Is it just me?

January 29, 2011

When I go into the comments section of one of my posts to reply to a comment, there is a little notation next to the box where I will type my reply.  And do you know what it says?  “You are the author of this post.”

Thanks for the tip, WordPress.  Now I’d like to know who suggested that I might need to be told that.


Easy Ready-To-Put-In-Any-Recipe Chicken

January 28, 2011

You know when you make a dish like the one I just posted and you don’t have chicken on hand to use?  Here is a quick and easy way to make chicken for just such an instance.  I found it on a couple years ago and had kind of forgotten about it because I hadn’t used it in a while.  And hadn’t used it in a while because I had forgotten about it!  Sigh.

Easy Butter Chicken

*** First, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) ***


4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1 t. dried tarragon (I don’t keep this on hand.  I suggest you just use whatever seasoning you think would go with the dish you are going to use the chicken in.  This time I used lemon herb seasoning)

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 C (half stick) butter


Drizzle the chicken with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the seasonings.  Set aside.

Place an ovenproof skillet (which also has an ovenproof lid) over medium heat and melt the butter.

Place the chicken in the skillet, turning to coat both sides.

Cover the chicken with a sheet of parchment paper and then with the lid.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

When I made some of this yesterday I thought, why did I even bother using the rotisserie and canned chicken the first two times I made this salad?  I should have whipped up some of this chicken from the start.

Crunchy Poppyseed Chicken Salad

January 26, 2011

The following is a recipe a friend found at  After she raved about it, Hubby and I tried it and really like it.

First I’ll give you the recipe exactly as it was given.  Then at the end I’ll tell you the modifications I had to/wanted to make.

Crunchy Poppyseed Chicken Salad

4 C. broccoli slaw

2 large red peppers, thinly sliced (about 2 C.)

4 medium carrots, shredded (about 2 C.)

1 can (8 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained

1 pkg. (6 oz.) Louis Rich Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Cuts

1/2 C. Kraft Special Collection Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

1/4 C. Planters Cashews

Combine all ingredients except dressing and cashews in large bowl.

Add dressing; toss to coat.

Sprinkle with cashews.

Makes 4 servings

Kraft’s Note:  You can find broccoli slaw in the produce section next to other coleslaw  blends.  This salad is also great with Planters Almonds instead of the cashews.

Okay.  Now here’s the reality of how this recipe actually worked out when I made it.  You really don’t need to read the rest of this unless or until you are going to make this.  Then this information might help.

~ I used a 12 oz. bag of broccoli slaw.  That was after the produce worker at the grocery talked me into buying two bags because, after all, 12 oz. means 1 1/2 cups, right?  Well even though I was pretty sure that equation didn’t work in this instance, I let her talk me into buying two bags (maybe she’s on commission).  But at home when I could actually measure it, one bag was approximately the 4 C. needed.

~ I used only a half of one red bell pepper because Hubby isn’t crazy about bell peppers.  But the red bell pepper gives the salad a great extra flavor, so next time I make it, I’m going to at least use one whole pepper.

~ We aren’t huge carrot fans and the broccoli slaw has a few carrots in it, so I didn’t add the carrots. (I felt comfortable doing this because the friend who loved the recipe, hadn’t added the carrots either.)  But I’m sure they add nutrition, bulk and fiber, so I have now bought a bag of shredded carrots and I am going to add some next time.

~ I couldn’t find the specific packaged chicken breast suggested.  So the first time I made this I bought one of the rotisserie chickens the grocery cooks themselves the day before I was going to use it.  (I needed to refrigerate it, because I certainly didn’t want to use hot chicken in it.)  That worked all right, but I inadvertently mixed in some darker meat, and I just don’t like the stronger taste of dark poultry meat.  So the next time I used canned chicken.  It was okay, but sort of disappeared because when the salad was stirred, that chicken would crumble into smaller and smaller pieces.  The next time I make it, I’m going to cook some chicken just for the purpose of making this salad.

~ I couldn’t find the special dressing listed in the ingredients, so just used regular Kraft poppyseed dressing.

~ The cashews are very good in it, but nuts have alot of calories, so after the first time, I enjoyed the salad just as much, but without the nuts.

Other than that, I made this dish exactly as listed.

Have a plan, man!: One more really good suggestion

January 25, 2011

It has occurred to me that when I wrote about activities to look into at the time of retirement, I didn’t mention the most important one that I took up after retirement … blogging!

I so admire those of you who still work or are young mothers, and still have the time and energy to write your entertaining blogs that I so much enjoy reading.  But I just don’t think I would have had the energy … or attention span … to write a blog while I was working.  But, since my retirement … what a blast!

So I hope any of you who are readers but not bloggers will give blogging some serious thought when it comes time to retire.  It  has added immeasurably to my life.

Have a plan, man!

January 24, 2011

When I was at the grocery store yesterday, I saw a guy I used to work with.  He was wandering around with a cup of coffee in his hand.  I eventually found out that he was there with his wife, but it seemed pretty evident that he was enjoying just wandering around looking for people he knew to talk to.  So we talked.

I asked him when he retired.  He said in October.  I said, “What are you doing now.”  He said, “Nothing.  Well, I’ve done a few things that needed fixing around the house.”

I enjoyed visiting with him for a few minutes, but my over-all impression was that he is bored. So I came home with the conviction that I would post about retirement and what you might want to consider before you get there so that you don’t have to hang around the grocery store, drinking coffee and looking for someone to visit with, to fill your time after you retire!

Fifteen or twenty years ago Hubby and I attended a class about retirement provided by my employer for anyone over 45 and their spouse.  It was called Opportunities Unlimited and was lead by my very own dear friend, Linda.  (She has never claimed to be a public speaker and I would even say has shied away from it, but she did an excellent job at leading this group.)

It was a fascinating class because it made you really think about the realities of retirement — something I’m guessing alot of people at least used to not do.  I won’t go into alot of the details because I’m thinking this might be a subject that Linda could enjoy posting about herself.  But when I saw our former co-worker at the grocery, it made me think about that class, and wonder if he attended.

One of the things that was stressed in the class was that you need to plan for what your days will be like when you retire.  Yes, for a while it will be fun to get up in the morning and say, “What do I have to do today?  Ha Ha!  NOTHING!”  But after a few weeks that will get old and you need to have some plans for how you will fill your days.  A part-time job?  Doing volunteer work for a worthy charity?  Playing a game like golf or bowling in a league, so that you get into the routine of playing regularly?  Trying a new game like pickle ball or chess?  Taking classes about subjects that interest you?  Working out at a gym?  Traveling?  Maybe just regularly working jigsaw puzzles or playing board games with your spouse.  Any combination of activities you like that will keep your mind and body active.

And then on the occasions when you have time in your busy schedule to go to the grocery store, and you run into a former co-worker, when she asks you, “What are you doing now?”, you can rattle off a list of what keeps you busy, not only impressing her but making you feel good about yourself too.

When Hubby and I retired, someone said to us that he would give us about six months to become couch potatoes who sat and watched TV all day every day.  It’s been four years now, and it hasn’t happened yet.

Don’t let that happen to you either.  Have a plan, man!

Who looks like the Bobbsey Twins?

January 21, 2011

A very long time ago when I was a small child, I remember that I read some children’s books about the Bobbsey Twins.  And also when I was a small child (birth until 9 years old), I lived across the street from identical twin girls, Kay and Gay, who were enough older than me that we never really played together.  But they always fascinated me from afar because at that time they were the only identical twins I had ever seen — and they looked exactly alike.

Soooo, sometime in my adult life I think in my mind I must have combined a picture of the twins across the street with the name of the twins that I read about.  Consequently, for many years, if any of my girlfriends would by coincidence be dressed similarly, I would say, “You look like the Bobbsey Twins!”  If any of them actually remembered those childhood characters they may have wondered what I meant.  But no one ever said anything, so I guess while the name “the Bobbsey Twins” was kind of memorable, the stories themselves weren’t.

I should mention here that now I have an excuse for a bad memory … my age.  But I have always had a bad memory.  So, while I try very hard to be accurate when I recall something from long ago, it just doesn’t always work out.  And, apparently, this is one of those cases.

Hubby and I were just talking the other day about how any time we are talking to Gunny about something that none of us can remember a detail, like an important football game several years ago and whether it was played in the snow, Gunny will immediately look it up on his ever-handy computer and supply the correct information.  So, I am now doing a little of that myself — it’s so easy!  But, sometimes the results can be a little surprising, compared to what I remember.

Yesterday when Hubby was working a crossword puzzle, he asked me the names of the Bobbsey Twins.  I was on my computer, so I immediately Googled “Bobbsey Twins” to tell him the names because I couldn’t even begin to remember.  Gosh, it had been so long ago.  I couldn’t even remember what the stories were about, much less the names of the characters.

But imagine my surprise when the information came up for the Bobbsey Twins.  Their names were Nan and … Bert! They were a girl and a boy!

So to all of my friends over the years to whom I have said, “You look like the Bobbsey Twins.”, I apologize.  I really didn’t mean that one of you looked like a boy!

Sometimes you (I) might be better off not knowing.  Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.  “You look like Kay and Gay.” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it.  Sigh.

Progress: High Heels, Low Kneels and Sweat

January 18, 2011

Small milestones make progress noticeable.

On Sunday I wore heels to church for the second time.  It’s now confirmed that I actually can wear heels for a few hours without falling off of them, turning an ankle or having my knees become painful — that first time wasn’t just a fluke.

When we take communion at our church, the lines of communicants walk up three steps to the level of the communion rail with a padded kneeler in front of it.  Without thinking, for the first time I walked up the steps without holding on to the hand rail on the side of the steps.  But when I got to the communion rail, I didn’t kneel.  I haven’t knelt on my knees at all since the surgery, and I didn’t think at the communion rail was the place to find out that kneeling created horrible pain that made me scream in agony.  So I stood for communion, but after the service I asked Hubby to go up to the communion rail with me again, and I tried out kneeling.  No problem at all, including no problem getting down and up from the kneeling bench, so I’ll be prepared next time.

And yesterday, I did another first.  I went back to the gym with Hubby for the first time.  I had no idea how my new knees would handle my routine of tread mill, followed by 12 reps on nine different Nautilus apparatus, followed by the Nu-Step (a version of a stationary bike).  It went really well.  I shortened my time on the treadmill and Nu-Step, and lessened the weight on the Nautilus machines that involved my knees, but was able to do all of it without pain.  It actually felt good to work up a little sweat (although I prefer to think of it as a “glow”) again!

The road to recovery is made more tolerable when you see a sign of progress here and there along the way.   And I think I’m beginning to actually see my destination of complete recovery on the horizon.  Hooray!

Best Advice of the Week: So that your pot doesn’t runneth over!

January 15, 2011

I’ve mentioned this little trick I learned from my sister Betty before, but I think it is worth repeating.

If your coffee pot does (or could, if you rearranged things a little) sit near your sink, instead of filling the pot with water and pouring it into the reservoir, use the hose on your sink to fill the reservoir directly from the faucet.  I find this so much more convenient and precise.  No slopping the water around as you pour it from the round pot into the usually oddly shaped, smaller reservoir.

Thank you, Betty!  I think of you often when I use this little trick to make my pot of coffee early in the morning.

If I had a bucket list …

January 13, 2011

… reading Atlas Shrugged would have been on it for several years now.

Both of our children have told me over and over again that I just have to read Atlas Shrugged, a book they both say is the best novel they have ever read.

Well, I’ve finally bought the book.  It’s a little daunting because it’s so big.  My copy is a huge 6″x9″ paperback with almost 1,200 pages.

I began reading it last week.  I’m about an 8th of the way through it now.  And I can already see why it is still a popular book even though it was written in 1957.  Ayn Rand is a master at intertwining multiple plots to keep the reader interested, curious and even perplexed enough to keep reading.  And her subject matter is so very timely for the world we live in today.

I’ve read some books that when I was done, I would think “What a waste!”  But I can already tell, this won’t be one of those.


The subject was “Arts and Crafts”

January 10, 2011

DD and her girls have a tradition of telling stories around the table after dinner.  When we were there recently, the subject that Mimi gave us was “arts and crafts”.  Once the subject has been given, each of the other people at the table is supposed to come up with a funny little story inspired by that subject.  The winner is the one who tells the best story.  Hubby and I enjoy playing this game with them when we are there, but the subject of “arts and crafts” just left me stumped.  So I guess it’s been simmering in the back of my brain ever since, and this twist on it just came to me.

Note:  Obviously, this is a little more elaborate than it would have been if I’d just been making it up as I went during the after-dinner story telling.  I guess that’s that fiction writing class I took a few years ago kicking in.

Em and Lil were friends who enjoyed doing a wide variety of crafts, like quilting, ceramics and flower arranging.  And the friends were always looking for new projects.  So when Em saw an ad in the newspaper for an Arts and Crafts Show in a small town about a half hour away, they decided to go see what new ideas they might glean.

But when they arrived at the address listed in the ad, it was a big, plain-looking building with no obvious signs telling them this was the place.  When they looked around for some other place the show might be, this was the only place on the small main street of the town that had anything going on, with lots of vehicles in the parking lot, so they went inside.

They stopped dead in their tracks when they walked through the door.  This was definitely not an arts and crafts show.

The huge building enclosed a race track and men were driving go-carts at break-neck speeds around the track.  At just that moment, a guy leaned across the fence surrounding the track and waved a checkered flag as one of the carts whizzed past.  There was a loud clamor of hoots and whistles, a smattering of applause and some high-fives … someone had won a race!

Em and Lil looked at each other with a what-the-heck-is-going-on look.  Lil said to Em, “Wow, are we in the wrong place.  This definitely isn’t an arts and crafts show. And, look!  What’s going on out there?”

At the back of the building there were huge doors that were open to the property behind the building and through it Em and Lil could see a pond.  And on the pond were two rafts, with a man with a long pole on each.  The men were using the poles to steady their own raft while trying to knock the other guy off of his raft  … apparently playing “king of the mountain”.  There were other guys, some wet, some dry, standing around the edge of the pond cheering the men on.

When Em saw what was going on, she began to laugh.  Lil turned to her amazed.  What was so funny?  Em was able to stop laughing just long enough to say, “Well, obviously we aren’t going to be attending an arts and crafts show today, so why don’t we go have lunch at that little cafe up the street and I’ll tell you what I think is so funny.”

Once they were seated in the cafe and had placed their order, Em explained how they had been mislead by the ad for the show.

The  advertisement had had a small misprint that had made a big difference.

It wasn’t meant to advertise an Arts and Crafts Show … it was advertising a Carts and Rafts Show!

Then Lil laughed too.

An interesting afternoon in a totally different way than they had expected, caused by the temporary inattention of a typesetter and his placement of a very important “C”.