Saturday, March 19, 2016

One a Penny two a penny

Only a week until Easter so begins again my annual hunt for authentic hot cross buns, which apparently have gone out of fashion like so many things of memory. I remember this Mother Goose rhyme : 
Hot-cross buns!  Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns!
Wikipedia says "The earliest record of the rhyme is in Christmas Box, published in London in 1798.[1] However, there are earlier references to the rhyme as a street cry in London, for example in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1733,"  

Imagine that, a child in the 1950's grows up reciting a poem from the 1700's and remembers it today in 2016.  As I ponder many things of the past, I wonder, am I getting that old that I think back more and more?  Perhaps.    Here in  the tenuous Minnesota spring time weather which can bring sun one day and dust with snow overnight as t did last night I wonder about all sorts of things.  From my Facebook morning posting, two photos a week apart. 
Back deck with new bistro set covered, snow
dusting overnight March 19, 2016

Back deck Bistro set covered with tarp as Jerry insisted
March 11, 2016, to my protest, he cautioned, "It will
still have some winter weather could have snow." He was
right of course, I go for the sun as my long rooted in  California mind is fooled once again
 I like to go outdoors for a  walk of 4-5 miles, adopting the habit of young European mom's I saw in Germany and Austria who put their kiddies in strollers and off they push around town for a mid day breath of fresh air.  Good for the soul to be out there, as friend Lisa says. We live in a lovely small town that is very amenable to walking, so I can easily cover those miles.  If I want to stay closer to home I can trot 1/4 mile down the street to the high school quarter mile track where round and round I go getting in a few miles easily.  

The other day walking, I thought about my late aunt Jinx and a gallon jar filled with coins that she left behind with the label, "Money we have found walking."  When we cleared her house after she passed in 2009, we found her jar pushed back on a closet shelf with over $300 assorted coins, apparently found here and there by herself or late Uncle John, her husband on their walks or in parking lots, or wherever.  I too used to find money frequently sometimes even currency.  And somehow I began to think that  today in all the miles I walk I never find money, none, not even a penny.  Was it that long ago that I would stop and pick up a loose penny on the ground, recalling, "a penny saved is a penny earned."  as others might just walk by, leaving the copper coin there. 

This reflects how rare use of cash is today.  While Jerry remains "old school" and likes to pay with cash, I seldom carry more than a couple dollars, instead use my handy ATM debit card.  That was another annoyance in Europe to be using different cash currencies in the different towns.  Last October in California at a restaurant with cousins and aunt, Jerry pulled out cash to pay the bill to the astonishment of my 80 some year old Aunt Pearl who asked wide eyed, "Do people still use money today?" 

Think about it, cash is rarely used.  Many are addicted to "points" they accumulate from charging  everything on plastic cards.  They consider accumulating points wise, a rebate, a bargain, I find them  annoying. For example our Verizon points, over 300.000 and not a thing worth our cashing them.  Most of their offers require additional cash for something we would not buy anyway.   So the Verizon points sit and pile up, useless.  We have used some points on other cards for cash yet the $100 or even $10 is not nearly what we have spent. 

We have never been charge card type people, which has likely given us a much  easier lifestyle today in retirement.  Often we hear these adds about consolidating debts, stretching the finance payments out and I am grateful that we never got into that lifestyle.  Other than our home mortgages, we did not owe payments.  If we charged anything it was paid for fully the next month when the bill arrived. We were frugal, savers, we did not waste our hard earned money and did not live beyond our means.  How different were we from others?  Yet, our frugality has afforded us a debt free retirement, a nice life style. 

We used to save spare change, coins that accumulated in purse and pockets went into a basket and then  periodically Jerry would roll them up into the  distinct paper coin wrappers and take them to the bank.  Today that basket takes longer to fill, as I mentioned I admit to seldom using cash so I have  less change to dump and Jerry often leaves his along with the tip at the restaurant, or spends it.  Not too long ago when he took the last stack of rolled coins to the bank, they had to open each and dump into the coin machine to count, a sign of the times.  The teller said it was now the policy because some unscrupulous people used to plug the rolls with  fake currency.   

Money, yes, I always stooped to pick up a penny, coins.  And yet today, no spare change drops from pockets.  It's probably a good thing people do not drop their plastic cards, that would be a terrible find in the hands of the wrong person.  How different life is today from when we skipped along chanting and holding up and down our fingers,
"Two shiny quarters,
Before the day was done
One bought a sucker,
Then there was one.
One little quarter,
I heard it plainly say,
"I'm going in the piggy bank
For a rainy day!"
Pocket change

And that's it for today, when few anticipate the possibility of that rainy day.  We were raised differently in different times, when money was cash, one spent what they had or less.  And yes, tragic circumstances, misfortune can foil the best laid plans, but still saving money, planning was a good thing.  I am glad we did.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March comes in like an albino lion

View out front from  living room this morning
Most all snow was melted by Saturday,
here my shadow taking photo out back
Oh, what a difference the MN weather makes in just four days, welcome to  the north where Mother Nature is not to be trusted. As these photos tell the story, from  a few days to today, things change.  Here is treachery recognized and accepted by long time locals who tell me, "it's early"  "not spring yet" and once more they are right.  This is tiresome to me having grown up in southwestern PA and then spending most of my life in northern California, where now trees and shrubs are already blooming to welcome spring.  While I do appreciate 4 seasons and yes, I know it hasn't been that long  nor tough a winter, I am already done with it.  I thought I was getting ready to pack away both my long tall and short Uggs, other boots, and all winter gear.  Because Saturday was glorious, the balmiest warm day, when I didn't even need a jacket as I logged in a few foot miles around the local nearby high school  track before we  drove down to Lansing Iowa.  As usual, the weather conned me.  And although we only had a couple inches  of snow, I find it amusing.  Snow was iffy, if we had been luckier with our river bluffs, this would have stayed south and swept east, but nope, we caught the white.  The snowfall though slight  meant I canceled my morning drive to the Y for my Tuesday pretzel class aka yoga workout, having to do so at home instead.  It was rather treacherous on the roads, several schools wee closed or delayed opening, as that voice tells me, "don't go out looking for trouble, stay in your safe warm home, nothing you need to do out there."  My intention with  remaining home this winter was to accomplish all sorts of projects, most of which remain in various pending states as of today because I can become easily distracted and  do  a little at a time, flitting as I see fit, not very disciplined because I don't have to be.  
Binders of recipes along with part of my
cookbook collection

One binder page open
At least, One task  nearly done now was to reorganize or finalize the filings in my collection of recipe binders, photo here of the collection with cook books.  I am an uncontrollable clipper of recipes as are many of my friends.  We talk about our shared affliction, especially those of us now at our "age."  WTH are we doing this for?  In my case, if I cooked one recipe a day from my collection I wouldn't finish in 40 years and I do not expect to survive that long.  Well at least they are in binders, still when I look for a recipe as I did yesterday in preparing chicken thighs, I cannot find it easily. I will end up using my trusty tablet and searching onto the Cook's or Cusine sight.  Turns out that particular recipe was not here but in a collection of my Cook's Illustrated and Cuisine magazines which are accumulating on our Four season Porch which serves as my walk in wine storage cooler in cold weather.

I sometimes ponder what in the world, why bother. And then I go on and toss some, rearrange others, and even go so far as to consider creating an index, a table of contents on a data base so I can readily find the recipe or tip I want when I want it.  But, as  happens I have more ideas than implementation efforts.  I always have been the idea person, the manager, the one who could think things up, I had staff to implement.  Ahh,shades of my career days, some of those skills are not so much in use today as I am my own staff.  

Which brings me to the meandering thoughts that circulate round my head with ever increasing frequency, why bother?   I have no descendants to enjoy nor be interested in my collections.  So when I am gone to the here after, this will all be tossed.  I'd like to think, someone will get some of these and find them useful, iconic, or who knows. I often do as I buy on impulse an old recipe book or two at an estate sale.  I wonder about the person who used it before, especially when they have noted something as good or added their modifications, or the page is dogeared, stained from years of use. I smile and remember that someone enjoyed this same recipe and well, here I have it now.  But reality is ,this just won't happen here with mine.  Which is where I could  get off into a pity party of poor us, no family to share with, and so on. Nope, not going to go there, would do no good, instead, I try to keep busy, now maybe I'll put this on the blog.Well, there more time has gone and now time to get to thinking about dinner, so it goes, a snow day and some minor tasks accomplished.  For this I am glad to be retired, time is all mine..  
Partial collection of my binders of clipped recipes
Feet happily clad in warm soft German socks from
Regensburg, my trip in Nov/Dec.  Ahhh, easy living.