Odds and Ends No. 59

Winding down with a double espresso.
After a trip to the post office I needed
a drink, but a sweet and creamy

coffee will do the trick this late in the
day. Here is the deal. After lunch I
was on a mission to renew my

passport by mail. Five no brainer
questions and I qualified. Mine
expired a bit ago. Unused, I’m

embarrassed to say. Ten years ago
when I got the thing, my plan was
to be in demand and travel the world

doing all kinds of neat stuff. Didn’t
happen. (Indiana to Arizona has been
and remains stressful enough!) Well,

obviously God’s plan for me was not
to travel—yet. Hence, the renewal. I
filled out the forms using Adobe

Reader DC with Fill & Sign. One of
my favorite tools. The form was neat
and clean as could be; it will bring

a smile from the lucky government
bureaucrat opening it on the receiving
end. That is what I thought before I

went to the post office. Using a manila
folder, I paper clipped my old passport
to the left side; and, clipped my forms

with my check and my new photo on
the right side. Closed it up in a large
envelope, Used clear tape on my

beautiful mailing label, and taped
down edges. A thing of beauty to be
sure. Let’s see—an hour to do the

form and a half hour down to the drug
store to take and wait for the photo
and back. (I found a pair of large sun

glasses for my new glasses. A win-win.)
Ran home to make my super clean
mailer, then off to the post office.

They are open till five and I’m a little
ahead of rush hour. Shouldn’t be too
bad. I parked and walked in. Waiting

in line. Then I heard, “Next!” I looked
up. Oh no, it was the old four-foot
“dragon lady” from hell who should

have retired in the last millennia.
I approached her scale with caution
and put my envelope down. “It is a

passport. I need some form of tracking.”
“No tracking in that envelope,” she
said, moving only one corner of her

mouth. She was waiting for me. “Why
not?” “Not a Priority envelope. Must
be Priority for tracking.” The corner

of her mouth went up again. She was
tasting the victory! (But my envelope
is beautiful! Could she stamp it? No.

Could she stick a label on it? No.)
She turned around and grabbed a
Priority window envelope from under

her counter and tried to put my mailer
inside. “Can I fold it here—on this end?”
“No,” I countered, “that is the fat end

the end with the passport.” She mashed
down the other end and forced my
mailer into the window envelope. Oh,

we weren’t done yet! She couldn’t close
the window envelope either; she had to
mash down the long side of my mailer

too. I pointed out that it was still
sticking up a bit at the ends of the
sealed edge. She crunched her eyes

down, “I’ll staple it after you go.” You
guessed it; the corner of her mouth
went up again. Kind of a half snarl.

I wanted to ask her if I had to pay her
in rubles, but I decided not to push it.
She totally violated the don’t bend

or fold rule. God help me on the other
end of this to not be rejected! Well,
coffee all gone. Time to cook dinner.

Mushrooms on the edge. Sautéed
them with onion, grape tomatoes
that were looking like prunes. And

garlic, plenty of garlic—all in a touch
of olive oil, butter—salt, pepper, some
broccoli and a little basil. Good therapy.

Odds and Ends No. 46

Last weekend, I had a headache
so I sautéed two yellow onions
and a half pound of baby

portobello mushrooms. This
became a lovely tomato basil
sauce that lasted until yesterday.

I asked her to pick a pasta from
my assorted pasta cache. Our
pantry annex is on shelves in

the utility room. The pantry in
the kitchen is big enough for
basic stuff like peanut butter,

olive oil, vinegar, cereals, etc.
The things you grab every day.
The overflow in the annex has

paper goods, canned stuff, soups,
rice, pasta, etc. Cookies are out
of sight so they stay out of mind

in my old wooden bookcase with
half glass, half solid creaky
doors. Trips are made from the

big room to the bookcase with
some regularity for a serving of
two cookies. Being the old tech

writer that I am, I enjoyed making
forms for her most of the day. In
Word, which is her preference.

They were fun for me. Boring is
good. Tonight after dinner we
will return to a strange thriller

we started watching yesterday.
I’ve done all the typing I want to
do today; and all the cooking. So,

tonight will be a peanut butter
and jelly for me. Writer and alone
are synonymous for me. But don’t

confuse boring with peace. My
peace comes from a higher source;
peace that I can neither lose nor

explain; writer or not. Some things
are just that way. That, too, is good.
Still early enough for thermos coffee.

Odds and Ends No. 41

I don’t like writing about what I plan to do in this space
and not do it. That is why most of my “rapid logging”
is in the past tense. That is why I’m going to change

to walk Thunderbird and tell you about it later. My
feet hurt. It is 105 degrees. There are a number of other
excuses I could jot down for not walking. I’ve been sick

for weeks; so it is time to you-know-what or get off the
pot! (It is 14:39. I better get moving if I’m going to do

New day. Wispy clouds. New heat. Her car in the shop.
She is out and about in mine. And, yes, I did walk
yesterday. Slowly, very slowly and a lot of water. When

I got back I checked my calendar. I hadn’t walked since
the end of March. A lot of sick time in between. I am
thankful for healing and hope for complete restoration

as I go forward. I thought about what I might cook for
dinner as I walked. In my mind, I opened the fridge.
I cooked a pound of Mostaccioli last Friday and still had

one serving left. The six chicken breasts I cut up and
cooked were gone. How can I be walking in 105 degree
heat thinking about dinner? I know what I’ll do. When

I got home, I changed out of my hiking stuff and put on
my uniform of the day—T-shirt and warm-up pants. In
the kitchen, I preheated a small frying pan (to keep my

portion size down). One short spray of canola. I put a
frozen burger in the pan. Meanwhile, I put a serving of
frozen veggies on a paper plate. Broccoli and peas. And

I grabbed the rest of the precooked pasta, a larger smooth
penne, you might say. Since I was throwing all the other
stuff in with the burger, I under-cooked the burger a little.

I cut up the burger in the pan. Added some butter, olive
oil, and garlic. Then the veggies. After a few minutes, I
added the cold pasta. A few stirs and flips later, it was

heated through. A pinch of salt and pepper. Mix. Done.
Added Parmesan. A quick yummy hamburger pasta with
veggies. That was dinner. She ate dinner while I was

walking. We watched Episode 7 of “Hinterland” together,
then called it a night. What on earth did I do before
there was Netflix? For me it was no flicks. Get this. Again,

what was true yesterday in my electronic world is not
true today. I’m back in Windows for now (Don’t ask!) I
have to convert her forms into Word docs. If I was

thinking, I would have done that work on her PC and
stayed in Linux. Maybe it isn’t too late. Certainly not
important as I’m thinking of an old friend who died

yesterday at the age of 92. My youngest called to tell
me last night. When we die, the battle for truth ends
and is revealed in the fullness of the power of the

resurrection in Christ. God’s grace is always greater
than we understand; especially in the face of the
senseless barbaric slaughter of the innocent young

lives in Manchester. When evil works evil, God doesn’t
stop working good. I believe that every child who died
as a result of evil in Manchester has been granted the

full measure of God’s limitless grace and given the
gift of eternal life by God’s love and resurrection
power. Their killers await judgment and eternal

separation from God. To the parents and friends who
have suffered horrific loss, by God’s grace, your
children live life eternal with Christ. And my friend

who died, he lives on with Christ. He also believed
the Truth and in the God who is Spirit and Truth,
and never ever changes. When I die, I will see

you again. And, I will see the young people who died
in Manchester, too. Absolute truth is forever true.
God is loving and faithful even though there is evil

in the world. The power with which He raised Christ
from the dead, so has He done by His grace for the
innocent children of Manchester. (This does not

negate the pain of your loss; so sorry for the loss of
your loved ones.) Only God can get us through these
difficult times and sustain us when things happen

that we do not understand. Truth in the absence of
God isn’t true.

Odds and Ends No. 20

After I started the electric kettle, I realized
that I was undecided about having tea or
coffee with lunch. So, I left the kettle on,

took out sandwich stuff, then decided to
brew the whole liter of water coming to a
boil. I put three scoops of coffee grounds

into my old Bodum coffee press. Added
water. A quick stir, and I let it sit while
I made my lunch with only minor variation.

About the same...

About the same…

You’d think I’d make something different
because it is Sunday. Not so. Photo is proof.
Added olives with the radishes. And you

already know, coffee instead of tea. And
my thick lunchtime reading goes on with
the book that never ends. Michener never

ends. Seems like it. WordPress Help got
back with me. He moved over my purchased
theme; I just finished setting it up hence

this post. I want to make sure it works okay.
Not using it on the other blog, might as well
use it here. (What will I do with the other

blog if it isn’t deactivated? Help emails still
going back and forth.) And I still have to
learn how to use the options on this theme.

I doubt that I’ll do anything fancy. After a
haiku, poem, or chapter, I’m fried. Until
the next time. She is making one of our old

soups. We call it the Mrs. Dash Simple
Cabbage Soup. It smells so good. One of
the healthier things I eat. Can’t remember

where I got the recipe. (I think I modified
one from a neighbor who moved away.)
Unconventional in a poem, but here it is:


mrsdashsoupMrs. Dash Simple Cabbage Soup


Onions, 2 medium
Celery, 5-7 stalks
Carrots, 5 med. to large
Mushrooms, 1-8 oz. box
Water, 12-cups (omit if using Veg Broth)
Vegetable bouillon cubes (omit if using Veg Broth)
Or, Vegetable Broth, 4-32 oz. boxes
Bay leaf, 3 ea.
Mrs. Dash (1 heaping Tbsp.)
Diced tomatoes, no salt, 3-15 oz. cans, add with liquid
Tomato paste, 1 small can
Garbanzo beans, 1-15 oz. can, rinsed (or other bean of choice)
Potato, 4-5 small to med. Idaho or Russet
Cabbage, 1/2 head, sliced thin

This makes a big batch, so use a very large soup pot.

Start to bring vegetable broth to a boil. (If using water instead, bring to a boil. Add bouillon cubes any time after it comes to a boil.)

Add Mrs. Dash, and bay leaves. Stir to dissolve and blend. Chop vegetables into large chunks (except mushrooms and cabbage). Add onions, celery, and carrots first. Then mushrooms.

Incorporate tomato paste and diced tomatoes with boiling liquid. Add beans. Stir. Then cut up potatoes with skin; halve them, halve again and cut in large chunks and add. Stir. Cut cabbage in thin strips or bite size pieces, add last. Stir soup and return to boil.

Cover and turn down to simmer 20-40 minutes or until carrots, potatoes, etc. are done. Remove bay leaves and serve. A little spicy, but one of our favorites.


Nothing like poetic license. Now it is
time for me to get a bowl. The smell in
the house is heavenly. Bon Appétit.