My New Weekly Journal without a Name

Once upon a time, I joined a blogger who started a “Secret Life of Bloggers” blog party. I liked the concept of taking one picture a day. I didn’t stick with it for very long. 🙁 I just looked at the website and nothing has been posted since 12/21, so I guess that party is over.

When the pandemic started, I began posting my own themes: “Pandemic Photo Journal” and “Pandemic Pantry Potluck. Those lasted for a few months and then I stopped. I started the photo journal with this introduction: I am trying a weekly photo journal of my life during this stay-at-home pandemic. The idea is to post on Sundays and include one photo for each day of the week with some text. I may not limit myself to one photo because I have a hard time with rules like that. It seems a perfectly logical thing to do on a family history blog. This is certainly an historic time.

I just re-read my early entries and I’m really sorry I stopped. It certainly brought those early pandemic days back to mind.

So here I am again, ready to give it another try. What theme/name/tag shall I give it this time? We are still sort of in the pandemic – COVID-19 is not over. Hopefully we will someday be post-pandemic. If I keep up my blog journal, the name would no longer fit. I think I’ll try to post journal entries on Monday, since I’m often still trying to finish up Sepia Saturday posts on Sundays. I’m open to suggestions for a name. Leave any suggestions in the comments. If you’d like to join me, we’ll have a party!

I’ll start with the past week (well, mostly the past week) to get me going.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

* Celebrated late birthdays – my husband and his cousin Harriett. We tried a new-to-us restaurant in Round Rock – Milano’s. The Italian waiter was like family by the time we left. If you know my husband, you will know why. We all had Osso buco – one of Harriett’s favorite Italian dishes. It was a first for Martin and me. Besides the lovely presentation, it was very good and provided three meals – I ate some at the restaurant and Martin and I shared my leftovers for lunch.

Monday, August 8, 2022

*Kind of a rough day. People on edge or dealing with insomnia.
* Did some planning for fall ESL classes.
* Taught my asylum-seeking friend, who from this point forward will be known as R.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

* Sat in on a zoom presentation by the Library of Congress on Sanborn Fire Maps. Picked up a few tips I can use.
* FUMC Mercy and Justice book group. We started reading and discussing Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America.
* The FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lag0 yesterday. Whoa.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

* Dreamboat had his first ever teeth cleaning. We put it off for a few years – we lost sweet Lola a couple of days after a cleaning a few years ago – I think because of a complication from the use of a pain medication. I have a some anxiety about cleanings now. At least it is August and not May. Both of our previous dogs died in the month of May. I don’t like that coincidence, silly as I know it is. I got worried about Dreamboat about 9:30 at night because he had been getting over the anesthesia pretty well, but suddenly toppled over when a leg went out from under him. I called the emergency vet to calm my fears and know what to look for if there was really a problem. He’s okay, but he keeps licking his shaved leg where the IV was.

* I went to Texas Oncology for a port flush – a maintenance thing. I also took the port pillows that some ESL students and I made last week. I haven’t been able to take any for over two years because they stopped taking anything homemade once the pandemic hit. On this trip, things were closer to the old normal. There was no temperature check or Covid questions at the door, although they are still using the side door as the only entrance …? Everyone still needs to wear a mask, but I could just go up to the infusion room and knock on the door and state my business as in the past. I asked the nurse who flushed my port if anything was changing about letting someone accompany patients. Not much change, only on your first doctor visit or if it is medically necessary. The infusion room could get crowded on days when everyone had a person with them and you can’t really enforce distancing, so I understand, but I just hate this. I know, know, know that having my friends accompany me on those long chemo days was medically beneficial. It kept me occupied and laughing and well-cared for as opposed to worried, stressed, lonely, and bored. I wish someone would do a study of patient emotional health, treatment issues, and treatment outcomes comparing patients who can have someone with them and those who cannot.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

* I’ve been reading Holes with a group of ESL students on zoom. I thought we would finish today, but we didn’t get to the very end. They have enjoyed reading it, but the pace I set is a little intimidating for some of them.
* The news!
* T said I should watch Little Forest because it is very relaxing. There is a lot of cooking, not much action. Calming indeed. I recommend.

Friday, August 12, 2022

* My other ESL book club is reading The Boxcar Children #4 – Mystery Ranch. I’m glad I have had these two book clubs for the past few weeks while our regular classes are on summer break.
* Made pizza for the first time in many weeks.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

* On the 2nd, I went with a friend to Black Pearl Books. We had not been to their new location. It’s really nice compared to the closet-sized store they had previously. We also picked up a Beto sign and t-shirt for me while we were out, and my friend gave me the Love sign. I have started all of the books. The signs went up today.

* Actually finished my Sepia Saturday blog post early in the day. Of course, I had made it an easy one. Eveline’s Senior Year – In Search of a Back Story.
* Watched the little mini-episodes of I Am Groot.
* Finished a puzzle I found in the closet and now it gets posted to my Buy Nothing group.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

One of my goals for August is to start getting myself ready on Sunday mornings as if I were going to church in person. You know … showered, dressed, and so on. Now that we don’t use zoom any more and the only option is watching the live feed, I’ve been a Sunday morning slacker. Today was the first Sunday I was actually ready before church started, but not early enough to have driven to church. It’s a start.

And I decided to start this journal …

* The week has been hot. I’m not getting my walks in. I don’t care for the treadmill, but most days at 8:30 PM, it is still uncomfortable. August hasn’t been quite as bad as July, so there’s that.
* I find that I am in a stage of risk assessment when it comes to getting out of the house and being with people. I get out a little with a small group or a meal in a restaurant, but usually not more than once a week. I missed a dear friend’s surprise 65th birthday party this week. I could see that 47 people responded yes to the evite and the party would be at her house, so that was a no for me.

I’ve been rather wordy with this first journal entry. I wonder what kind of routine and form will take hold. And how long I’ll stick with it this time.

Suggestions for a name/theme for my journal entries?

Pandemic Pantry Potluck – Easter Dinner

I’m documenting a little slice of our life during the pandemic with a Pandemic Photo Journal and a Pandemic Pantry Potluck. We are having most of our groceries delivered and joined a Community Supported Agriculture farm. I’ll be sharing a few recipes, how the CSA is working out, or possibly musing on the state of toilet paper or grocery delivery service – whatever appeals to me on a given day. We are so lucky to have a well-stocked pantry at a time when so many have lost jobs and find themselves waiting in very long lines at overwhelmed food pantries. Now is a good time for sharing as we are able.

Easter was certainly different this year. None like it ever before. Easter egg hunts confined to homes and back yards. Virtual church services. Eating alone, or with whomever you share a home, and not the usual extended family. Some families were creative and shared meals over ZOOM, making sure at least someone made the traditional dishes. We were not so creative.

At our house, it was just my husband and me. And honestly, what we would eat on Easter was left to happenstance. We didn’t plan ahead to order the usual ham and other traditional items when we put in our order for our grocery delivery and we were too late once we thought of it. We found a pork loin in the freezer and a couple of potatoes from our veggie box, so we figured we could make do.

After “church” we ate leftovers, deciding to cook a meal for supper. I used the recipe I usually use for pork loin, one I got from a Southern Living cookbook.

Roasted Pork Loin

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons dry mustard
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4-5 pound) rolled boneless pork loin roast

Combine first six ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Trim excess fat from pork. Place pork in a shallow dish or heavy duty zip-top plastic bag; pour soy mixture over pork, turning to coat. Cover and chill at least eight hours.
Remove pork loin from marinade. Bring marinade to a boil and set aside. Place pork loin halves together and secure with string. Place in a greased roasting pan. Bake at 325 degrees for two hours, or until meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 160 degrees, brushing with marinade during first hour of cooking. 10-12 servings.

Note: I never tie the two halves together like you are supposed to. I just snuggle them fairly close together and shorten the cooking time. Check after an hour and see how it looks. If I’m in a hurry, I set the oven at 350.

See the potatoes we got in our box?

They look like white potatoes, but they are a little pointy on the ends. Hmmm. I had decided to roast the potatoes and when I cut into them, I realized that they were sweet potatoes. I had never seen white sweet potatoes before, but they are a thing. They were good too, with a milder flavor than regular sweet potatoes.

The Easter Bunny didn’t come and bring Cadbury eggs or a chocolate bunny and I would be  sharing the book Thunder Cake with my ESL students the following day, so I decided to bake a cake. The book has a recipe for Thunder Cake – a chocolate cake with a secret ingredient. If you read the recipe, it seems obvious that tomato puree is the secret ingredient. But if you read the book, you realize that the secret ingredient is … thunder. I have made the cake twice and it always comes out crumbly and a bit dry. The students pointed out that I was missing the secret ingredient. I does taste good though.

I drained and puréed canned tomatoes with my nifty immersion blender. Since I am trying not to waste food, I saved the juice and leftover purée for something-I-would-be-happy-to-have-this-for-later. Alas, they remain in the refrigerator unused. I have not yet perfected the no-waste lifestyle.

All in all, it was a pleasant Easter, if not the Easter I would have preferred.

And I got my chocolate fix.

My husband and I each had at least one piece of cake in the evening. When the ESL book club met on ZOOM, I told the students that I had baked them a cake and held it up for them to see. Then I turned it around to show that I didn’t wait for them.

I hope you feel nourished by whatever your pantry provides today.

Pandemic Pantry Potluck – Daikon Radish Fries

I’m documenting a little slice of our life during the pandemic with a Pandemic Photo Journal and a Pandemic Pantry Potluck. We are having most of our groceries delivered and joined a Community Supported Agriculture farm. I’ll be sharing a few recipes, how the CSA is working out, or possibly musing on the state of toilet paper or grocery delivery service – whatever appeals to me on a given day. We are so lucky to have a well-stocked pantry at a time when so many have lost jobs and find themselves waiting in very long lines at overwhelmed food pantries. Now is a good time for sharing as we are able.

We got our first veggie box from a different service than the CSA we now belong to. This is what we received in that first box.

Our second meal from this box used two of the oranges and the daikon radishes. We had two tuna steaks in the freezer and some leftover Parmesan Spinach Cakes (made with chard instead of spinach) to complete our meal.

I was going to share the recipe I used for the daikon radishes, but I can’t find it! I know it was printed from the internet several years ago and that I had it in the kitchen with me when I made this. But I have somehow misplaced it. Oh well. It was not a complicated recipe, so here is the gist of it.

Scrub or peel (I peeled) the radishes. Cut into sticks like french fries. Coat with olive (or other oil) and season with salt and pepper. I think I used a seasoned salt like Adobo. Bake until done. I used a fairly high heat and turned them over during baking. I could have seasoned them a bit more and I think a dipping sauce would be great. I keep wondering about barbeque sauce or something with Asian flavors. The radishes mellow with cooking.

The friend that I got the idea for this veggie service from complained about the oranges she got having such a tough skin and being old. If they were the same as these oranges, I can see why she thought so negatively about them.

They weren’t very pretty and the skin was tough, so I sliced them instead of trying to peel. They were delicious! So sweet. I think they might be an orange more suited to juicing, but what do I know about citrus? They were messy to eat and had a tough membrane like grapefruit sections. But they were worth the effort. I hope we get more next time. I’ll gladly lick my fingers again.