Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sriracha Crab Salad

A year or so ago, I was over at K2's house around lunch time and she offered me a bite to eat.  She's made a crab salad the day before, and as soon as I had a bite I knew that I should relieve her of it entirely...although her husband, E, allowed as how maybe I should put the fork down and step away from his intended lunch.

The salad had Sriracha in it, and that was my first experience of the hot sauce that has suddenly become ubiquitous.

I still have 9/10 of my original bottle - a  little goes a very long way!

Here's my own version of Sriracha Crab Salad, because you know I had to come home and play around with it a little...

The players (fair warning, this is a "some" recipe...nothing measured, just some of this, some of that):
Surimi, about half a pound
Crab legs - I prefer snow crab - about half a pound in shell
Onion - I like how purple onion adds color, plus I had some that wanted using
Cucumber, about half of one
Broccoli slaw.  I use pre-made because I am lazy.


I started with an empty bowl.  Like a blank canvas, it waits to become something more.  Let's not disappoint!

First I sliced the surimi on a sort of diagonal and dumped it unceremoniously in the bowl.

Next I cleaned the crab.  I like to clean my own, but the market has lots of pre-shelled choices.  One reason I like to shell my own?  I buy crab legs when they are on sale and freeze them for later use, and I am never certain whether I am going to steam them and eat them hot or use them in a salad or pasta.

So, cleaned and hopefully without any shell-y bits, in goes the crab.

Next, I chopped the onion fine.  I used two thin-to-medium-thick slices.  I like onion.

Now for the cucumber.  I slice it into quarters, slice off the seedy bit, and then cut it into the thinnest slices I have the patience for.  It works well if you confetti cut it, too, but I kind of like the texture and presentation of the thin strips.

Possibly the easiest of the ingredients to prepare is the broccoli slaw.  I had to open a bag.  I tossed in a large handful and then another smaller sprinkle.  If you don't like raw broccoli, I understand.  I don't, either.  Broccoli slaw, however, gives this a nice crunch and has none of the bitterness or pungency of raw broccoli florets, and so far I haven't gotten it stuck between my teeth (yes, that is important!).  It adds a little healthiness as well, and I need all the healthy I can get!

Finally, a generous dollop or three of mayonnaise and a swirl or two of Sriracha.  In the beginning, less is more.  Mix it all up really well and take a taste.  Adjust the mayo and Sriracha if you need to, a little at a time, until your mouth is happy. 

I plated it with Honeycrisp apple slices and Kalamata olives.

If you try this, please let me know if you made any changes and how you like it!

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Sprout adores doing puzzles.  Her brother received a couple of puzzles for Christmas and she wants to open them and put them together in the worst way!  I won't let her, which frustrates her, so in the spirit if keeping peace in the Casa, I took her to The Evil Empire yesterday to re-stock our Play-Doh population and possibly score a puzzle or two that are just beyond her age recommendation.

As an aside, have you ever been to The Evil Empire just after Christmas?  The employees looked shell-shocked and the toy department looked like it had been hit hard by a swarm of toy-eating locusts intent on consuming or destroying everything in their path.  They were out of Play-Doh.  Seriously.  I didn't think that was possible.

Luckily, we found a rack of puzzle packs - four per pack that were variations on a theme.  Me being me, I chose the set that was more educational than Disney Princess - numbers, colors, shapes, and the alphabet - because I just don't care to support the Princess archetype with my dollars and anything that helps with the home schooling is alright by me!

Another aside...we wandered a bit and in the crafts department found an alternate brand of our doughy plaything, ten colors for four bucks, not bad!  Yes, I intend to make our own dough one of these days, but there is something to be said for instant gratification and no kitchen clean up.

Of course, as soon as we came home we had to do the puzzles.  All four of them.  Sprout wanted me to sit on the floor with her and carefully put each piece in its place, and I obliged.  I explained about edges and corners and looking for which colors and shapes matched up, and she had fun handing me pieces and occasionally putting one in place.

This morning, as we snuggled and giggled in my big bed under the comfy blanket, she announced that she wanted to do puzzles.  Fine by me.  This time, she didn't want me to help.  Okie-dokie.  She dumped each one onto the floor and piece by piece began assembling them.  She held up a corner.  "This one has two edges so it's a corner.  Where does it go?" She looked at each corner and checked her piece for color and for which wavy edges matched where, and placed the piece where it belonged.  It took a minute and the occasional growl of frustration for her to sort out all 24 pieces, but she did it without my help.  I sat beside her on the floor, watching her as she concentrated very hard on the serious business of putting a puzzle together again and wondered at how quickly - overnight - she had caught on to puzzle solving.  It was...and is... a terrific and graphic example of how they process and apply information at blinding speeds.

Every day, something new.  Wonder what I'll teach her tomorrow...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Scarred for Life, I Tell Ya!

We don't really celebrate Christmas at casa de Crazy - we're more of a Yule/Solstice lot.  That said, we aren't above inviting friends and family to spend the day here, especially if they may not have anywhere else to go.  This year, T brought the Evil Genius over (T's mother passed through the veil a few days ago and he thought maybe they'd have a nicer time NOT in an empty house full of her ghosts, and I thought that was a fine idea), and our friend Mizz M came with her dog, Milo.

Milo is a Pitbull.

He has a history.

That history involves dog fighting.

Because, Pitbull.

Milo was a bait dog, and when he was first rescued he had...issues.  Mizz M has worked lovingly, diligently, to help Milo recover from his rather horrid past, to shed fear, distrust, and a host of other issues.

Milo has worked lovingly, diligently, to help Mizz M with some issues of her own.

Milo has never been to Casa de Crazy.  We have cats.  Pitbull.  Cats.

Ah, but Milo has cats...and not for breakfast!  He has kitty-people who live with him and his human, and other canines, too.  Our cats didn't give a fig what sort of felines associate with Milo...most of them opted to step up their anti-social game and stay burrowed under the covers of my bed all day, but Maya, the sociablest (is TOO a word, spell check, even if I only just now made it up!) of the lot, the hostess kitty, came out and made friends.  She even permitted a few Milo-kisses.

The kids were both delighted by our four-legged guest - they've met his human and approve of her, but the pup stole the show.

The Pitbull.

So dangerous...because he could easily snuggle you to death!  So vicious, all those licks and kisses!  Such a menace...with that frantically wagging tail!

I let him sit on my lap.  He followed me around trying to convince me that I needed to feed him some of whatever I was having.  His human gave him little tastes of this and that.  I might not have given him the deviled eggs, but since SHE'S the one who has to live with the resultant...er...results...I don't mind that he snarfed up one or two that she "dropped".  I even unbent from my rule...well, more like a guideline...of not feeding dogs and when he sat on command I gave him some colby-jack.

Milo is proof that no matter how ugly a being's past may be, they can be loving, trusting, forces for good.  He is proof that judging a breed by the stereotypes of a few who have bee MADE what they are by others is a mistake, and unfair.  He is also more typical than not of the Pitbulls I've known in my life - sweet, happy, loving, gentle, trusting, adoring of children and other critters, and willing to forgive the worst that's been thrown at him because it's in his nature to do so.

I know some humans who could take a lesson...

Some photos:

 Oh, noes, the Pibble has my Sprout !

 Oh, the humanity - won't anybody help save my beautiful daughter from this marauding canine???

 Seriously, she's going to lose her...umm...heart?

See how traumatized she is?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A New Declaration (Please Forgive Me, Thomas Jefferson, et al)

Given what has been happening all around the country, and the general disillusionment of the many people inhabiting every side of the political fences, and given the great social unrest that is swelling from grassroots dissatisfaction to a tsunami of anger, I took the liberty of making free with one of my most cherished historical documents.

Underlined bits are the changes I would make to make the document more current.  I do hope the founding fathers will forgive my brazen theft and re-working of their creation.

Feel free to tell me what you would add or change, were you writing a document meant to radically alter the course of a nation...because I'm one woman and not necessarily the best or brightest, nor the most politically astute, but I do think my heart's in the right place.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present Government of the United States is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
It has refused its Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
It has forbidden The People to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance to The People unless suspended in their operation till its Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, has utterly neglected to attend to them.
It has dissolved the rights of The People repeatedly, for opposing its invasions on their rights.
It has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing its Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
It has made Judges dependent on its Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
It has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
It has kept among us, in times of peace, militant law enforcement forces and Federal agencies given special permissions to disregard out natural and legal right without the Consent of our people.
It has affected to render certain law enforcement and federal agencies independent of and superior to the Civil power.
It has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution (see:  The UN), and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States (diplomatic immunity from any and all crimes):
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent (and enforcing with terrible vigor and no accountability via the IRS and bloated, incomprehensible tax laws):
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury (by threatening dire consequences if the accused refuses to plead guilty, and by denying accountability for abuses of the system)):
For taking away our due process, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring itself invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
It has abdicated Government here, by declaring itself out of our Laws and waging War against us.
It has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people, selling natural resources and public lands to foreign interests without the consent of The People.
It is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries  our servicemen to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
It has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, by fomenting violence, paranoia, distrust, and fear and engendering bigotry, class warfare, unfair taxation, unjust enforcement of laws, unjust protections under the laws,  and lack of accountability for those charged with the equal and just enforcement of those laws.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A government whose character is thus marked by every act which may define Tyrany, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by our legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our ancestors' emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the People of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these United States, solemnly publish and declare, That these United States are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the current Federal Government, and that all political connection between them and the current Federal Government, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Around 2:00 this morning, or perhaps a bit before, T's mother passed through the veil.  A tough old bird, she's been through two broken hips in the span of a month, was dealing with Alzheimer's and the effects of aging, and a septic infection.

Enough was enough.  She was in hospice, and the family knew it was only a matter of time, but knowing the IDEA of a thing and experiencing the REALITY are two very different fish.
Much love to T and his sister J.
I liked Diane.  She was something of a bird, flitting from this to that, petite, like a wren hopping about.  She could peck, but mostly was sweet to me, and she adored her grandson, my son.
The Evil Genius knows - I didn't wake him, but told him when he got up.  He was sad, but we've talked about her aging and ailments because I don't hide life from my children, and he knew that she likely wouldn't make it to the new year.  He said he thought she was better off, all things considered.
She's in good company, as another friend's grandmother passed as well.  I wonder if they'll meet on the way over...
Rest easy, Diane. The worst is done. May your journey to the other side be swift. May your destination be beautiful. May you be greeted with love and joy by those who went before you. May you leave behind sorrow and pain and remember only the love of those who live on. May you be welcomed with the warm embrace of your God. Safe journey.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Roll Tape

Isn't that the cutest little roll of tape?

I had three of them.

Operative word:  had.

Sprout found them.

Guess how much tape one of those wee rolls holds.

Go on, guess.  I'll wait.

No.  More.


Close, but more.

Yep, about two miles worth, if the way the clean-up felt is anything like accurate.

Oh, well...she had a lot of fun.

As an aside, umm...when the soon-to-be-four-year-old is that quiet, it may be wise to check on what she's up to before you get involved with a half-hour-long project.  Also?  Cats do not have a sense of humor when is comes to tape and their feet.  Just sayin'...

Friday, December 5, 2014


Forgive me if I have posted this before.  I am not feeling well...my heart is heavy, I cannot breathe clean or free, I cannot sleep, and I must smile and smile and show the world an untrue face because there is not room for my hurt.

Perhaps tomorrow...or tomorrow's tomorrow...it will be different.  In this moment, in this succession of moments, I play me false.