Saturday, October 23, 2021


Lucy June, my Lulu

Hello friends.  I'm glad to be back so soon.  If you read my post from last week, which you can find here, you'll know that I've had a hectic year with many lows.  When I finally sat down and wrote and then read your comments after, a feeling of relief came out like a long sigh.  I felt again the community we have in blogging and in sharing our thoughts, feelings, recipes, photos, and all the good times and bad.  It was like getting a warm hug.  I began planning another post soon after and I'm looking forward to keeping it going. 😊

Above is a picture of Lucy, or as I like to call her, Lulu.  She'll be two next month.  This is Madelyn's little sister.  She is what a lot of people call a "Covid" baby, as in we didn't get to spend much time with her as we normally would have.  Now we are best buds and I love that she is all over me when I see her with her chirpy little greeting, "Hi Gama"!  My son also has a little guy going on two, Bobby, and he's the most sweetest  little boy with blonde hair and blue eyes.  I'll have to steal one of his pictures!

Abby, me, and Squall
Diamond Lake 10/16/21

And then as I mentioned last week, My baby, Abby, and her Tom, are having their own baby and she's due December 18.  So a Christmas baby rather than Covid.  I really can't wait to help her out, even if it's cooking and cleaning just to get them over that bumpy, no sleep, exhausting time.  And it will be so nice to get out of the house to do something more than grocery shopping, seeing doctors, and errands.  I truly missed my regular activities and energy while we were going through the pandemic, and then after the awful surgery and recovery.  Tom is a high school teacher, as is Abby, and his the school is basically three blocks down the street.  He's home at 3:00 p.m., so that's a blessing.  And then an entire summer off.  

We've had ongoing exterior renovations at the lakehouse since late August.  The wood front porch and balcony shown above had been slowly rotting over the past fifteen years due to the natural elements, especially harsh Michigan winters.  It actually took me three summers to find the right contractor.  People showed up and then never returned.  Others never showed at all.  And then there were companies we just didn't trust.  But finally I struck gold and although the tear down and rebuild was costly, it was a structural accident waiting to happen.  

If you look on my sidebar you can see that the cottage was previously painted blue.  How I hated that color.  One of my neighbors said she liked it, that it looked like a "Storybook Cottage", then I knew I had to jump on painting it.  I dreamed of a classic white home with black trim.  It suits the double A frame.  This is a dreary October photo which will change in the spring with the lights changed out, the front door painted, some new shrubs and flowers, outdoor furniture, and the sidewalk weeded and power washed.  Happy days coming soon!   

This is the lakeside of the house (above is the street side).  I love the sun these windows that let the shine in.  At night it looks spectacular from outside with the glow of the lights.  A boxwood hedge and stone wall separate a small yard and meanders down to our beach.  The covered patio is to the left and I'll get to that another time.    

And here we have the guest house, or as the kids always called it, The Little House.  It's basically my larger than normal She Shed, with a great porch for sitting and reading quietly, and a closer view of the lake where I can watch the geese, ducks, swans, and turtles pruning and sunbathing.  Inside are all the comforts of home; an old drop leaf table and chairs for my writing, some comfy wicker furniture, and a TV that gets little reception.  There are two small closets that open and twin size Murphy beds pull out.  With seven screened windows, it's like sitting or sleeping in a birdhouse or nest up in the trees!  I've shared photos of the inside but I'm going to switch out some of the cushions and pillows this coming spring for a different color scheme inside. 

On a different and sadder subject, and the most upsetting thing that rocked my world this year, was the passing of my brother about four weeks ago.  He had just been diagnosed with cancer of the chest wall, and was optimistic and in good spirits when he began chemotherapy.  He was in great shape as a life long athlete, baseball and football coach, in addition to his recent retirement from 47 years of high school teaching.  Three weeks after the first chemo, it was found it had damaged his  previously healthy heart and he died September 26 of a massive heart attack.  I still feel like I'm in shock.  That he's gone and how this wasn't in the game plan.  The days down near Louisville for his funeral, surrounded by his family, friends, colleagues, students,  young and grown men he had taught and coached over most of his lifetime, and my sisters, was so, so painful.  I can't think about him without tearing up.  So I'll end it here.  Rest in peace Bro.  

Roasted Tandoori Chicken

I mentioned in my last post that I was experimenting with some cultural recipes to get out of the same old routine and experiment with different flavors.  Indian spices and the combination of them really intrigue me and if you don't have the ones called for in this recipe, fear not, your regular grocery store has them stocked and you can get the small sizes if you don't think you'll be using them much.

In this photo (credit: The Modern Proper) you can see that a whole chicken was used in the recipe.  It has been spatchcocked, or the spine broken and removed to spread the whole chicken flat.  I did this once and although it worked, I need to brush up on my technique because it was difficult and the chicken looked pretty mangled.  Have you ever done this?

I adapted the recipe from the food blog The Modern Proper  and made some personal changes.  I used chicken thighs to retain that crispiness and juicy meat without all the work of spatchcocking.  I also used coconut flavored yogurt and it worked well.  And finally, I tasted the yogurt and spice blend and found I wanted a bit more cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  What a great juxtaposition.  If you make this, let me know and please share any new~to~you recipes in your comments.  

Roasted Tanddori Chicken

2 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, skin on, trimmed of fat
1/2 c Greek coconut flavored yogurt (or plain)
3+ T fresh lemon juice
1 T fresh ginger (about a 1 inch piece)*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t ground turmeric
1 T chili powder
1-2 t cayenne pepper
2 t cinnamon
2 t cumin 
1+ t sea salt
A handful of fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and dried spices.  Add in salt to taste.

Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet on top of a rack if you have one.  You will still get the crispiness without one.  Slather the yogurt mixture on the whole pieces of chicken,  I did this over the sink with a large spoon.  Place on rack.

Roast for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part.  Sprinkle with additional sea salt and serve over fresh cilantro or parsley, reserving some to to lightly dust on top.  Serves approximately 6.

* I keep my fresh ginger in the freezer for about 6 months.  If using a small portion as required in this recipe, there is no need to peel it, simply grate if finely.  DO NOT attempt to cut a piece of frozen garlic with a knife, it's dangerous!  It's not hard, however,  to break off a chunk. 

Thanks so much for visiting and for leaving comments on my last post.  It made me feel a lot more positive in so many ways. 

Next weekend is the baby shower for Abby.  I'm in charge of the floral arrangements, cake table decor, and the funding! 😂.  I am very excited and I'll be sure to take an excessive amount of pics to share in my next post.

Jane x

Thursday, October 14, 2021


 Hello friends!  Just wanted to let you know I'm alive and well.  I visit all of your blogs so often, but rarely leave comments as you might come back to my blog and there has been nothing written since maybe February?  I have no intention to give up has always been cathartic for me.  I remember when I wrote such funny posts about great days.  Even not so great days.  And of course, I still have them but what a challenging year this has been.

I still have problems with loading pics, so here is a summer pic.  Happy!  I'm busy and not busy.  I spent so much time flat on my back until I could have my back surgery.  Covid vaccines and availability of hospital space dragged it on until the end of May.  I was off my back for several weeks before the surgery and then after.  No pity party here.  I've bounced back finally in the last few weeks, walking Poppy about a mile a day and clocking an average of 8000 to 12,000 steps a day according to my Fitbit.  Housework and chasing after grandkidlets will do that for you!

Before the surgery and definitely after, I declared I hated cooking.  No more.  No desire.  I was sore and tired and we subsisted on grilled cheese and cereal for dinner.  Oh, yes, frozen dinners which The Husband thought were genius.  He can't fry an egg but the microwave really chuffs him.  Thank the Lord.  The kids and everyone said, seriously, you hate cooking?  I was adamant.  I couldn't look at the stove, my wall of spices. my drawer of chef knives.  The desire was gone.

But I knew I wasn't going to be a 61 year old lady who limped along here and there, and sat on the sidelines.  So I've been working my bum off to get both inner and outer drive and strength.  And on a good note, I'm cooking again...delving into Middle Eastern recipes which have always challenged and interested me.  So far, so good.

On the home front, we have been blessed in that we are all vaccinated and spending time together.  This has made up for all the pain and isolation of last year and the first part of this year.  Since I have severe asthma, I'm eligible for the Covid Booster shot, scheduled for next week.  I'm very grateful for that. 

 My daughter, Abigail, and her husband, Tom, are expecting their first child in December.  There is something so different about this for me.  She's my baby.  I've held her hand through every doctor's appointment and wisdom tooth surgery.  She hasn't so much said it, but if its possible to have more than one person in the room according to Covid protocol, I may be there for the special time. I can't imagine another experience such as this.

Abby and Tom bought a house about five blocks from us about two years ago.  Emily and Mike just bought a home five blocks in the other direction!  How good can it get?  To see them and my grandchildren so conveniently?  I'm so blessed.

The Husband has had a lot of health problems. I was beating around the bush in 2012 when he had cancer, as I felt it was his journey and not something I should share.  I believe in the power of prayer but please...don't leave me comments that overwhelm me, with all due respect -I need space. Tell me how you have coped, how you have faced life alone, how you've navigated these rough waters, and even email me if you want to "talk".  But please, no exclusive focus on this.  I'm taking it day by day.  Be patient with me.  

 I could write volumes about all that has gone on in my world since I last blogged.  No use trying to  backtrack.  Maybe snippets in another post.  Please bear with me if this sounds like a total downer.  We have our ups and downs, good times and bad, and life throws us a lot of curves.  And I say laughing, the color and font of this post are beyond my own workings! But who cares.  Let it go.

So...I'll be back soon.  The holiday season is coming up fast and it consumes me as an OCD person who can never let things be.  I'll never learn at this age, so let's just celebrate!!

Love and hugs and so grateful for your support-❤️