Friday, March 29, 2013

On building the perfect purse

I am in a spring purse quandary. I have an adequate purse, but it's just... okay. I want something particular and, you know, springy. I have such for the darker months, but not for the lighter, frothier, more fun times. However, I'm having a very hard, read: not possible, time doing it.

Dear Purse Manufacturers:

Here is what I want:

One strap for over the shoulder wear. None of this two strap, one is always falling down my arm nonsense. ONE strap.

An outside pocket that I can plunge my hand in to for my lipstick and a pen. Two outside pockets would be better.

Adequate space inside for my iPad mini. When I purchased my original iPad, I had to up the size of my purse to accommodate it, but now I can downsize a bit for the mini. I still have a wallet and keys and a little bag with the essentials in it that I might need some time, although I rarely do.

Zip close. My purses tend to tip over and a zipper is nice to secure it all.

Did I mention ONE STRAP?

Why is this so hard?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reuben Casserole

Each year for St. Patrick's, we have corned beef. That's usually the only time, although this year I found a way to use the leftovers that may guarantee a corned beef every quarter.

The Reuben Casserole in the Penzey's Spice Catalog was intriguing enough that I cut it out and stuck it in my recipe file.

We love Reuben sandwiches, so I thought it might be a hit with the spouse. However, as he looked at it, there was only skepticism on his face. He'd try it.

Three helpings later, the dish was empty.

Basically, you put sauerkraut in the bottom of the casserole. Top with chopped corned beef, spread mayo and 1000 Island dressing over (I made my own because I needed so little, but I used regular mayo and dill pickles), top with shredded Swiss cheese and toasted croutons and butter. Forty minutes in the oven and it's all over but the second helping.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

RIP, Mousey

Well, that certainly didn't take long!

Monday morning, I'm opening the blinds at 6. It's dark outside thanks to daylight savings time and the only light on in the house is in the kitchen. Some sheds through to the den, but I don't need it to know what has just been rolled by my foot.

(Note: We don't have a large den, but still, how was it placed so I'd step on it?)

Mousey. Dead mousey.

I turn on a light and sure enough, stretched out in front of the television so the master of the house will be sure to see it (if he were up at 6 AM), is mousey. Besides looking like he's just had a bath, he appears unharmed. A trophy, as it were. I dispose of the carcass and praise Tuxedo because I know he's the victor.

One less mouse in the world and thank goodness! I had on house shoes!

Saturday, March 09, 2013


The house is quiet. No street noise, no heating unit, no dishwasher. No television. Just me sitting at the kitchen table engrossed in a new novel.


And again.

Strange noise. One of the cats? I see Pyewacket bedded down for the evening on the couch in the den. Tuxedo is not in evidence, so I seek him out and he's in the study. Not a totally unusual place for him to be, but he's alert and that is. He has an early bedtime.

Still, there's the scritching again. Tux's ears cant forward toward the old pump organ. I turn the light on and all is quiet.

Hmmm. It's been a long time, but we've had house noises like this before. In the normal course of events, the end result is me stepping on the remains of tail and feet one morning before I'm fully awake.

Here, mousey?

I turn the light off and return to my book. Five minutes later--and I'm sure very disgusted with me--Tux shows up in the kitchen. Another fifteen minutes pass and then--


Tux races as fast as his 25-pound body will carry him to the pump organ. The noise continues as I find a flashlight and tiptoe in.

I flash it behind the organ but there's nothing but poor housekeeping there. I press down on one of the pedals and not only does the noise stop but Tux takes an immediate interest in the corner of the room nearest the organ. Had I missed the flight of mousey?

On my knees, peering into the corner, there's a small crack between floor and quarter-round. Just large enough for our unwanted visitor?

We have not heard any more noise, but last night, Tux and Pye were both on patrol in front of the pump organ.

My money's on the cats. I just need to remember to turn the lights on and wear my house shoes.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

"You have 30 minutes."

The Florida sinkhole story has had us all transfixed to the tragedy of not only losing our house and possessions, but also a loved one. Sinkholes are not uncommon; they are just rarely so tragic.

Fearing the neighbors on either side could also be victims of this sinkhole, authorities gave them 20 (and in the CNN story it was cited as 30) minutes to get what they needed and leave their homes.

What would you take? My spouse and I discussed this and we each had the same list but with a different order.

He started with passports and insurance documents. I started with the house cats. Alas, the outdoor cats, some of whom are uncatchable as it is, would be fending for themselves. Computers. Camera. Grab suitcases and pile latest bank statements and special mementos in them. If the photos haven't been scanned into the computer or still sitting on the SD-card, they might be lost. (Wake up call: start scanning!) Clothes for a few days until the authorities--hopefully--declared you safe and you could at least retrieve everything else because living next door to a 50-60 foot hole in the ground is not going to do it for most of us.

This list is akin to the ones I interviewed people about when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. What should you put in the car and skedaddle to safety with?

Thirty minutes. What would you do first?

I'm getting the cats.