I Left My Heart

The first time you visit San Francisco, here are the things you must do: drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a gander at the sea lions on Pier 39, tour Alcatraz, hop on a cable car and hang off the sides, walk through Chinatown and look at the ducks hanging in the shop windows, eat seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf, drive or walk down crazy Lombard Street, drive through the intersection of Haight and Ashbury (preferably while singing Age of Aquarius), and eat an ice cream treat (most likely an enormous hot fudge sundae) at Ghiardelli Square.

By time you’ve done all of those things, you will recognize that it’s just about time to go home.

The first time I ever visited San Francisco was in 1991, when I went with Bill, who at that time was my husband-to-be. I know this to be true because during the fairly recent Cleaning-Out-of-the-Bookshelves in our bedroom, one of the things I came across was a little photo album. I blew off the dust and read my hand written label: San Francisco 1991. I’ve been back several times since.

Dave and Jll not only honeymooned in San Francisco, but have visited the City by the Bay since. So, they have also done all of the above-mentioned must-does. However, none of their four kids had ever been to San Francisco, and they – just like Karl Malden and Michael Douglas – were ready to hit the Streets of San Francisco.

We ran into our first glitch when Jll (thinking, as did I, that tickets to Alcatraz were readily available), realized that the tickets were sold out until the next millennium (well, practically). Oh no! she texted me. Is there anything we can do? I put Bill on the case. He’s as good a detective as Michael Douglas any day of the week, at least when it comes to finding tickets or reasonably-priced hotel rooms. What he learned was that tickets were indeed sold out. However, if one is desperate enough to get up with the birds and be at the Alcatraz boat dock by 6:30 a.m., some lucky people might get tickets. We did just that, and though I felt our chances of getting tickets for eight people to be slim (being the glass half empty sort of gal), we did indeed get tickets for the 8:45 a.m. tour. The tour was well worth the inconvenience…..

We had checked off the sea lions at Pier 39 (the majority of which were not making their appearance because they were off breeding) and eating seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf the first day. I know this will surprise many, but Bill’s top priority was not the Golden Gate Bridge nor cable cars nor Chinatown; it was Ghiardelli Square. Well, not the square so much but the ice cream treats the square offered.

Because of this, following our visit to the indisposed sea lions, our next stop was Ghiardelli Square, with a quick stop-over to Boudin Bakery — the home of sourdough bread….

This photo was actually taken at our SECOND trip to the Mecca of Ice Cream Treats. But who’s counting? After all, it was a different day.

We were all interested in riding a cable car, but we were put off by the long lines. Dave discovered that if one was simply wanting to ride a cable car for the experience instead of to get to Fisherman’s Wharf, the best idea would be to take the less popular California line. That had our names on it, so one day we rode a cable car up and back, with everyone taking turns hanging off…..

Lombard Street and Haight-Ashbury were knocked off in a couple of driving trips, along with some lessons about switchbacks and the history of Flower Power. And I did, indeed, sing The Age of Aquarius, which admittedly caused some surprised faces among the grands. Was Nana a hippie? The answer: a most decided NO.

I documented some of our trip to Chinatown in my last Saturday Smile. In addition to our lunch at House of Nanking, we also visited a fortune cookie factory…..

…..where the woman’s job was to take one of the soft, flat disks that were coming down the line, lay a fortune on top, and fold it and crimp it and place it into the special cooling pan, then move on to the next one. Catholics would call her job Purgatory. Or perhaps Hell.

That same afternoon, we took a bathroom break at a restaurant called Sushi Boat. The boats carried plates of sushi; they would float by, and if you were interested, you would grab the plate from the boat. The color of the plate told you the price. Alastair would have stayed there all afternoon had I given him a couple of hundred dollar bills to pay for all of the little plates he would collect…..

We checked off our drive over the Golden Gate Bridge with a trip to Muir Woods, on the other side of Sausalito. It was a beautiful morning…..

Our days always concluded with whale watching and enjoying the beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean…..

Alastair, Dagny, and Maggie Faith watch the waves gobble up their footprints at sunset one night.

I Hear the Train A-Comin’

The morning that Bill and I departed on the California Zephyr heading west to San Francisco, the train pulled into Union Station at exactly 8:05, as scheduled. We were promptly shown to our sleeping room – a spacious berth with room for our luggage, plenty of space in which to move around, and, of course, an ensuite toilette. We made our way to the dining car, where Hercule Poirot sat with a silver coffee service on his table. He nodded coolly to us as we passed, on our way to our table for two, covered in a white tablecloth and furnished with china plates and crystal glassware. We dined on Eggs Benedict and poured coffee from our own silver coffee service.

Of course, none of the above is true. But then we didn’t expect anything beyond what we got – and enjoyed our experience immensely.

It didn’t help that the evening before our early morning departure, as I bent down to wash my face, my back – which had given me trouble the week before but had seemingly settled down – gave a silent TWANG, and sent me down for the count. I wish I could say that my back went out as I lifted 20 lb. weights, one in each hand. But no; it simply took umbrage at my leaning over the sink. I hobbled to bed, hoping for the best.

Around midnight, I got out of bed, and, in great anguish, made my way to the bathroom. I knew I was in trouble when I was unable to stand up following my toilette. Bill awakened upon hearing groaning that sounded like childbirth.

As he helped me back to bed, I thought to myself, there is no way I’m going to be able to even get out of bed tomorrow morning, much less board a train upon which I will ride for 33 hours. So I did what any God-fearing potential traveler who is in pain would do: I began praying fervently for a miracle and took a Percocet.

The next morning, the miracle happened. While I was still very sore, I was able to be ambulatory enough to hobble to Union Station……

Bill had been keeping track of our train since it left Chicago, and knew that it was running two hours late. We boarded the California Zephyr at 10:30 a.m.

Our steward introduced himself as Alfredo (as in the fettucine) and showed us to our sleeping car. It was small – large enough for two chairs facing one another with a small pull-down table in between. That was it. Even our luggage had to be placed elsewhere. Nevertheless, I loved it immediately. It was private and we could move around enough to avoid getting blood clots. Best of all, we were steps away from both the bathroom and the dining car. I’m pretty sure the difference between riding a train as a simple passenger and riding a train as a sleeping car passenger is as different as day and night. Despite the smallness of the berth, having a steward makes all the difference in the world……

The window is immediately to Bill’s right, and the door is immediately to his left.

For the next 33 hours, we clickity-clacked along the tracks with scarcely a problem. Well, there was the small matter of the car that pulled out in front of the train somewhere in Nevada, requiring the train to come to a screeching halt and delaying us while they checked the train for damage and emptied the conductor’s shorts.

At night, you summon the steward to prepare your room. What this means is that Alfredo came in and pulled down the two chairs that made into a bed that is reasonably comfortable, but narrower than a twin bed. He also pulled down the bunk that rests from the ceiling to provide sleeping space for the second passenger. As long as the second passenger is a chimpanzee. Because, you see, there is no ladder provided to the passenger who drew the short straw and is supposed to sleep in this bunk that is – quite literally – no further from the ceiling than three feet with no window to provide relief from imminent claustrophobia.

Nevertheless, I tried. I managed to get into the bunk, and Bill crawled into the bed below. I laid there for a couple of hours, wide awake, concerned that I would (a) slide onto the floor as the train made a quick turn; (b) hyperventilate from claustrophobia that I never would have known I have had I not been stuffed into a bunk bed with three feet of head room; or (c) never be able to get out of the bed given the fact that – as you might recall – I threw my back out 24 hours previously.

C turned out to be the most realistic fear. Around 2 a.m., I could no longer deny the fact that I had to go to the bathroom. Bill, I whispered, to no avail. Bill, I said out loud, again to no avail. Bill, I nearly yelled, and he awoke. I explained my situation, and for the next 20 minutes, we worked on me successfully getting out of the bunk. The bunk to which I never returned. We spent the next couple of hours scrunched together in the narrow bed, and arose long before the crack of dawn to take a shower (which was obviously deserted) and await the breakfast bell.

The food? It was fine. Hercule Poirot would have been discontented, but we managed to find something to eat at each meal. Well, until our final meal, which was lunch that next day. As we all optimistically looked at our menus, the server came in and said, “Put down the menus because they’re useless. We have exactly four things available at this point – a hamburger, the hot dog and the mac and cheese from the kids menu, and the black bean burger. We’re out of everything else.”

I can’t explain how this happens, but apparently running out of food is commonplace on trains. Had our train been running hours and hours late (as is also commonplace), we would have had no food. The word on the street (or on the train, as it were) is that Amtrak has a stash of Dinty Moore beef stew that they hand out in these situations. Thank the good Lord, I can neither confirm nor deny.

All-in-all, we enjoyed our experience. The question everyone asks is would we do it again. The answer is a most emphatic YES, but no time soon. Like childbirth, you need a bit of time to forget.

Saturday Smile: Be Quiet and Eat

Our trip to San Francisco this past week (about which I will blog next week) brought about many smiles, but perhaps the funniest experience of many funny experiences took place in Chinatown.

Dave and Jll honeymooned in San Francisco 21 years ago, and their memories are fondly recalled. One of their best memories was a meal they ate in Chinatown at a place called House of Nanking. As Dave tells the story, as they perused Chinatown 21 years ago, it became abundantly clear that most of the restaurants had available seating, but one restaurant — House of Nanking — had a lengthy line down the street. Bingo, they thought. That’s the place with the good food. And so they got in line, and so it was.

We arrived past 1 o’clock, so the line — while still present — was considerably shorter than normal. A table for eight, Jll cheerfully requested. The proprietor didn’t even blink. Five minutes, okay, she said…..

It was a bit longer than five minutes, but not an unpleasant wait. We sat down, and the server came over and said, “You been here before?”

Not most of us, we admitted.

She picked up the menus she had just set down, and told us, “I order for you.”

Since walking in the door, about 4 minutes had passed.

Before we could say Trump China tariffs, food began appearing. Bowls of won ton and hot and sour soups. Pork dumplings. Stuffed mushrooms. Something she called tender beef. Sesame chicken. We would finish one thing and the plate would vanish and be replaced with something else. This photo was taken in the literally few minutes before the appearance of food…..

The woman who took over our thinking process is standing to the left. Standing guard…..

And all of it was delicious. She was right; she really did know best. We probably were done eating in just a bit over 30 minutes. No chopsticks to slow us down. No one asking if we would like any dessert. We decide what you eat; we decide how much you eat; and we decide how long it takes you to eat.

There are more people waiting, after all.

House of Nanking provided us not only with a delicious lunch, but with a lot of smiles.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Book Whimsy: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you She’s Sorry, by  Swedish author Fredrik Backman, is – as I understand it – the second in a trilogy that includes A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here. I enjoyed A Man Called Ove very much, and Britt-Marie Was Here (which I read first, not knowing at the time that it was actually the third book in a trilogy) is one of my favorite books of all-time.

So, I began reading this book with great confidence. I thought I would like it. I wanted to like it. I tried like crazy to like it. Unfortunately, I simply didn’t.

Elsa is 7 years old, and her grandmother is her best friend. Her mother and father are divorced and in new relationships. Elsa is bullied at school, but the distractions of everyday life prevent either her mother or father from handling Elsa’s problems very effectively. Only her grandmother, who doesn’t seem to care much about what others think of her, is Elsa’s true champion.

The two of them are so close that they have a secret language and a secret world – the Land of Almost Asleep. It was the great deal of time that the author devoted to this fantasy land that prevented me from enjoying the book. I tried. I skimmed over these parts, but I knew that they were probably important, and they were. My boredom and disinterest in the fantasy part of this novel prevented me from getting out of it what it seems most readers enjoyed.

Elsa’s feelings about her grandmother are best defined by Elsa herself, thusly: Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild’s ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact.

As a grandmother, I can attest that there are no truer words spoken. That quote is the best thing in the book, as far as this reader is concerned.

The ending tied together the many stories, but by that time I had lost interest. It was fun to see that Britt-Marie was in this book, which (as I mentioned above) was actually published before the novel devoted to her. It gave me good background for that novel.

I am definitely in the minority in my dislike of the book, so I suggest if you liked the other books, you should give this one a try.

Here is a link to the book.

 

Cooking for Dummies, Redux

This blog was originally posted on April 20, 2016

Take Monday night’s dinner, for example. No, seriously. Take it, because it was practically inedible. And God bless Bill because he doesn’t EVER complain about my cooking. So he bit into the pieces of completely charred Italian sausage and said something like, “Food Network would call this carmelized.”

It was such a nice try on his part, but the truth is Food Network would call it a cooking fail.

The recipe was simple. Tiny new potatoes, fresh green beans, sliced pieces of Italian sausage, seasoning, all doused in olive oil and put into a piece of aluminum foil. The foil was closed up to make a package, and cooked for 30 minutes on the grill. Easy, right?

Except that I should have double wrapped it in the foil because it cooked fine on the closed side. However, I turned it so that the part that I had allegedly pinched closed was on the bottom, and unfortunately, it really wasn’t closed. At least not tightly enough.  As a result, the olive oil dripped onto the grill and a rather large fire ensued. A fire of which I was entirely unaware because I was engrossed in a book. I was reminded of a simply hilarious episode of the Bob Newhart Show in which Bob was grilling steaks on his Chicago condo’s patio and unbeknownst to him, the steaks caught fire. Bob was in his living room doing all of the funny conversational things of which Bob Newhart is the master, and in the background the audience watched as the grill was consumed by flames.

That was me on Monday night.

Here’s an interesting fact about moi. I am easily influenced by reading what someone in a book is eating. So if I read a book that takes place in India, I crave Indian food. If Mexican food is mentioned, that’s what I want for dinner. It happens the book that I’m reading (in which I was so engrossed and totally missed out on a grill fire which rivaled the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, minus Mrs. O’Leary’s cow) takes place in Scotland, and the characters routinely eat scones.

Normally I can take or leave scones, but after reading about the characters eating scones with their tea, I simply HAD to have a scone. If I was in Denver, I would simply have walked over to Whole Foods and purchased a peach scone. Despite giving it plenty of thought, I couldn’t think where I could get a scone around our AZ house. (Bec has since reminded me that Starbucks sells scones and there are probably two or three hundred Starbucks in a five mile radius of our house. Oh well.)

So I made my own peach scones. Had I shot video of my endeavor, it would not have made the cut on Next Food Network Star. Perhaps on America’s Worst Cooks. Ina Garten makes the process of making scones look easy (using peaches imported from a small organic and sustainable peach grove in the south of France). She ends up with a beautiful disk of dough that she easily cuts into triangles and bakes until they are a golden brown with sugar crystals glistening on top. I, on the other hand, ended up with a crumbly mess that I pressed into roughly a round disk, all the while frantically patting the crumbs back into the dough.

But it didn’t turn out too bad…..

peach scone disc

And when it was all said and done, the scones were quite delicious, as evidenced by Bill eating two in a row.

Just as an aside, when I’m cooking, Ina Garten often comes to mind. Mostly how she would be horrified to observe me in the kitchen. For example, I thought of her recently when I was making chicken. I had seasoned the chicken, and needed to throw something away. Because I had not yet washed my hands (which were full of whatever it was that I wanted to toss) and didn’t want to touch anything with raw chicken still lurking there, I opened the cabinet door with my feet. While doing so, a couple of thoughts came into my mind: 1) I have never seen Ina Garten open a cabinet with her feet; and 2) I wonder if it is any more sanitary to put your feet on the kitchen cabinet handle than using chicken-laced hands.

Don’t worry, I used an antibacterial cloth to wipe the handle.

Here is the recipe for the peach scones. Despite the crumbly dough, the scones were delicious.

peach scone cut

Peach Sconescourtesy honestcooking.com

Ingredients
2 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T baking powder
½ t. salt
½ c. unsalted butter, cubed and cold
1 egg
¼ c. heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
¼ c. sour cream
2 t. vanilla extract
½ c. fresh peaches, diced

Process
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Stir in the peaches, and mix until just combined.

On a well-floured surface, turn out the scone dough and pat into a small disk that’s about a half inch thick. Cut into 6-8 slices, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush each scone with just a bit of heavy cream.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or just until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Nana’s Notes: Her recipe had a glaze; I chose to sprinkle mine liberally with sugar after brushing on the cream. Also, since I was facing the above-mentioned crumbly mess, I formed my disk right on the baking sheet, and that seemed to work fine. Finally, I didn’t use fresh peaches; instead, I used canned. That made the dough a bit wetter and the resulting scones a bit more moist. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Mr. Moon: Just Passing By, Redux

When friends of ours told us they were driving to Podunk, Nebraska, (not a real town, so stop googling it) and paying as much for a motel room as one would pay to stay at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City at Christmastime, I nodded and said wow, that’s awesome, but thought to myself wow, that’s stupid.

The media started getting more and more excited as the event neared. For the past three weeks, our local NBC station has been hawking their own branded eclipse glasses. Go to your nearest Grease Monkey and get your glasses, they would shout. Otherwise you will miss out; otherwise be stupid and look in the sky without these glasses and go blind.

Whatevah, I would think.

Until about three or four days ago, when it occurred to me that I might not see another total eclipse of the sun because who knows how crabby I’ll be by 2024  when the next total eclipse will occur. I may even be too crabby to go outside. All of the Grease Monkey glasses had been swooped up by then, of course. As the hours, then days, ticked by, the likelihood of obtaining the necessary blindness-preventing glasses diminished, until the possibility was as little as that pinprick-in- the-cardboard option they were offering us losers. One night, my telephone dinked, indicating a notification from our neighborhood internet group. I immediately – IMMEDIATELY – looked at the notification and saw it was from one of our neighbors saying he had four spare pairs of glasses. I immediately – IMMEDIATELY – clicked on his email link to request the glasses. He responded, telling me the glasses had been claimed practically before he hit the send button.

On Sunday night, our local NBC station was nearly in histrionics over the event. Remember the old game when we were in college where you would watch an episode of The Bob Newhart Show, and drink a shot everytime someone said Bob? Well, I was wishing I had a bottle of Fireball whiskey and a shot glass and could drink a shot every time one of them used the phrase zone of totality. It didn’t matter whether it was the local news, the weather news, or the sports news. Everything was linked to the zone of totality. Of which we were in the 92 percentile.

Dang. I wasn’t going to be able to see the historic event. I was going to have to resort to looking through that damned pinprick. So I sadly mentioned that fact to Maggie Faith Sunday when I dropped by to deliver my guac and chips. Come to our school with Mom, she said. They have tons of those glasses. Which is what I ended up doing because 9-year-olds are way smarter than 63-year-olds.

Jll and her mom Lynne and Bill and I checked in at the front office of Magnolia’s elementary school around 11:30. Do you happen to have any spare glasses, we asked tentatively. And Maggie was right; they had tons of them. Enough that we each got a pair, and there were very many to spare…..

We, along with all of the grade schoolers who were so very careful and grown-up about using their glasses when looking at the sky, enjoyed an amazing event……

Maggie, along with all of her fifth grade pals, watched the solar eclipse.

Bill, Lynne, and I watched as the moon passed in front of the sun…..

As did Jll and Maggie Faith…..

But my favorite photo of all: I’ve fallen and I can’t get up…..

As it turns out, I couldn’t be happier to have witnessed this scientific phenomenon. It was fascinating. The air actually cooled down as the moon passed the sun, blocking its heat for a brief time. The temperature dropped from 85 to 77. Mostly I was happy to watch the kids of Maggie’s school seeing the amazing work of God.

Cole got to witness the hand of God as well at his school, though he looks like he’s not sure what to think…..

And, I leave you with this, Baby Boomers. Don’t Bill and Lynne and I look like we are straight out of the 1950s at one of those early 3D movies?

A Day in the Life, Redux

This blog was originally posted September 25, 2014

searchJen came down to Denver last Saturday so that we could belatedly celebrate her birthday. Saturday was an unusually busy day for me. At the end of the day, she told me, “You need to write a blog about a day in the life of Nana’s Whimsies.

I do?

For the most part, my life is the predictable life of a retired woman with a husband and children and grandchildren. If my life was hooked to a heart rate monitor, there would be a series of blips – all the same size.

It’s true, however, that Saturday would have caused the nurses and doctors to come running with the paddles.

Saturday was bound to be a busy day. Kaiya and Mylee were spending the day with me and Jen was coming mid-morning to spend the day and night so we could celebrate her birthday. I planned to prepare a yummy dinner and bake a special birthday cake. You know how you have these dreams of having a life like you see on Barefoot Contessa? Minus the big Hamptons house and the multitude of gay friends to bring spectacular bouquets of flowers and expensive wines.

Sometime in the middle of Friday night, I had a sit-up-suddenly-in-bed moment when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to make the fancy, delicious, but complicated Braised Beef Shortribs in a Marsala Cream Sauce. Ina Garten would have been able to because she has staff. I had no staff coming that day, only a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old who I knew would want to help me cook – a practice I love, but I simply couldn’t imagine them working on a Marsala cream sauce.

So in the middle of the night, I came up with Plan B, a simple meal that could be prepared in its entirety after the girls went home.

To this end, I was at Whole Foods bright and early to purchase mussels and rib-eye steaks. A simple but delicious substitute for my elaborate Plan A.

It was at Whole Foods that my phone rang. Eleven-year-old Addie was looking for a way to get out of going to her brother’s flag football game. “Can I come over and hang out with you, Nana?”

Sure. Why not? The more, the merrier.

But my day was about to get a bit more complicated. When I went to pick up the two little girls, they opened the door, and the first words out of Kaiya’s mouth, quite literally, were, “Mom says you will help us make ice cream today. I want to make strawberry and Mylee wants to make chocolate.”

Now, I could, of course, say ice cream was a no-go due to scheduling conflicts, but honestly? After all, I’m the nana.

So we went to the grocery store to get strawberries, a chocolate bar, whole milk, and cream. They insisted on pushing the cart, and I, sadly, allowed it to happen. Sorry to the person with the little tiny dink in their side door. It was really, really little. Barely noticeable.

Addie was there when we got home and Jen arrived shortly after. Lunch was looming, and I hadn’t a thing to eat. Again, see above. No staff.

What do you want for lunch, I asked the girls. The predictable answer: Panda Express. I don’t know why I ask because they will always choose “Panda.”

So Mylee and I picked up five orders of Orange Chicken and we five girls sat at my kitchen table and ate our food as Addie told us the ins and outs of being a new middle schooler.

“You should all come to the carnival we’re having at school this afternoon,” Addie said. “I’m the face painter and I could paint Kaiya and Mylee’s faces.”

Kaiya and Mylee looked at me, and we were sooooo going to the Carnival. Jen – bless her heart — just went with the flow.

But before we went to any carnival, we were going to make the ice cream. I wasn’t going to have dinked that person’s car for nothing.

Enjoying ice cream clean-up.

Enjoying ice cream clean-up.

By time we got to the carnival, it was almost 3:30. The face painting line was long. And slow. And disorganized because, you see, it wasn’t run by the Disney Corporation. It was run by 11-year-old girls who didn’t know how to do crowd control. But Kaiya could not be dissuaded from getting her face painted. Addie was the painter, you see.

Finally, after standing in line for 45 minutes or more, Addie spotted us and came out and pulled us ahead of everyone else in line. In front of mothers who had been waiting with their darlings for longer than we. I made a half-hearted attempt to defer to others, but by this time our son was sending me texts saying “have you kidnapped our daughters and taken them to another country?”

In the meantime, Jen was walking around with Mylee, who had no interest whatsoever in getting her face painted. She chose the Cake Walk, but unfortunately never quite grasped the concept and emerged cakeless, but happily unpainted. Kaiya chose the Indian princess design….

Addie painting

We finally got home around 5 (after finally handing the girls off to their parents), and I had yet to make Jen’s birthday cake. She had chosen – randomly, I thought – a peach upside down cake. It involved making a caramel sauce, slicing fresh peaches, and grinding up pecans, but I did it quite happily because I love my sister and the cake looked delicious.

peach upside down cake

I had time for a glass of wine on our patio before beginning preparations for my easily-prepared dinner. Mussels, I have learned, are simple, simple, simple to make – especially once they are cleaned. So dinner took less than a half-hour to prepare. Plus, we are grown-ups, and we could eat sometime past 6 o’clock. We in fact didn’t sit down to eat until 7:30 or so. Grown-ups, remember?

We enjoyed our dinner, and the dessert was divine. Being grown-ups (see above), I put a little Grand Marnier into the whipped cream.

When I finally crawled into bed somewhere around 10, I told my husband it was the most tired I’ve ever been. Hyperbole, but good for dramatic effect.

This is the longest post I’ve ever written, and I probably lost you all somewhere between Panda Express and the Cake Walk. Still, it gives you a sense of what my life can be like on the days when I’m not sitting on my behind reading or watching Masterpiece Mysteries. I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, except for the dink in the door.