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.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Guac's Up

I've been feeling kind of low, lately.  When I'm feeling low, I sometimes don't want to clean (Oh, who am I kidding?  I never want to clean!) or cook or do anything.

Still, a body has to eat.  Since the Evil Genius is off with his father for the holidays, dinner's are a bit scattershot around Casa de Crazy.  Sprout doesn't usually want to eat whatever I'm having, so it's sandwiches or quesadillas, machos or hot dogs, and usually some kind of fruit.

This evening, while I was feeling sorry for myself in a general, I have depression kind of way, I opened the fridge and found myself at the receiving end of the reproachful gazes of a couple of avocados that have been lingering in there for a minute.  I always have the best intentions to use them, sliced on sandwiches or in salad or something, and then lose my ambition once I bring them home.

I wasn't feeling particularly inspired by anything, so I grabbed the avocados and decided to make Casa de Crazy style guacamole.

And then, because I have been a rather lame blogger for the last few years, I decided to share the recipe and pretend like I got something accomplished.  Woot!

The players:
Avocados.  How many?  I dunno, how much guac do you want?
Purple Onion
Garlic Cloves.  How many?  Umm...depends on how much you like garlic.
Lime, or limes.
Cayenne Powder.  Some folks use jalapeno peppers, and sometimes I do, too, but I didn't feel like seeding and removing membranes and then mincing the peppers.
Salt - I used ground Celtic sea salt because I like it.


Use whatever method you prefer to get the avocado out of the skin.  I tend to cut it around the equator, lengthwise, give a little twist, and separate the halves, then whap the seed with the knife blade, twist, and pop it out.  A sort of sideways sliding motion, pressing against the cutting board, gets the seed off the blade.  The I slice the flesh of the avocado into cubes while it's still in the skin and scoop it out with a spoon.

Mash the avocado chunks with a fork.

Mince the garlic and add it to the bowl.  For two avocados I used four cloves of garlic because no vampire's gonna get me!

Stir it up.

Slice thin slices of purple onion - I find that one slice per avocado used is a nice amount.  Mince the onion and add it to the bowl.

Stir it up.

A pinch of salt and a sprinkle of cayenne come next.  It's all about what you like, so don't be afraid to season and taste as you go.  For me, a little cayenne goes a long way so I on;y use a light dusting.

Stir it up.

Finally, squeeze in some lime juice.  Use the real thing, you'll thank me.  Or maybe not.  But I think you will.  I used one lime for two avocados, but the lime wasn't particularly juicy.  I would have used more, but I was impatient.

Stir it up.

Ready to eat!  I like it on tortilla chips with little pieces of thin sliced cheddar cheese on top.

You may have noticed something not included.  It's not a mistake.  There is not, nor will there ever be, cilantro in any recipe that comes from me.  To me, it tastes vile, like dish soap, and it flat ruins anything it touches for me.  I have stopped going to restaurants that used cilantro in everything, or changed a recipe to include the nasty stuff.

Feel free to use it if you are among the lucky souls to whom it doesn't taste like an accident in the soap aisle.  Just please don't serve it to me!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fa La La La La, La La La Blah

I'm struggling with myself right now.  I'm feeling tired and worn, not entirely physically and in ways that mere sleep cannot mend.

Because he's on probation, there are things that Someone is not permitted to do, a curfew he must adhere to, and things that he must do to satisfy the terms of his plea agreement and his probation.

There are varying consequences for failing to do what he must or for doing what he mustn't.  They call these consequences "sanctions".

He was doing well enough, but in the last month he's had four sanctions.  He used substances bot unlawful and prohibited by probation.  The first sanction was extra community service and extra AA meetings.  The second sanction was 24 hours in jail.  The third was 6 days in jail.  Now he's on his fourth, a probation violation, and I'm told he'll be in jail until at least January 3.

He's barely been home and he's gone again.

Once again he will not be with us for Yule.  It is possible that he will miss both children's birthdays as well.  I am once again a single mother.

This has an impact on me, on my children, on our collective lives.  Not only do we not have what income he may have earned because he cannot work while in jail, I have the added expense of paying for phone calls and commissary if I choose to do so, and I can't just leave him in there without the means to communicate, at least.  I won't make the kids do without anything, but it does add to my struggle.  This on top of it being a time for spending on gifts and whatnot.

I hate feeling like I can't give my children very much when it comes to prezzies.  Luckily there are others in their lives who make up for my slack, people like Mom and T and K2 and Mizz A, and many more, all of whom love my children and spoil them silly.  At their ages, keeping the power and water on (not a given on a good day) and food available aren't awfully interesting or important, and honestly I don't even do that on my own, so I can't take credit.  Anyway, it's difficult to wrap the power, but sometimes I'm tempted to put a bow on the faucet.

I suppose I am just feeling the usual ebb that comes with this time of year.  I'm so frustrated by my inability to earn income, to manage finances like a wizard, to keep up with myself...everything seems so bleak to me.

I know it's crass to talk about money, but it'd be easier to avoid talking about if so much of one's value didn't hinge upon one's financial worth and if so much of our life in this country wasn't centered on income, on cash flow.
To help combat these feelings, I'm spending as much time as I can manage in the kitchen for the next few days.  It's cookie season, and while I don't have the demand for them that I used to, I still like to make up plates of cookies and give them to people.  I can still manage a little holiday cheer, even when I'm feeling rather in the dumps...and if making (and saying the name of) Snickerdoodles doesn't bring at least a small smile to my face, then I know things are dire, indeed.

Seriously.  Say "Snickerdoodle" without cracking even the tiniest grim.  Betcha can't.

Friday, December 2, 2016

So That Was Fun

Well howdy, reader!

How're you doing?  Didja have a pleasant Thanksgiving?  Lots of good food, good family, good fun?


We had a pretty fine time here at the Casa, ourselves.

We've had an exciting week here at Casa de Crazy.  There was Thanksgiving, and then there were some tornado warnings, and then Someone's son welcomed his first child into the world - a daughter - and made Someone an awfully proud grandfather.

Someone was so excited, he lit a candle in celebration.  It's a thing us witches do.  We like to celebrate.  With fire.

There we were, eating dinner and waiting for the brownies to cool enough to nom.  Someone is away for a week, and Mizz A came over to hang out and harass the kids.  I was typing along on Albino Bob when I smelled something a bit...off.

Kind of like a plastic spoon hit the heating element in the dishwasher.  Phew.

So I opened the dishwasher, but that didn't seem to be it.  Then Mizz A saw smoke curling up from behind the stove.



I cleared of the stove and asked her to go get the extinguisher that lives just outside the door to the garage.  I had one in the kitchen, but it was quite small and maybe 20 years old, and I wanted a back-up, just in case.

I had Bird stand by to call 911 if need arose, and told Sprout to stay away from the kitchen so she didn't get in the way or get burned or smoked like a sausage.

When Mizz A opened the garage door, she found out that the fire was actually in the garage.  Whew!  So glad my oven wasn't toast!


Oh, yeah...but that means the garage is on fire.


I carried my small halon extinguisher (the old one from the kitchen) down the stairs and asked Mizz A to open the big garage door.  I went out the front, around into the garage, and hit the fire with the halon.  I'm really going to miss that little giant.  Sniff.

It did the job, that wee marvel, but is now kaput and I will never be able to replace it.  Thanks for your sacrifice, my halon hero!

Just for safety's sake, I popped my 5lb dry-chem bottle and hit the fire spot again.  I emptied it.  It was my oldest dry-chem bottle, and I'll miss it, too.  I worked many races with that as my sidekick, even put out a care fire on the side of the highway and a grass fire once.  Sigh.

Turns out Someone sort of forgot to tell me a candle was burning in there*.  I don't think it was the taper candle**...I think it was the jar candle behind it.  I'll find out whenever he calls.  Meanwhile, what a mess!

I shot a photo or two AFTER I got the fire out and doused the whole area with water to keep any hot spots from flaring up.  

Pretty sure that's not right.  Cough.

And that's AFTER some of the smoke cleared.  The inside of the Casa wasn't much better.  Mizz A helped by making the smoke detector (that went off a bit late in the game) shut up and then opening windows and turning on bathroom fans up and down stairs.  Bird took care of his sister and then got a fan plugged in and placed in the door between the house and garage to help clear smoke from the downstairs.

I took more photos, because priorities.  I also called my mother to let her know what happened.  Yeah, I bet she's gonna sleep well tonight...the night before she leaves for a cruise in Europe.  I'm thoughtful, that way.  That white powder on the floor?  Used to be inside my dry-chem bottle.

All that blackened stuff?  Umm...didn't used to be blackened.

For a little while, Mizz A and I played "What the hell WAS that???" with all the charred, melted goo on the crate.  Good times.

Mmm, dry-chem powder...so tasty on the tongue, so lovely in the lungs. 

The cobwebs on the garage look spectacular.  Poor spiders... 

The ceiling above the crate where the fire was may need some love...but right now it looks like a goth kid's bedroom decor dream.

Seriously nifty cobweb action.  Mizz A will get some better photos in the morning with her camera that isn't a phone.  Everything is art, around here! 

More webs.  Groovy. 

So there was a bucket of fish tank gravel and an old TV remote.

This metal candle sconce thingy fared okay, just got a little powdered.  A wipe down will see it right as rain.

Then there's what we think may once have been a traffic light...light, and an old lawn sprinkler.

Now this hurts...Someone's carboys, some of them vintage, cracked.

Won't be brewing any more blueberry-pomegranate wine in there...waaaah! 

See that lovely soot?  It's kinds greasy and Mizz A and I had to wash our hands a bit to get it off.  Blech. 

Pan made it, and I'm glad of that.  I adore that Pan.

A look at the ceiling after most of the smoke cleared.

I will have to get quite a lot of wall and ceiling cleaned up and probably either re-painted or replaced, but that will keep.  Cleaning up the crate will keep.

The kids and cats re fine.  The Casa is fine.  Mizz A and I may have sucked in a bit of smoke, but we're fine, too.  Everyone responded marvelously to a moderately scary situation and the damage was minimal.  Also, we had brownies after, so there was that.

Now, I think we're due some good luck...so maybe tomorrow I will purchase a lottery ticket.

*We are usually very fire safe, and this was a rather unusual oversight.  No, really.  I've been burning candles and whatnot for more than 20 years and this is a first.  Had I known it was down there, I would have been looking after it and likely this wouldn't have happened.  Even so, this could have been far worse, and I'm just glad that this happened while I was here to deal with it and that when Someone comes home, he has a home to come home to!

**Edit - The candle in the photo at the top of the post did not cause the fire.  I repeat, that candle didn't cause the fire.  What DID cause it is a mystery and will likely remain so.  I'm not a fire investigator and I don't really need to know what caused the burn...we handled it and all's well that ends well.  There is no blame to be assigned.  The kids are fine.  They did great.  I'm proud of them.  The cats were annoyed.  They did fine.  I'm proud of them.  Mizz A and I are fine.  We worked well as a team.  I'm proud of us. Someone is chagrined that something of his cause such havoc.  He will live and learn.  We are now getting on with life, because that's what we do.  Thank you.