Checking Things Out

We are in Savannah now. The weather is sunny and in the 70′ and 80’s. I am stuck in meetings all day, so husband spent our first day exploring the historic area of Savannah by himself. He took a trolley ride that took him all over the city with a tour guide who explained the sights and scenes. Then he explored a little on his own. I like guided tours. I know some people like to explore on their own. There is sure a lot to see here.

How do you like to get to know a place?  Any memorable guides who you have encountered 

Say It Ain’t “Snow”

I moved to Minnesota in 1974 and at the end of my first Minnesota winter, it snowed 11″ on April  8.  At Carlton we celebrated by having a snow sculpture contest on The Bald Spot.  So I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that it’s snowing right now.  But really?

What trend are you just finished with?


Too Much of a Good Thing

Two years ago, husband and I bought cow pots (containers made from cow manure), in which to start our vegetable seedlings. It certainly made sense, since they were advertised to fertilize the plants while they were getting started. Then the plants could be put  in the garden pot and all, so they would continue to be  fertilized as they grew outside.

They sure didn’t work the way the ads said they would. We had the most pitiful seedlings the last two years.  (It didn’t help that last year the cat ate all the pepper seedlings before we could get them in the ground.) The seedlings started out fine, but  6 weeks after of germination their growth came to a stand still as the roots made contact with the pot, and they languished until we got them out of the pots and into the ground.  It dawned on us that the manure that made up the pots was too rich and “hot” for the seedlings to tolerate. We should have known, since we put composted manure on the garden in the fall so it has a chance to really rot and cool down over the winter.  The cow pots were too much of a good thing. This year we used plastic pots to start the seedlings, and they are the best we have ever started.

When have you experienced too much of a good thing?  When has a product (or person) not lived up you your expectations?

Mystery of the Murdered Mixers

Kitchen appliances get a workout at my house but up until recently I never thought I was too hard on my tools.

After 40 years of trouble-free use, my Kitchenaid stand mixer finally gave up the ghost two years ago. I promptly went out and bought a new one, assuming YA would end up inheriting it.  Imagine my irritation when just two years later, the new mixer started to make a grinding noise that caused me to step away from it in fear.  I called customer service (my company – as this is where I technically purchased it).  I got told I had 30 days from time of purchase to claim any refund.  Then I spent quite a bit of time “chatting” with Kitchenaid – this was when I found out that my very expensive bit of hardware only had a 30-day warranty on it.  If I wanted to send the mixer to Illinois they could “do diagnostics” on it.  Ship a stand mixer to Illinois?  Do you know how much these things weigh?  It took me a couple of weeks but I eventually found an appliance repair company that would deal w/ the mixer.

In the meantime, I couldn’t go without a mixer. I’ve never had a handheld mixer so I decided this was a good time.  Did a little bit of online research (very little actually) and ended up getting a Hamilton Beach.  It got me through Pi Day but then mysteriously the next time I used it, it started up as soon as I plugged it in, even though the switch said it was off.  Luckily I was not holding it anywhere near the beaters or I could have lost a finger.

I did eventually get the stand mixer back (after paying an obscene amount) and it appears to be working. The hand mixer was still within 30 days so I was able to get an exchange.  It also appears to be working.  But two mixers dead in one month’s time?  It makes me feel like a mixer murderer.

Have you ever over-invested (financially or emotionally) in an appliance?

Weird Foods

Today’s post comes from Chris in ND.

While hanging out in Philadelphia during the bicentennial summer, I was introduced to scrapple.  Scrapple is not a culinary specialty of the Northern Great Plains.  Most people around here have never seen or heard of it.

On the reservation where I work three days a week, my cooking options are limited.  I often spend my evenings wandering one of the grocery stores, trying to figure out what to eat the  next day. One night last week, I settled on some Jimmy Dean hot sausage and a bag of shredded extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese.  The next morning, I added the cheese to a pot of cooked grits, then mixed it up with the browned sausage.  The result was surprisingly good.  I named it ad hoc scrapple.  I brought some home and will eat the rest it myself.  Renee said that’s ok with her. I also sometimes have biscuit fits, but that is another post.

What weird foods are cooked and consumed in your family?

Saints Preserve Us

I really enjoy reading about the lives of the saints.  I am fascinated by their histories, and I am also fascinated by the veneration of the saints by many Christians.  Lawrence Durrell writes in his book The Greek Islands that he observed the Greeks to have an intensely personal relationship with their saints, often chastising them for not coming across with answers to prayers. He heard one person angrily refer to their saint as “that stinking old cuckold in the niche” after being particularly disappointed by him.  I am Lutheran, a member of a church not typically associated with the saints.  I understand, though, how important the saints are to many people, and how comforting and reassuring it is to know that someone who was human and not perfect but really, really special,  has our interests at heart.

It is interesting to see  references to the saints in modern day life. Unless you know about St. Apollonia, for example, you might not understand why the new dentist office in town is called Apollonia Dental Services.

Many of the saints died horrible and violent deaths for their faith. Many are exlemplars of Christian charity.  Some saints are more difficult to fathom.  St. Christina the Astonishing is one of the patron saints of mental health workers.  Born in 1150, she was a rather alarming  Belgian woman who died of a massive seizure at the age of 20, and arose out of her casket at her funeral and floated to the rafters of the church complaining that she couldn’t bear the smell of all the sinful people in the congregation. She went on to behave in very alarming ways until she died again at the age of 74.  I don’t know if I would want her to intercede on my behalf.  She was pretty odd. I would rather rely on Isidore of Seville, who wrote the first encyclopedia compiled in the post-classical world, and who probably knows a lot about  everything there is to know.

Even if you are not a believer, who would you want to be your patron saint? 



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