Drink Recipe

Posted: June 12, 2015 in Ramblings

Many of you know what an “Arnold Palmer” is.  Half iced tea, half lemonade.  Of course, restaurants tend to tart this up with stuff like “peach iced tea” (sorry, Diane) or “iced tea with diet lemonade” (gack!).  However, this week I came up with a new version, which I have happily dubbed the “Arnold Rimmer” – it is an Arnold Palmer with a dash of lime juice.  Enjoy.

The Psychology of the Individual

Posted: June 12, 2015 in Ramblings

I wear hearing aids.  Not often, because most of the time it’s just me and two cats in the house, and there’s nothing to hear.  However, out at restaurants, or when Chris is home, I often use them (because Chris is a mumbler).  The deeper the speaker’s voice, the less likely I am to hear properly.  They stay in a little zippered case in my handbag, so that if we’re out and they’re suddenly necessary, they’re on hand.

At my first appointment at the hearing clinic, back in 2013, the doctor was a very understanding young lady who knew from the start that these would not be constant-use hearing aids.  We discussed the scenarios where I’d need them, and she simply advised me to use them “when necessary.”  Over the course of 2 years, about 10 office visits, she was always very helpful, and remained pleased to learn that my ears were reasonably good, and that the hearing aids did not “need” to be used all the time.

She has since moved on, and the clinic has assigned me to a different doctor whom I just met today.  She’s also very friendly, and we recapped my hearing aid requirements.  I thought she’d be pleased as well, pleased to learn that my ears are still good enough to go without, most of the time.  But no!  On parting, she said, “You really need to try to wear those hearing aids more often!”  I just smiled and left the office, puzzled and a little sad.

First of all, why would I need to wear them more often?  My “scenarios requiring hearing aids” have not increased, and my hearing seems to have stabilized.

Second of all, why is she not happier about this?  My eye doctor is always happy when my glasses prescription hasn’t changed.  My MD is always happy when my thyroid is stable.  I myself am happy when things don’t get worse!

Possible thought:  she wants them to wear out, to get me involved in an upgraded product.  This is all I could come up with.  Maybe I’ll drop my office visits down to once a year.

A Bunny-Centric Day

Posted: June 4, 2015 in Ramblings

Alex and I came down to find two bunnies loafing around the back yard, eating grass, looking nonchalant.  Eventually Max and Bickie spotted them, too, and wanted to go out.  At the sound of the back door, one rabbit scurried up into the rose bed and the other one froze.

The cats sat on the back stoop for 5 minutes and then came in, acting even more nonchalant than the rabbits.  The frozen bunny eventually thawed out and started eating again.

Max wanted to go out again, so I let him out.  Ten minutes later I peeked outside, and he was napping on a lawn chair while a rabbit ate grass about 10′ away from him!  I don’t know whether his eyes aren’t good enough to spot it, or whether he’s just too damn lazy to chase rabbits these days.  The bunny certainly didn’t seem bothered.

Later, Chris and I went for our walk, and we encountered a rabbit calmly eating grass about six feet from us.  He (or she) glanced up, checked us out, and went back to eating, even though we stopped so Chris could take a pic with his phone:

The bun and me, watching one another.

The bun and me, watching one another.

So, when he (or she) failed to react to any of this, we walked on, and about 100 yards later spotted two more.  Chris said, “They’re breeding like rabbits!” which actually did make me laugh.

Buns #2 and #3, with me.  These two were a little more skittish.

Buns #2 and #3, with me. These two were a little more skittish.

Up close of Bun #2.

Up close of Bun #2.

Between here and home we saw no more rabbits.  Alex did take a picture of the two this morning, so I’ll see if I can get him to blog about it.

Mental Roadblock

Posted: May 19, 2015 in Ramblings

It doesn’t happen often, but every couple of years there’s a time period when I’m sick of knitting, sick of writing, not interested in dyeing or sketching, just…bleah.  I don’t know what to do with myself!  Been rereading favorite books, been hanging out in the back yard daydreaming about nothing much, going for walks and making lists of stuff to take on vacation, but it feels like it’s time for a new hobby or project, and I don’t know what.  Sewed a shirt last week and it didn’t motivate me to do any more sewing.  Got tons of sketching materials but no idea of what to sketch!

Because of previous “new hobby” experiences, where we invested a lot in supplies, tools, etc., and then got bored after a few months, I made a new rule a few years ago that none of us may start any new hobbies that require a huge cash outlay or a huge setup space.  I also won’t permit a restarting of any old hobbies where we owned the stuff and then sold it.  So, no weaving, no glassworking, no jewelry, no papermaking, bookbinding, hat making, candlemaking, soapmaking.  (We’re still using up soaps we made when living in Virginia, and we moved away from there in 2003!)  My knitting machine is broken, and while photography still makes me happy, my daily options are somewhat limited since the Young Master needs supervision while he completes his schooling.

Got any suggestions?  Initial outlay for supplies has to be under $100.  Give me a poke if you think of something.  Chris is talking about buying a dye sub printer, but first of all the cost is too high, and second of all, it appears the process is not what he was expecting it to be.

Trail Mix and Candy Snacks

Posted: May 4, 2015 in Ramblings

It’s a tough life when you’re trying to maintain a carb-free, or even a low-carb, diet.  There are times when you need the crunch of something, or times when a bit of chocolate would completely satisfy!  Eating Swiss cheese during a movie is just not the same as popcorn.  But my trail mix is pretty good.

Donna’s Trail Mix

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

1/2 cup Spanish Redskin peanuts

1/2 cup smoked almonds

a handful of golden raisins

1/2 cup cacao nibs

1/4 cup walnuts (only because I don’t like walnuts much, but Chris does)

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

a handful of Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips.  If you can find chips with a higher cocoa percentage, that would be even better (see recipe revision below).

If you like pecans or other nuts, they can be added, though we added pumpkin seeds once and it was hideous.  The main thing is to keep the sugar to a minimum.  No honey peanuts, no M&Ms.

Mix it all up and eat it as desired.

Unfortunately Chris and I were snagging a handful every time we walked past the bowl, which is pretty low-carb, but high in calories!  So I amended the recipe to make individual candies, and now we allow ourselves just one per day, each:

Make a double batch of trail mix as above, leaving out the chocolate chips.  You may want to keep the raisins to one handful instead of a double handful, if you’re being stern about the diet.  Or leave them out entirely.

In a large Pyrex, place the whole bag of Ghirardelli chips plus two Ghirardelli 100% cocoa baking bars (broken up).  (These are 10 ounces each.  Any brand will do, but this is all they have at Safeway.)

With a mug of water next to the Pyrex to act as a heat sink, microwave the chocolate in 3-minute bursts until it is all melted, stirring in between each burst.  It usually takes our microwave three bursts to get to this point.  I always dump out the boiling water in the mug and change to cold water for the second and third bursts.

Dump in all the trail mix and stir until everything is coated in chocolate.

Scoop out onto waxed paper in cookie-sized clumps.  I have been using a flat spoon both to stir the mix into the chocolate and to scoop it onto the waxed paper, but it’s awkward, and the next time I will probably either use an ice cream scoop or dole out the mixture into mini muffin pans.

Allow to cool.  Store in the fridge in a sealed container.

If anyone does know of chocolate chips with more than 60% cocoa, please let me know.  Those Ghirardelli ones are the darkest chocolate chips I’ve been able to find around here.