Saturday, January 29, 2022

Peach Cobbler Muffins



  • Mix together dry ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon more
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • In a separate bowl, beat together:
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup salted butter melted and cooled
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons peach juice from the can of peaches

  • Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients

  • Then add:
  • 1 cup peaches in juice, chopped or semi pureed

       Fill normal size  Pam-ed muffin tins or papers til about 3/4 full.

       Bake 425 degrees for 6 minutes.  Then, lower temperature to 350                   degrees & bake for 15-18 minutes more. Let set in pay for 5 minutes &         then remove to baking wire sheet to cool.  
        
       The recipe from Pinterest calls for struesel to be added right before                  baking.  I'm including it even though I didn't do it.  I just added a peach           slice on top of the dough. I think it adds unnecessary sweetness & these         are muffins, not cupcakes.   I like the subtle sweetness.  But lots of
       love struesel!

      Struesel:
      
  • ¼ cup salted butter cold and cut into cubes
  •  cup all-purpose flour
  •  cup granulated sugar

       Mix all together & crumble on top of muffins before baking.  

       Don't overmix...it makes them a little dense.  I used a whilsk & it took             longer to mix.  Next time, spoon or spatula. 

       They should last 2-3 days on cabinet, but will freeze for a month or so.         This was my first time making...will definitely do again.

       The original recipe was on Pinterest on a site called                                             spacesandlaserbeams.com.    I obviously did a couple of changes. 

        
    

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Better Off Dead Lee/Andrew Child Book Review


 

Ok, where to start.

Jack Reacher is a character created by a writer named Lee Child, whose real name is James Grant.   He wrote 23 books.  I didn't count them, I just Googled.  

I've written before about Reacher although I've changed blogs so I'm not sure if it's here.  Reacher is basically a homeless ex-military policeman who travels place to place in the US getting into trouble, much of it of his own making.  He has a sense of justice, I guess but not much conscience.  I think he normally sets out to right wrongs but sometimes the line is a little fuzzy.

Reacher is described as mid 30s (hasn't aged in 25 books...wait for it), 6'4", 250.  He's obsessed with guns & jazz music & the fact that he has no home, just an expired passport for ID, no cell phone, no ties to anyone. We introduced to his mom in one book but she immediately died & his brother Joe was around for a couple I think.  But that's it.  And his books end up with a lot of bodies.  He has no compunction about killing people he thinks should die & really likes beating up 4 people at a time & describing it blow by blow.  His obsession with guns tends to get a little boring with the mansplaining about gun barrels & velocity & crap.  I tent to tune out. 

So two books ago, Lee/James decided to retire & hand his character Reacher over to his younger brother Andrew Grant who goes by Andrew Child for these books. Lee's name is still in the big letters & I'm sure there is an outline between them with Andrew doing the actual writing.  And frankly, it was time.  Reacher was getting a little stale.  And Lee, a Brit, was pretty good with Americanisms but still had people ordering marmalade & saying things like "I met a girl called June".  And he was averaging about 12 bodies per book with no explanation what happened after he caught the Greyhound out of town.  And worst of all, he'd taken a lean towards anti-military & snowflakeness that I didn't like.  As an ex-military, I don't expect him to go down the street waiving a flag but I also don't agree with Reacher being ok with anti-war protesters protecting AWOL soldiers (See Hope & Despair).  It was just a turnaround of the character that was a reflection of the politics of today.  

I'd read the first Andrew book & found it a little ...sleepy while there were still bodies everywhere.  The story had Lee written all over it though it had Andrew too.  After reading it in 2020 I thought maybe I was done with the author.  But the new book came out in October & I had it on my Ebook waiting list & it came open this week so I read it.  And I'm not sure...

The story is set in Arizona where Reacher comes across a woman being followed by bad guys.  She's kinda badass & holds her own for awile.  She's looking for her brother who builds bombs.  She's eventually kidnapped by the bad guys & Reacher sets out to save her.  The story is pretty convoluted.  The focus changes from guns to chemical weapons that now have to be mansplained & I zoned out on them too.  Reacher still has no sense of humor, which I guess is to be expected if you're discussing chemical weapons.  I don't expect character development but there are a couple of women that trust him with all their secrets & I'm not sure why.  I guess I'd have to be there.  And there still pages & pages of fight scenes & beating up 4 people at a time & dead bodies that no one explains.  The book was shorter than normal which is a good thing because Lee could be a little wordy.  I don't think I hated it but it was better than the last book.  They publish once a year so I'll probably read the next one next year.  Makes me glad I have free Ebook though.  I sure wouldn't buy them.

Just a funny aside, the woman he first meets has a prosthetic leg, the result of an explosion.  Not funny itself of course but the last few books I've read by Robert Galbraith have the hero Cormoran Strike, a man with a prosthetic leg that is another character in the books.  I wrote about it more in a previous post on the book 'Lethal White'.    Just a strange coincidence.  Everyone has to be represented I guess.

I looked at the last published of the Robert Galbraith books today as the possible next book but the reviews are horrible.  Complaints mostly about the rambling & the length of the book which shows on ebook to be tottering around 1100 pages.  Even my friend Linda who is reading it now says it's "the wordiest book I've ever read".  And she had another 300 pages to go.  And Amazon reviews pretty much say it travels too far off the main story "whatever it's supposed to be".  So I think I'm going to skip that book altogether.   I have a new murder mystery on deck but decided I needed something lighter so I found a book called 'I Hate,I Bake And I Don't Date, a promised romancey thing that does not have any dead bodies & where I'm assuming everyone has both legs. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Missing Mom today...

My favorite picture of mom

 

I'm not sure why my mom is all over my mind today.  It's not her birthday or the anniversary of her death but for some reason I'm missing her terribly.  Odd & random things keep popping into my mind:

My mom was 15 years younger than my dad.  I always knew that it would be up to me to take care of one or both of them when they were old.  I figured I'd move at least one of them into my house when they didn't need to be alone anymore.  Because of the age difference I truly always figured it would be mom.  But it was daddy.  Mom passed away in 2003, daddy in 2009.  I was blessed to have daddy in my home from 2007 til 2 weeks before he left this world.  I miss them both horribly.  

This post is a mom thing because I can't stop thinking about her today.

On Monday I bought 2 donuts at the grocery store.  My mom loved donuts & she loved the grocery store.  I have one of the donuts on the cabinet today & was wishing she could enjoy it. 

In May, 1997, Memorial Day weekend, mom & drove from Spur to Flower Mound to spend the weekend with her brother.  I remember her saying it was the first time she'd ever spent the night in any of siblings' homes.  My aunt & uncle had a beautiful home with a guest suite with a bedroom & bathroom.  It was mostly very comfortable but mom didn't sleep well in a strange place & I remember her getting up at 5am everyday (not really unusual...she was an early bird).  She just wasn't comfortable.  I was upstairs in the grandkids room.  I remember as we left my uncle had us follow him out of the subdivision & point us in the right direction.  We put gas in the car & stopped at Boston Market to get lunch to eat on the road.  I remember we had taken the back roads & pulled on the side of the road at a pullout that had a wooden table & a garbage can only & we ate our Boston Market lunch.   It was so simple & so perfect.  

For the record I remember the time because she & daddy left the next morning for Flagstaff where my sister Cathy was dying of cancer.  She died 5 days later.

For clarification, we live in Texas & Cathy lived in Arizona. We knew her cancer was back but she went to great lengths to hide how bad it was.  She had turned away from chemo & other traditional treatments toward some alternative treatments.  Chemo hadn't worked last time.  I don't blame her for trying something else but I also wonder if it sped things up.  I'll never know.  The last time I'd talked to her was the Sunday morning before Memorial day weekend.  I knew she was weak & she was coughing alot.  But the last thing she told me was that she thought she'd come to Texas to let mom take care of her & I told her I thought that was a good idea.  By the time mom & daddy headed to Arizona the Tuesday after Memorial day she was completely uncommunicative.  Things happened mean & they happened fast.  I add this because I don't want anyone to thing we ignored the situation. 

One of the things mom liked was going with us to gamble.  We went to Vegas at least once & to Laughlin a couple of times.  The first I remember Cathy had a free room & had come with her friend Barbara, her 2 daughters & one son in law.  Then there was mom & me.  Cathy's plan was for all of us to stay in room.  With one bathroom.  Um, no.  Not happening.  I remember forking over an extra $10 for a room for mom & me.  I know how absurd that sounds but I didn't know the price.  I'd have paid $100.  I was and was not suprised at the same time that Cathy hadn't just got another room.   And I remember Cathy & I were playing blackjack while mom was nearby playing a quarter slot machine.  All of a sudden, she was standing beside us.  We wondered what was wrong.  Nothing--she'd won 2500 quarters.  I never saw her that excited, before or after.  Every time we passed it she'd point at the slot machine and say "That's MY machine!!"  Another magic moment.

My mom had to quit school at 16 when her mom died.  She took care of her dad & little brothers, even after she married my dad at 17 & had 2 babies of her own by age 19. She was a homemaker who had a couple of jobs in her life but mostly did not work outside the home. We lost my sister Jo in 1970 & mom & daddy raised her son.  After I'd gone to college, she took a job at a sewing factory in town for money of her own.  And later she got her dream job.  It'll sound small but to her it was the world.  She worked in an office everyday from 9-3 & handed out used clothing & helped people fill out government forms.  And on Tuesdays she drove a van to Lubbock & took Spur people to appointments.  She loved every minute of it.  After a couple of years, she had a light stroke & couldn't drive anymore so she had to resign.  She later had some light dementia issues but losing the job was the final straw.  I truly believe that losing Cathy bent her, losing the job broke her.  She never really recovered & her health declined.  She died February 3, 2003.

It's pretty eerie sometimes.  Sometimes as I sleep I think I feel her arms around me & telling me it will be alright.  And I always believe her.

😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Lethal White--Book Review Robert Galbraith



This is book 4 of the Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith.  Strike is a London PI who ends up with big & pretty interesting characters.  Since book one, he has an assistant turned partner, Robin & a finally a couple of other part time employees & is actually making a little money. He still lives in a hovel above his hovel office but he's not there much so we don't worry too much about him.  The other co-star of the book is his war injured, prosthetic leg, which every time he refers to it, & it's every other page, uses both words.  Like when his leg hurts, we 4 book by now readers, don't know it's a PROSTHETIC LEG.  

Our story starts one way with a mentally ill man coming in to talk about a murder he saw as a child & then turns into a fairly interesting story of blackmail, class conflicts, politics & eventually murder.  It ends up with a messy, unsatisfying ending that makes little sense but at 767 pages, someone decided it had to end.  I can't guarantee it but I'm not sure there was a plan for an ending. It might still be going if someone had not pulled the plug. 

The story is so named because a Lethal White is a rare, beautiful white horse born with a compromised digestive system that kills it before it can thrive.  The rich people in the book are all horsey people.

Of course, 200 pages could have possibly been eliminated if the word prosthetic has been eliminated.  

As I've pointed out before, the author Robert Galbraith is actually JK Rowling.  And as Harry Potter went on, her books got longer & longer.  I have not downloaded the 5th book yet but I'm scared of the length.  If she did not have more money than the Queen, I'd thinks she was getting paid by the word.  She does, however need a good editor.  But she has a 6th book on the way & I'll for sure finish with the series.  She's a good writer, even if she is longwinded.

I signed up last week for Kindle Unlimited trial which is an Amazon product that for $10 a month I can read unlimited books.  No waiting.  But it's not unlimited because they have a fairly limited library.  Almost anything I've looked for is "not available in this format" although I could buy a Kindle book, which of course defeats the purpose.  I have the trial for 2 months but I don't see me renewing.  I went looking for a light read because my past few books have been murder mysteries.  I wanted a sweet, romancy book where people stay alive through the entire book.  I went back & found a book I enjoyed & the author has written several but they are "not available in this format".  I've been e-booking but there is a waiting list at the e-libarary so I may have to go to the actual libary & get an actual book. The library is just down the street...so easy peasy.  I do know I'm to cheap to buy books anymore, mostly.  It has to be special to purchase it.

I did Kindle download another in a murder mystery series (which is why I got the trial...the waiting list on library e-site was 20 weeks) but I'll probably not start it til tomorrow.  

I love reading.

Monday, January 17, 2022

New Computer



My old laptop, which is only about 4 years old, is in the process of dying.  It's been slow for awhile.  Every time I close the lid it goes to sleep & I have to restart it to get it going again.  Then it started getting weird where I had to push enter several times before it would do anything.  Then the sound was going.  And yesterday I got a black screen with strange computer writing & it took awhile to restart.  And today at 230 pm the computer said it was 1207pm.  So being the bright girl that I am, I figured there was a problem.  

I have a monitoring service that an old employer had provided because her son owned a computer repair & monitoring company.  I actually didn't realize I still had it.  I could take the laptop to the son but it would cost me & we've had it repaired before.  Basically, I think the computer was a little bit of a lemon.

So I decided to look around today to see about a new computer.  I decided on a Chromebook, which I'm working on right now.  It's smaller than my old computer which wasn't very big.  There are a couple of things that are different that I'm having to get used to.  Basically, from all I've read, the new computer doesn't have a lot of memory but that's ok because I can't really add anything to it.  Everything is saved on the Google cloud.  I don't like depending on a company for my stuff but the truth is my pictures are on their cloud already.  And I use Google drive for what few files I have.  I still have some old real estate files & my checkbook but they were already on the drive.   Nothing is really going to change except this computer is already a lot faster.  And there is no off button so it may be that it's just on all the time.  Guess I'll find out in the morning.  There are oddly very few choices on the computer & I don't hate that.  The only thing that I don't like is that the font was really small & it appears on every page/app I'm going to need to change it to a larger font.  I changed Twitter & every time I've gone back in since it's still there.  I wish there was a way to just make things bigger.   But I'll eventually get it all done because there aren't so many.

Happy so far.  Excited to see how things work.

Oh, and I got it at Costco for $120 off plus they add another year to the one year warranty.  I do love a good deal. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday Night


 

I was thinking earlier as I cleaned up my kitchen about Sunday nights back when I was working.  I officially & finally retired in 2015.  I've done a couple of things but certainly no 8-5, M-F since.  Or ever again.  

First thing I remember is a long bath & jammies pretty early.  There was usually something good to watch on TV then.  Now, not so much.  I'm a Chiefs fan & for some reason they get stuck on Sunday nights more than anyone (or seems to me anyway. 😀) so now I watch a lot of football.  

But I also make sure my kitchen is cleaned, dishwasher loaded, hand washies done & cabinets washed down.  Not that it ever gets too bad but I've been known to leave glasses in the sink a couple of days.  

And I still, for some odd reason, I try to focus on getting to bed early even though there is normally no alarm the next morning.  And that's good because I oddly even now don't sleep well on Sunday nights.  Sometimes I've had caffeine.  Or I slept late, like this morning.  But mostly my mind still goes to sleeping through the alarm & being late or missing a test.  Even now, most of the time I can't settle my mind.  Sleep is at a premium anyway but Sunday nights are the worst.  

So here I am again.  Watching the Chiefs for another 45 minutes or so.  Reading a little.  Then a long night of different life panic that I won't get up on time.  

Thursday, January 13, 2022

2022 Book Page



1.  Career of Evil               Robert Galbraith

2.  A Fatal Grace                Louise Penny       

3.  Lethal White                 Robert Galbraith     

4.  Better Off Dead            Lee & Andrew Child 

5.  A Test of Wills              Charles Todd

6.  Sorrow & Bliss             Meg Mason

7.  American Prince           Tony Curtis

8.  Wings of Fire                Charles Todd

9.  Untied                           Meredith Baxter

10. Knight Rise                 D L Hammons

11. Choices A Long Time Coming

              Ulysses Long & Chris Warner

12. Search The Dark        Charles Todd

13. Badlands                    Gary Kruse

14. This Time Tomorrow Emma Staub

15. All The Fall                Kris Calvin

16. Black Cake                 Charmaine Wilkerson

17. Legacy of the Dead    Charles Todd

18. Watchers of Time       Charles Todd

19. Fallen Knight             DL Hammons


Saturday, January 1, 2022

It's another new year...Happy 2022!!

There was a time I'd say I like even years more than odd years even though on my birthday I go from even to odd.  I had great hopes for 2020, not only an even number but a symetrical but to quote the song from 'Les Miserables' "God almighty, have you see what's happened since?".   But, at least at beginning of a new year, we all need a little hope for better things.   So here we are...the first day of 2022.



So here I am...safe & sound, in my warm house.   Thankful the mouse is gone (see previous post), thankful I have my own home.  We had rain yesterday & during the night & today we had snow!!  For the record, it was 78 degrees earlier in the week so it's our first smidge of winter.  And I like winter, even more now that I'm retired & don't have to go anywhere I don't want to go.  I should add that to my becoming my parents post.  

I guess I should have resolutions & goals for the new year although I'm not sure they work.  After the last 2 years, I'm just surprised when anything works.  The pandemic is just as widespread although maybe a little less severe.  But that doesn't stop the government rhetoric about it. The mean crap about vaccinations & quarentines continues. All we can do is wish for better.  So that's what I have ...wishes.