Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Busy but no Clay

Hi, it's me again, no post yesterday, absolutely nothing came to mind for me to write about, other than taking the puppy and cat to the vet to be spayed and you already knew about that, LOL.

So, today has been a very busy day.  First I picked up the poor puppy and cat.  Cat doesn't seem bothered at all, but poor puppy, just lays in her little bed with her head down and her big eyes looking so sad and befuddled.  Then she falls asleep and has little puppy dreams, whimper, cry, whimper, cry, she's never done THAT before.  Well, I know how awful I felt after my hysterectomy, so I guess I have to understand, but I feel so sorry for her. How come they give people pain meds after surgery, but not pets???

So, what have I been so busy with today, you may ask (hoping for some clay and/or caning news)?  Alas and alack (is that how you spell that?) NO CLAY, again today.  Although the day isn't over yet and since I'm writing this early, maybe I can still fit some in (well, doubt it, since I didn't finish it until almost 6 pm).  BUT, now everything is done (except the exercise part that I am trying to do daily), so there is nothing on my plate to do tomorrow.  Hooray, Clay Table, here I come.

First, this morning I made these:

Homemade Egg Noodles from my Grandma Zook's recipe (sadly she's no longer with us to make them for me, she was the best noodle maker in the world).   She also made Homemade Angel Food Cake and "beat the egg whites on a plate", BY HAND (I make make it from scratch, but I use the mixer, LOL) and it is fantastic.

My Grandma was a fascinating woman.    She was widowed when my Mom was only 4 years old and never remarried.  She lived an interesting life, of which we only know bits and pieces.  She told stories of moving to FL with her husband during the depression and living in a tent because they couldn't find or afford anywhere else to live.  She told of a day her husband brought a big old fish home for dinner and plopped it into a pan and apparently she didn't know it hadn't been cleaned or anything yet, because next thing she knew it was flopping all over the place.

She eventually became the Secretary to the City Clerk of Bloomington, IL.  She ended up going to all the City meetings because her boss didn't take minutes, LOL, and when he resigned, she decided to run for the office of City Clerk.  This was a time when it was almost unheard of for a woman to be political, at all, let alone actually "run for an office".  She not only ran, she beat out 5 men for the position and then held the position for a total of 4 terms (16 years) before she retired.

She never learned to drive and she either walked, took the bus, or the men she worked for gave her rides home (after meetings when it was dark and the buses weren't running and her friends didn't want her to walk home alone in the dark).  She was so much fun and so loving.  It was really weird to go out with her, like downtown to go shopping, because it seemed like she knew EVERYBODY in town and would have to stop and talk to each one of them (perpetually campaigning, I guess).  She was rather straight laced, though, and my sister and I loved to tease her by talking about rather risque subjects (at least they were risque back then, especially from teenage girls).  We'd talk about things like pre-marital sex (neither of us was interested, we just liked to egg her on) and she'd get this absolutely shocked look on her face.  We'd say things like, "Well, Grandma, you guys used to do it, you'd just do it in the bushes."   She'd look horrified, start blushing, and say, "Oh, you girls!" (but she never denied it and we'd rib her mercilessly).

My favorite story of my Grandma was after she was retired, I don't remember how old she was, but she was probably in her late 70's.  My boyfriend (at the time) and I had gone out to dinner at a little Mom and Pop type Italian restaurant (but I'm talking REAL Italian and really good, even though the place looked like a little hole in the wall place way off the beaten path).  My Grandma came in with 3 of her cronies, they sat down and ordered their food and drink and I got the shock of my life.  My GRANDMA ordered a beer, and not just a beer, but actually drank it OUT OF THE BOTTLE.  You can bet I held that over her head for a long time, LOL.  My very upright, straight laced, past public servant, 70 something year old Grandma, drinking beer in public out of a bottle.

Oh, and speaking of her cronies reminds me, although she didn't drive, as she got much older, a couple of her friends also didn't drive and the one who did could barely see, so the passengers would tell her where to turn and where to go and what was there and she would drive that way.  It was unbelievable.  She was such a hoot.

 While my noodles were drying, I started cutting up veges and meat to make this:

Homemade Goulash from my Grandma Kitty's recipe (she's also sadly missing from my life).  She was a great cook of everything.  The funny thing, to me, is that when I was a kid, I didn't particularly care for this Goulash, but I really like it now.  Over the years I've tweaked it a bit, but I'm sure she did that also, as she was one of those women who cooked with a "pinch of this and a handful of that and a little of whatever".

I also have some wonderful memories of her, My Dad's Mom.  I probably got my ability, interest, and love of crafting and sewing from her.  She was an actual tailor for a long time and had her own button making business.  She tried just about every craft that came along, although I think her and my Grandpa's first love was rocks, minerals, and gemstones.  They went on rock hunting expeditions (and sometimes took us with them) and had all the equipment to cut, polish, slice, etc. the rocks they found.  They had huge specimens and small ones, common ones and rare ones.

This Grandma had no political aspirations, she was a wonderfully comfortable Grandma who would hold me on her lap and sing songs to me (songs I know and sing to this day, although sadly, many of the words have been lost through the years and they are old songs that you can't find in books anymore).  Shadrach, Meshack and Abendigo (not a clue how those names are properly spelled), Preacher Went Out A Huntin', Fiddle I Fee, K-K-K-Katie, The Moon Shines tonight on Little Redwing, the old Cowboy songs.

Unfortunately, she developed Alzheimer's and the last 10-15 years of her life were not pleasant ones, so I try to just remember the good times with her.

Anyway, while the Noodles were cooking and the start of  the Goulash was simmering away, I also made these:

Mmmm, Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies.  This recipe came from my very special Mommy (and I'm not sure where she got the recipe).  They are a very light, almost crisp peanut butter cookie and the dough tastes almost exactly like the inside of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  I can never decide if I like the cookie or the dough better.

This also reminds me of something my daughter B recently wrote on her Facebook Wall.  She was in the process of making homemade cinnamon rolls (my recipe, this time, and they are out of this world good, if I do say so myself  ;-p)  So, the question was:  "How can you tell when the Castle (or Ziegler/Zeigler) women have been baking?"  heeheehee, I'll let you make a guess in the comments (to make a comment, click on the "conversation bubble at the top right of this post).  (B, you already know the answer, so you can't answer tonight!!!)

So, after all this yummy fun, I was left with this:

Which is all cleaned up, either in the dishwasher or hand washed, dried and put away.

AND, in spite of all this yummy cooking that was going on I still managed to get this done:

As well as remembering to do this:

BUT, while I was doing this I happened to glance out of the window and saw more of THIS:

Yep, more snow, and it's supposed to get down in the single digits cold again tonight. . . I HATE WINTER, LOLOL

So, it's been a very busy day, even though I didn't get any claying done.

While I was clearing out the dishwasher though, I remembered something I wanted to talk about yesterday, that IS clay related.

Every morning for the past couple of years I've had a Cranberry Juice cocktail made from Fresh Cranberry Juice Concentrate (2 oz Cranberry Juice Concentrate--no sweetener in 20 oz of water).  The Cranberry Juice Concentrate comes in these little 8 oz. glass bottles.  They are about 5 inches tall and not very big around and the top 1/4 looks kind of like cut beveled glass.   I've been blithely throwing these little bottles out for the past several years and yesterday, for some unknown reason, it struck me that these would make absolutely gorgeous bud vases with the lower straight sided part covered in clay.  Here's a picture, what do you think?   If I covered the "threaded top" and the straight part below the design part, wouldn't they make cute little vases?

So, "That's All Folks", at least for tonight.  Talk to you tomorrow.  Smiles, S


  1. Hmmm, I know the answer to the question, so I won't guess incase someone else wants to. Good Memories, but made me a little teary too. All I know is we come from and have contributed to great cooks. All seem to have special talents where the cooking is concerned. But to anyone who doesn't know my wonderful sister personally. She can really cook as well as everything else she does. Her Angel Food Cake, Pecan Rolls, Regular Rolls are to die for.
    So Sis, here is to you and your many and diverse talents.
    Love ya

  2. If I were to guess, I'd say an apron covered with flour. Maybe that isn't the correct answer but whether it is an apron or sweat shirt etc., when I bake, I seem to have flour all over my front. You all are good cooks and guess we're witness to that too.

    The goulash and cookies are yummy. As to the Pnut butter cooky recipe, I got it from a friend when your Dad was in the Army at White Sands. It makes yummy cookies and they hit the spot. I didn't know Gramma Zook beat her angel food cake egg whites on a plate--live and learn.

    Here's to all you good cooks everywhere. And, I think the bottles would make dear little vases. Good Idea. Mom

  3. Had a few other thoughts--kitchen is a mess; smell is heavenly; we cook what we're 'hungry' for and we eat what we cook--lots of sampling.

    Well, maybe I missed the boat but all those certainly do fit.

    Love ya. M.

  4. Ha, Ha, can't believe you didn't know, you should, we've all laughed about it often enough. You're close, but not quite it. LY

  5. Hmmm, well I will submit my guess...has to do with flour...and location location location. Flour hand prints on the rump...however we also get it on a prominent area on the front of the body also. Cookies are yummy, will probably do the goulash tonight for supper.
    LY Gail

  6. Yep, Mom finally got it right, too, but on my email. I can't believe nobody else made a guess. Oh well, so much for fun. LY

  7. Your grandmom sounds like a very special woman! Lucky family you have to partake of all your yummy cooking. Just wanted to let you know that I think your new banner is totally cool! (I think your daughter is the creator?). I like the idea of incorporating pictures of your work into the banner.

  8. Thanks, yes, it was my daughter who designed the banner and says she'll change pictures out from time to time, too. I'm sure glad she's so talented, cause it's beyond me, LOL. Smiles

  9. Melobeau-thank you very much! I love to do that sort of thing and I have a lot of fun with it. It will evolve over time until I'm 100% happy with it. But I wanted to get something up and going so mom's page would look more complete. :-)