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger),
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,
  • 1/8 tsp cloves,
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs

4. Pour mixture into pie shell.

5. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 min. longer.

[Notes from TH: Blind baking the crust worked out pretty well for me. I also add lots more spice than recipe calls for.]

Rants and Riffs Installment #15: Leaf blowers and bloviators…

a man in despair with head in hand1. Leaf blowers…the scourge of Western civilization.

2. On a similar note…I hear these bubbleheads/celebrities/semi-celebrities with the cash to buy radio time to spout their views of the world order [or disorder—take your pick]. Lately, I’ve caught myself telling them to just shut up…and it doesn’t even seem to matter whether I agree with them or disagree with them. Huh…go figure. I think I’m just tired of all the noise. [Unless, of course, it’s legit noise from cranky pantses vilifying leaf blowers.]

3. Why don’t presenters armed with PowerPoints and expert knowledge take a couple of minutes to learn how to zoom their projector’s image so the audience can actually see what the laser pointer is aimed at?

Rants and Riffs Installment #14: In these tumultuous times, ready to take a stand…

1. I realize with the fevered divisions in our society today, this might be off-putting, but I’m sorry. It’s time…

Marzipan? Bleeaack!    **        ***

baby crying
I mean it! That faux-almond flavor is distressing to the nth degree!

2. Trying to decide if it’s worth changing my Medicare Part D coverage.

Something tells me the time I’ve spent reviewing options has cost me more in ‘life currency’ than the couple of bucks I might save on Medicare monthly premiums for the upcoming ‘season’. [It does feel a bit like open season on us doddering old 65-year-olds.]

I mean, I could be watching a Hallmark Christmas rerun in the time I’ve crafted this verbal masterpiece…

3. I guess I’m wrong, but it seems that Amazon could at least cover my tax bill for this year. The accountants think otherwise.


** Ditto spaghetti squash

*** Double-ditto sea urchin. Haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen those things inverted during my years at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I’m sorry, I’d eat spaghetti squash enveloped in marzipan before dining on that poor invertebrate. [And, might I add that some people eat them with a raw quail egg. Quadruple gag!]

Rants and Riffs Installment #13: Not-so volumizing shampoo, having an eco-conscience…

megaphone

1. Yep, still waiting for that volumizing shampoo to take effect. Meanwhile, the marked retreat of the scalp line continues, unabated. Damnable Proctor & Gamble!

2, Meanwhile, in the kitchen…measuring spoons on a ring…such an annoyance. You use one, you have to wash all five. Simply takes the joy out of life. [Okay, slight exaggeration.]

3. Food shopping…not so fun anymore…

Great deal on hummus! Yes! I grab two. And then the voices kick in… “So, what’re you gonna do with that container when you’re done?” Visions of Everest-level landfills pop into my head [with an occasional appearance by that drifting island of trash in the mid-Pacific]. I put the hummus back and trudge forward.

Overwhelmed at the thought of writing?

Fast Company’s Art Markman has four suggestions:

  1. Break it down

  2. Make an outline

  3. Just get something down

  4. Write for five more minutes


If the list doesn’t tell you enough [and it doesn’t], here is the fleshed out version.

And I would add another suggestion.

Bake…[no, it doesn’t necessarily help you generate a bestseller, but it’s great for an afternoon coffee and who knows, the caramel experiment might just pay off in a fun blog post.]

two banana breads side-by-side
I added an amaretto caramel to the banana bread on the left. I added an Irish cream caramel to the banana bread on the right.

Guys weekend!! My latest eCard

cavemen attending to daily chores

Passing this along from my other blog, retirerenew.com

After completing a five-day ‘showing up’ challenge, I’m focusing these next four days just on my Incomplete Book of Retirement Wisdom**.

More on the challenge later…

**The book doubles as a collection of eCards.

Suggestions:

— Save/download the image above and send it to a retired/soon-to-retire friend.

— Better yet…

  1. call it up in an image editing program [even a presentation program like PowerPoint will work]

  2. slap an even better caption on top of mine or add a personal comment

  3. export it as a JPG or PNG, and email/text message it to that friend.


Writers: Looking to suck some valuable time from your already busy day? Launch an all-out investigation into whether or not you should add an apostrophe between the ‘y’ and the ‘s’ in ‘guys weekend’. I skipped that annoying grammatical gnat–I figured ‘guys’ answers the question ‘what kind of weekend?’, which makes it an adjective, not a possessive. I’ve also been sticking to the  ‘better done than perfect’ guideline. Now I can sleep peacefully…until the dog digs his shoulder into my solar plexus. [A writer’s day isn’t complete until he shoehorns ‘solar plexus’ somewhere into his digital blather.]

Rants and Riffs Installment #12: Greeting cards, too-early calendars, and cable companies

infant ranting
Greeting card makers…since when did your product need that glued-down third ‘page’? The minute I pull a card from the case and feel that extra heft, I know that baby’s going to cost an extra buck.

Moving on…
A curious question from a snail mail donation plea…”How are you enjoying our 2020 calendar?” It’s September of 2019! Why would I have a calendar out three months ahead of time? And really, enjoying a calendar?

And finally…
Cable companies forcing you into ‘bundles’. All I want is fast Internet access! No, I do not want Keeping Up with the Kardashians, meaningless statistics spewed by sports networks, or some poor mosquito-bitten shlub relying on a palm frond [if we’re lucky] for warmth.