Tuesday, July 31, 2012

making black pepper strawberry scones

this batch came out super soft and fluffy. while i prefer my scones to be on the dry side, these were so very tasty and barely lasted more than one day and we did not even share them. Nu-uh.

I don't have an exact recipe for ya, I kinda just mixed 'em up. Here's an estimate for ya:

*1 1/2 cups flour
*dash o salt
*1 tsp baking powder 
*1/2 tsp baking soda
*1/4 cup sugar
*2-4 Tbl butter
*about 1/3 cup plain yogurt
*3/4 roasted strawberries
*1 tsp black pepper
*heavy cream to dampen dough & wash tops
*sprinkling o sugar on the top
Mix dry ingredients then cut the butter into the flour. Add strawberries then yogurt, barely mixing. If there is too much flour floating about, add a smidge o milk or cream to form a dough.
Pat dough out onto a flour silpat and cut as many scones/biscuits as you can. My biscuit cutter is square my scones will be of the angular variety.
Brush tops with milk, sprinkle sugar and bake at 400 degrees about 15-18 minutes.
Once cool, drizzle a bit o glaze made from powdered sugar and milk and enjoy. We have pesky ants in the tiny casa so I had to put these tasty bits into a container immediately. If I could have, I would have let them sit out to dry up a smidge. Either way they are super-duper yummified! I think I need to make some more...once I restock on yogurt...and butter....and strawberries.

Monday, July 30, 2012

it was just like christmas

 my sister sent me a very large box full of vintage goodness. she was clearing out her space and knows me well enough to know that i am just the person to enjoy a motely crew of vintage odds and ends.
it was like the best christmas morning ever!
only better!
here is a smidge of a smidge of what was in the box. man, Oklahoma has good finds (it helps that my sis has an excellent eye and an inborn compulsion to shop. i think we got that from our mother)! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

a home for my shoes

it seems i have been wearing the same glittery pair of flats all month long and i kinda have. i do have other shoes though and thanks to some perseverance, a plea to the thrift gods, a bit of spray adhesive, and a swath of a vintage sheet i now have a home for all those shoes i am not wearing.

seriously, i have been searching and searching for something, anything really, to house my wide shoe collection and a few weeks ago i lifted my eyes to the skies and said out loud, yes, out loud, upon entering the goodwill outlet...

something for my shoes please!
and there it was. a rinky-dink cheapo shelfy-dealio that was mine for the tune of $5.

i plopped it onto the backseat while the mister was looking elsewhere and it sat in our kitchen dining area for too many days...i lost count (it may have been weeks even...shhhh).

after stubbing my toe on it one too many times, i flipped it onto it's back, removed the shelves and sprayed it with adhesive.
i then positioned, repositioned and repositioned again a large swath of vintage sheet i had that was on top of a pile of stuff cluttering up one of the many cluttered surfaces in the casa.

i really should have measured and cut first but then this would have been done the moment i got it home if i were that kind of person. it could be smoother sure and it could be a bit less crooked but i don't care. it adds a bit of happy background to my shoes and well...there you go. a super easy DIY for when you feel the need to change something up.
everything fits so nicely save for the new pair of orangey-coral flats i splurged on at Target. and yes, $20 smackeroos is a splurge in this tiny casa. the photo could be better if the space between the foot of the bed and the wall were you know...spacious. i did entertain the idea of taking the whole thing out into the living room for a better shot but that is hardly keeping it real. the tiny casa is just that...tiny. 

**oh and please ignore my sorry collection of hoofers. i have flintstone feet and this silly notion that shoes should be comfortable so it seems i am attracted to shoes five year olds would wear if they never laid eyes on the television and something a blue-haired lady with rolled stockings might like. my boots and rollerskates are in the closet...i think.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

then we took the long way home

 as in twelve hours long...but goodness, was it pretty or what?
there are a number of ways one can travel from reno to san luis obispo. we chose to take the sonora pass. we left at 5:30 in the morning and noodled along through carson city, enjoying the thunderstorm and searching for a place to get cash, gas and breakfast. breakfast consisted of a shared apple, a shared banana, a container of mixed nuts and chocolate milk. we also had appropriate junk food in the car for snacking. said snacking became lunch and we arrived back in slo just in time for monday night dinner with family.
the pass is quite lovely. we noodled along and stopped more often than not to gaze at the stunning views and to enjoy the breezy air. we think this would be a great place to travel through for a weekend and camping out at whim. we think we now need a van of sorts and decided that if we found the right mini van used, we might take the plunge. i would love a little camper van but mister prefers a safer vehicle with better mileage and so we will wait. while being broke isn't always fun, our expectations for joy are simple to come by and i think that is quite dandy.
i was really hoping the higher elevation would make my ears pop but it turns out my ears are not that kind of sick. after spending a few hours in urgent care (again) it has been decided that i have a profound sinus infection. the new round of meds has greatly helped my left ear and unfriendly polyp but the sniffer is still non-sniffing and quite cloggity-clogged while my right ear is dangerously non-working. i'm a little off balance and as always...snurfly. the snurfles really bring home the sad raccoon status, i feel unkempt and sloppy and if anything that is a real buzz-kill.
good thing my spirits are bouncy and i can enjoy a lovelier-than-lovely (if not LONG) drive through our pretty planet. if you have the chance to drive though the pass, go for it...it is often closed due to snow but summer is a perfect time. it felt like spring!
this was in modesto. had to take a picture!

Friday, July 27, 2012

a weekend in reno

the drive on day 1
a little reno lurve
the ho-hum motel
mama quail!
a lightening strike fire made for pretty skies
 we spent last weekend in Reno visiting with family and being quite lazy. it was swonderful. we didn't do much really but it was a weekend well spent. we spent the days with my aunt and uncle hanging out, and spending our meals together. we attempted to cross the new fancy bridge, cheered on my aunt at karaoke, enjoyed a thunderstorm, and watched the quail hop about the patio. the entire time i was full up on allergies. could barely hear a darn thing, i was beginning to get worried. there was some serious congestion going on. the dry air was quite unkind to the not-so-friendly polyp in my nose and while i was indeed physically miserable, i was so happy we visited. we also squeezed in a lovely breakfast with a favorite nervousness friend. it is so dandy to manage a moment or two when you can with people you enjoy.
blueberry, nectarine shortcakes for breakfast
a smidge o happy color
basil, mozarella & blackberry panini
we thought next time to add honey, and change the cheese.
they love uncle jeffy, they really do.
 the drive to reno from the tiny casa is about eight hours. destiny allowed us to break it up into two drives thanks to Tara of The Pink Couch who was visiting family in California. that drive was about five hours long and we left a smidge before rush hour and still made it for a few hours of chatting before sleep got the best of us. the next morning was spent with more chatting, good food, a little walk and the kiddos attaching themselves to mr. a-go-go. you should have seen us dorkily trying to snap a few good shots of the fancy panini we put together. yup, we really do travel with cameras attached. we did not have nearly enough time for visiting so i hope we can make it out their way on our little biggish road trip at the end of summer. keeping fingers crossed.
 cheers to family and friends. good people are always keepers!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

i had a converation with my magic 8 ball

it all began with a not so good hair day looking better after i pulled all my hair away from my face. i've been sicker than sick these past few weeks with all sorts of allergy induced ailments and a bad reaction to a prescription and have been feeling quite miserable. my bad-brain had blossomed into sad-racoon status and i was not a happy camper but a new round of antibiotics and steroids and hopefully a new prescription that won't make me sick had me feeling a smidge better and so i smiled...genuinely.

tonight was the first night i had to sit on the computer. i am way behind on thingy-things..them mister and i were out for a road trip last weekend and well...there is a lot of catch up going on. soooo...i had a chat date with a favorite person and i asked her advice about chopping my hair off. at the same time i posted it to facebook. i got a lot of yeses and likes from my FB friends but my gal Tara thinks longer is better. so we bantered back and forth and enjoyed our chat and signed off after two hours or so.

but i couldn't leave well enough alone. so i hit up the old magic 8 ball and here is what ensued.

should i get a pixie cut?
concentrate and ask again.
pixie cut, pixie cut, pixie cut?
better not tell you now.
oh come on, pixie cut; yes, or no?
outlook not so good.
yes, definitely!

and then i laughed a full blown belly laugh and decided to share it with you.

**i still think i may take the plunge...gulp! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

when life gives you defrosted blueberries...

You make muffins!

As I mentioned before in a previous post, the mama a-go-go's fridge threw a tantrum and turned itself off. We didn't fully notice until most of the freezer was defrosted and so had to work creatively on using up those ingredients for all sorts of meals. There was a cup of once-fresh blueberries i nthe mix and so I made muffins.
I mostly used this recipe but substituted coconut milk for regular milk and I brown sugar for the topping instead of white. Oh, and only two tablespoons of unsalted butter as that is all I had on hand. The recipe is for six jumbo muffins. I do not have a jumbo muffin pan and so I made twelve smaller muffins.
I really like this recipe, it all comes together super quick and like I said, it is a super dense muffin full of flavor. I completely forgot to add baking powder, maybe that is why they were so dense?  They also did not brown up too much but the flavor does more than compensate. I baked them to take with us on our mini road trip but they didn't last that long as they got gobbled up by many of us a-go-gos. I need to get more berries...fast!

Friday, July 20, 2012


I think it may be pretty obvious that I have issues with being liked. It's all a bit twisty in my head but I really want people to like me and then I don't believe the ones who actually do like me actually like me. Crazy, isn't it.

I've said it before and I will say it again, I blame my father. I think the experiences we have as young children (all the way up to our teen years even) can really shape our perspective and view of the world around us. I blame my father for my lack of confidence in building relationships because he left. Sadly that isn't an unfamiliar tune and in my case, not only did he leave but he left me, my mother and my brother. My sister, he took with him as he and his new lady friend needed a babysitter. If you were to ask him he would say my sister chose to go with him but you would have to understand the horrifying experience she had just before the big fallout (being bribed with a pony didn't hurt either). While I was too young to truly understand that my father had abandoned the family and in fact kidnapped my older sister (who really did the bulk of caring for me as our mother was suffering a depressive episode at the time) I did know on some sort of visceral level that I was left behind and in a matter of formulating it all in my mind I determined that I was simply not good enough.

This idea that people who should care for us can up and leave at any time and do just that put a damper on my social skills. I remember spending much of my childhood running home in tears and experiencing some sort of melt-down or another because I felt unliked. It probably was not true, at least not in the way I perceived (young children CAN be fickle at times, it is their wont). But either way I built up this flight response to friendships.

Leave them first, don't become attached and they can't hurt you.

That was my unspoken mantra. It also turned me into a super shy teenager. A super dorky, vintage clothes-wearing, bespecktacled, crooked toothed wallflower. I was so fearful of interacting with my peers I became known as the pale stuck-up girl. My first year in highschool, I developed a reputation for being a  narc. Yup, that's me, just add me to the cast of 21 Jump Street.

All wasn't too awful. I stepped out to make friends my final year in junior high and have even managed to keep one  or two of them. My first year in highschool was all kinds of awkward but I found a solid core group of other wallflowery types and we created our own gang of sorts. But this post isn't about that, it's about how I grew up without a father who, by the way is most definitely alive and kicking and that my friends, kills me. He left my brother and I with a very sick woman. Don't get me wrong, I loved my mother immensely. It still makes me weepy to think of her gone. It's making me weepy as I type right now but truthfully she was sick. She was physically ill with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and mentally crippled through depression both inborn and as a result of our father's leaving (they were junior high school sweethearts). She self medicated with alcohol (Kalua and vodka from my early years, wine in a box for my later years) and often could be heard crying herself to sleep. What kind of foundation do you think that gave me?

So, when I was three, my father left. He placed my mother in a mental facility and stole away in the night with my sister and his new family. He left us with a mortgage payment that could not be covered and an empty bank account. Up until that moment he took care of my mother, he took charge as a man should as this was the early 70s. He left and he never paid child support or alimony and so I grew up on welfare and food stamps. My crooked teeth probably could have been fixed but my mother was defeated by life, my asthma probably could have been helped but she didn't know how make things happen. Her medications were so awful she was prone to blackouts and so having a drivers license was out of the question. We walked or took the bus everywhere and we survived on the kindness of neighbors, family and strangers (it made high school an uncomfortable embarrassment for me always having to decline or allow my friends to pay for my Taco Bell).

Whatever you make of this, what I am trying to articulate is that I know I always whine and poke fun at myself as being socially inept but the truth is I am. When I was young I played by myself much of the time so didn't really get a lot of practice in the social circles of my youth. So now, I'm kinda always a little bit on the outside, not quite getting the joke, saying things that may be considered thoughtless or rude and well, I'm just happier muddling by myself yet so ridiculously wanting of good friends I'm a constant contradiction.

With a capital "C'.

I can engage and people seem to like me but it doesn't stop that underlying fear that I'm mucking things up left and right and so, I blame my father. He was the first domino that tipped and well, we all know how that goes.

The crazier thing is that I "ran" into my stepmother online. Pinterest of all places and well, that's a rabbit hole I'm not ready to fall down just yet. But I ask how can people proclaim that family is the most important thing to them when they took a man away from his own. Okay, took isn't the right word, he left of his own accord but, BUT he also took us away from my mother calling her unfit and kept us for all of six weeks before the great abandonment happened and THAT my friends, was because of this woman. This woman whose face leers in my memory as she yelled at and slapped my three year old self...constantly. I can still feel her fingers, sharp and pointy as they dug into my arm with a yank this way or that way and she claims that family is the most important thing and I suppose she is right but it has to be HER family. See? I kinda slipped down that hole and believe me it doesn't go to wonderland.

And now I am trying, trying, trying to wrap this all up in a positive note so what can I say? Oh, I know. So, if all of this wonky upbringing, wonky bits and all, deadbeat dad and all, bad abusive boyfriend included, I guess I wouldn't be the me that I am. I might still be quirky of sorts but I wonder how much empathy and compassion (and angst and off-humor) would define who I was because in a nutshell, all these not-so-great experiences have pushed me to think of the underlying reason for our behavior both good and not-so-good. It is what propelled me to study children and their development and it is what moved me past simply applying all those theories to the young child and laying them atop people of all ages. I can bitch and moan about people and actions that I do not like but ultimately, while I am bitching and moaning, I'm stepping back to view a wider picture to see if I can find that domino that toppled over and pushed them into the direction they are going. If I had not experienced so much chaos and confusion in my earlier years, I do not think I would be the observer I am and sometimes the best view at the dance is the one that holds up the wall.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

my mister makes music

the cookie tin dulcimer
 When I first met the mister, he played bass guitar in a band. He even wrote a few of the songs. He never had any interest for being in a band, not exactly, but his friend at the time wanted to form a group and so he learned how to play the bass. They were a quirky college type band and even performed in a few clubs, and were included in a compilation or two. The band kinda dissolved with no cohesive method for breaking up, they just started practicing more with new people...not the mister. Word on the street is they reformed with a new name but some of the same songs. Isn't that how bands work though? I still kinda like them though.
playing the banjo uke
So after that fell apart, the mister started playing the ukulele. My oldest gal and pseudo-little sister gave us one as a wedding gift. Mister can noodle along quite nicely and I love to listen to him play. He plays a lot of oldies, The Cramps, and a Queen song or two. My brother gave us a banjo uke and soon the mister made a uke of sorts out of a cigar box.

Not only can he play the uke but boy-howdy, can that fella whistle. I think I love hearing him whistle more than noodle along on the ukulele. When he whistles, that means he is happy and a happy fella beats the pants off an unhappy guy.
the tune-a-fish special
Before we left on The BIG Road Trip, the mister made a cookie tin dulcimer and a canjo out of a tuna-fish can. You play it with a pick and a wine bottle slide. He even crafted up a bunch and sold them at Reform School. They are pretty nifty and come with a slide made by the mister.
my very own leftie
The mister is a researcher and so he began to figure out how instruments are made. After many trips to the drawing board, the mister is now making cookie tin ukuleles and I think they are the bees knees. I even have my own which is useful for hammering out The Wheels on the Bus to a group of tone-deaf toddlers. Recently he crafted a custom order and made his first sale.
this is my favorite

the fret board is cocobolo
his first custom order
 Whoo-hoo for the mister and his musical ways. Aren't them ukes pretty?