Bake Quest Ideas Needed for June

Well, I’ve finally decided to be proactive and put this out there early instead of waiting for the first of the month.  How organized am I?

With that said any suggestions would be appreciated.  We could do recipes for the bbq or cooking from a different region (Japanese, Italian, etc…). 

So….anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  I’ll give you the weekend to think about it.  😉

Texting For Seniors

I received this in an email and thought it was hillarious:

Seniors Texting Code

ATD: At The Doctors

BFF: Best Friend Fell

BTW: Bring the Wheelchair

BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth

FWIW: Forgot Where I Was

GGPB: Gotta Go Pacemaker Battery Low

GHA: Got Heartburn Again

IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On

LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out

OMMR: On My Massge Recliner

OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas

ROFLACGU: Rolling On Floor Laughing and Can’t Get Up

TTYL: Talk To You Louder

How To Wile Away A Friday Afternoon

On Friday afternoon I met hubby in downtown Phoenix.  He had the day off and I was lucky to be out of work early.

It was a great way to start off the weekend and it was also one of the last weekends where we’ll actually comfortably be able to sit outside as the ‘Big Heat’, as I call it, is right around the corner.

While I could’ve taken pics of the fountains and copper statues, there were so many other interesting things to get shots of.  I love how the clouds and the building across the way are reflected in the mirrored windows.

The architectural designs of the nearby buildings really caught my attention (must’ve been the wine).  I love the lines and how they look against the sky and also the open window in the stucco building.  It’s funny that I’ve been here many times and this particular visit I really noticed the lines and reflections of everything around us.  Not too shabby of a way to start a weekend if I do say so myself.  And I do say so!


A few weeks ago I had woken up early when hubby was getting ready for work.  As it was around the time I was still getting used to Monsoon being gone, the feelings were still pretty raw.  I fought the urge to cry and fell back to sleep before I too had to be up for work.

I started to dream that I lived in this ramshackle little house with my mother, sisters and grandmother who passed away in 1994.  This little house needed some serious updating but it felt so familiar, as if I had already lived there my whole life.  That is one thing with dreams; there sometimes is such an air of matter-of-factness that it almost makes you wonder if you really had been there before.  There was something very serene about this place but I know I had never been there.

My animals who had passed away were there too.  This included a dog of mine from childhood, Monsoon and one other ferret who passed in 2003.  Wherever we were we all seem to be safe.

My grandmother, the quintessential old lady (think Estelle Getty’s character, Sophia Petrillo, on The Golden Girls)  was going about her business of making beds and folding sheets.  She was dressed in her house coat with the deep pockets that in addition to hiding Kleenex and a pair of reading glasses, most likely contained a religious medal or two.  I had gone to the window of her bedroom and upon peering out noticed the sky had that ominous look right before a severe thunder-storm.  My grandmother was terrified of thunder and lightning in real life as her brother was killed in a freak accident long before I was born when lightning came through the keyhole of the house they were living in in Nova Scotia and struck the sofa he was sitting on.  My second cousin, then a child, was sitting on his lap and was unharmed.

I went to find my grandmother to tell her of the impending storm.  She just waved her hand at me and told me that it no longer scared her.  I remember feeling shocked by that because her fear had been so deep.  As a child we were made to sit in the hallway during a storm while she sprinkled holy water on all present.  I’m not quite sure she realized the whole water being a conductor of electricity thing but I’m sure she felt as if it gave her some control.

After her statement about not being afraid anymore, I ran back to the same window and saw that the clouds were dissipating and the sky was an unearthly beautiful shade of blue. 

While I believe our dreams are mostly our subconscious moving thoughts to the surface as most dreams I know I can trace back to something going on in my life, it does make me wonder at times if there isn’t something more to them than that.  I woke up not feeling so sad and I actually felt as serene as I did in the dream.  It set the tone for the rest of the day.

“The stars are souvenirs you never lose.  The past is never far.”

Monday? How did that happen so soon?

Saturday morning I was off running the usual errands and just happened to be at the grocery store when hubby called.  He wanted me to take his Mom out for lunch.  Apparently his sisters had come by the house the night before and had taken hubby’s Dad with them, claiming that they could take better care of him for a while than hubby’s Mom could.  His Dad’s health has rapidly been deteriorating the past couple of months.  He is diabetic as a result of a kidney transplant he had a few years back.  The anti-rejection medication also causes him to lose his memory.  Early last week he went into diabetic shock which earned him a night in the hospital for observation once they got his blood sugar levels back to normal. 

My Mother-in-law, who is of sound mind had no say in this matter of the removal of her husband and was understandably upset.  While I will save any further comment on this matter I will say that I felt very badly for her.  My own parents are younger but even still, I would never think of making decisions like the one my sister-in-laws made for them, but thats how we roll in my family.  Anyhow, I picked up my MIL and we drove downtown for lunch.  I had her choose between a Southwest or a Greek restaurant (she chose the Greek which really should have been a no-brainer).  I listened to her talk about her disappointments and also her fear of losing her husband.  Their 50th wedding anniversary will be next March.  She told me that she didn’t think that her husband would be around for it.

I thought this very sad and how here I am only married for 5 years and I can’t even fathom being married that long.  I remembered a few Christmas’s past when my MIL had to go to Mexico for her brother’s funeral.  My FIL wasn’t able to attend because the passport laws just went into effect and he hadn’t gotten his yet.  I remember him sitting solemnly at the table Christmas Day telling me how much he missed his sweetheart.  We should all be so lucky to know that kind of love in this lifetime. 

This was also a reminder to me to call her more often for lunch.  I dropped off a much more relaxed lady than I had picked up. 

Sunday morning I had arranged a breakfast for about 10 people at a local farm restaurant.  A girlfriend of mine was back visiting from Singapore where she is now living.  It was a blast catching up with her.  We reminisced about our girl’s weekends in Bisbee, AZ and everyone laughed over our adventures and misadventures as we recalled them.  She brought me a few interesting gifts back from Singapore.  Here they are:

 Pictured here is a Singapore beverage bag.  If you were to order, say, a Diet Coke at a take out place, it would be poured into this bag and you would be given a straw.  This bag is full of candy from Singapore.  I sampled a few and one tastes like a Kit-Kat bar but way better.  The other was a hard candy flavored like a fruit soda.  It even fizzed a bit.  Here is the most interesting item in the bag:

This is actually cuttlefish chewing gum.  Somehow I don’t imagine popping one of these babies before heading into a client meeting.  😉 

Next year I want to go to Singapore.  Its been a long time since I’ve had a real adventure.  The last time was almost 10 years ago when I sold pretty much everything I owned, said goodbye to my family and boyfriend, and drove to Arizona.  I’m due.

Finally, the weekend ended with a hike at North Mountain.  Here is a shot of the moon rising.

Have a good week, all.

May Bake Quest: Sesame-Miso Cucumber Salad

We tried this recipe over the weekend to have something to go with our steaks.  It was really delicious.  The sesame seeds give it a nice nutty flavor that pairs well with the mellow taste of the cucumber.  The came from Cooking Light Magazine – May 2011 issue.


1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

2 tbsp white miso (soybean paste) or lower sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp hot water

1 tsp crushed red pepper

2 tsp dark sesame oil

4 cups thinly sliced cucumbers

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add cucumbers.  Toss to coat.  Yield 6 – 3/4 cup servings.

We toasted the sesame seeds over medium heat in a skillet.  They turn light brown and smell a bit like popcorn when they are done.  We added about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to sharpen the taste.  The recipe also calls for the cucumbers to be de-seeded.  After slicing them I cut them in half but left the seeds. 

An Evening at The San Carlos Hotel, Circa 1928

 Last night was my husband’s niece’s art show which was held in the Ghost Lounge of The San Carlos Hotel.  In addition to giving me an excuse to get all gussied up (read that word on someone’s blog recently and needed to use it) and wear a shade of lipstick I don’t usually wear. 

This hotel was one of Phoenix’s finest and was built in 1928.  Stars like Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable stayed here, as well as Mae West.

There is something special about old buildings and I find myself drawn to them in hopes that the walls will reveal some unknown secrets.

Here are my niece and her husband standing in front of her artwork.  She is a very talented artist as you can see from the work behind her.  Several other artists were set up as well.  I got one shot of another artist’s work.  I didn’t take too many shots of the artwork because I wasn’t completely sure if the artists would be okay with that.  Regardless, I did get one…

There was so much talent there last night.  I stayed for the fashion show which featured designs by students at a local art school.  Models of all sizes were used to show off these beautiful head pieces made of feathers, tulle and even a page from a comic book.  What struck me so profoundly was that there was so much passion displayed in everything shown.  All of these students couldn’t be any older than 25, my niece included.  I felt the opposite of that cranky old lady that shakes her fist in the air yelling, “kids today!”

 Bravo to all of them!

The art ranged of course from clothing, to pictures one might hang in their livingroom, to more obscure things like the girl who used her oil paint dipped breasts to create a painting.  There was also a photo of a blood spattered bathroom which I couldn’t picture hanging up in the Girl Cave but, hey, art is what it is to all people. 

After finishing up a cold and fruity concoction from The Ghost Lounge, I decided to take the elevator up to check out a few of the floors.  This clock hung in the lobby above the elevators.  I just loved it’s charm.

On the third floor I came across the room that Marilyn Monroe used to stay in.  Apparently she liked to be near the pool so that she wouldn’t be spotted as she made her way out to sunbathe.  Here is her room:

The hotel itself is like a museum.  I wandered around the floors looking at the old sepia pictures of Phoenix back in the late 1800s and 1930s.  It was neat to see a horse-drawn trolley filled with people going down what was once a dirt road, the same road I traveled on to get to the hotel.

I made my way down to the second floor and started to hear Big Band music.  How apropos, I thought.  Nice touch.  It seem to fade in and out which I’m sure had to do with the old electrical system in the building.    Mae West apparently stayed in the suite on the second floor.  I wish I could have gone into these rooms and inspected.  How neat would that have been?  I can just picture Mae at the door in a flowing robe. “Hello boys.”

 As it was getting late, I caught one more fashion show and then decided to hit the road.  I had to make change at the front desk for the valet and I mentioned to the lady working there that I thought it was really a nice touch that they had the old-fashioned music piped in the hallways.  She looked at me oddly for a moment and told me that they didn’t have any music piped in.  I told her that I heard the Big Band music.  She responded that she wouldn’t go anywhere in the hotel but the first floor because the other floors terrified her.  The hotel has a reputation as being very haunted, hence The Ghost Lounge.  So. . . ?  What did I hear?  It is a functioning hotel still so it could easily have come from the tv in one of the guest rooms but it has me wondering.

Click on the link of the San Carlos Hotel for more history.

Creature Comforts

 Yesterday while leaving work, I spotted these two canoodling by the man-made pond outside my building.  I had to move slowly to get the shot and was feeling a little like the ducky paparazzi.  Luckily I didn’t disturb them.

There is a turtle that likes to hang out in the larger side of the pond.  A few evenings I have spotted him hanging out by the surface.  He has remained camera-shy as each time I try to get a pic of him, he ducks down and swims away.

What is the equivalent of placing a tom boy in a dress?  That would be Abby getting an actual bath.  She is not happy unless she is dirty.  Hubby bathed her and brushed her to get out all her loose fur because she can shed like nobody’s business!  We could probably construct another dog from all the hair she loses. 

Bath time is usually followed up by 12 hours of sulking to make sure we notice her disdain.  She absolutely loves to be dirty!  We have red decomposed granite in the back yard which turns her fur pink.  While hiking someone will usually ask me if it is natural for her to be ‘peach’ colored, or if I did that on purpose like she was some punk rocker’s dog.  I usually have to explain why she looks that way.  Her fur is a gorgeous white but we don’t see it very often.  All the ‘Oh, how pretty you look’ comments don’t seem to matter.  She is not happy unless she is dirty.

 Here is Smokey trying out her new dryer hose.  Dryer hoses are lots of fun when you are a ferret!  They make a really cool sound when one is running through it.  Just ask Smokey.  Here she is adjusting to her new digs.  Her face is a bit of a blur.  She doesn’t sit still much. 

Yesterday she and I were in the middle of a game of chase when Abby decided to join in.  Abby of course had to be the leader of the pack and ran ahead.  I was in the middle offering up encouragement to all playing, and the Smokester was heading up the back chattering away the entire time.  Abby at one point decided to stop quick which pretty much sent me sailing over her.  Luckily I didn’t get hurt.  Smokey caught up to me and instead of pouncing on me she just stood in front of me looking up at my face as if to say ‘I know I’m supposed to do something here.  I’m just not quite sure what!’  Then the chase began all over again. 

Just a typical night in the Monsoon residence.