Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Not Dead…Not Quite Out of Bed

It’s been a rough couple months here Chez Maeve – largely it’s been me, but there have been other issues with the people I live with.

Sometimes you have to pull back in extreme ways just to keep yourself whole – that’s how it’s felt.  This blog, such as it is, has often felt like a fissure – albeit one I created myself.  Thing is, I’m not naturally comfortable with exposures of inner self – and when that inner self has disintegrated into a plethora of ball bearings spewing all over, well, it was time to close up the fissures for a while.

I  haven’t been completely dead to the world – I play on FB a little; I hang out on Pinterest; and I discovered some interesting new blogs – Fashion for Ladies of/and/or Approaching A Certain Age, LOL.  I’ve cooked a bit – and that’s really an indicator of how things have been – I just haven’t been able to cook much.  Really, though, the worst has been that I can’t read.  My TBR pile (electronic, that it is), is enormous.  I just can’t seem to indulge myself.

It wasn’t actually my intent to engage in a PLSUM mini-rant – somehow ended up that way and that’s the problem – EVERYTHING seems to come out that way.

However.  I’ve always been a “take the bull by the horns” kind of girl, and the pity party has degenerated into an out and out orgy of “Woe is Moi”.  I can’t stand it anymore.  So, am going to try and post some tales of my travails and (digital) travels and see if I can’t turn this space into something a little more meaningful.

Hey – I just thought of something kind of cool – Le Mari and Moi are going to a morning meditation thingie tomorrow at the local yoga place (OK – nobody get antsy – I’m not going all new-agey-wavey and all that.  It’s just that I need to find mental quiet and this seems  like a good start – I shall report back).  Also, it might actually help me go back to church.

I hope all you dear friends have had a lovely summer and that your fall is cool and invigorating.  Mostly, I hope someone is baking something!

A bientot!



Guess What Just Landed on my Kindle?

Mary Tudor:  Princess, Bastard, Queen by Anna Whitlock

The Lake House:  A Novel by Kate Morton

Lady MacBeth:  A Novel by Susan Fraser King

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice:  or, On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie R. King

Sunshine?  Check
Comfy Deck Chair?  Check
Fabulous Cocktail(s)?  Check

I can’t wait to get started!

Happy Weekend to you all 🙂




Where Is My Daughter And Who Left The Changeling In Her Place?

I send the child who has lived with me her entire life (all 16 years) to go pick up the Halloween candy.

One honking hour later (did she travel to outer Mongolia?) she comes back with 4 ginormous bags of candy.  Not a single Reese’s PBC in the entire lot!  Not one.

“Whose child are you?” I ask.

“What’s the problem, Mama?”

“Do you see any Reese’s here?”

“Um that bag has the Pieces, so like, yeah.”

“I repeat – whose child are you?  No child of mine would think those loathsome things have any remote connection to a PBC!”

“Like, I’m totally helping you out, Mama.  This way you can, like, enjoy Halloween without temptation.  You should, like, be thanking me.”

I swear, it’s a freakin’ miracle that child still has breath in her body.


Reality-Based Menu – Third Edition

My humble offerings this week….

  • Monday – Pan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Pearl Onions
  • Tuesday – Girls at their Dad’s house (I have plenty of options)
  • Wednesday – Garlicy Shrimp & Pasta; Salad
  • Thursday – Beef Stew (because chuck roast was on sale)
  • Friday – DIY Pizza (if they’re home)
  • Saturday – Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup (its Halloween and my neighborhood gets about a million kids, so need something easy)
  • Sunday – Not quite sure yet – maybe I’ll cook something in the crock pot (gasp!)

Once again I made myself miserable by going to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon, thereby casting a miserable pall on what had otherwise been a great day.  This week would be the time to shift my shopping day and get it all done and over with on Wednesday or Thursday.  Problem is, well, work.  Work interferes with much of my life.  Actually, it’s my lovely blog-pal, Mrs. C who has me rethinking the weekend shopping.  Confession time:  this is actually going to be extremely difficult for me.  I’m super linear in (some of) my way(s) of thinking and this one of those.  I think it’s because I associate M – F with WORK and the weekends with Household.  I just can seem to fit the shopping into my routine in an organic way – it’s always an interruption of some sort.  It’s worth trying to change my habit (and possibly my attitude) though.  Will report on this next week.

Made continued progress on my house project over the weekend.  I emptied two more storage boxes of crap (no, there isn’t a better word for it) so now have a greatly improved garage.  Moved a storage cupboard from my office to the garage and got rid of some really dilapidated shelves.  The office looks so much better.  Then, because my project has largely kept me from regular housework, I did a major cleaning of the living room, which included cleaning the floors (and indulged my Inner Martyr by cleaning them the old fashioned way – with a bucket and rag).

You’re probably wondering what part the minions play in all of this.  Well, besides working and tons of homework, they have project assigned to them.  I’ve also kept Iseult busy running to the thrift store with donations (now that she has her license I’m putting it to good use).

Progress really is a series of baby steps.  I’ve stopped worrying about the size/number of steps themselves and focus on momentum.  (Also, when I think I haven’t accomplished anything, I take a quick trip out to the trash/recycling bins and observe how they’re full.)

Well, that’s where we are at my house.  What’s cooking at your place?



Menu Update

Well things have been going surprisingly well.

On Tuesday night I made the chicken dish and it was fabulous!  There are still herbs in my pots, so was able to take advantage of that; also some lonely pearl onions made their way into the dish.  I can see me making this really often – easy and super tasty.  As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had drumsticks, so that’s what I used, but next time might go for boneless, skinless chicken thighs and see how they do.

Wednesday night we had the “chuck tender medallions”; I seared them for about 3 minutes on each side then popped them in a 400-degree oven for about 4 minutes; we  had them with roasted gnocchi and green beans.  (Wait – roasted gnocchi? What’s that? Heh!  Let me tell you about roasted gnocchi – one of the more delish sides you can make.  I get a package of gnocchi (not the refrigerated kind) and dump them on a baking sheet that I’ve sprayed with cooking spray; drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt; then into a 400-degree oven for 35 – 45 minutes; I shake the pan periodically to roll them around.  So Good.  You could season them up with pretty much anything – sometimes I used garlic oil; but once you have them, you’ll be hooked).

Tonight – still not sure.  Maybe spaghetti.  Maybe grilled chicken Caesar salad.  Haven’t quite decided yet, but there’s time.

(Besides, I always keep emergency cans of chicken noodle soup in the cabinet.  Nobody will starve.  And I could have one of the minions cook – if they’re home).


So….How About Some Menu?

Erm.  Yes.  I’ve been dink on the whole posting thing. But we have been eating – nothing inspiring, mind you.  Actually, I’m still not all that inspired, but  here goes anyway…

Monday – Roast Pork, Saffron Rice, Cuban Black Beans

Tuesday – Grilled Sirloin,  Israeli Salad, Steamed Lentils

Wednesday – Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Thursday – Try a New Recipe – Lettuce Salad with Hot Beef Dressing

Friday – Everyone does their own thing and I have dinner plans with friends

In other random news…

I went through something of a reading dry spell.  I bought a bunch of books, but then couldn’t bring myself to read.  Am wondering if it has to do with the medium; I spend all day staring at a computer screen; then I look at the Nook or Kindle and think to myself, “stare at screen some more?”  It’s just not moving me.  Does anyone else miss paper? Nevertheless, last week (I think – maybe it was the week before), I picked up Amanda DeWees’ “Sea of Secrets” (a Victorian Romantic Suspense – along the lines of a Gothic, but just this side of “not”) and to my delight, discovered something of a tribute to the Bard of Avon!  No, I won’t tell you which one – read it yourself and find out.  This sort of pulled me out of my funk – well, that and the announcement of a new theatre production of Hamlet which will ALSO be filmed and then distributed worldwide on 15 October for National Theatre Live.  Now, I may no be able to get myself all the way to London to see the production, but your can bet your sweet bippee I’ll find a way to watch it on screen somewhere stateside.

From the world of cooking – Nigella Lawson is coming out with a new cookbook “Simply Nigella” which will be out on 03 November 15 (Dear Santa, I want this).  I own several of her cookbooks (How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Feast, Nigella Express) and they’re terrific.  So even though I’m about to go through another culling of the cookbooks, hers will stay.

On the home front – my office declutter project is nearly complete.  I can’t quite bring myself to reveal how many years’ of old paperwork I went through and pitched.  After wearing out the motor on a new shredder, I decided that the best thing was to just take advantage of a shredding service.  Best $20 I ever spent.  There’s still a  bit more to go through, but at least I can file my stuff and put my hands on critical documents.  It’s a really good feeling.

Iseult has her first summer job – she babysits a toddler and 4 year old in the morning and then a couple days a week she works at the local parish school summer camp.  Everyday she comes home from babysitting with a slightly shell shocked look which amuses me to no end.

I’ll try and do better next week – maybe even have a more inspired menu.  With that, what’s cooking at your house?


Long Time…No See

It’s been a few weeks.

Every now and again its good to give yourself a time-out. It’s good to step back a bit and try to look at life a little dispassionately (actually quite a challenge if you are me).

I used this opportunity to go shopping – quite a bit in fact. I had already gone through my closet and boxed up all the stuff that didn’t fit, but this was only the beginning. My delightful friend, Hearthie, gave me a good fashion scolding and some excellent advice – which I’ve embraced with a vengeance. The upshot – I’ve purged my wardrobe of every unflattering, dowdy, frumpy, ill-fitting, boring, uninspired, insipid, loose, baggy piece of clothing I owned. Whew! Oh yeah – I learned my lesson about shoes too – bought a pair strictly for comfort and ended up with a blistered heel. So, we’re not going there again.

In other news, we bought a really cheap waffle iron so we could cook tater tots and cinnamon rolls in it.  Maybe we’ll make waffles at some point.

I am simultaneously reading Tosca Lee’s superb “Demon, A Memoir” as well as “Paradise Lost” (because reading the two together just appeals to my need to examine things from every angle) and waiting feverishly for Patricia Briggs’ new release in a couple weeks (she has Chapter 1 up on her website – yes, I tortured myself and read it).

OK – that’s it.  I have take Iseult driving… then I’ll probably need a drink or a manicure.


Just Go With The Flow

My Christmas tree is still up.

That’s right – my Christmas tree is still up.  All the stuff is still on it.  Also the stockings are still hanging on the mantle.

I know what you’re thinking – “Is she planning to just leave it all up until Valentine’s Day?”  Well, maybe not that long.  I don’t like taking down the tree.  It’s anticlimactic.  There’s no special “taking down the tree movie”; no special ritual; no cookie (not that I’m baking at the moment).  It’s just a January blah.

In past years this would have bothered me.  It’s half way through January and the tree is still up.  But I’m not letting it get to me.  I did finally take the wreath off the door.  The outside lights are down (mostly).  It will get done.

So what have I been doing if not taking down my Christmas stuff?  Well, I organized the pantry; cleaned out my closet and dresser; am half way through a reorganization of my office.  These things are far more important from daily living stand point than the tree (well other than pretty soon it’ll be a fire hazard).

Also (and this is a big deal for me) I got a Confederate Rose.  It’s not in the ground yet (as we’ve been experiencing some global warming, ummm, arctic blasts, lately).  But I’ve wanted one FOREVER  and now I have one.  I can’t wait to get it in the ground.  We’re going to plant it right next to where we buried our Lilly.  I know she’d have loved it.

So what’s next?  Well, yes, I’m going to deal with the tree (probably this week) and, weather permitting, plant my new shrub.  But if things come up and it all gets pushed out, well, OK.  None of this is life or death.  I’m going to try and keep that perspective.


I’m on vacation

I’m really on vacation. Haven’t taken one in 10 years. No email. No financials. No reports. Just a lot of flour and butter and cinnamon and sugar. What a perfect day!



So, What’s Going On?

Well, it’s been a very busy time here Chez Maeve et Filles.

First off, we put up the Christmas tree – with help.  Lots of help.  Once again, I found myself buying more tree than I can comfortably manage on my own.  And that’s largely because I wanted something bigger than 3 feet.  Nearly decapitated it on the ceiling fan. Then we discovered that our “classic” lights (you know, the big bulbs that get really hot and threaten to burn down your house?) had many dead bulbs and fuses.  We were unable to replace them.  This meant that I had to buy new lights. And now all you can buy are LED lights.  I complained a lot about that because it feels government-intrusive-y (and I’m going to stop now because this is not a rant about my issues with light bulbs).

Anyway, I bought them.  Eight strands of them and we put them on the tree.  So now it’s just waiting for us to decorate and we’ll do that once Iseult’s exams are over.

On le baking front, I’m making Peppermint Meltaways with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting as my next Advent cookie.  Yes, I’ll get it posted once I’ve got them made.  The Frosted Toffee Cookies are after that.  Le Yum!

I bought the stuff to make the hot cocoa ornament.  So we’re closer on that front too.

My company has given me the OK to take all of Christmas week off!  Seriously!  I can’t believe it either.  I’ve worked every single Christmas Eve (barring weekends, of course) for the last 10 years.  And the day after Christmas.  Not this year.  Got told to shut down my computer.  I just said, “Yessir”.

I finally  have up the ceramic Christmas Tree my parents bought their first year of marriage.  It’s kind of a big deal to me.  I’ll post of pic of it later on maybe.

Here’s the list of cookies to be made (Santa has really high expectations at our house and I don’t dare let him down):

  • Snickerdoodles
  • Orange Ricotta Cookies with Dark Chocolate (my new fav)
  • Frosted Sugar Cookies
  • Czechoslovakian Kolache Cookies (I don’t know how Czechoslovakian they are.  I got them from my Church’s Ladies Guild Cookbook and I make them most years.  The FIL get a little teary-eyed if he doesn’t see a plate of them, and we can’t have that)
  • Chocolate Chip (I don’t know why but we have to make them)
  • Russian Teacakes (with and without walnuts)
  • Cinnamon Rugulach (my ex-husband’s all-time favorite cookie and one of mine as well. OK everyone in my house loves these)

I think that should make Santa happy.

With luck there will be baking tonight and an accompanying post.  I’m crossing my fingers.