Thursday, March 21, 2024

Things Left Too Late


There they were, perfect pears from Whole Foods. A name I don't remember, red pears I've never before seen. Three came home with me before Christmas but I waited on the perfect vignette to photograph them.

RH ate two. He said they were delicious.

 "Don't eat the third one," I said. "I want to get a picture of it."

A few days went by and I finally photographed it, without a pretty vignette.

Then I sliced it open.

Things left too late. The story of my life.

Here's another one.

I snapped up this beautiful book by Rebecca West at the Goodwill called 1900. It was fabulous, all about the year 1900.

Beautiful pictures all through the book. I took dozens of pictures of the pages for a blog post. 

I got on a Rebecca West obsession and ordered more. For a Rebecca West blog post.

They were wonderful! I ordered more.

My stomach became a little queasy reading one of them. I tried to excuse it because it was just a product of it's time. One can't hold the books of an earlier time to political correctness but the racial stereotypes and antisemitism bothered me. 

I could still make this into a blog post, couldn't I?

But Rebecca West paled on me. I decided to postpone her until after the holidays. 

Now I just don't want to write that intended blogpost. 

I've been cleaning out my bookcases of books I don't truly love or need.

And Rebecca West just does not make the cut. She's going in the Goodwill bag. 

I'm not sure if I left her too late or if she just left a bad taste in my mind.


Saturday, February 3, 2024

Dragon-Sitting and Donating Books


These pictures are a few months old, meant to show a stack of books to be donated that I no longer wanted to take up valuable bookshelf space. 

And the dragon atop the books came to visit me after he appeared on my son's YouTube channel as an optical illusion. (I suppose he would be called a Mona Lisa effect illusion where the eyes continue to stare at you?) 

Here's a link to my son's channel showing the illusion.

I won't be able to see if the link works until it publishes but I hope it works for you. If it does, isn't that a weird optical illusion?

If you have a husband or son or grandson who is into odd technical devices like geiger counters, I know my son would welcome new subscribers. Of course I subscribe simply to see my son's hands show his latest acquisition and listen to the current music he's chosen. He has always loved classical music. 

Anyway, I couldn't understand what I was seeing and he brought the dragon to visit one day, forgot it when he left and I continued to dragon-sit until the next visit. 

And now to a quick, I promise, glimpse of the books that aren't getting a permanent space on my shelves.

Do you recognize any that you might have read?

Let's start with one I thought was superbly written, La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith.

While I love McCall Smith, it is only his Isabel Dalhousie mysteries set in Edinburgh that I collect and keep. This book was set in England in World War II and what impressed me about it was that the author wrote the book convincingly as someone from that era would have. Most of the time historical romance is so obviously written by someone of the future trying to be of that time period. It must be very hard to pull off, I've tried it, but McCall Smith does it so naturally. 

Are You Hungry, Dear? by the inimitable Doris Roberts was a fun and interesting and sometimes sad read of her life and favorite recipes. I guess I will always think of her as Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond who has an opinion on everything and isn't shy about letting the world know it. 

But did you know that she was married to author William Goven? I didn't until I read her book and strangely enough, on a visit to Goodwill after reading it, his name leaped out at me in the book section. I love reading published letters of celebrities lives and this book was Selected Letters from a Writer's Life. 

I admit I gave up halfway through and just skipped ahead to his marriage to Doris. Actually, I don't think I ever finished one of his novels. These both went to Goodwill for someone to discover. 

Not going to even mention the rest of the books in the donate stack. I'm sure that the fault of them not clicking with me is simply because I love old books better than most contemporary ones. 

I did donate this old book though, even though it was rare online. Perhaps a reseller will pounce on it.

Earl Derr Biggers was the author of the Charlie Chan mysteries that I remember seeing in black and white television in my youth. And then Charlie Chan seemed to disappear, evidently because he became thought of as portraying stereotypical roles that were rightly no longer tolerated. 

There, that's fairly short, isn't it? For me?

Monday, January 29, 2024

What I should be doing is not always what I do.

 I should be doing so many things right now other than an admittedly boring food blogpost. I set out ingredients earlier to bake cookies but haven't started yet. Instead, I started changing things around in my kitchen and then my bedroom and then the dining area of our great room. 

And then I came to a stopping point, needing RH to come home and help me with some of the heavy stuff--a large picture to move from the dining area to my bedroom, the upper open shelf in the kitchen for him to clean and move things around on like I had done the lower shelf. There are things sitting on my counters, the dining table has hammer, nails, dust cloths and polish sitting on it and a few final Christmas things I took down and need to be stored, the laundry  basket sitting in a chair by the dining table waiting for the table to be cleared so I can fold white things, the vacumn pulled out on the floor for him to use it on the top of a large armoir, a stepladder waiting for him to climb. And now he's home and wants to wait until tomorrow for his honey-do list. 

So I'm sitting down to rest and wanting to change a blog post here at Across the Way that has not been changed since December 9, that's December 9. 

And everything I wanted to blog on requires this little thing or that little thing to finish up first. So I am going to dump on my poor few readers one of the many food posts that I never got around to posting. And it's a ham based menu at that, Ham, on readers who include vegetarians and people who probably never fix ham because they always blog such beautiful healthy meals. 

All I can say is, please, please, please don't feel as if you have to comment, not even my faithful few who still come here. You are totally excused! This is just for my own family because we love ham. Or at least some of us do. About every three months RH buys one at Costco and we have ham and vegetables, and ham and eggs for breakfast, and ham sandwiches, and the ham bone goes in the freezer for flavoring dried beans.

And then the last scraps of ham go into a ham and potato casserole. And it is delicious!

I don't have a written down recipe but I cook the potatoes first in a pot till tender and slice them and it has sliced onions and milk and cheese and pepper and whatnot in it.

I serve braised cabbage with it.

And this particular time I had cranberry sauce in the fridge.

And that small bowl to the left was Silver Palate's Pineapple Bake, a bread pudding that is so good with ham.

Here's a link I found to the recipe that shows how simple the recipe is.

And I might as well include the recipe from Food & Wine that I use for ham broth that I make from the ham bone to flavor dried beans. Maybe you can read it if you're interested.

It's kind of fun to make, just as is any stock. At least I always feel thrifty and housewifely when I make my own stock. 

Now if tomorrow I can finish up all those little projects I started today. Anyone else ever do that? Oh I forgot, you're not supposed to leave a comment on this one!