I Miss Spring!

This week we’re supposed to hit triple digits. Summer has come and it looks like it’s here to stay. That means I’ve had to close up the apartment and turn on the air conditioner, so we don’t bake to death! I appreciate that the heat here in Southern California isn’t sweltering and sticky like it is back in Texas, but I really don’t like heat, either way. I like Spring temperatures.

Spring is my favorite season. It’s the time of year when everything turns green again and looks beautiful, before the heat of summer bakes all life out of it again. It’s the time of year when it’s not too cold and not too hot. You can feel comfortable with your windows open, and most of the time you don’t even need a fan. I get a lot of my cooking and baking done during the Spring, because it’s just too damn hot to heat up my whole house with my stove or oven during the summer, and during the winter, I’m busy making things that will keep you warm, so I don’t really have time to experiment.

I also like Spring because my birthday is smack in the middle of it. I know that as soon as everything has turned lush and green and beautiful, we’ll be celebrating me, and who doesn’t love that?

I think the season I like least of all is Winter. Winter in Texas meant cold, rainy weather, and it was always overcast and gloomy. Everything looked ugly. The trees were bare, the ground was wet and brown, and the sky was always the ugliest shade of gray. It made me want to curl into a ball and just cry all the time! Here, it’s not so bad. We just have to deal with the horrible smog that stagnates over us toward the end of winter, but for the most part it stays fairly warm here, because of the Santa Ana winds. But, that is the main reason I dislike winter here. Santa Ana winds make you miserable! They’re so hot and dry that you feel like you’re shriveling up and cracking everywhere. The winds suck every little drop of moisture out of your body, so if you don’t constantly inhale water like it’s going out of style, you end up with chapped lips, and cracked, bloody hands.

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

Epidemics and Pandemics – I’m More Worried About the Flu!

Everyone in the U S of A has worked themselves into a tizzy over ebola. Those of us who haven’t are probably the only sane people left! People are crying and screaming that ebola is airborne and thinking that just breathing the same atmosphere as an infected person means they’re going to die!

I’m more worried about catching the flu. That nasty little critter visits us every winter, and every winter, without fail, people die because of it. It’s a misery machine. If you’ve ever had it, you know what I mean. If you’ve never caught the flu, you’re a very lucky person, and should probably play the lottery regularly.

I’m currently sick with some sort of stomach bug. It hit me last night as soon as we finished our dinner. At first, I thought my stomach was just giving me fits because I’d eaten a hamburger, and beef and I just don’t get along well, but I still feel like death warmed over this morning. I have a stomach ache and I’m still really tired. I spent the majority of yesterday taking a really long nap, and I think that’s on the agenda again today. Whatever I’ve got, while it isn’t super-unpleasant in the throwing up and projectile diarrhea department (I thank my lucky stars I don’t have that bug,) it does have me worn down, cranky, and achey.

I’m going to take the time to note that we, as Americans, should probably be more worried about diseases and illnesses we can catch, rather than going full-on scaremonger over a disease that there is a good likelihood most of us will never experience. That’s why I am more worried about catching the flu this year than I am ebola. I got my flu shot last year and still ended up with a nasty case of the flu, so I can say with most certainty that I know the vaccine does not entirely protect you from it. And, since it makes you very miserable and literally knocks you on your ass to the point you can barely crawl across your house to get to the toilet to go pee, I’d very much rather spend my time trying to avoid catching that than spending my time worrying about ebola.

So, how about we spend our time making sure we keep things clean around us to prevent the spread of the infectious diseases that will most likely visit us.

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(Click the image above to visit the Don’t Wait, Vaccinate Facebook Page.)

Just One of Those Weeks

I apologize for my absence. I’m back… Last week was extremely busy for me, and extremely exhausting. I barely had time to deal with life, let alone this little blog, but I’m sorry I didn’t at least post something small for you guys!

I’ve got the results from the poll I posted two Fridays ago. As it turns out, the majority of you want me to post a “WTF Friday,” so I’ll start that this week. I’m excited about doing that, and I think it will be a fun way to end the week. Thank all of you for voting.

This week should be a lot less hectic for me, and I plan to get back to posting daily, like I’ve been doing. I had so much going on last week, between multiple doctor’s appointments for my child, lengthy errands that needed to be run, and other domestic crap, that I’m still trying to catch up on all of my normal stuff, and that includes sleep! I actually spent the majority of yesterday napping because I was so tired!

My child, who has aggression issues, also decided that last week he’d start acting out again, which necessitated the need for one of the doctor’s appointments, because I’ve decided I’m not going back to being his whipping post again. We were going to therapy for him, but honestly, I don’t really think it was for him, and I don’t think they ever planned it that way in the first place. Long story short, it was basically one-on-one parenting classes for us, and while that’s all good and well, when a child is experiencing issues like he is, there’s only so much that “good parenting” can do for the child before you need a therapist to sit down with the child, himself, and try to get to the root of the problem. So, along with a doctor’s appointment, I had to work on trying to get a referral to a new place for therapy that would deal with him instead of us. There toward the end, we were starting to feel like we were being blamed for his issues, and to be honest, I don’t think blame has any business in this equation. It’s also extremely exhausting to feel like you’re the reason your child lashes out at you! So, I took him to the doctor to get his medication increased and worked on therapy, along with all of the other things I needed to do last week.

Autumn has finally arrived here in Southern California! I’m so happy about this! We haven’t had to run the air conditioner for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve actually been able to do some baking again. Saturday, I made an amazing banana nut bread that was gone by Sunday morning. I’ll be making another batch, as I still have bananas and buttermilk to use before they go bad. I’m not really a fan of banana bread, but my two men are, and since I love watching people enjoy my cooking and baking, I don’t mind making it!

I hope this past week has gone well for all of you!

Fire Season is Officially Upon Us

And, may I take a moment to whine and say how much I hate it?!

We had amazing temperatures this past week or so. I’ve been enjoying the cool weather and being able to have my windows open all day and not feel like I’m baking. But that’s all going to change tomorrow night. Thursday and Friday, at least, are going to be nasty. We’ve got Santa Ana winds in the forecast. Those are never fun!

For everyone not in Southern California who has no idea what Santa Ana’s are, let me explain a little. In the Autumn and Winter when a high pressure system settles over the desert, it causes the air to move away towards areas of lower pressure. Since the deserts are at a higher elevation than places along the coast, it moves downhill. As this air moves, it heats up and loses almost all humidity content. The winds are usually the worst in the passes of the local mountain ranges, where they can overturn tractor trailers and completely wreck traffic. They’re very difficult to drive in. By the time the air makes it down the mountains and reaches us here in the Southland, it’s usually around 100° with humidity in the teens or single digits.

This air also sucks almost every drop of moisture out of the vegetation in the wild land areas, such as the Foothills and San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. Since we’re already in a severe drought, this is even more dangerous. The label the weather people around here use for the Santa Ana’s is “fire weather” and “fire season”, because this is usually when devastating fires start and, being fueled by high winds, burn out of control for days. I’m especially not looking forward to this part of the Santa Ana’s.

Last year, the Colby Fire burned just north of where I live. I took a video using my phone while driving home from dropping my husband off at work.

Excuse the white orb in the lower right hand corner. That’s my phone’s holder, and I couldn’t seem to move my phone enough to get that out of the shot.

I’m not worried about fires burning my house down, because I don’t live right up against the hills, but the air quality is so poor when fires happen that it’s very difficult to breathe outside. This means that even if the temperatures are nice outside, I’ve got to close up my windows and turn on my air conditioner to keep from having to breathe this smoke and having everything in my house covered in a layer of soot and ash. It also isn’t very nice to your vehicle. This ash covers everything, even vehicles parked under an awning, and it’s corrosive, so you want to wash it off as soon as possible to save your paint job.

I think it goes without saying that the end of this week has me worried. I’m not thrilled with the prospect of another giant wildfire around here. I can do without the excitement, and I very much can do without the smoke! I’d also be pleased as punch to avoid the high temperatures. Santa Ana winds just aren’t my thing!

 

Dear Autumn – Where Are You?

Most of my readers know I’ve been trying to bait and coax the weather gods into delivering us a beautiful Fall here in Southern California. We had a rather nice summer, up until these last couple weeks, which were completely horrid. Right now, the temperatures are “average” according to the local weathermen, and I’m not looking forward to the temperatures rising back into the 90’s again tomorrow. This is heartbreaking!

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I’m a huge fan of all things Autumn. I love crisp Fall air, red and orange leaves, every drink possible being flavored with pumpkin, and I’m very much looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving. I haven’t yet picked out my son’s Halloween costume, but I’ve already figured out exactly what I’m fixing for Thanksgiving, which in turn dictates, to an extent, what I’ll fix for Christmas.

I’ve already started into what I call the “pumpkin craze.” These past two weekends, I’ve made pumpkin spice lattes for Saturday breakfasts. These are so delicious and easy to make, I sometimes wonder why I didn’t try this sooner! I’ll probably post the recipe soon.

Something else I like to make as soon as eggnog is available is “eggnog lattes.” I love these! They’re basically a plain latte, only instead of using steamed milk for them, you steam eggnog instead. It’s so amazing, and once you’ve had one, you’ll wish eggnog was available year-round. The one important thing to remember when shopping for the eggnog for these lattes is that you MUST buy the extra-rich type, such as Borden’s Extra-Rich or Southern Comfort in the black carton. Regular or canned eggnog is too runny.

Now, I’m wishing eggnog was in stock at my grocery store!…

Dear weather gods – can you please quit fucking with us, here? All of us are tired of the heat. It’s time for temperatures to be dropping, not rising, so could you kindly get on with that? We’d appreciate it very much if you did!

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

Anna, What Smells so Good?

I’ve got split pea and ham soup in my crock pot right now. It’s giving my house the most delicious aroma. I wish all of you could smell this fantastic scent that is the dinner currently simmering on low!

The temperature here has, thankfully, dropped from triple digits to lower-to-mid 80’s. I’m celebrating this with a delicious soup, hoping to coax the weather gods into giving us a nice Fall. I decided there was no better way to do so than with a classic Fall soup. Hence why I am making split pea and ham soup.

This soup is so incredibly easy to make, whether you do it in a slow cooker or on the stove.

Ingredients:
1 lb dried split peas
1 onion, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
2 TBSP diced garlic
1 lb ham (I chose a ham steak this time around, but you can use leftover ham or even loaf ham)
1 carton chicken broth
2-3 cups water (depending on how runny you want your finished product)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in either a large pot on the stove or your crock pot. If cooking on the stove, simmer on low for approximately 30 minutes. If cooking in a crock pot, cook on low for 6 hours. (If you used a ham steak, like I did this time, you’ll need to break it apart at some point.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Split Pea Soup

Tell me this doesn’t look delicious! OMG! I must go feast, now!