Sunday, December 30, 2018

the last days of 2018

You might remember the last time I renewed my driver's license, I couldn't pass the eye test so I had to go get prescription glasses for the first time in my life which I subsequently lost several years later in the Harvey flood. I bought a pair of readers for $5 which I managed to hang on to until maybe a couple of months ago when they went missing, out in the yard somewhere I'm sure. No problem, I had an old pair I had kept from before the eye test but it also went missing a week ago and also probably lost out in the yard somewhere, buried under the mountain of leaves I raked up. Well, phoo. OK, one more extra pair that I don't like because they have metal frames with the separate nose thingies that get tangled up in my hair on top of my head when not in use so off to the CVS to get new ones. They ranged in price...$12, $20, and $30. I was used to paying $10 for good quality frames and lenses. I won't buy the really cheap ones at the Dollar Store because the frames are flimsy and the lenses are crappy. OK, so $12, I got them home, slipped off the tag, only to discover that they were Dollar Store quality. For $12. They went back the next day and I went to the Store of Last Resort (that would be Walmart) unless I want to drive to the next town or further to the nearest shopping mecca. Usually I'll wait till I have enough errands accumulated to make it worth the trip to the shopping mecca but I find myself slipping more and more rationalizing that it's just this one item. This particular item was good quality glasses for $10 that came with a shiny purple case to slip them in. Damn you Walmart.

very spiffy, doncha think?

I've made no effort to replace my prescription glasses as I couldn't see any difference with or without them while driving and I figure if I get stopped, as long as I have some glasses on, they aren't going to question me.

It's been a dreary few days, cold and overcast. Nothing blooming out in the yard except for the roses, spare and halfhearted, and the pansies. I keep thinking these days would be good to play with the modeling glass but Friday I went over to my sister's to visit with my niece who is visiting her mother for a few days. And yesterday I decided to make a Charlotte Russe.

somehow I don't think mine is going to look nearly this good

Charlotte Russe was a favorite childhood dessert of mine, and rare as my mother rarely made it, though she did make me one for one of my adult birthdays one year. I've never made a Charlotte Russe but when we were in Trader Joe's I saw lady fingers and bought them on impulse and yesterday I decided to make good on that impulse  

I think I was writing this down as my mother was dictating it to me over the phone...decades ago

so I dragged out the recipe, soaked the gelatin, melted the chocolate, stirred in the boiling water, added the sugar and half the evaporated milk, stirred in the gelatin, and then happened to look at the empty can of sweetened condensed milk sitting on the counter. Well, fuck. A quick check on the internet assured me one could not be substituted for the other in cooking. I was tempted to just keep going and see what I ended up with but the other half of the evaporated milk needed to be whipped and folded in and condensed milk doesn't whip, so saith my sister whom I had already called once before about what the directions meant by 'paste' but considering she's never made one either there was no satisfactory conclusion, which turned out to be neither here nor there as I ended up dumping it out in the field with the intent to try again today. With all the correct ingredients.

The robo-vac arrived Friday and it's been busily humming all around the house. 

the Mooka mooking around

It's like Christmas every time we recharge it and empty the 'bin'. It had only been four days since I had vacuumed and the floors didn't look like they needed it so we are amazed at how much dust and dirt and pet hair and stuff it has sucked up. I'll still need to get out the big vac now and then as the robo-vac can't get in some corners or under some furniture or in areas where there are too many furniture legs too close together and I have to pick up the small oriental rugs because, while it will travel over them, the fringes get tangled up in it but...I LOVE this thing.

Well, tomorrow is New Year's Eve and maybe I'll play with the modeling glass then or I might make a coffee cake that was a staple in our house growing up that I haven't made in decades (I've gotten so old everything is decades ago) (if I can excavate that recipe) to go with our brunch and mimosas on New Year's Day.

We'll see. First I have to venture out to the grocery store.


  1. I believe I bought the first Roomba off the line. It worked in parabolas, and got under all the furniture. It had two hitches. It couldn't get back up the quarter inch rise from the living room and kitchen. When enough Cairn terrier hair was tangled in the brushes, it stopped dead. Their customer service had no solution to clearing dog hair. Eventually I gave it to Pat (of Pat and Ann renown), a lost wax engineer who knows everything else, too, to decipher its problem. I'm sure my several hundred dollar investment remains near the bottom of his "to do" pile", but that's more attention than Roomba paid to me.
    Sunshine is so thick here you might mistake it for Charlotte Rousse. Happy new year, in new glasses.

    1. the Mooka came with a nifty little thing with brushes on one end for cleaning out the bin and prongs on the other for combing the brushes (and two extra brushes) with a little bit of razor exposed for cutting string or other things that may get entangled. all for $129.

  2. I REALLY want some sort of robo vacuum, but we're pretty sure it wouldn't work very well in our mostly carpet filled house. At least we're too unsure to invest in one - although at this point I might be willing to try.

    I got my purple glasses because I was tired of having to remember to wear glasses. They're clear up top & progress to computer, then book distance. HOWEVER, I am about tired of wearing glasses. I end up laying them down somewhere & it's going to be a very sad day when I walk off & leave them.

    1. there are models that will do carpet (mine will do on low pile carpet), but I guess it depends on the type of carpet, probably wouldn't work on shag.

  3. I've never had Charlotte Russe, and to be honest I wouldn't have a clue how to make it. But when I was growing up, we all knew about it. It seemed mysterious and elegant -- not something that ever would appear on our table. I'm off to find a recipe to see what it actually is.

  4. That Charlotte rousse is the height of elegance. And I think often of getting a robo vacuum. The idea of it fascinates. Happy new year when it arrives! I’m glad we became blog buds in 2018.

  5. Do you have any friends with a metal detector? Seems like doing a sweep of your yard might be worth it. I'd do it if I were there -- I don't use my detector nearly enough.

    1. plastic frames with only a tiny bit of metal at the hinge but I suppose that would do. You'd probably be more likely to find nails.

  6. Ellen I am impressed with your culinary skills. You stopped me cold at I assume gelatin leaves. I don't even like recipes with whipped egg whites and folding. Do tell us how it turned out. It sounds good but I think I'd like coffee cake even better. Hope your new year is great and good and happy! Donna@gather


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