Supper is in the oven: Baked Chicken Breasts

Our butcher posted his weekly specials, this week, on his web page. We had been forgetting to stop at that store, somehow, without specials posted, even though we did not always take advantage of them. I had been wanting to bake chicken breasts, and that was one of the three specials, so we stopped by the shop before Al went off to his volunteer work, this afternoon.

With two pounds of meat, I washed and dried the chicken breasts, rubbed them lightly with olive oil, added seasoning to top and bottom (crushed peppercorns, sea salt, and cumin), and put the baking dish into the oven for forty minutes at 350°F. Twenty minutes to go!

The strong winds, combined with heavy rain, this morning, pretty much beat down and soaked the plants in the backyard wildflower garden. The ornamental clover is still doing well, and there are some Black-eyed Susan and Siberian Wallflower plants that still have blooms, but that’s about it. The blue wild flax … may dry out. If not, I will be taking photographs of fallen leaves until the snow flies.

In this morning’s rain, I saw two Northern Flickers hunting out bugs in the front yard. I’m glad that they are still around. I don’t imagine that the raptors do much hunting in the midst of thunderstorms or torrential downpours. (See Hunting Circles for background.)

Happy Domesticity

Enjoyed cooking, this morning, and then taking a nap with the Scampers.

This photo, however, was taken a couple of nights ago, when the Scampers fell asleep next to Al. That brown board to the right is the edge of his computer lapdesk.

cocker spaniels napping on couch

Still low key around here, adjusting to my parents’ deaths and the activity and people exposure involved with funerals and two “meetings of the clan” within such a short period of time. Avoiding activity in general except as amusement. I’ve started doing some exercising again, and I haven’t quite gotten back on my diet, but it’s pulling together. I’ll know that’s working when I actually start writing down the foods with their calorie and carbohydrate counts.

In the meanwhile I am continuing to think about what I want to do with the resurrection of two of my discontinued domains. I had thought to construct a writing/photo collection to complement the blogs where I put up anything and everything. I’m still too much in slow motion to make that practical. It will go faster when I dig out my old website backups and use some of the pages as templates.

Sunday Morning

Samantha woke me around 8:30, this morning, and we went outside. The temperature is still in the 60s, which is a wonderful change from the mid-90s.  I am not sure we’re going to get rain, but the forecast indicates there’s a chance until mid-evening. I took some photographs while we were out, then came in and put out breakfast for myself and Samantha (who chose to curl up in the deep shadows at the back of her crate and go back to sleep). I had planned to have a hard-boiled egg, but found none in the refrigerator, and so I put on nine eggs to boil while I assembled something else.


breakfast: grapes, semi-soft cheeses, rolled deli turkey breast, cranberry juice
Sunday Breakfast

This morning’s weather (61 °F, and a stiff breeze) was not conducive to picture taking, but I’ve pulled out a few that are presentable with some “adjustments”.

The rest of the morning was taken up by chores. In addition to putting the eggs on to boil (now cooked, labeled and back in the refrigerator), I have put the coming week’s Toddy coffee on to steep, and caught up on the dish-washing. When the weather is cooler, and I have fewer problems breathing, and everything seems to take 90% less time to do.

I much prefer the Toddy coffee, because it is less acidic and tastes sweet, unlike coffee that is brewed using hot instead of cold water. I believe the cold-brewed coffee also has more caffeine. We use Folgers classic roast (medium grind). I usually add the coffee concentrate to half-and-half or whole milk rather than water, which gives it a more noticeable chocolate-like undertaste, one part coffee concentrate to two to three parts milk. Otherwise, I’m a drinker of strong, black tea.

We’ll pretend it’s still Thursday

I’ve enjoyed some lazy days, sleeping in late and not accomplishing much. Minimal dish washing, no out-and-abouts except for grocery shopping…which I should have skipped, because I forgot a bag of groceries at the store. The pork butt roast is now in the Crock Pot; I will bake the chicken breasts on Friday.

I’ve not done a lot of cooking, this week, aside from omelets. I’ve had several salads and lots of sandwiches.

glass of vegetable juice and assembled deli beef sandwich, cottage cheese, hardboiled egg and carrots
Late Supper

This might sound silly, because everyone makes mistakes every day, but I still have the feeling that if I make a mistake, the sky will fall. It was not that I made so many mistakes, growing up, but that I made any at all. What games! It is surprising that through it all, I managed to achieve my goals in life, which involved no more than supporting my reading habit…and keeping me and the books dry. Computers/Nook readers have made that less expensive than it used to be. And I spend more time now making up my own stories, like I did when I was a child.

When I was a child, I loved finger-painting. (*⌒▽⌒*)θ~♪

golden flower created from photo of blue wild flax flower
Golden Flax Flower
Yellow flower on blue,green background created from photo of blue wild flax flower
Yellow Wild Flax Flower

Sunday was lovely

Sunday was a very lovely day. Early in the morning, Samantha and I enjoyed taking photos of rapidly moving blue wild flax flowers (there was such a wind!) and then went to the kitchen to make breakfast. I put together a cup of plain yogurt with sliced strawberries and banana. Kibbles for Sam, which she saved for later in the morning, and leftovers from my yogurt bowl.

a bowl of plain yogurt with sliced bananas and strawberries
Yogurt and Fruit

While the wind was strong, the lighting was such that I the few good photographs at least worked for photo art, if not traditional photography. I went through the morning photos, and then Al and I went to Denny’s for breakfast. I do so appreciate the gluten-free notations on the menu. I ordered an omelet with prime rib, cheese, etc., served with hashed potatoes and a gluten-free English muffin. Entirely too much food, but it tasted really nice. Al ran some errands, while Samantha and I sat in the back yard. Al bought a folding camp chair with a back support. I put it on the paving bricks in front of the garden shed and used my larger plastic exercise ball as a foot rest. Sat in the shade, partly out of the wind, and read a book by Carola Dunn (Thea’s Marquis).  When Al got home, we each took our naps. Later in the evening, I took my chair outside, again, and read on the back step beneath the light. There was enough wind that there were no insects to bother me, and came from a direction that kept the smoke from the fire across the back fence from blowing into our yard. All of the tents were gone from the back yard, and the evening was quiet. It was quite dark by the time we came inside, again.

I received an email this weekend, also, from an old friend who has moved back into town and found, when she wanted to invite me to lunch with her, that our phone number no longer worked. I emailed the new number to her, and she will call to arrange a day and time. We’ve settled on a restaurant.

It’s entirely too late. I will wish, tomorrow, that I had gotten more sleep.

Quiet weekend

I’ve spent much of the weekend awake and up, but not focusing on any work. Aside from two days at the handgun range with Al, while we tried to figure out why my/our pistols are not working properly. Although it has not interfered too much with my aim. I do like the discipline of bulls-eye shooting. And the fact that there is so much room for continued improvement in skill, self-discipline, consistency, and focus.

We stopped by the butcher shop after payday and got chicken breasts for baking (added to soups and salads, mostly) and a pork shoulder roast, which I put into the Crock Pot for pulled pork. Simple additions, this time: sliced yellow onion, a can of peeled tomatoes, and a medium-sized jar of mild salsa. Yesterday when I got hungry for soup, I heated some pulled pork with onion and juices and a cup or so of Mott’s Original Vegetable Juice. Nicely mixed to add sharper highlights (I think vinegar, celery, and perhaps some herbs).

Other meals have been dull. Cottage cheese or yogurt with mango and strawberries, scrambled eggs with smoked paprika, Swiss cheese, or chopped bunching onions and greens, and wild blueberry preserves. Also Thai Kitchen ginger soup with lots of sliced chicken breast. I have been drinking cranberry juice cut 1:1 with filtered water. Toddy coffee, mostly, to cut down on acidic beverages.

Al has dropped me off at the mall a number of times during the week, so that I can put in some concentrated walking time. I think that it helps me to be more alert later in the day. Keeping the circulation going instead of taking a nap when my energy lags. My sleep is still highly irregular. When I do wake up, however, I try to stay awake long enough for the time to qualify as a day. Today, however, I fell asleep several times and took a nap. We did not go out because the temperature was in the 80s. (Yes, I know that many are suffering temperatures above 100°F. I start feeling ill and unsteady at 75°F. I prefer the basement, where it is usually around 64°.

It’s gotten cooler. Supposed to be a thunderstorm, tonight, and as much as an inch of rain. That’s why I am sitting in the gazebo with a couple windows open (temp. 75°F), enjoying the breeze and listening for the sound of thunder, the flash of lightning in the distance. A bow has formed in the group of clouds headed toward us, and so it is going to take longer for the storm to hit our town. I’m going to run out of water and computer battery by then, so I may have to go indoors before it arrives.

I have finished one of the poems that I have been working on (since 2005), “Broken Patterns”. It’s part of my Future Freedom poetry set: brief images of the collapse of the ecosystem and afterwards. A short poem, but not short enough for Dwarf Stars consideration, should I manage to get it published. Form follows content. The poem was insistent on that.

Really weird dreams. Vivid, recurring, lingering after waking.

I mailed Dad’s Father’s Day card on Tuesday. Even though he is in good health, still walking downtown, driving into town, where there’s a Cash Wise Foods for groceries once or twice a week, and so forth, I have the urge to do things early. I wanted him to have it because it might be the last card he gets from me. He’s 30 years older than me, less two weeks, and I’m in my late 60s. Except for some effects of aging, he’s certainly healthier than I am. Either one of us could go first, these days. He’s a joy . . . but he doesn’t like company. He gets bored with us and leaves to read or walk or drive about the countryside.

Sounds like we’re getting into the strong winds and heavier rain, now. Out of here! Must see if I need to unplug computers, TV, etc.

Just Thursday Blog Hop: My Morning

Large-curd cottage cheese, strawberries, mango slices, kippers and black tea

Samantha and I woke up at 7:35. For her first meal of the day, she gets dry dog food with no yogurt on it. We made a late-night run to the grocery: a ‘goodies run’. As a result, I had strawberries and mango slices to put on my large-curd cottage cheese; served with kippered herring in a tin and Red Rose black tea, strong and hot.

After we had eaten, we went outside, my iPhone and camera in my pockets. The yard looks much different since Al mowed it, yesterday. We’ve had alternating rainy days and warm, humid ones, and so the grass (and weeds) have grown mightily, but were impenetrable.

Samantha (cocker spaniel) and Flea (dog toy)
Behind Garden Weeds

The first thing we noticed was a jet plane above us headed for the airport. One shot includes both the plane and our amateur radio antenna tower, and the other, just the tower and the TV antenna. We don’t watch enough TV or movies to justify spending money on services. Recently half a dozen broadcast stations offering older TV series appeared; Al has watched a few of them since he found their schedules on the Internet somewhere. (I must remember to ask).

The neighbors’ vegetable garden has been planted, and the tomato plants are protected with plastic pails for the time being. Since they planted their flower and vegetable gardens, we have had stretches of colder weather and several frost warnings.

garden plot with tomato plants in plastic buckets
Neighbor’s Garden

My garden, such as it is, has not yet been turned, and since my allergies have gotten much worse, already, that might not get done. I will have to cut down the weeds where the flowers did not come up, this year. I may clear enough space to see if I can get some late flowers and herbs to grow. The herbs, I can try bringing in, this fall, in pots, if they do grow. In the meanwhile, wild flax are thriving in the midst of very tall weeds near where the neighborhood rabbit has made a burrow for herself at the northwest corner of the garden plot. (See Sam, above, passing the rabbit burrow.) The wild flax, which were supposed to be annuals, have been reseeding and coming up every spring for many years, now, weeds or no.

Late this afternoon, I hope to get to my appointment at the salon. These days, the stylist goes over my head with a razor set to 3/8″ and trims a bit more out over my ears. As much as I miss the seven-year growth, life certainly is much easier with short hair.

My thanks to Mara Eastern for bringing my attention to the Just Thursday thing on her blog.

Thinking of spring

Remembering April 2010
Remembering April 2010

According to the weather bureau, the snow is now forecast to fall Monday through Friday. At least I have photographs of flowers.

We had a wonderful evening out at a restaurant we hadn’t visited for many years. I ordered grilled salmon and green beans. I don’t remember the last time I ate salmon. On the way home we stopped at the grocery and bought a carton of gluten-free chocolate pudding; I plan to have a serving of that before I go to sleep, tonight. (I also brought home some salmon for Samantha, but she has rejected it totally.) Over the past few years, we have gotten into the habit of going to just two restaurants; I am going to make a list of alternatives. We need more places it’s safe for me to go into. (I’ve now got one more on my list of safe places.)

I had plans to do something for National Poetry Month, but I’ve pretty much slept through the first three or four days of it. At this rate, I may just make a point of jotting down poetry ideas and fragments, and then work with them later. That has turned out well in the past. Still having trouble with my eyesight, but it’s getting better as I spend much less time at the computer.

Only got in 2.5 miles on the exercise bike, yesterday. I’m going to try for three miles, this evening.