Tuesday, March 17, 2020

happy saint patrick's day

Back in February - that seems so long ago - when I gave up booze for Lent and gave myself a Saint Patrick's Day dispensation, I assumed that I'd be drinking Irish whiskey in a crowd and toasting with friends today.

Boy was I wrong! We're in the midst of social distancing and staying home to attempt to curb the devastation of COVID-19 

I worked from home today. I got a great deal done and am close to cleaning out my email queue. I took a big walk after work - keeping at least six feet from people. It was great to soak in some sunshine and see other folks, even if I didn't talk to anyone.

I decided to have my own Saint Patrick's Day celebration. My dinner consisted of an Irish banger, steamed carrots with a pat of Kerrygold butter, potato salad, and pea shoots served on a Belleek plate. I put the mustard in a little pot from an Irish pottery company. Guinness and a wee pinch of Tullamore Dew rounded out the meal.

Oddly, I'm having a hard time finishing the beer and whiskey. Probably just as well. Tomorrow is a new day of work that is sure to bring even new challenges. I'm proud of the way that Second Helpings is reacting to the crisis. You can read more about that by clicking here: https://www.secondhelpings.org/4-days-ago

In the meantime, take care of yourself and wash your damn hands!

Sláinte mhaith!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Happy Pancake Tuesday!

Today I was contemplating how to celebrate Shrove Tuesday - or Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras - all names for Ash Wednesday Eve.

As kids we took full advantage of getting in one last shot at whatever you pledged to give up for Lent. It was the time for one last chance to pinch your sister or roll your eyes at your brother or to savor a coveted chocolate bar. Mom would make a special meal that included dessert and we would whoop it up, Boone County farm kid style.

I still take Lent very seriously, not only giving something up (usually booze) but trying to do something extra (typically pledging to write notes to folks to let them know how much I appreciate them).

This evening, I considered my stand-by walking to the Red Key for a Jameson whiskey or driving to a fast food joint for French fries and a diet soda. I'm giving up the drink this year - both booze* and diet soda.

I remembered reading that the Irish celebrate by eating pancakes. According to lore, the tradition started because you needed to use up your eggs and sugar - things that were not allowed to be consumed during Lent. I really enjoyed this explanation. 

As luck would have it, I had all of the ingredients at home. In the spirit of using things up, I added lime zest to the batter and made lime syrup.

I poured my diet Pepsi in an Apollo glass in honor of Katherine Johnson, who died yesterday. I used my Lord's Prayer glass for my carefully-measured ounce of Irish whiskey.

I think it was a pretty decent way to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Although I'd totally pinch my one of my sisters if I happened to see one of them in the next hour and a half. 

Wonder how many pancakes are being consumed in Ireland today? Here is the surprisingly precise number: 

*I'm reserving the right for a Saint Patrick's Day dispensation.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

surprise visitors and new year's resolutions

My 2019 resolutions included refinancing Chez Pez to a shorter term mortgage, getting back to my WW goal weight, firing up the blog again, keeping a houseplant alive, and making a will.

I seem to have discovered my green thumb and the plants are flourishing, as are the cuttings I've grown from them. The house is starting to look like it's occupied by a plant hoarder.

I signed my new mortgage (knocking almost 10 years off), just under the wire, on December 20. Last week, after a whiskey (mine not hers), I mentioned the will to the attorney that will make it happen, so that sort-of counts.

Getting back to my WW goal ain't gonna happen in the next two hours, so here we are, at the 11th hour, updating the blog.

I wouldn't be sharing any of this with you, if not for a visit from the Morrows and a promise to Cliff that I would update the blog before the year was over.

I'd been feeling a little blue this fall...nothing specific, just in a funk.

In October I was lucky enough to be invited to the twins 11th birthday celebration - visiting the haunted house at the Children's Museum. I was looking forward to it - hanging with Tammy and kiddos in costumes and I'd never been to the haunted house.

Even though we had timed tickets the line wrapped up a ramp and into a room and then another room. I was in a panic - I was clearly going to be late for work - did I bail or were we almost to the main event? Ultimately I stayed in line, but I was feeling the stress of being late but not wanting to ruin the party.

I wound up being an hour late to work. I'm not known for my timeliness, but this was an all time record. I hoped off the bus and raced into the front door of the Red Key making apologies as I went. As I was trotting towards the back of the tavern to hang up my jacket I whooshed by a table and and mumbled "hey Cliff." By the time I took two more steps it dawned on me....Cliff and Marilyn were sitting at the Red Key - and they live in Nebraska!

I hadn't seen them since Blogstock in 2008.

They were kind enough to route their vacation through Indianapolis on a Saturday night to visit me at the Red Key! I was gobsmacked at their generosity!

And I swear that I've been in a better mood ever since then. Their thoughtfulness in planning their trip to include a surprise visit flipped a switch in my brain. It has reminded me of the power of face-to-face visits and friendship.

I've been making an effort to have more visiting time recently and all visitors are welcome here...except maybe for the possum currently residing on my porch - that's a post for another time.

Big thanks to Cliff and Marilyn for coming to Indianapolis. I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me.

Here's to a great 2020 and another resolution crossed off the list - with almost two hours to spare!


Friday, November 11, 2016

big chill

 I'm sharing 20 memories in honor of living in my house for 20 years. This is #11

Some people get geeked out over classic cars - I'm all about vintage appliances...and the things that go with them.This stove is what started my obsession. It is a Frigidaire made by General Motors. 

My kitchen is too narrow to get a good photograph of the behemoth. It has two ovens, a warming drawer, three burners, and a crockpot-like thingie. Everything works but the clock.
This beauty is the newest resident of Chez Pez. It's a 1949 Crosley Shelvador and I've only had it for about a month.

Do you know why it's called a "shelvador?" It has shelves in the door! Quite a revolution at the time. 

Before you all start in on the energy efficiency thing, refrigerators from this era were built when electricity was more precious so they were made to be as efficient as possible. They are smaller than modern ones and they don't have automatic defrost so they're not constantly running to keep up. 

I actually enjoy the defrosting process - and hanging laundry to dry and hand-washing my dishes. It is a chance to slow down and enjoy my cozy house.

This General Electric fridge was my first vintage refrigerator and we had seven good years together. After it gave up the ghost I thought I wanted something newer. 

I got this lovely turquoise refrigerator after that, but we never really bonded. It ran ALL of the time and never stayed at the right temperature - stupid defrost feature. It was perfect for craft beer root vegetables. Our relationship didn't last that long. I loved the way it looked, but it just wasn't practical worrying about food safety and all. 

Having the new /old has made me excited about eating healthy again and using my Pyrex refrigerator dishes.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


I'm sharing 20 memories in honor of living in my house for 20 years. Here is #10...

I've spent a lot of time in the last 20 years not sleeping. 

At first it was because there was so much music to hear and books to read and people to meet. 

For eight of the years that I've lived at Chez Pez I worked in a coffeehouse and bakery. I would get there around 5:30 in the morning and work at the counter until noon-ish, do paperwork, ordering, banking, and scheduling for a few hours then go home for a nap or laundry or whatever.

On evenings that we had music I would go back to work around 6:00 pm and work until it was over. Most nights I was going out to see music after that. 

I used to joke that my life was a series of naps. 

And it was fine. I've never needed a lot of sleep. I was the kid reading under the covers with a flashlight when I was young. 

I was always a good sleeper - it never takes me too long to conk out and I can sleep just about anywhere. 

Then one night I just woke up. Wide awake. For no reason. 

It happened again and again and again, night after night after night. 

In those days, um, nights - I'm guessing it was about 15 years ago - I would get dressed and head out the door to walk through the neighborhood. In retrospect it wasn't the safest thing to do, but I was never worried. 

I had my little route, I'd zigzag through about a six block area always having in mind who's porch I'd run onto if I felt afraid. 

One early morning I as I was looking at posters in the window of LUNA music I saw a guy sitting on the bench on the corner. I sort of recognized him and we struck up a conversation. As it turned out his wife was part of my extended circle of friends. Tom and I had a nice chat at 3:00 AM. That's how all friendships start, right? 

Now I'm a little wiser about my middle of the night adventures. After reading this article I started embracing the idea of a "second sleep." I will get up and do dishes or read or make my lunch for the next day. I might get as far as my backyard, but no more wandering the neighborhood. 

Sleep tight, my friends. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

best job ever!

I'm sharing 20 memories in honor of living in my house for 20 years. Here is #9....

This ranks as the Number One Great Thing that has happened since I've lived in my house.

I became an aunt. 

Best gig ever. 

Before I held my sweet niece for the first time 16.5 years ago I seriously didn't know that I could love anyone that much. 

That same wave of love crashed over me when my nephew was born two and a half years later. 

The above photo was taken when the Cubs won the National League pennant in Chicago last month. How grown up they are! 

I worry that I don't spend enough time with them. No excuses - between my jobs and other obligations and their sports schedules and school and social lives and the fact that they don't need babysitting any more we need to work on time together. 

Which I'm pledging to do now. 

I could spend all night posting photographs of these smart, kind, amazing people....I'm also aware that they might not want a ton of pictures of their young selves for all of the world to see. 

I made myself hone it down to a few of my favorites....

Molly's First Communion - I'm lucky enough to be her godmother. 

Quick-draw John showing how it's done at the O-K Pez Corral. 

Monday, November 07, 2016

election day.

I'm sharing 20 memories in honor of living in my house for 20 years. Here is #8. 

I love Election Day! I always pick out a special voting outfit - this year it is a Statue of Liberty skirt, black top, boots, and my favorite accessory: the "I Like Everyone" pin. 

I know that I have voted in every single presidential and general election since I was eligible to vote. 

The first presidential election I voted in was in 1980 and I was a freshman at Purdue. I can't swear that the polling place was in my dorm, but it very may well have been. It went off road that year and voted for John Anderson. I liked Jimmy Carter okay, but he didn't seem too exciting and I couldn't wrap my head around Ronald Reagan. Why I found Anderson exciting I don't know. In my defense I was 19 years old. 

This year I even accessorized the house - red, white, and blue lights across the house and red, white, and blue paper lanterns on the porch. 

I try to make sure that I'm as well informed as I can be. I've never been a straight ticket voter, I do my best to vote for the person that I think can do the best job. 

In the last 20 years either the presidential elections have gotten more exciting or I'm paying better attention. 

Today was my fifth time voting in a national election since I've lived at Chez Pez. Toss in the national primaries and "off year" elections and primaries, I've voted in basement of the church down the street with the red door than I have anywhere else. 

The church is only five blocks away and I swear each time that I'm going to walk to vote. I've only managed to do that four times in the last 20 years. I'm usually cutting it too close to when I need to be on the road for work so I drive. 

This morning I arrived at 7:15 which was perfect timing. The long line from the 6:00 am folks was over and I breezed right in. The great thing about living in one place so long is that everyone knows your name. Don't worry - I still had to show my identification. 

Last week when Tammy asked if I could watch the twins on Election Night my knee-jerk reaction was "no way!" There were results to watch, whiskey to drink, and possibly champagne to pop. 

Then I realized that the company of two eight-year olds would be the best company for the evening. Not to get all sappy and stuff but I'm counting on that generation for a lot of things. 

Eight years ago I'd been to a watch party in the neighborhood where the hosts cleverly had maps and crayons so we could color in the states as they declared who won each state. By the way, I totally stole Kirsten's idea this year...anyway.....

2008's map
I met up with Tammy at the Red Key on my way home. She was coming back to the neighborhood after being with the twins at the NICU  As Tammy and I watched the returns on the slightly fuzzy television at the bar where talking politics is frowned upon she told me how excited she was that her kids would grow up in a time where having an African-American president was a reality. 

I wondered if we'd ever see a woman on the ballot in our lifetime. Tammy was confident that we would and she was right. 

2016 map. 

I brought maps and crayons and candy for the kids thinking we'd color in the states and watch the returns. Art, geography, math, and civics all with one page and two crayons. 

Exciting, right? 

I quickly realized I was out of touch with the eight year-old citizens of my district.  

I couldn't compete with Madeline and games. But that was okay. We did talk about the electoral college and who was winning and what the governor and senators do and such. 

As I type we're still not sure who will be the next president. I do know that no matter who wins, hearing the news with a stinky pair of little feet on my lap and a snoring kiddo attached to them gives me hope. 

p.s. - I said this four years ago and I still believe it.