Looking Victorious

She gently carried the box into the backyard. Kneeling in the packed and dirty snow, she opened the box. Startled she stared at the contents. Instead of the white towel there was a black plastic trash bag neatly knotted. She felt hot as she threw off her gloves and ripped the plastic open. There he was, curled up in a tiny ball. He seemed even smaller than when she last saw him. She lifted his stiff form out of the remnants of the bag and placed him into the ground. For a moment she considered saying a prayer but reconsidered. Instead she sat in the snow and talked to Mister as if he could hear her. “Oh Mister, what am I going to do now? You were the one that was brave and you always knew what to do.” Her nose began to run and she sniffed. “I told myself that this wouldn’t have happened if I’d grabbed the knife and helped you, if I’d have defended you!” A sob tore through her chest. “Mister why….?” With her ragged gasps, she scooped the dirt back into the hole using her bare hands. When she was finished she took the shovel and went inside. She didn’t even wash her hands before collapsing on the sofa and falling asleep.

She slept without dreams until the next day. Her anger smoldered as she showered. There was a fire in her stomach. All morning she worked on a plan. It wasn’t until the afternoon that she went looking for her phone, only to find that it wasn’t just a cracked screen but she had destroyed it completely. She glared at the phone before dropping it in her purse. The copy of Aurora’s death certificate was nestled in a folder with all the paperwork the lawyer had requested. With the folder on the seat and the phone in her purse, Lu headed to the mall. Normally she would have avoided the mall at all costs but today was different. She needed a phone. In the past it would have taken her nearly 30 minutes to make her way from the car to the mall entrance. Today she parked and sprang from the car. She strode business-like through the doors and into the phone store. She surveyed the employees and selected a young man who looked knowledgeable. She walked right up to him and when he asked how he could help, she pulled out the damaged phone. He looked at it with admiration and commented, “Wow, this is an antique! I’m amazed you still have it! Are you looking to upgrade today?” She repressed a snarky reply and simply indicated that she needed a new one. There were several brands and lots of new features to consider but it didn’t take much time. Transferring the information from the old to the new phone took just slightly longer than the paperwork. With the new phone in her pocket she exited, not as if she were pursued by demons, not as a defeated soul but with a victorious bearing.

We are on our way home after an eventful but relatively short trip to Pennsylvania. I should be home by this evening. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on comments and commenting…

Looking in the Oven

As a continuation of the “new recipe debacle” I wanted to post about the dish I took to a Sunday get together at Sparky’s sister’s house. First off this recipe was in Food & Wine, yet another magazine that has been showing up in my mailbox. I don’t remember subscribing to it. We are not wine connoisseurs and of course most of the recipes are way out there. (There was one for a Roasted Curry Tomato Pie that had 2 pages of instructions!) But I found one for a Blueberry Cheese French Toast Casserole that looked easy and above all didn’t have any weird ingredients. I whipped it up in no time and it was a hit! In fact I didn’t bring any of it home. I forgot to take a photo. However when putting it together there were a few pieces of the french bread that didn’t fit into my giant lasagna pan and I made a smaller version that I saved for us… And I took a picture of it!!

The recipe (with a few tweaks)
2 loaves French bread
8 eggs
2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
8 oz. softened cream cheese
16 oz. ricotta cheese
2 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1 pt. blueberries

Grease a large 13×9 lazagna pan. Make 1″ cuts in the bread so that the slices are not all the way through the bottom crust. Place into greased pan. Mix the cheeses, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Fold in the berries. Spoon this mixture between the slices of bread. Beat the eggs until frothy. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and milk and mix well. Pour over the bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. To cook, bake in an oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with a little extra sugar and cinnamon, cover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Can be served hot or cold. For extra elegance (because this is from a fancy magazine) serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (noting that there are recipes to make your own whipped cream and ice cream – or you can just buy some at the grocery because “ain’t nobody got time for that!”)

As was discussed at the gathering, it would be good with raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, marionberries, and as opined by one beautiful soul, “I bet it would be good with pumpkin mixed in for Thanksgiving!” So there you have it. A successfully executed dessert from a magazine!

Looking at the Map

Unfold the map
Parse the confusion
Route recap
Colored line profusion
Crease rip gap
Wrong conclusion
No time to nap
Roadway occlusion
Detour trap
Shortcut exclusion
Toll road – crap!

The above poem is the way the best made plans can sometimes work out. Not that I’m anticipating a disaster but we are in the season of road construction. There is only one thing Sparky likes less than not getting an early start – having his agenda go up in smoke. Detours and traffic delays can be stressful for him but that is life. I’m a pretty good travel companion so I’ll offer to drive if he gets too stressed. We are on our way to Pennsylvania. By we I mean Sparky, myself and saintvi. Saintvi will be visiting Seedsower. We will drop her off in Oley (well, not exactly IN Oley) today before Sparky and I head to the big wedding on Saturday. After the wedding we will make the trek to my sister’s house to visit with my mother. We’ll do a little shopping and have some fun before heading back to pick up saintvi. We are planners. Sparky has an agenda and a schedule. And a map. Yes, a map. He has indicated the route we will drive there and back and the time it will take to get to each stop (the route out will be 14 hours according to his plan). The trip back has been mapped according to geocaches we need to get (and will take 2 days). Sparky has decided that we are leaving VERY early today. That means that we will be half way across Ohio by the time this posts. Yes early means up by 4:30 AM and out the door by 5:30 AM sharp!! In terms of the passengers, we will be snoozing as he drives into the rising sun. The schedule has a stop for a quick breakfast and potty break around 9:00 AM. Lunch is scheduled for 12:30 PM. That isn’t to say there won’t be other breaks. Sparky is very willing to guzzle coffee, sodas, and any other caffeinated beverages while he drives which translates to many impromptu side trips to view the various restroom accommodations available in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The idea is that we should arrive at our final destination and hotel by dinner time. Sparky will either collapse or be unable to sleep due to too much coffee. Either way the wedding festivities won’t begin until 5:00 PM on Saturday so we can sleep in. And by sleep in I mean according to the agenda that would be 7:00 AM…