Happy New Year from my home to yours !!

Happy New Year from my home(s) to yours!!

A co-worker took a picture on Dec. 8th (with his cell phone) and uploaded it to me. On the left, this is the way I look almost all the time: No makeup, no curl in my hair, not-so-fancy clothes. (I’m wearing a blue denim jumper with a pink pull-over.)  However, on the right, all dressed up for a Marty Goetz concert.  (Marty and I were both members of First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood in 1979.)  ~~~~~~~  From my laptop computer, in my apartment, I send sincere, very best wishes for a healthy, happy 2012.

Year in review

It was very sobering to watch the year in review on the NBC-TV Today program this morning.  To see all those negative images compressed into a short segment is very depressing!!  In contrast, I have been blessed this year with comfortable housing, meaningful work and pleasant co-workers.  To God be the glory!!

New Year’s Traditional Southern Meal

“If you are planning to celebrate the New Year in the Southeast, it is most likely that you will be offered black-eyed peas in some form, either just after midnight or on New Year’s Day. From grand gala gourmet dinners to small casual gatherings with friends and family, these flavorful legumes are traditionally, according to Southern folklore, the first food to be eaten on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead.  ~~  (For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.)”   ~~  Click here to read the entire article. ~~ Just for fun, I am going to prepare these three items (no pork).  Just for fun!!  I don’t subscribe to items like rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, and “good luck” omens.  ~~  (I’ve jumped on the “fix it from scratch” bandwagon and prepared a big kettle of thick vegetable soup and put small servings in the freezer.  Also a big kettle of kidney beans [in small servings, in the freezer] to be served with brown rice [cooked from “scratch”].)

While the black-eye peas are soaking, I searched my many vegetarian cook books for a unique recipe. In Country Beans (1998) by Rita Bingham, I found the following… and will adapt it to my ingredients (most of which I already have in my kitchen).  Looks good to me!!
20 cup boiling water
2 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced or shredded carrots
2 quart diced or shredded potatoes
2 cup chopped onions
1 cup soaked black-eyes
1 tablespoon dried parsley
5 tablespoon chicken or vegetable soup base {Lorraine uses Vegetarian Better Than Bouillon)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional)
Bring all ingredients to a boil…. Makes seven quarts.

Postscript, 12/31/11, 2:00 PM: This soup is so extremely delicious!! I modified around the ingredients that I had and this is my recipe:
After soaking a 1 pound package of black-eye peas, I had 6 cups.
I put 2 cups soaked black-eye peas aside to cook separately on Jan. 1st.
4 cups soaked black-eye peas
2 onions equal 2 cups
5 carrots equal 2 cups
5 ribs celery equal 2 cups
4 potatoes equal 2 cups
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Vegetarian Better Than Bouillon
First, I brought the black-eye peas to a boil in adequate amount of filtered water. Later I added more filtered, boiling water as needed. I was scrubbing, chopping, and adding in this order: Onions, carrots, celery, potatoes. I wish I could send the delicious smell with this message!! In total, I think it is less than two hours preparation and cooking time. It tastes divine!!  ~~  I have a very large kettle full… and will put into single-serving containers and freeze for later enjoyment!!

Life in the slow lane !!







Retirement isn’t half bad.  Two weeks “vacation” from my volunteer job is very nice!!  Some days I do physical things–like “downsizing”–and some days I play around all day on my laptop computer.  Almost all day (!!), I have been exploring the various themes available for my new blog.  I wasn’t terribly happy with the first theme and wanted to see options.  What do you think??  (Confession: I didn’t get out of my pajamas until noon and the bed is still not made at 4 o’clock.)

I often spend hours watching the squirrels and the birds. Yesterday, one fine furry friend climbed the brick wall and crawled into a sunflower seeds bird feeder (hanging from the eave). I think the squirrels should be content with all the food I put out for them–especially the new, expensive, whole peanuts!! The bird feeders are off-limits!!

Sixty Hours

We’re all familiar with the CBS TV program “Forty-eight Hours.”  I’ve just experienced forty-eight hours plus twelve!!  Nothing dramatic (but I never want to walk this path again)!! ~~ I prepared this blog ahead to time and scheduled it for publication at 10:00 AM–when I’ll be in the dental office.  ~~  Confession: If I’d had chocolates in the apartment, I would have indulged… to salve my pain!!  I settled for air popped corn.


Postscript, 12/28/11, 1 o’clock:  I’m such a contradiction!!  I spent almost $60 for 25 pounds of peanuts for the squirrels BUT won’t spend $1,000 for a crown on my broken tooth.  The dentist patched the tooth and it cost $283.  ~~  I’m so “out of touch” with the cost of things!!  Several days ago, $1.99 for a head of cabbage; today, a grand for a crown!!  My conscience doesn’t bother me when I spend unlimited money on the squirrels and birds!!  BUT, I can’t reconcile spending $1,000 on something in the back of my mouth!!

I’ll not be defeated !!

There is a Christian song that says: “I’ll not be defeated.”   After an awesome, wonderful Christmas Day, unexpectedly (last night) I broke a molar.  I couldn’t help thinking “Satan wants to spoil my day!!”  ~~  I’ve made an appointment with a dentist in Waxhaw but it is still two days until the resolve of my small problem.  There’s a scripture that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  So, I’ll handle the pain.  ~~  Today, I am building (from scratch) a delicious soup with potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic (in a rich broth).  While shopping (on Saturday), I wanted a head of cabbage, too, but could not reconcile paying $1.99.  (Yipes!!  $1.99!!)

Joy to the world !!

I’ve enjoyed an exceptionally wonderful Christmas!!  A neighbor-lady and I left our apartment complex at 8:30 AM en route to the home of JAARS acquaintances.  From their residence, seven of us traveled to Calvary Church in Charlotte.  I’ve never been there: I’ve never seen it in person or in a picture.  It was spectacular to drive up a little hill into the parking lot and suddenly see that huge structure!!  We were early because both my host and hostess were singing in the choir.  We heard a powerful Biblical message that bore out that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Back to the home of friends where we busied ourselves with dinner preparations.  Also, the reading of a poem The Night After Christmas (written by a friend of Julie’s), and some other Christmas entertainment.  Dinner was superbly delicious!!  It was with reluctance that Linda and I returned to our empty apartments.

The Night After Christmas


Well, the children were sleeping, my wife was in bed;
But despite my exhaustion, I stayed up instead.
I wanted to ponder the Christmas tradition,
And why I succumbed to society’s rendition:
To shop and buy presents because it’s expected—
A merchants’ conspiracy, I always suspected.
(But if I speak out against it, I’ll be criticized.
And if I don’t participate, I’ll be ostracized.
So I cave to the culture and take the wrong tack—
But if it’s not the right gift, they take it right back.)
What craziness, I mused, my thoughts left unfinished . . .
The beauty of Christmas to me was diminished.

by Jim Chapman

Scared my friends away !!

I scared my fine feathered and fine furry friends away with my noisy vacuum cleaner. The squirrels just returned to their banquet table as I write this (3:33 PM). ~~ Yes, that is a new “red” bird feeder. I purchased it yesterday at Walmart. All my “decorating” leans toward things that are red. (Have you noticed??) ~~ It is a beautiful, sunny, warm day; 62 degrees outside and 72 degrees inside. I have both front and back doors open.  (Postscript, 6:10 PM: Weatherman on local evening news said sixty-four degrees high today.)