September 13, 2023

I am tired.......


See all that tsoureki?  We made the dough, waited awhile for it to rise, braided it, egg washed it, put sesame seeds on it, baked them, put them on racks to cool, then put them all in bags and stuffed them in the freezer.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  

I arrived at the hall at 7:10am so that I could get things ready, like make coffee, pull out the large bowls we use for the dough, make sure we had all the spices out.  

The head baker had a baby shower for her daughter, so she couldn't come.  She would not loan me her keys to all the various closets for supplies.  Of course we forgot a few things......scales to measure out the portions of dough, fans (for cooling the bread, unless you want to wait another hour, lol), twist ties for the bags.  In the meantime, two of the ovens weren't working.  I forgot to get salad to go with the lunch one of our bakers made.  

Worst of all, the racks, which are pictured above, were stacked to the gills with cookies and other stuff.  We had to pull out the carts out, remove all the crap from the two racks and roll them out into the hall ~ made worse knowing that at the end of the day we would have to roll them back in and put all the crap back on. 

In the meantime, I washed a million dishes, swept out the closet, washed a few more dishes, tried to start the other ovens ~ that we don't use unless the "good" ones aren't working.  I know there's a lot of other things I did, and when I left a 4pm I was totally exhausted.  The worst part is that we are going to do this all over again this Saturday.  I am not looking forward to it.  

I will be glad when the baking is over.  I am really sick of doing it two afternoons a week.  And here I was so happy that I could help out after I retired.  Stupid.

In other news, I finally rented the car for when I go to the reunion, and visit with my sis.  It will be so good to go out of town.  I need a little break!!  Even if it's still hot, I will be happy to see family and hang out.  

Love, 365

August 19, 2023

The best of intentions.....


I made a pact with myself to write more often, but ahhhh.  I just didn't.  I don't spend much time in my office anymore.  It's unorganized, and I just can't find the umph to go do it.  I'll go in and straighten 4 or 5 things (often paperwork) and then give up.  

Today I need to bake a pie for the potluck we're having tomorrow (at church).  I've finally found a pie crust recipe that is mostly easy.  I've always been a big fan of Pillsbury crusts, since all you have to do is drop it in and go.  

If there's one thing I've noticed about myself, it's my propensity for making things complicated or difficult.  It's a gift 😉

My tomato plants look awful, but I'm waiting for a lot of tomatoes to ripen.  We had a deluge last week ~ soaked my brand new patio furniture cushions, which took 3 days to dry out.  And that's here in the land of no humidity and a lot of sunshine!  It was great to get the rain, but that was enough for 3 or 4 days worth.  It's the wind during and after the rain that did a number on my tomatoes.  One branch broke off with three ripening tomatoes on it, so I'm considering making fried green tomatoes.  And I've come to the conclusion that unless you have a 6 foot tall tomato cage, there's no point in getting a indeterminate plant.  It's a good 1 1/2 foot taller than the cage, so the wind did a number on that plant too.  Live and learn I guess!  Of course, I go out and pick off the tomato horn worms and throw them out onto the busy road we have behind us, hoping they'll be pancakes before they make an escape.

Even with all this fussing, I am enjoying having a garden again.  

My friend that I spoke about having the spinal stroke has returned to church ~ I was so surprised to see him, and happy too.  I have heard that he will chant on Sunday, probably to help the choir to get through Sunday without our main chanter.  They took out the regular pew and replaced it with a much smaller one so that we can accomodate people in wheelchairs ~ which I thought was about time.  

Well, better get started on that pie, so that if I screw it up I can make another one.😙

Enjoy your weekend, and I hope your weather is good!

Love, 365

August 5, 2023

It's a beautiful morning....


I'm not sure where this is, I only know it's in New Mexico.  Probably near the 4 corners area (NM, AZ, UT, CO).  When I see a stunning photo I add it to my photos, just to share.  Sadly I didn't write down the name of the person who took it ~ but enjoy!

Out of bed this morning at 5:30 am to bake the two loaves I fashioned yesterday.  And I do know which is the band aide loaf 😇

Romeo and Demitri (who had a quick trip outside) are still sleeping.  I am listening to the tick tick tick of the oven.  1:42 minutes left until I can remove the lids from the dutch ovens to see how the bread looks.  Will it rise spectacularly?  Or not?  It's always like Christmas when you remove the lid.....and here we go.

Both look great, but the "A" loaf looks wonderful.  That's good for giving away.  And the smell of sourdough bread baking ~ even despite the heat the oven puts off ~ is worth it.  At least I won't have to subsist on pita bread (Greek pita, which is a flatbread).  My baking friend gave away bags and bags of frozen Greek pita to make room for the baklava, so I still have two in the garage freezer.

We will have to consume the sourdough quickly ~ it's been so warm that mold grows on it after a week.  I may slice and freeze some if we don't gobble it down.  

I have enjoyed my garden this year, lots of summer tomatoes ripening.  I have plenty of basil to go along with it and smoked balsamic.  If you've never tried smoked balsamic, do.  It is wonderful over salads, and over tomatoes with basil and feta, it's just divine.  Hey, Peg, the balsamic is gluten free!

This is Camel Rock, just outside of Santa Fe.  Sadly it is eroding away, and in another 10 years (maybe less, maybe more!) it won't look like a camel anymore.  

Enjoy your Saturday!

Love, 365

August 4, 2023

Not certain where to begin............


Demitri does not like the heat.  After a morning walk he craps out for a few hours.  Haha, no intended pun to the next part of the story.

How did my colonoscopy go, you might ask.  Well.  It was all the fun you might guess it to be during the prep.  I followed all the instructions.  Thankful that I had thought ahead to buy depends so I didn't have to do a lot of laundry.  On Tuesday I had a rotten headache.  No ibuprofen allowed, so I just tried to take a nap to remedy it.  On the morning of the procedure I got up at 5 am to begin drinking the rest of the prep.  Making it beforehand and putting it in the fridge was a great suggestion ~ it really wasn't bad tasting.  Right around 9am I started getting a headache again.  Only this one was taking a bad turn, and by 9:30 I knew I was getting a migraine.  At 10:30 I was in so much pain, I took the ibuprofen anyway.  Called the Dr's office and told them what was going on.  They were ok with me coming in even though I took the pain meds, but I told the nurse that called that I am not getting into a car and being driven to an appointment, when all I want to do is lay down in a dark room and try to sleep it off.  

So I went through all that for nothing.  I was upset and crying on the phone ~ the thought of having to go through all this again was awful .  If (and I do mean if) I reschedule, it's not going to be for awhile.

Now, let me gross  you out.  Nah, I know you want to read it, haha

It's been a month since I've made bread, so yesterday and this morning I put the dough together for two loaves.  One sourdough recipe has an overnight proof (meaning you're waiting for the yeast do it's thing) and the other one you do what they call coil folds to develop the dough ~ which involves wetting your hands and lifting the dough in the center and let it fold over on itself.  You do this every 30 minutes for 4 or 5 times, or more until the dough is ready for the next step.  

Yesterday Demitri and I were playing ~ he likes me to throw his toys so he can bring it back, wrestle with it a bit and throw again.  He jumped to get the toy and my finger ended up being cut from those sharp teeth, so I put a band aide on it.  

You guessed, didn't you?  I was doing the coil fold, probably the 3rd time, and when I washed my hands I realized the dratted thing wasn't there anymore.  Aaaaaah!  It was not in the sink ~ it was in the dough.  It took me a few minutes to find it.  How very disgusting.  Guess we'll keep that loaf :-) and give away the other.  It's true what they say, you learn something new every day.  Not all of those things elicit the "cool!" response. 

Have an enjoyable weekend!

Love, 365

July 27, 2023

Per Peggy: My Big Fat Greek Fight Over Butter.......the aftermath...

 Neither of the ladies in question came today.  Big sigh of relief for us all, haha.  I did hear a story that #1 grabbed #2's arms and left welts.  Personally I think that's a bunch of crap.  Ugh.  

So true!


About a month ago, I received both a jury summons and my colonoscopy prep kit on the same day in the mail.  Seems entirely appropriate and so funny.  

I haven't had a colonoscopy in 14 years or so.  My doctor insisted.  I still don't wanna.  Everyone says the prep is the worst part.  Which would be true except I always get sick after anesthesia.  Last time I had one, I felt nauseated as usual, so I had Romeo go get the car while I went to the restroom to throw up.  As it turned out, dry heaving while bent over releases all the gas they pump into you, so I had the longest fart just went on and on, and I stated laughing, which released even more.  Tears, y'all, I was laughing so hard, tears squirted out of my eyes.  Romeo thought I was upset until I told him what happened in that bathroom.  My only regret was there wasn't anyone else in there to share in the hilarity.  :-)

I hate jury duty too, but not quite as much as having a colonoscopy.  I've been on juries before ~ oh are they boring.  At least while in the room waiting to see if they call my name, I can read something.  

One of the dentists I used to work for got out of jury duty after they asked him what books he reads, and his reply: the bible.
Sadly this is too true.  

Love, 365

July 26, 2023

I think I have ADHD......


I made an appointment to apply for my passport with USPS.  There's an online site where you do this.  I did that, but I think I never hit the submit button, so when I went today, they said they didn't have me on the list.  Oh, I was so mad at myself.  What a dumb ass I can be.  I did go online again, and scheduled again, and wrote down my confirmation number.  That will be two weeks from now.  I guess eveyone is eager to get out there, because I've heard that it takes a long time to get it.  But since I won't be traveling until around March/April next year, it doesn't matter much to me.  So, leave that slimy trail as long as you want, Mr. Snail, and I'll give you a snack when you get here.  :-)

Yesterday we had a bit of drama at festival baking.  Two ladies just don't like each other.  This has been going on for years.  One is super sweet, a really hard worker.  The other comes in late, does a little bit of work, always demands coffee be ready, and always eats whatever is out for lunch before leaving.  

I dare you to guess which one is the trouble maker. 

Lady #1 doesn't like to make baklava (and who can blame her, I don't like it either) so she takes charge of the melted butter (you wouldn't believe how much butter we use to make baklava).  She clarifies it, which is the correct way to make baklava.  Clarified butter means that it will stay fresh longer.  Lady #2 had a minor hissy fit last week and stated "I'm not making baklava with that, it looks like oil, not butter".  So she did do other things.  But I thought she was being childish.  And the chef ~ the one who went to culinary school, and is in charge of it ~ should have stepped up right then and there and explained why using clarified butter is the way to go.  

Yesterday, lady #2 came early and insisted she will be taking care of the butter.  Lady #1 told me later that she dropped the f bomb when they were "discussing" it.  So, the sweet lady left, really upset, and she said she isn't coming back.  Ugh.  Are we adults or children?  It was really hard to keep my thoughts to myself.  But I don't want to get in the middle of it.  I just want to go in, do my stuff, and go home.  I had enough of that sort of behavior when I was working.  

We go back tomorrow...I hope the chef in charge explains to Lady #2 how her behavior lost us one of our best volunteers.

Love, 365

July 24, 2023

Baking for the Greek Festival.....


I was looking at the ad for this year's Greek Festival, and there I am in the light blue shirt handing a buyer her purchase.  Haha  

So much goes into the baking.  Baklava, baklava cheesecake, koulourakia, kourabiedes, paximadia, tsoureki.  The first few months are all baklava and the cheesecake, because they can be frozen long term without much change to the texture and taste.  As we cut and bake it all, the crispy ends are saved for the booth that sells baklava sundaes.  

The tsoureki is baked last, and sells out quickly.  Every year there are women that come on the first day of the festival and load up their bags with paxi and tsoureki.  One lady that comes every year buys 15-20 bags of paximadia that she gives out as gifts at Christmas.  She must have a good size freezer!

All in all, Philoptokos (a women's philanthropic group) makes quite a bit of money during the festival, which helps fund both our regular donations to non-profits and other needs that come up.  

It's a rather large commitment to the baking schedule, which is every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 12:30-4 or longer and sometimes shorter.  

Have a great week, even though it's going to hot enough to cook an egg on your driveway :-)

Love, 365

July 22, 2023

More Birthdays ! ...............


This is my grandson, enjoying cake on his 4th birthday.  He is so cute, I just can't stand it.

Frank with his brothers ~ these are my daughter-in-law's two boys from her previous relationship.  They are cute too....their Mom is a beautiful lady.  The middle son on the left in the photo only has eyes for the cake, lol.

I had sent gifts that arrived on July 9th, but unbeknownst to me, they were stolen off their porch.  Amazon refunded me, and I sent them again.  I should have texted when it would arrive, I suppose I have become complacent.  I figured they would call or text when it came, which alerted me there was a problem!  Sigh.  

This September I'm attending my 50th HS reunion.  It will be the last one I go to ~ or at least the last one I plan to go to.  It will be at the end of September, so will still be hot and humid for sure.  I plan to see my kids and my sister.  I hope to have some fun, and I'm sure it will be.  Anything is fun after a few beers!

Today has been nice, the high reached only 94f.  We had over 7 days of 100+, as I'm sure many of you have had too.  I do love summer, but baking has been torture.  I finally decided to put things away for awhile until it cools down a little. I do have communion bread I must bake, so I got up at 5am this morning to do it and was done by a bit after 9.  I really don't want to get up that early all the time.  

Stay cool everyone!

Love, 365

July 14, 2023

Happy Birthday Demitri.....

Oh boy!  Cake!


We went out for a walk early this morning and handed out blueberry muffins from Three Dog Bakery.  One of Demitri's friends, Fin fell in love with them.  I went to give one to Demitri and Fin snatched it as quick as you can say muffins :-)   All the doggies enjoyed them.  I also bought the cake you see in the photo, so cute.  I'd say they do a great business because everyone knew Three Dog Bakery, and most said that's where they go for doggie birthday treats.

He is 1 year old today, and we hope to enjoy many more.   

Getting ready to take a big bite!

The birthday cake toy!

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you're in the way of this heat wave, stay cool!

Love, 365

July 9, 2023

I've got practically nothing.........

It looks so lush and green, doesn't it?  This is one of the parks near our house.  I was trying to get a decent photo of the cottonwood fuzzies ~ it looked like it was snowing.  


I love the flower, it's so pretty!  But as with other pretty things, it can be prickly.

My tomato plants are doing well, but that's because I water them every day.  Coming up, I might have to start watering twice a day.  100+ for the next 7 days.

One of my teeny bell peppers.  Once they get to this point they grow really fast, but I know it'll take awhile before I pick one.  

I did bake two of the lemon-blueberry sourdough loaves.  We kept one and sold the other.  It's such a great recipe, and ~ so far ~ always comes out great.  

It's just too hot to do anything!  Agreed....

Love, 365

June 23, 2023

Apparently New Mexico is like my oven ~ preheating...


Flowers are just so cheerful....

Even the neglected hollyhocks in the park are blooming, whereas mine are just putting on more and more leaves.......

Out the door at 6:45am but it still just looks hot.  Also ran into Emily, a sweet lady who's 90.  She's a talker.  While waiting for her to wind down I stood there in the sun sweating my ass off.  

A locust tree/shrub.  They are blooming like crazy right now.

This loaf of lemon-blueberry sourdough is smiling at me, lol.

There isn't much going on.  The usual stuff, I have to pry myself out of bed early so that we don't melt on the morning doggy walks.  Demitri has lots of doggy friends ~ Romeo and I laughed that he probably has more friends than we do.  When a doggo doesn't come over to say hi, he looks at them like "hey!  how are ya!  come say hi!".  

We have been baking for our annual Greek Festival that our church holds every October.  Yes, already.  We sell a lot of baked goods ~ probably the biggest seller is baklava.  Which I hate making, it's just so fiddely and it seems like the phyllo dough is never quite fresh enough to be easy to work with.  The huge chest freezers we have are filling up.  We're also working on baklava cheesecake, another big seller.  It's only been three weeks, and we're already tired :-)  Luckily, our baking scheduler and manager is out of town so we'll get Tuesday off, and the week of the 4th of July off.  When I saw she had the 4th on the baking schedule, I texted her and said, no one will come on the 4th, what are you thinking?  Haha

My garden is doing well, and we've entered the daily watering stage.  I have lots of green tomatoes, and I can't wait until they ripen.  There are 6 bell pepper plants too, but no fruit on those yet, just blooms.  I had a visitor I noticed yesterday....

I noticed this catepillar on my dill plant and looked it will be a black swallowtail butterfly someday.  I can't move it to my wysteria, because they like dill, parsley, etc.  I am just gonna let it go, and hope I get to see it emerge from it's chrysalis.  Although it will likely disappear and unexpectedly as it came.  

Well, it's time to clean the bathroom and then take a shower.  Y'all have a wonderful weekend!

Love, 365

June 10, 2023

Trials of life.......


A couple Romeo and I are friends with had plans to take a "round the world" cruise.  Then Covid came around and they weren't able to go for 2 1/2 years.....finally in mid-January, they were cleared to go.  Both really excited.  They have the finances to make it really special ~ a nice cabin with a deck.  

Two months into it, and the husband becomes sick ~ I'm still not sure if it was a urinary tract infection which spiraled into other things, or if it was a heart problem.  Next thing we hear, he's in the ICU in Dubai, where he stayed for nearly a week before being transferred out to a general floor.  In the meantime, Patti is going crazy, taking an uber back and forth to the hospital, worrying.  Of course, the cruise ship had to leave them behind.  Luckily, Patti is a very smart and resourceful person.  In order to get back home, they had to hire a traveling nurse (who knew there was such a thing?) who accompanied them on the flights home.  Patti said she was amazing, taking care of luggage and transfers, and of course, Matt.  My friend and I went to see tham a couple of weeks after they returned, and heard the whole crazy story.  Matt was lucky to be alive, and is now doing well, for an 87 year old.  Crazy stuff.  I think the moral of the story is don't wait to do those trips!  I think if Covid had not intervened the trip would have been without incident.  But who knows?  

About 6 weeks ago, one of our friends from our church was riding his bike, and said he was feeling odd, his legs felt weak.  He got off the bike and crumpled to the ground, unable to get up.  He had a rare spinal stroke that has left him paralyzed from the waist down.  One day, just doing his normal things, the next day unable to stand.  The doctors said he will likely never walk again, a devastating diagnosis.  He refuses to see anyone outside of family.  He did receive treatment relatively quickly.  He was one of our main chanters in the church.  Grew up attending, was baptized there and married there.  I think it's easy to say that his family is one of the cornerstones.  Now, he says he will not ever return, but I am hoping that it's just the anger and frustration that he is feeling.  Can you imagine being fine one day and paralyzed the next?  I can't.  I imagine I would feel angry too.  Hopefully he'll want to have visitors in the next few months, but I will respect his wishes if he continues to avoid non-family members.  So horribly sad, although he could have easily died.  I'm glad he is still with us ~ but I'm not sure at this point he feels the same.  

Love, 365

June 5, 2023

Yeah, I'm still here!...........


Hi there!  Long time, no?  What can I say ~ we've been busy.  My computer is up in my office most of the time, and I'm not in there much the last 6 weeks.  We went hiking about 5 weeks ago and were totally surprised to find fairly large snow banks in the shady areas.  We both took a step on the partially melted snow and went to our knees in it.  Demitri just walked on it, he doesn't weigh enough to fall into it, lol.  He did enjoy the mud though.  He considered it a spa day. 😀

It was beautiful, if not a tiny bit chilly now and then.  We had such a great time.  We all took naps when we came home.

Here I am trying not to fall on my ass......

With the snow we lost our way a few times, the trails were covered and didn't look the same.  I think that ended up being over 8 miles that day.  

One of our daily hiking trails.  Demitri loves getting out.  He has a lot of fans among the dog walking community in our neighorhood, and lots of furry friends.  

Prickly pear cactus blooms...

Apache plume......


Beautiful scenery.......

I grew up in Texas, and one of my favorites has always been chicken fried steak, and in New Mexico it's not easy to least that tastes good.  I had seen a recipe on Amer. Test Kitchen and made it ~ oh my, it was so delicious.  Sure made for a mess in the kitchen though.  Romeo was so appreciative he did a lot of the cleaning up for me :-)


This past Saturday, we were married ~ 44.5 years after the first time!  Since we are both now Orthodox Christians, we (or maybe I?) wanted to make it all official (not that it wasn't in the first place, haha).  

Romeo is making a silly joke about My Big Fat Greek Wedding, re: windex.  

I just love this kid's enthusiasm!

Plenty of koulourakia, and our wedding cake.

There are lots more, but I won't bore you with that!  But it was a wonderful, marvelous weekend.  Today is veg day, relieved that it's all done.  

Have a great week, y'all!   Love, 365

I am tired.......

  See all that tsoureki?  We made the dough, waited awhile for it to rise, braided it, egg washed it, put sesame seeds on it, baked them, pu...