Working Remotely is Getting To Me

6 Dec

But I discovered this little trick

The Evil That Men Do . . .

6 Dec

On the day before Thanksgiving, four “young men” (read: hoodlums) broke into a black church and did a horrendous amount of damage. Even with four of them, they must have been there for hours to do so much. They overturned pews, broke the blades on ceiling fans, spray painted Bibles, shattered toilets, pulled the book racks off the pew backs, and pulled sheetrock off the walls.

What sort of people do this? What sort of parents do these kids have? What kind of adults will they grow up to be?

Good Lord, deliver us.

Rice Bread

6 Dec

I’ve made this bread many times, and the type of rice used can make a difference in the taste. Usually I just use plain old white rice, but the last time I fixed it I used some leftover Basmati rice, which has a faintly sweet taste.

Rice Bread

This bread has an unusual texture and a slightly translucent look. The taste will depend upon the type of rice you choose.

1-1/2 cups cooked rice                   1 cup hot milk

3 tablespoons butter                      3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon milk                                approx. 4 cups flour

1 package yeast (2-1/2 teaspoon)

4 teaspoons vital gluten – optional

Pour the hot milk over the rice, shortening, sugar, and salt.  Let cool slightly and then add flour, yeast, and gluten, if you are using it. Gluten gives the bread more body, and a finer crumb.

If you are using an electric mixer, start with about half the flour, and add more gradually until you have a nice firm, easy to manage dough.  Knead until the bread feels the same way a baby’s bottom feels – soft, smooth, and a little bouncy.  Grease your mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl, turning it over to grease both sides, and cover it with a clean dish towel. Let rise until double, maybe an hour. Punch the dough down and knead it for 2 or 3 minutes. Divide in half and place in two greased 8 x 4 pans. Cover with that clean towel and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Turn out onto racks, brush with butter, cover with a towel, and let cool slightly before slicing.

If you use a bread machine, follow the instructions for your brand, but turn the bread into pans after it rises, and bake it in the oven, instead of the machine, so it looks as if you have actually been working!

I always brush my bread with butter after I bake it, rather than before; I invariably manage to brush too hard and flatten the tops

Now, if you have a meat thermometer, let the bread bake for 30 minutes, then insert the probe and bake until the bread registers 190-F. It will be perfect. Enjoy!

One of THOSE Days

1 Dec

Sunday was The Squire’s birthday, so I treated him to lunch at the Olive Garden. I normally don’t bother with my purse when we are out together; he has the car keys and the VISA, so why should I lug it around? I had taken it with me this time, so I had my own card to pay for our dinner, but when I got home I couldn’t find my pocket book. It wasn’t on the chair where I normally keep it, and I didn’t see it when I looked in the car. I assumed I’d come out of the restaurant without it, simply because I’m not used to having it with me. We called Olive Garden and they didn’t see it, nor had it been turned in. The Squire called my phone, figuring it I’d left it someplace in the house we’d hear it, but no joy.

He finally called the bank to cancel the cards, which is a royal pain, because all of our automatic payments have to be changed, including the Pay Pal accounts. I’ve been ordering Christmas gifts online, and can’t do anything else until we get the new cards. Aaargh!

The Squire had to go over to help Mac with a computer problem, and when he got into the car to come home, he found my purse on the floor behind my seat. He was supposed to go to the grocery store but he only had $20 and my wallet contained less than $10, and of course he couldn’t pay with the card, or get money from an ATM, so he bought the most essential items – cheese and dog food.

I am working from home, and had trouble getting into some programs. A long story, but one thing I desperately needed to do was blocked. My site boss was out sick, so I had to contact a coworker, who walked me through what needed to be done, but I couldn’t make my computer do what hers was doing. Frustrating as all get out! We discovered later that I’m not cleared to access that program, so I will have to ask if that can be changed.

To make the day even lovelier, it rained hard all day. We had water running down the drive and across the carport, in spite of the drainage The Squire had worked on. A fair part of that problem was due to the leaves; I went out and cleared the drains at the top of the hill and across the end of the carport, which helped considerably. The pond was overflowing, which I have never seen before!

Normally, the water level is about six inches from the top.

Happy Thanksgiving

26 Nov

The Squire and I celebrated at home together this afternoon, just the two of us. We had invited a recently widowed friend, but he told us he didn’t feel up to it just yet.

We pulled out all the stops, even used the gallery tray and the sterling. I’d purchased a spatchcocked chicken about a month ago, and it was plenty for the two of us. The Squire fixed his world-famous mashed potatoes and I made a pumpkin pie. A packet of nuked mixed vegetable, and we were all set. The wine is a light, sweet one called “Naughty and Nice” – perfect for dessert.

And no dinner chez Rice Paddy is complete without a crossword puzzle or two!

Just Wear the Damned Mask

19 Nov

So says Governor Larry Hogan. I found this picture on-line, and it certainly shows why you should wear a mask in public.

A doctor sneezed, coughed, sang, and spoke toward agar plates, both wearing a mask and unmasked.

Do you get the picture?

Is This Message Really Necessary?

15 Nov

From the latest issue of the Smithsonian:

Boiling Chickens in Yellowstone’s Hot Springs Is Illegal

“Some things should go without saying, but just to remind everyone: it’s definitely illegal to boil chickens in Yellowstone’s hot springs. But in August, three men learned this unspoken rule the hard way.

After being caught in the act by a park ranger, the trio pleaded guilty to a series of infractions that resulted in two years’ probation, during which time the men are banned from visiting the national park, and fines totaling between $500 and $1,200.”

The men said they double-wrapped the chickens in burlap to avoid contaminating the water, and “meant no disrespect” to the Park. Park personnel reminded the men that A) it is illegal to wander off the designated trails, and B) it is also illegal to put anything into the water, including tossing coins for “good luck”. It is very dangerous to walk near the thermal springs, as what can appear to be solid ground may only be a thin crust.  In 2016 a young man left the designated boardwalk in the Norris Geyser Basin and subsequently broke through such a crust and fell into a scalding, highly acidic spring. The young person died and his body was never recovered.

The men may have avoided being boiled alive, but they definitely managed to cook their own goose.

Hi, Ho! Hi, Ho!

14 Nov

My agency called me a week or so back to ask if I’d be interested in a job working in an office two days a week, and from home the other three. Sounded interesting, so I told them to go ahead and submit my resume. I didn’t hear from them for a while, so I figured I hadn’t gotten the position, but there’s always something else. I got a call last week – Monday, I think, asking if I could report on Wednesday morning, so off I went.

I’m working for an international company that sells athletic clothing and shoes. With Covid-19 hanging around, they have half the office working Monday and Wednesday, and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday, with everybody working remote on Friday. I was in the office both Wednesday and Thursday, because I really wasn’t ready to ‘fly solo’ after one day’s training, although the girl who was training me seemed to think so.

The company is extremely careful of their employees during this crisis. Folks were sitting back-to-back in double cubicles, but now each person is on a different schedule, so you do not share space, and the entire place is sanitized on Fridays. All walkways are one-way, although if you don’t see anybody else in the passage between you and your desk you may dart through, rather than going a-l-l t-h-e w-a-y a-r-o-u-n-d the office. I happened to pop into another person’s cubicle, looking for a paper clip, and she reached over to place it on a desk for me to pick up, “because if covid”. You’d think we were Orthodox Jews or something. Only a few people are allowed in the lunchroom at a time, and because the building is in the middle of nowhere and there’s no place to buy anything, you are allowed to eat your sandwich at your desk.

Very nice people, very warm and funny, and I think I’m going to enjoy working here for the next couple of weeks.

I left last night with all of my own stuff – lunch containers, knitting, etc. – plus a laptop, keyboard, and mouse to work from home today. Except – they forgot the power cord, and my laptop is dead. The Squire checked all the usual places to see if he had a spare, but no luck. All of our computers are Dell, and this is an HP; you’d think the connections would be universal, just as they are on cell phones, but no. I called my site boss and she told me to take the day off and they would take care of things on Monday.

I made bread and cleaned the bedroom. Maybe I’ll manage to get my hair cut tomorrow.

Oh, Yetch!

5 Nov

A few days ago, we managed to snag a carpet scrubber on FreeCycle. The woman who posted it said it “wasn’t working quite right” but The Squire is handy, and it was free – and a brand I liked – so what the heck.

When we got it home, I made a pass or two at our dining room carpet to see exactly how it “wasn’t working quite right”. It left a trail of black yuck across the rug. Fortunately this was dry, so I just picked up the bits with my fingers, and we took it into the back room to see what we could see. The first hint we got was that the screws holding the suction scoop to the base had to be loosened with a shot of 3-in1 oil. I do not think this lady had ever cleaned the machine! We had to use a dry brush on the mechanical part, and then soaked all of the removable parts – suction scoop, waste water bucket, and even the tub where you put the clean water and rug shampoo – overnight in hot water with Mr. Clean. There is a filter inside that has to be cleaned off frequently, and I had to use a putty knife on it. This morning The Squire and I went over all of the pieces with a scrub brush, and half a packet of pipe cleaners.

I will say, this – it is a darned good machine! We have light blue carpets on the downstairs floors – not a wise move, I’ll grant you – and it did a fine job on cleaning them. I will have to go ever the rugs a second time, but they look a darned sight better than they did. Tremendous amount of suction, which is good. We vacuum every other day with dry carpet cleaner, mostly to counteract the delicate aroma of Dog. The rug scrubber drew up a bunch of that powder along with ground-in pet hair; every once in a while it would cough up a wad of hair and I could feel the powder in it when I picked them up. Even the best suction is no match for wet, gritty dog hair!

And before you ask, this is a Bissell Lift-Off steam cleaner. Not only is it quite powerful, but the “Lift-Off” refers to a smaller unit with a long hose, light enough to be carried up the steps as you clean the carpet treads.

Our Freebie
without the dog!

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

4 Nov

As of 10:30, I have only slept one hour in the last twenty-four, and it has not been this cliff-hanger of an election that has me wandering around like Marley’s ghost.

I call it Restless leg Syndrome; the doctors call it Idiopathic Muscle Spasms. Whatever name it goes by, it makes sleeping impossible. When I go to bed – or sit still for too long, for that matter – my legs begin to jerk uncontrollably, and then the rest of my body joins the party. My torso curls, my head moves around, and my hands will begin to flex. Over the years, I’ve taken umpteen different anticonvulsants and Parkinson meds, most of which work fine for a while, and then some sort of dreadful side effect starts up.

Can you say, “Maddening”?

Last night I took my medicine around 9:00, and went upstairs a little after 10 PM to find the cat was there before me. OK, the cat can stay if he curls up at the foot of the bed. I moved Eddie to his designated spot and slid between the covers myself. The resident feline decided he did not want to sleep by himself, but proceeded to walk up my body and sit on my chest. I shoved him rather unceremoniously to one side, and he snuggled up on the pillow, leaning against my head.

And decided to take a nice long bath.

I shoved him out the door and climbed back into bed, only to discover that my medicine had not taken hold, and I was all over the place. I figured I hadn’t waited long enough, so I went back downstairs, cleared the dining room table, and put on a fresh tablecloth. About a year or so ago we got rid of our old work-horse of a table and replaced it with an oval solid cherry model. Now I have no tablecloths that actually fit, and I am OCD enough that this drives me bonkers. I got a ruler and measured how far this cloth hung over on each side – six inches – and then pulled the cloth toward me until the far end was also hanging over six inches. Next step was the measure the long end that was hanging nearly to the floor, mark it a half foot, pull the cloth off, fold it in half and draw the proper radius with a yardstick and a washable pen. The kitchen scissors won’t cut fabric, and The Squire was sawing wood, oblivious to my thrashing around, so I just put the cloth back on the table. I’ll finish it today.

Another trip to the bedroom, and I’m still twitching, so I got up AGAIN and made a pot of corn chowder. Peeled potatoes, chopped onions, yada, yada, and got it going, then took the compost out to the back of the lot, and swept and “Swiffered” the kitchen floor. I took another pill at 2:30, and wandered back to bed at 3:30 this morning. At 5:00 I gave up completely, took a shower and got dressed.

The Squire left around 8:30 to see a doctor about that sore shoulder, so I went upstairs again and slept for an hour. Aaargh!