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 Making Of A Turkey Day Outlier

I’m not a big fan of the traditional turkey Thanksgiving dinner.

It might be that because as a child we usually had steaks for Thanksgiving dinner. 

My father hated poultry.

My mother happily agreed to this break from tradition, knowing that roasting a turkey + making all the trimmings was WORK– while grilling steaks, making a salad, and mashing potatoes was about as EZPZ as a holiday meal could get.

Also, we never, ever had pumpkin pie.

My mother despised it so she usually made a lemon meringue pie.

That was her favorite pie.

And me, little Ally Bean?  I liked whatever the grown-ups decided to give me, so whatever Thanksgiving meal showed up was [and is] cool by me.

In fact, if you’re all about a traditional turkey-centric, carbohydrate-ful  Thanksgiving dinner every year, then enjoy.

But if you’re a little more loosey-goosey [so to speak] about what you have for Thanksgiving dinner, then you might be, like me, a Turkey Day Outlier.

Care to ‘fess up about your preferred Thanksgiving Day dinner in the comments below?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

A Klutz Rakes Leaves: The Battle Of The Mantras

Out raking the leaves.

Half an acre lot sloping down into a ravine with a creek.

Maybe about 28 trees on it.

[Never doubt that trees beget leaves.] 

Getting tired. Getting bored.

Mind starts to offer mantras.

“I think I can… I think I can…”

Childhood wisdom gleaned from reading.

“When in doubt, don’t.”

Adult wisdom imparted by yoga teacher.

“Yes we can.”

Political slogan, uplifting.

“Be careful.”

Mom, always.

Then the deciding factor.

While raking on the hillside, giving it my all, I slipped and fell on my backside.

Just. Like. That.

Nothing hurt. Not even my ego.

I’m a klutz* after all.

But suddenly the angels sang and I knew which mantra to follow.

DID I KEEP GOING INSPIRED TO OVERCOME or DID I MAKE A STRATEGIC RETREAT?

Discuss.

* Previously documented examples of my klutziness: 1) fell on face while carrying donation into Goodwill;  2) thrown off Segway while moving through cemetery;  and 3) during house party dropped ottoman on toe breaking toenail.

Modern Life 101: When The Text Wasn’t Meant For You, What Do You Do?

THE OTHER DAY I received text messages from friends that I wasn’t supposed to receive.  I was part of the conversation by accident.

We all know that stuff like this happens.

[In fact, it’s a miracle that when I text with Z-D I don’t accidentally include his sisters on the text.  In my phone, they’re all set up together so that I can send group texts.  Meaning that if I want to just text Z-D alone, I have to scroll down my contacts to find him.

I figure it’s a matter of time before I get distracted and text his sisters with something like: Pizza 🍕? Beer 🍻 too plz. You get dinner 🆗?]

SO, YOU’RE WONDERING IF what I read in these texts was salacious, aren’t you?  Did I get some good dirt on these friends who included me, but didn’t really mean to include me?

Well, no.

The texting was about how much one friend adored the daughter of another friend and how she was so happy to have spent time with the other friend’s daughter.

Gushy Mom Stuff, you know?

[But this texting did remind of something that happened years ago when email was new.  I got BCCed on messages going between two married friends who were, it seemed to me, having a lesbian affair that their husbands didn’t know about.

I didn’t need to know about it either, but there it was.]

ANYHOO, I FIGURE THAT everyone probably has a story about inadvertently learning something about someone else because that someone else made a mistake when using some kind of newfangled communication technology.

Like a text. Or an email. Or a voice mail, if we’re really reaching back in time.

I’m talking about eavesdropping, modern-style.

So, kids, spill the beans.

 – – 👀 – –

What do you know that you’re not supposed to know? How did you come to know this? Did you do anything with the information that you accidentally learned?

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Here Are My 3 “Sorry / Not Sorry” Opinions 

INTRODUCTION

One of my favorite podcasts is Sorta Awesome.

It’s a weekly talk show in which at least two of the four co-hosts, who live in different parts of the USA, talk politely + intelligently about awesome things that they like.  Things like: books, TV, family, relationships, travel, health, beauty, self-awareness, personalities, social media, blogs.

The episode that hooked me in this time was Episode #110 in which all four women shared their 3 “sorry / not sorry” [potentially unpopular] opinions.  This was a conversation [with a digression into raw chicken that was priceless] that at times had me laughing so hard I feared that I’d pee my pants.

But I didn’t. 

Grateful for what didn’t happen, and upon reflection, I decided that this Sorta Awesome “sorry / not sorry” topic would make for an interesting blog post.  So without further ado, I give you the following…

MY 3 “SORRY / NOT SORRY” OPINIONS

#1

I question the smarts of people who place flags in such a way as to have the flag pointing back toward the house, instead of having the flag point forward.  It’s all about history and common sense, kids.

Flags are the colors + symbol that you follow as you’re going into battle: they show you the way.  Therefore, you don’t point the flag back at yourself, because you might impale yourself on it as you move forward.  That would make no sense.

So for the love of all that is good, fly the flag properly. Please.

#2

I do not believe that curly/frizzy hair is a sign of improper grooming.  Here’s a news flash: God gave some people curly/frizzy hair and it’s okay to let it be curly/frizzy.

Not everyone has stick straight hair [natural or forced] like the Kardashians or Melania Trump.  No, some people, like me, have curly/frizzy hair that we keep clean, professionally cut– and wear in a style that is *gasp* natural.

Yep, that’s the truth. Deal with it.

#3

I refuse to pretend that mochi balls are a tasty treat.  I don’t care how deliciously on trend you think they are, how calorically perfect you think they are, how cleverly Japanese you think they are… I don’t like ’em.

They taste awful to me and have a miserable texture.  But that is, of course, because I don’t like to eat blobs of fruity-tea-flavored melting ice cream wrapped in color-coordinated Play-Doh.

In a word, I’d describe mochi balls as: bleech.

CONCLUSION

You may or may not agree with what I’ve written above.  It matters not to me, which is the whole point of this exercise in honesty.

I figure that by sharing, what I’d describe as rather benign, opinions on a variety of topics, I’ve opened up the blog comments to all of you, my gentle readers, to do the same.

Blogger see. Blogger do.

So… tell me a few of your “sorry / not sorry” opinions.  I’d love to know.

In Which Ms. Bean Drives In Circles & Contemplates A Personal Slogan

About 100 years ago this car would have been my preferred set of wheels, especially if it came standard with a dog. Obviously. { photo via Library of Congress }

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OF LATE I’VE HAD MORE OPPORTUNITIES THAN USUAL TO drive to and from the airport.  Considering where we live in Ohio, our closest international airport is in Kentucky, meaning that I have to drive on an interstate highway to cross over the Ohio River to get there.

It’s all about geography.

I can do this by EITHER driving on the outer belt through Ohio, across a bridge into Kentucky.

OR, if there is an accident in my way or construction delays, I can drive in the other direction on the outer belt through Ohio, then through Indiana, across a bridge into Kentucky.

The excitement?  It never ends.

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IT IS WHILE SASHAYING AROUND THE AFOREMENTIONED INTERSTATE OUTER BELT SYSTEM THAT I’ve come to notice, on huge bridge signs, that Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana have new-to-me state slogans*.

  • Ohio, formerly “THE HEART OF IT ALL” is now “SO MUCH TO DISCOVER”
  • Kentucky, formerly “WHERE EDUCATION PAYS” is now “UNBRIDLED SPIRIT”
  • Indiana, formerly “CROSSROADS OF AMERICA” is now “HONEST-TO-GOODNESS INDIANA”

Seeing these state slogans, writ large [literally and figuratively], got me thinking about branding, albeit in a narcissistic way.  That is, what might I use as my personal slogan?

If I had to have one.  Which to my knowledge I do not.  Yet.

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THUS WANTING TO BE PREPARED FOR ANY CONTINGENCY and bored out of my gourd while driving, I compiled the following list** of potential Ally Bean slogans.

Should you be of a mind to help me decide what my personal slogan should be, please indulge me and do the following two things:

  1. Indicate your preferred slogan for moi, by answering the simple poll question below.
  2. If you have a personal slogan, I’d love to know what it is.  Yours might be better than mine and it’s not too late for me to steal it from you I could be inspired by it.

Thank you in advance for your immediate input on this totally irrelevant, but blogworthy, issue that has come to plague me as I drive hither and yon around the interstate outer belt system.

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* I’ve no idea how often these slogans change. All I know is what my addled brain remembers, a faulty system at best– and these state slogans seem different from what I remember them being before.

** Oddly enough, most of these potential slogans are ones that I’ve used in various places online over the years. Or, ideas I wrote down intending to use as topics for blog posts.

The One About The Mutual Acquaintance With The *Maybe* Secret Life

FRIEND, WHO IS NOT A DRAMA QUEEN, is convinced that a mutual acquaintance of ours, let’s call her Maureen, has a secret life.

Friend, who lives closer to Maureen and communicates with her more frequently than I do, thinks that Maureen is up to something.  Something weird, that is.  Something that Maureen doesn’t want us to know about.

Friend, who enjoys ye olde Facebook, tells me that Maureen disappears for days, not responding to any form of contact and then when they do talk in person there are holes in the story– about who was there, when events happened.

EASY AS IT WOULD BE TO DISMISS Friend’s observations about Maureen, I’ve heard this story before, many years ago.  And in that situation, the suspicions turned out to be correct.

Back then, that mutual acquaintance was off doing some things in another town involving a new age-y cult-type group that mutual acquaintance didn’t want anyone to know about.

But eventually we did find out– and that was long before Facebook, a simple nosy way to lurk on the edges of someone’s life.  Which is, of course, what Friend is now doing as she tries to find out the truth about Maureen’s alleged secret life.

AND ME, WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT all of this?  Not one blessed thing except listening to Friend.

I figure that enough people tell me their secrets and concerns without any prompting, that I don’t need to go looking for more things to know about people than what they want to share with me directly.

Case in point… read the first sentence of this post.

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Question of the Day:
Have you ever wondered if a friend or acquaintance has a secret life?  And if so, did they?  Or do you still not know for sure?
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