Sunday, June 30, 2013

Random Food Bits

It's time for some culinary amusement, folks.  Looking through my collection of photos from the last several weeks, I noticed that there are quite a few food related pictures in there, so it's time to unload some of them and their stories onto you.

The first set of photos I took weeks ago while on an errand into the heart of Reading, Pennsylvania.  Now Reading has a fairly high per capita crime rate, so it's not my favorite place to go.  However, finding and having brunch at this diner made my travels that day happy.

You see, I have this love affair with diners, in case you didn't already know.  If I see one, it's hard for me to pass on by, so I stopped.

The Route 61 Diner is one shiny polished place.  When I first arrived and then later when I exited, I was struck by all the sparkling silver on the exterior.

As with any new diner, if I am having breakfast or lunch I give it the cheese omelet test.  This place passed the test, and served some fairly delicious and non-greasy hash brown potatoes on the side, too.

I never took any interior pictures, because frankly so many people were coming and going at all times, that it wasn't convenient to get good shots.  I suppose that's a good sign, when each table fills as soon as it is vacated.

I'm still upset, though, that I wasn't able to get a photo of that decadent looking pastry cabinet sitting just three feet across the aisle from my booth.  I truly debated just eating a meal from that cabinet and skipping the eggs.  Coulda, shoulda.

The experience of having a meal at this fine establishment was unique for me, due to the fact that I was, for once, in the minority.  It was a bit of an isolating feeling to not be able to understand any of the Spanish conversations going on all around me, both at the tables and among the staff.  No matter, the food was good, the place was hopping, and I would not hesitate to go back to the Route 61 Diner.

In other food news, the husband/lover/best friend was NOT a happy diner at a recent stop for lunch at our local McDonald's.  (Not a good dining choice, but for whatever reason that day we needed a quick meal.)

Upon receiving his sandwich, he asked the rhetorical question to nobody and everybody, "How hard is it to line up a few ingredients onto a hamburger bun?  What is this world coming to?"

Then he went on some kind of rant about the gradual and ongoing dumbing down of our citizens, and who's gonna be able to run this country 20 years from now if they can't even put a hamburger together, and, and....."

Well anyway, the next time I looked over there that burger of his was gone, and we were on our way.

It wasn't too long though before I started noticing some restaurant signs that were a bit "off."

I was wondering if the "D" from "SERVED" had fallen down below the sign, but after passing this same sign many times over the next several weeks, I've just decided that either the manager is not very smart or does not care to fix the error.

Here's another one I am wondering about:

I was OK with the sign in general until I got to the red letters on the bottom line.  39?  324?  I thought perhaps the numbers referred to a date range, like March 9 to March 24, but I was reading this sign much later than March.

Last Saturday night son Caleb had 30+ friends over for a cookout and campfire.  He told me this event was to happen like a potluck.  Although as hosts we  provided some beverages and a dish to share, everybody brought food along and believe you me, there was no shortage of food or drinks.  My husband was tickled pink that a lot of the leftovers were left behind, too.

The young people laughed a lot, played yard games, and ate and grazed until almost midnight.  I love having them come to our place.

For my final food related tidbit, I've found a three ingredient recipe I'll be making tomorrow.  That's my kind of recipe, and I think I can even make it allbymyself, on one leg. 

Stay tuned for the tasty details!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Love A Parade

Only in Union County, Pennsylvania, does a July 4th celebration run from June 25th through July 3rd. We like a good party here.

Only in central Pennsylvania do people put out their lawn chairs two days ahead along the parade route and know they will still be there on parade day.

And only in the small town of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, a B-24 Liberator plane flies overhead to signal the start of the two plus hours long Annual Union County Veterans 4th of July Parade  (on June 29, of course.)

As usual, it was spectacular.

Son Caleb wheel chaired me over to the parade route, a block from our home, so I got out and enjoyed the fresh air and the as always, fantabulous parade.

Of course it had all the expected elements of a fun community parade - veteran appreciation, good, sunny weather, candy tossed to the kiddos from the vehicles and floats, and just the simple satisfaction of a good old down home event bringing the community coming together to celebrate.

I saw the parade and I'm glad I did.  Now you get to see the parade of photos.  Enjoy!

There were bands of all sorts - military, drum and bugle corps, high school, and bagpipes.


Every war in our nation's history was represented in chronological order in the parade.  Along with any veterans, there were re-enactors dressed in the uniforms of each war, and other costumed actors from each time period.  Methods of civilian transportation and military transport vehicles followed the actors.

This parade is an annual event and has been happening now for the last 19 years.  It just seems to get bigger and better every year.  This year the Phillies Phanatic even participated, leading the town's little league ball players down the parade route.  As usual, he was stirring up the crowds and making mischief.

Son Caleb got a kick out of the very famous Philadelphia mummers.

There was truly something for everyone in this parade, and the fans sure do seem to love it each year.  Sadly, every year there are rumors and rumblings about the possibility of insufficient funding causing the parade to become a thing of the past.  To whomever is funding this grand event, I am thoroughly grateful.

However, the parade goes on each year in spite of the naysayers.  Maybe those comments are simply coming from people who like to be negative.  When I see this gala event happily happening year after year, I am simply left to wonder if all those rumors are a bunch of horse poop.

Oh yeah, there were people taking care of that too....

Friday, June 28, 2013

An Excavation and A Good Report

Today, eleven days after my heel surgery, I had an appointment scheduled for follow-up.  I was more than excited, as this was my first out-of-the-house outing since then.  Who'd a thought a visit to the doc could get me so honkered up, but there you have it.

Son/chauffeur/state cop-to-be Caleb helped me exit the house carefully, riding down the three steps backwards on the knee scooter.  In hindsight, what were we thinking?  Just because it could be done, doesn't mean it should be.  My middle name is NOT Wallenda.

Anyway I made it into the car in one piece, and Caleb got us to the hospital in a timely manner.  And, we used our new handy dandy temporary handicap car tag while parking right by the front door.  Of course that was after we looped through the entire parking lot to its far end - Caleb needed to first get a look at an awesome jeep with big rugged tires that he had spotted parked way back there.  In the color he wants.

I was quickly called back by the nurse, and I scootered myself right into the procedure room and parked next to the stretcher.

It was then that THE EXCAVATION began.  Fear not, I won't be showing any of the gory details.  You can keep on reading.

However,  there were layers and layers of stuff packed in under the outer ace bandages, including a hard splint up the back of my leg and around my foot and ankle.  It took a while to get down to the bottom of things.

I'm happy to report that there were no maggots or other nasty things residing down in there.  No dead skin.  Nothing gross.  Just one big hairy leg.  And a nicely healing incision.

After all the wrappings were lifted away, one kind nurse washed most of the orange pre-surgery disinfectant away.

I had to laugh when I saw again the surgeon's pre-surgery notation on that foot.  The nurse informed me that this little tattoo will be with me for quite a while.  That's OK;  I kinda like the message.

Stitches were removed, which was frankly a bit uncomfortable.  Sterile strips were applied, and then came the boot.

If I thought my other immobilization boot was huge, (you can read about that one in my February "Not A Happy Camper" post), this one makes that old one look like the kid sister.

It not only immobilizes my ankle and foot, but it also keeps my foot at a certain angle, allowing the proper tension on my achilles tendon so that it can heal properly without too much strain.

The orthotics guy told me to file the extensive boot papers and directions in the safe at home with all of our other major appliance papers.

This boot comes with several heel wedges.  Right now I am wearing the largest one.  They will decrease the size of the wedge as the tendon can tolerate more stretch.

Yes, my toes are buried down in there somewhere, too.  I wonder if there is a discount for a five toe pedicure?

After receiving a good report, detailed directions on weight bearing restrictions, and a physical therapy plan, we headed for home.

Do you recall that part up above where I talked about backing out of the house on the knee scooter?  Guess what, it doesn't work in reverse.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Almost More Excitement Than I Can Bear All In One Day

I was comfortably stationed in my Recuperation Recliner by 7:00 in the AM today, ready for another day of relaxing and healing.  I had all my magazines, books, and other toys within reach.

Wow, did things get busy then.  Translation:  I had way more to keep me amused than I've had in the last 10 days since my surgery.

Shortly after 7:00 a team of  painters arrived to begin the several day process of staining our fence.  Last week it was the roofers hammering away putting on a new roof.  Now it is the sprayers I am hearing.  It seems there's always a project or repair to be made.

It wasn't long before they had their equipment moved into the yard and protective tarps laid out along a section of the fence.

Oh, and the requisite painters' boom box, too.  Now that I think of it, I'm wondering if I've ever seen a paint job in progress without a nearby boom box.  Nope, don't think so.

I kind of enjoyed watching the process.  The painters were watching the skies though.  Somewhere during the mid-morning the weather people issued a flood warning for parts of our town, as there was a 90% chance of torrential rains later in the day.  (They came, of course.  This is central Pennsylvania.)

First the guys hand stained the top and middle horizontal parts, along with the post caps.  Next one of the painters used a sprayer applying the stain vertically up and down, doing one section of fencing at a time. He was immediately followed by another painter using a brush to brush in the stain better.

Once dry, the process was repeated on that same section, giving two coats.

As you can see, we are restoring the faded wood to a nice cedar color.

By the end of the shift and before the rains came, the painters had finished the entire one side of the yard.  Three more sides to go, whenever the rain stops and the wood becomes dry again.

The next excitement of my day happened when my temporary cleaning help arrived and got to work.  It has been difficult seeing things needing to be cleaned, washed, picked up, watered, wiped.... and not to be able to do anything about them.  Ellen is my hero.  I love Ellen.  My house is clean again, and I am happy.  Ellen, you rock.

Then this afternoon my two fun, adorable grandtwins stopped in for a visit.  Apparently they had made a visit to the local playground, sans moi, and knew I'd need cheering up.  Tori nursed me a little, fluffing my pillows and handing me my lunch and magazines, while game coordinator Brianna went to fetch the checkers game.  They are always fun to have around, and I appreciated the visit.

In the middle of my visit with the girls, son Caleb charged down the 13 stairs from his room, and triumphantly announced that HE HAD RECEIVED THE NOTIFICATION, and HE HAD QUALIFIED.  

Back in mid-May, he took the first step towards (hopefully) a career with the Pennsylvania State Police.  It was a written test, and a rank at the top of the pile was required to move on to the next level of testing, the oral test.  So he is one happy guy, right about now.

Here's the notification he received:

In the meantime, he will continue waiting tables at the steak house where he currently works, and coaching people in fitness through the Beach Body/Body Beast fitness program.

Friends Carole and Bob, called yesterday and offered to come and share a luscious pan of lasagna with us tonight.  We had a great time of visiting, with lots of good food and laughter.  Don't they say laughter is good for what ails ya?

Oh yeah.  Quite an exciting day.  

Off to the surgeon tomorrow for the first post-surgery checkup and removal of stitches .  My first outing in 11 days.

Now THAT is more than exciting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fashion Smashion

I'm sitting here in my favorite recliner, doing as the doc says, resting and keeping the foot elevated.

Each day I have made it a point to read through one of the numerous magazines I have stockpiled over the last several months.

So, I'm reading.  And I'm fuming.  Why?  Because I'm wondering who makes up these ridiculous rules about fashion that we are to look at and purchase.

Now I have a good variety of magazines here - ladies' journal types, home improvement, celebrity gossip, awesome recipe and entertaining guides, and more.

What I'm disgusted about at this moment are those pages in which a complete stylish ensemble is shown.  I suppose the deal is this:  buy these components and put them together like this and you will look just fabulous.

Ummmm no.  Not gonna happen with this gal.

I will give three examples here to back up my disgust, all taken today from the June 2013 issue of the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.  And yes, this home and garden magazine does have a monthly style section.

1.  This first outfit is advertised as vibrant and appropriate to wear to a summer wedding.

      Dress:        $98
      Jacket:       199
      Belt:         6.50
      Purse:          38

      Total, not even including any of the shown jewelry accessories or shoes = $341.50

The way I figure, after I would add some shoes and jewelry, AND purchase a wedding gift, I'm nearly up to spending about $500 to look spectacular while attending a wedding.

I don't even like this outfit.  At all.

2.  Next we see an outfit that is labelled as "coastal chic."  So I suppose I should have been wearing this on our recent trip to St. Lucia.

Here are the stats:

     Dress:      $188
     Belt:       16.99

Total, again not including any of the dozen or so pieces of jewelry I see there, or shoes = $204.99.  Maybe I am unique, but I don't buy dresses in that price range.  I might consider doing so only if I was shopping for a mother-of-the-bride dress.

Besides, what is so great about that dress.  It's just a simple, color block sundress.  Kinda boring.

3.  The final ensemble I will show is one that is advertised as appropriate for a backyard garden event.  In my book that translates as "wear this to a patio picnic."

     Top:                 $42
     Pants:               109
     Purse:                77
     Sunglasses:   39.99
     Shoes:                36

Her five bracelets and a pair of earrings aren't included in this total = $303.99.

$300 dollars for an outfit to sit at a picnic table and later play yard darts?  I think not.

There is only one other observation that I have made repeatedly when reading these magazines.  Most magazines have a Letters to the Editor section where people write in and comment on something they saw in a previous issue.  I have NEVER read one of these letters in which a reader mentions heading straight out to purchase a shown outfit.  Never.

However, on occasion a reader will write asking what are these people thinking?  What normal people can afford to dress like this?  

Oh, wait.  Did I send in that letter?  


What do you think?  Am I out in left field here?