In Which Ms. Bean Finds A Recipe & Makes It Her Way

Saw the recipe. Thought it sounded good.

Made the recipe using ingredients I had on hand.  Ingredients that were close enough to those listed in the recipe.

Similar.

Didn’t have apple cider, so used pomegranate juice instead.  Most of a small bottle.

Didn’t have the specific aromatic spices required so substituted Penzey’s mulling spices.  Put about a teaspoon of them in a tea ball, so I wouldn’t have to strain the mess through cheesecloth later.

Lazy, but thinking ahead.

Didn’t have a clementine in the house.  Contemplated using a grapefruit, that was in the house, but decided that the tanginess of the pomegranate juice would not be improved with grapefruit zest in this recipe.

Also, I’m a messy zester, thus it came to be that no citrus was added.

Didn’t have any fresh ginger, so used crystallized ginger.  Two pieces.

Didn’t have the requisite amount of castor sugar, so used the end of the cane sugar in the bottom of the sugar bowl.  About three tablespoons.

Probably.

Put tea ball with spices into juice in a saucepan.  Brought the mess to a boil, allowing it to simmer on the stove top for a while.  Took out tea ball, added sugar.  Mixed mess around until sugar dissolved, then let sweetened mess simmer on very low heat until it thickened into a syrup.

The result?

Delicious, drizzled on fresh fruit salad. Or added, a splash at time, to a glass of red wine.

The recipe?

Vaguely adhered to.

The friend’s response?

Shock + dismay that I didn’t follow the recipe as written, but a request for the recipe exactly as I made it.

As if I have any idea… 🙄

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do you follow recipes precisely as written OR do you wing it as you go along?

And how does that work out for you?

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The Last Roses Of The Season With A Hint Of Shakespeare

“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

~ Romeo and Juliet

• + • + •

The other morning I gave the shrub roses their last trim of the season.  Even though the calendar says it’s fall, these bushes are officially ready for winter.

Most of the roses were faded and falling apart, but a few flowers were still buds or starting to bloom.

I saved the healthy stragglers, putting them together in a casual bouquet in a vase on the kitchen counter.

Later I noticed that the sun, shining through the window, made the water sparkle and the colors pop, leaving me with one last glimpse of summer’s beauty, while waiting for winter to arrive.

• + • + •

“Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.”

~ Love’s Labor’s Lost

Confessions Of A Formerly Super Conscientious Woman + 3 New Projects

Once upon a time I was a super conscientious woman.

I lived and died by Checking Things Off My To Do List. My self-worth was contingent upon these checks because the results were more important to me than the process. Woe be it to anyone who got in my way: I was not always the nicest person.

Sad to say, apologizes offered.

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CURRENTLY: I want the walls in our home office to be griege, the trendy color of the moment. All I have to do is figure out which shade of griege goes best with the furniture and artwork that we already have.

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Then my goals and desires began to change.

That is, I got older and more self-aware. I evolved into a wiser + wearier woman who no longer felt obliged to Do A Lot Every Day Or Else. I still accomplish things, quite a few things– but at a slower pace, focusing on the process that I now allow to be organic rather than forced.

Mellowness is good for me.

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CURRENTLY: I want to continue upgrading our terrace using odds-n-ends of slate and limestone to create a patio with a level surface that is unique– and less pebble-y than what is there now.

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This new me is easier to be around.

Despite these unsettling difficult Trumpian times we’re living through, I’m a more relaxed version of my previous self. This iteration, Ally Bean 2.0 The Best Yet, evolved quietly during the last decade of my life when I didn’t feel well and couldn’t decide a thing without overthinking it.

However, no longer stuck am I.

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CURRENTLY: I want to organize all the inherited stuff that has accumulated around here, in our basement, for decades. Then I want this stuff sold | auctioned | donated | given away | tossed out. Enough already with the past, I say.

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I don’t know why I’m telling you this today, my gentle readers.  

All I can say is that this morning as I was planning my day I realized How Differently I Handle Any Decision Or Activity now, compared to how I used to do things when society had me convinced that my self-worth hinged on my super conscientiousness.

But you know what? It doesn’t.

Share Your World | Who You Calling A Birdbrain?

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  You can join in this week’s Share Your World Challenge by clicking here.

 List some of your favorites types of teas.

  • Oolong
  • Irish Breakfast Tea
  • Orange Pekoe
  • Peppermint

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

“GO RIGHT TO TURN LEFT”  This is my favorite traffic sign ever.  I saw it years ago in a small town in MA.  This sign, which makes no sense and perfect sense at the same time, aptly summarizes my days.

What are a couple of things that people could do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?

Bring me food, then leave me alone. Check on me, then leave me alone. Pretty much, leave me alone… I’m having a bad day here. 

Irregardless [sic] of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would you do?  Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.

Oh, I could be a swimmer, I suppose.  Meaning I’d have to have muscles and feel comfortable wearing a swimsuit in public and have eyes that aren’t irritated by chlorine and hair that doesn’t get frizzy near humidity.  So, sure, if I must be an athlete, and all the previous conditions have been met, then I’ll happily be a swimmer.

Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the video below that demonstrates how to put an adhesive bandage on your finger so that it’ll cover the boo-boo and stay in place.  I’m inspired by this video– and am almost looking forward to doing that which it shows me how to do.  Who knew?

This week’s looking forward to something goes to the distinct possibility that our new washer and dryer will be installed in our newly updated laundry room.  When that happens, we’ll have a working clothes dryer for the first time since April– and a better washing machine for the first time in years.  *fingers crossed* 

Share Your World | Growing On A Vine

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  You can join in the Share Your World Challenge by clicking here.

 What is your favorite cheese?

Swiss.  Cute holes, lovely color, mild taste.

 Are you left or right handed [sic]?

Right-handed, unless I’m using a computer mouse, then I’m left-handed.

 Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

I prefer exercising my mind, but reluctantly admit that exercising my body can, on occasion, be ok, too.  I exercise my mind and body often enough to not decline into complete decrepitude, but not often enough to be an inspiration to anyone.  I get by, you know.

 Complete this sentence: Hot days are …

… a reason to remember that things can work out for the best.  Once upon a time I thought that I wanted to live in southern Florida and was sad that we didn’t end up there.  But now I’m happy that we stayed in the midwest because I only have to put up with humid 90ºF+ days, that I now find to be annoying, for a few months each year.

 Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the Dr. Who franchise for picking a woman, Jodie Whittaker, to be the 13th Doctor.  IT’S ABOUT TIME.  We all need to see more female protagonists on the screen [and in real life, too].  I never enjoyed Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, the plot lines were too dark and twisted for me, so I stopped watching the show.  But now, with a new female Doctor, I’m interested again.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to baking a cake.  The details of which I’ll tell you about on my next post.

 

Share Your World | Going To The Turtles

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  It’s a good thing, ‘ya know?

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 What is something that people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?

Basketball.

*yawn*

Here’s my take on it: a bunch of people, who call themselves a team and wear matching culottes, make a big deal about bouncing a ball while running to one end of a wooden court where they make squeaky noises with their shoes as they toss the ball among the team members.  Eventually, someone attempts to throw the ball into an overhead small circular net.

Why?  No one knows.

Then, the whole nonsensical show repeats at the other end of the court allowing the other team to do the same thing.  And then it happens again.

Ad infinitum. 👎

What quirky things do people do where you are from?

No one does this where I live now but…

I grew up in a small town where the word “mango” meant green pepper.  Yep, no one called green peppers what they were, except my mother who knew that a mango was a tropical fruit, not a vegetable.

She never tried to correct anyone in town on this point, but she did make it clear to me that what everyone in this small town believed to be true, was in fact objectively false in the rest of the world.

It was a life lesson, I suppose, on the dangers of groupthink.  And of putting the wrong ingredients into your recipes.

 • What are some things you wish you could unlearn?

What it is like to be inside a MRI.  All of them, any style.  It’s a feeling too horrible for words.

Who is someone that you miss having in your life? 

I used to go to yoga classes at the wellness center in a local hospital. Carol, a RN, taught the classes.

These classes were the most safe and satisfying yoga experiences I ever had.  However, Carol retired, the hospital closed the wellness center, and I’ve been left ever since trying to find [unsuccessfully] anyone as fun and centered as Carol was.

I miss Carol.

Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to Fredrik Backman for writing the darkly humorous novel, A Man Called Ove.  This book kept me entertained/distracted for hours so that the remodeling noise and the various people traipsing around inside our house did not bother me.  No better review, eh?

This week’s looking forward to something goes to meeting some friends to go see a professional baseball game.  We do this once a year and it’s always a good time, regardless of who wins the game.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 2 Of 2

[Continuing from Part 1 yesterday.]

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY already know, Zen-Den and I have been dithering around for years about:

What to do about our master bathroom?

It’s never been a good use of space, and I’ve never felt safe in it because the builder grade floor tiles get slippery when the room is humid, which is often because the builder grade exhaust system is pathetic.

Considering we like where we live in this large subdivision, one that caters to people of all ages– some neighbors retiring here to build their dream houses, other neighbors buying their starter house here, and everyone else in-between.

Like us.

And considering we like living in this small town that’s known for outdoor activities and casual dining, we’ve decided to stay where we are, remodeling what displeases us about this house, making it retirement-ready.

For later.

So, we talked with three remodeling companies about doing work around here, and decided to go with the company that remodeled our kitchen years ago.  Their workmanship and our style seem to be in sync.

• + • + •

Thus here’s what’s going on around Chez Bean this summer:

  • we’re having our master bathroom partially gutted, reconfigured, and modernized so that it’s safe [& pretty] for us as we age;  and
  • we’re having our laundry room reconfigured so that we’ll have a newer-style [larger] washer and dryer + usable storage space;  and
  • we’re redoing our family room fireplace tile and mantel + having the walls painted a neutral, timeless color;  plus while they’re here
  • we’re having our kitchen tweaked just a little bit to tidy up a few things.

And now, for a few “before” photos…

Small cabinet with sink over in corner where only Zen-Den could manage to use it.

• + •

Jetted garden tub that I hate, used as linen closet because there is no linen closet in this bathroom.

• + •

Larger cabinet with sink, and almost no storage, in another corner of bathroom. Technically not the builder’s fault that I’m messy by nature, but I think I’ll blame him anyhow for not giving me enough drawers.

• + •

Boring shower with absolutely no character that lacks an exhaust fan above it.

• + •

Small laundry room that doesn’t accommodate the larger side-by-side appliances that are now available.  Also dryer does not work, because it’s a poopy head.

• + •

Family room in which we pulled down the mantel last summer, then painted test colors on the wall intending to redo this mess ourselves. Obviously, we never did.

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