Archives for category: seasons

     The Rolling Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” comes to mind because of recent food experiences.

     This refrain started at the diner where I’ve visited almost every Wednesday for more years than I care to admit.  Their traditional special on Wednesday’s is meat loaf. I love meat loaf, hence the van automatically turns into the restaurant’s parking lot on Wednesday. Shortly after the official start of spring I drove there, slid into my customary booth and asked which vegetable came with the meat loaf this week. I was stunned to be told there would be no more meat loaf until the weather turned cool again in the fall. The sales of meat loaf had recently been dismal. In recent weeks, they had too much leftover.

     This was heresy. They could make meat loaf sandwiches the next day. How about freezing the leftovers and defrosting some for me the next week? Make a smaller loaf? After all, this was a tradition from previous owners.

     My protests drew no sympathy nor no meat loaf.

     A few weeks later, a friend and I visited another local eatery. Despite the calendar proclaiming the month as April the temperature was akin to January. I stepped to the counter and asked about the soup of the day. Again, my logic was affronted by the announcement that soups wouldn’t be served again until the fall.

     I commented that I understood that the season was spring, but the temperature… Again, as at the other establishment, my protests of climate logic gained me nothing. Where was the sense in this? I would not wear a pair of shorts and a tank top just because it was April while the temperature was cold enough for snow.

     Last week, the heat wave presented other conundrums.

     My husband worked his typical day off during the 90+ temperature. I called him at work and suggested we go out to eat. We decided on Olive Garden. We had not eaten there in many months, but we, including our son, could all find something on the menu each would enjoy. There was only one concern here: the salad.

     Olive Garden typically brings a large bowl of salad drenched with dressing to the table. Neither my husband nor our son put anything on their salads. I explained this to our waiter who quickly promised that he would leave the dressing off and bring me sides of salad dressing.

     Once the salad arrived, my son took personal possession of the salad tongs and asked me, “Do you want the hot peppers?” I did. I would also take the black olives that neither of them wanted. Trey dished these into my salad bowl. I reminded him that I didn’t want any croutons. Those go to Bill, my husband.

     I thought of Jack Spratt who could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean. Between them both, they licked the platter clean. We did similarly with the various components in the salad bowl.

     A few days later, again in the heat, I decided it was mandatory to have a Jamoca shake. I pulled into the drive-through lane and placed my order. When I pulled around to the window, I was shocked to see that the shake was topped with a mountain of whipped cream protected by a crown of a clear domed top. This was not the appearance of my last (months ago) shake.  I do not eat whipped cream. Not on ice cream. Not on pumpkin pie. Not in the car. Nowhere by far.  The young lady made me another shake, but from her facial expression, I felt as if I should have known about the change in their procedures. How? Osmosis? Sheesh.

     All these food politics are making me hotter under the collar. I should bottle that up for now and bring it out next spring when I want something hot and it isn’t available again.


A long time former neighbor was turning 90, so his children planned a big party. My entire family traveled from points near and far to Ohio to help with the celebration. My sister, Sue, drove from North Carolina and I made the two-hour trek.

I drove up on Friday. The day was sunny. The display in my car showed the ambient temperature as 75º. I wore a long sleeve shirt, to protect my window-side arm from the sun. My windbreaker was thrown on the passenger seat since the forecast was for a continuation of the weather roller coaster the Midwest has been experiencing this winter.

The constantly changing weather — in northwest Ohio, in south central Ohio and in central North Carolina — was a topic of conversation.

Sue mentioned her early blooming flowers. I seconded that by mentioning the shoots sprouting from the soil on the campus where I work. Cathy, the non traveler, commented that even Mr. Freeze had opened early (February?).

Mr. Freeze!

Mr. Freeze is the soft ice cream place in the suburb where I lived for 20 years, 21 years ago. Heck with the calendar, it was the opening of Mr. Freeze that designated the start of spring.

I lived less than a mile from the confectioner, so a walking-the-dog often turned into a stop for ice cream. That dog just pulled us in that direction. We never complained.

The lines, especially on a hot day, were long, stretching into the too small parking lot.

The amount of ice cream in a baby cone would satisfy a family of kids. On one occasion, I witnessed a man from Fostoria (about one-hour south) receiving his medium-sized ice cream and exclaiming, “Wow! If the place in Fostoria gave this amount of ice cream, they’d go broke!”

During the weekend, the temperature plummeted. My jacket was necessary and others commented that it would not be warm enough for the wind and snow that had developed.

Sunday morning, I decided to fill my gas tank before hopping on the expressway for the ride to my present home. Because of highway improvements, I could not get to the gas station the way I did previously. My detour took me right past Mr. Freeze.

I looked at the temperature. It was 32º. Freezing. I’d been hankering for ice cream since before “Mr. Freeze” had originally been mentioned. Why not? When would I be back again. A tin roof (vanilla ice cream topped with Spanish peanuts and chocolate syrup) would be a comforting companion for the long ride home.

Sunday morning, in February, 11 15 a.m., 32 degrees. And I still stood in line! Granted there was only one family in front of me, but there were two mini lines.

I approached the window, asked for a tin roof and was asked, “What size?”

Seeing my bafflement, she placed three styrofoam cups on the counter — small (6 oz.) regular (16 oz.) and large (I have NO idea). I chose the regular.

Ah! Memories of my grandmother making us tin roofs and the chocolate covered ice cream kept me company from Perrysburg to Cygnet — the length of Wood County.

Yep. It was worth it.





For months, I planned a trip to New York City. I would leave after work on Thursday, October 20 drive 3 or 4 hours, spend the night in a hotel, finish the drive on Friday, to my cousin’s where I would bunk. On Saturday we’d go into the city, meet a group of friends and attend a book brunch.

Two years ago, I had won a ticket to the brunch and had a lot of fun. I joked that my free ticket only cost me four tanks of gas, two nights in hotels, my cousin’s ticket and meals. It was still worth it to me.

About six weeks before this trip, my supervisor asked me to plan a new event – Indie Authors Day. We couldn’t do it on the Saturday the Library Journal, the sponsor had designated for the nation to observe. We’ll do it on October 19.


This became an all consuming event trying to round up self-published authors, sending information to attendees, press releases to the media, making and updating a Facebook post, purchasing and assembling gift bags, formulating the agenda, write up purchase orders where necessary, and anything else that might arise – such as questions from the authors including “How do I get to Urbana University?”

Then, an e-mail from the Friends of the County Library. Could I assist at the Halloween party to be held on Saturday October 22.

“Um, well, no! It’s going to be a heck of a commute.” I replied in a return e-mail.

Then the good Catholic girl’s guilt  kicked in.

I sent another e-mail stating that I could buy some candy if they needed and drop it off before I leave for my trip.

The reply, “We need three dozen cookies. Each cookie has to be individually wrapped in a zip-lock sandwich bag to keep crumbs off the library carpet.”

“Okay, I could do that.”

In my original thoughts,  I would bake cookies. That idea went the way of the eight-track tape player quickly as I realized I did not have that much time between items already on my calendar.

I can adapt.

My first un-baked idea was to find Keebler Vienna Fingers cookies and decorate them as ghosts (a little vanilla frosting and maybe mini chocolate chips as eyes). I had not been able to find Vienna Fingers (my personal favorite) in a long time, so I started on the internet. I found a site where inserting a zip code resulted in finding out where these delectable morsels could be purchased.

I put in Urbana’s zip code. No results.

I tried Springfield’s. Again, no stores selling the cookies.

How about Columbus. Nada.

Toledo? (I could meet a sibling half way between them and me) Zilch.

Back to the cutting board.

Monday, October 17 was Husband’s day off. I told him what I needed to do and suggested we go to Kroger’s to pick up what I needed to make witch’s hat treats. This would be a Keebler (again) Fudge Stripe Cookie. The bottom of this cookie is chocolate coated. By applying a thin layer of chocolate frosting, I could put a large Hershey’s kiss in the center, to make the point of the hat and embellish it with a contrasting color frosting at the base of the kiss like a crown ribbon.

At Kroger’s we found the cookies, the chocolate frosting, orange spray frosting and zip-lock bags. The only thing we needed were larger than normal chocolate kisses.

Not in the candy aisle. Not in the baking aisle. Not in the seasonal aisle.

Next we tried the local Amish cheese and meat shop since they have an array of candies. No kisses for us.

Now, we are both slamming life in a small town while trying to follow a pattern that was probably imagined in a much larger city where product diversity is better.

Our last stop is my least favorite store – Walmart.

No giant Hershey’s kisses there either. We surmise they must be a Christmas item.

We did find a Walmart brand cookie that was a smaller version of the Fudge Stripe cookie. Maybe we could make a smaller version of the witch’s hat with normal-sized kisses.

Before we leave the cookie aisle, I notice Nutter Butter cookies. I think they could be covered in white frosting to make a ghost cookie. We grab two packages of the small fudge stripe cookie and two of the Nutter Butter and head to the frosting aisle. We gathered vanilla frosting, black spray frosting, (Husband had trouble believing that existed) and regular Hershey’s kisses in our cart.

We head toward the check-outs, until I’m distracted by a large package in a center aisle. It is pumpkin cookies with faces and covered with orange sprinkles made at the in-house bakery. A package of 18 cookies was $3.99. SOLD!

We were considerate shoppers, replacing the cookies and frostings to the proper places in the proper aisles. We bought pumpkin cookies.

This took most of Monday morning. I had had enough of Halloween already.

Tuesday night I came home and found my darling Husband with the card table set up in the living room. Pumpkin cookies were laid out in front of him. Some had spray frosting tracing the face. Others had a spider added. Others I couldn’t distinguish the extra frosting’s decoration.

“Do you want to help decorate cookies?”he asked me.

“No-o! Why are you doing that?”

“Well, we had the spray frosting and I thought, we should use it.”

“Well, have fun.”

He not only decorated the cookies but put each in the required zip-lock bag.

On Thursday, after the successful Wednesday event, I took the cookies to the library before I went to work.

After my trip to New York, I stopped and asked the library staff how the Halloween Party went. They thought between 175 and 200 children attended. Wow! That must be a record.They agreed that that was a higher number than past events.

Tonight, the Friends of the Library had their monthly meeting. Among the information shared was that they had too many cookies. Some were taken home by one of the members to put in her freezer until the next event.

Maybe I’ll finally stop giving in to my Catholic guilt and not volunteer when I’m already stressed.

But, we have the soup and bread tasting coming up in January. My hand automatically shot up when the president asked for a coordinator.

Another action/reaction learned in Catholic School.


It wasn’t really a month and a half ago that I last wrote a post, was it? (Yes, Linda, it was.)

It’s not for a shortage of ideas that I haven’t written. It’s just once again, I’ve let summer get away from me. The older I get, the faster time (and therefore, summer) goes. This allows me to explain my hour glass explanation. When one first turns over the hour glass, all the sand is at the top. If one watches, one will see the trickle of sand seeping through the hole to the bottom of the glass, but it doesn’t seem to affect the mound of sand in the top of the glass. However, when the grains are few in the top, it is hard to dismiss how little time is left. Just like aging.

For most of the time this summer, I have holed up with the window air conditioning unit in our bedroom. I. Do. Not. Do. Heat. I’m the one who wanted to move to Alaska. I love winter. My favorite sport while I was growing up was figure skating. One can always put more on to warm up, but comes to a point that nothing more can be taken off and it is still hot. (Sorry for that visual.)

Yesterday some friends and I went to the final concert at the museum. For four Fridays at the end of summer, the Springfield Symphony sponsors music at lunch time. The performance was Good Vibes, a quartet composed of a vibraphone, drums, electronic string bass, and an electric 6-string guitar.

I checked my Fitbit for the time seconds before the music started. I held the button a tad too long and also saw that I had only about 450 steps logged.

At the end, I checked the time again and purposefully checked the number of steps accumulated. I announced to my friends, “I gained 500 steps sitting, listening to the music!” Music literally and figuratively moves me. I don’t even sit still listening to symphonies. I conduct.

As long as I’m talking movement, I am going to take credit for most of the U.S.A. Olympic swim team’s medals. I sit in my recliner in the air conditioned bedroom and move my body to help push and prod the swimmers to glory. I’m glad no one is able to see the choreography I do in my chair.

There’s one more week of Olympics. What sport shall I move on to next? Perhaps Women’s Beach Volleyball? They’re doing pretty well without me. Perhaps I should have watched more of the Women’s Soccer.

The yo-yoing temperatures have had some questioning whether it is truly spring or not.

I have seen or experienced proof that spring has actually arrived.

The daffodils are standing at full attention. The forsythia is well on its way to being fivesythia.

There was a fly in my van last week.

Two Canada geese have adopted the university library as their personal property. I think they have been trying to hatch it.

The robins have returned and are presenting harmony with the cardinals and sparrows.

Most obvious spring forensic? My husband of twenty-five and a half years was confused by the voice that answered his phone call to home this morning.

I answered the phone and heard, “Do you have to work today?”

“Yeah,” I answered, baffled by his question.

“Oh, I though you were Son!”

My allergy produced basso profundo has returned.

Yep! It’s spring.