Jennifer Lyon

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Friday, March 24th, 2023
Friday Five

TGIF!! Let’s dive right into sharing five random things about our week.

  1. In super weird news, we had a tornado in Southern CA that tore the roof off a commercial building. Tornados are rare here. So is the crazy amount of rain we’re getting.
  2. Maggie and I took a LONG walk yesterday after the rain stopped. It was so pretty and we just kept going. We both enjoyed it, but about a half mile from our house, I noticed Maggie drooling a little bit. She never drools. They day was cool and perfect for walking so a part of me wanted to semi-freak out. The other part of me mentally slapped myself. Instead, I slowed down, gave her plenty of breaks and got her home. She was fine. I am clearly and over-protective pet parent!
  3. Thanks to the rain, getting any more work done in our back is slowwww.We (and by we I mean mostly Wizard, LOL) are trying get the hill irrigation done. We all the values installed, we just need to finish laying the drip line and connecting it to the values but it’s just too wet to get it done. This isn’t any kind of problem, just a little bit of a patience issue. I also want to get a planter box for my herbs but holding off on that too until we’re ready to buy the plants. But again, this don’t even qualify as a problem.
  4. I’ve had Rye-N, my sourdough starter, in the fridge for a week, then took him our to feed him twice and he definitely rose to the occasion. Sadly, this was exciting to me. I may be a little bit housebound, LOL! I will make more sourdough bread in another week or so, but for now, Rye-N is back resting in a dormant stage (meaning I’m not feeding him) in the fridge and continuing to mature.
  5. Today I’m getting out to meet Biker Witch for lunch. I’m so looking forward to that.

So that’s my five and now I’d love to hear yours. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023
Power of Fiction

A long while back, I read the book “Where the Crawdad’s Sing”.  I liked the book, but I didn’t love it like so many others. I remember that, and little else.

Then we saw the movie was on Netflix and Wizard asked if I’d read the book. I said yes, it was okay but I didn’t think it was the breakout, blockbuster book so many others did, but I could NOT remember why. I knew there was something in there that bugged me, while millions of others loved the book with no reservations. This book was on the NY Times for so long, it bothered me that I couldn’t remember what irritated me.

Anyhow, we watched it.

Part way into the movie, Wizard says, “It’s okay, but I don’t buy the kid raising herself in the swap.”

I’m like, “That’s it!! Now I remember, that’s the problem I had!” It was such a huge relief that Wizard answered what was bugging me about that book.

It was also nice that he agreed with me, but that doesn’t always happen. Nor should it! Fiction gives us a safe space to talk about issues and passions and ideas. It’s totally okay that most of the readers out there truly loved this book and believed in the premise. It’s actually okay to disagree :-)

There’s another movie we watched that I won’t name because I’m protecting a relative’s privacy. That movie was about a person suffering from the same condition as our relative, and it moved us deeply. It has also helped us develop better coping methods for us. We use that movie as a touchstone so that when either of us gets off track, the other reminds us of that specific movie. It works and has given us so much more calm patience, which in turn helps things go smoother all around. Before we watched that movie, we’d understood the condition intellectually, but emotionally we were struggling. This movie showed us what it was like to be inside the mind of the person living with the condition. That was, and continues to be, so powerful it help us manage our emotions better.

That is some powerful fiction that is actually making our lives (and hopefully our relative’s) better!

This was a bit rambling, but I’d love it if you share any experiences you have with fiction that you’d like to share.

Monday, March 20th, 2023
Weekend Roundup

Turbo’s birthday party was awesome! At one point I counted 15 kids, but it was a fluid number so who knows. But man, those kids all had fun! They had a bounce house because my high drive, executive son is still a kid at heart. He may have been the first one it in, and probably the last one out LOL. But otherwise, they kept it simple and the kids loved it. Despite all the chaos that comes with any party, Turbo’s parents had a great time too, which I love. Our daughter-in-law had everything organized, but there’s always the last minute things you can’t control. She rolled with it like a champ, made the adjustments and didn’t let it faze her. I love that too!

Kids this age are awesome and so sweet. They’d hug, the hold each others hands to run and play, and were all just in an overall good mood. Seeing Turbo interact with his friends in such a normal, healthy and kind fashion was such a joy. Most of the parents were there too, and really pitching in to watch all the kids which was also really nice and helpful.

When we got there, I showed Turbo the small cake I made him and he exclaimed, “Grandma you made me a Monster Truck Cake!” I knew he’d get it, LOL! I was so happy. My very smart daughter-in-law had a variety of cupcakes for all the kids, so the cake was just for Turbo to blow out his candle, and she was including me by having me make it. I really appreciate her thoughtfulness. For me the cake was just fun to do. I put his name on it, so I’ll just show you a side pic of one of the simple, monster trucks I made. Oh before I show the picture, this is a very small 4 inch round cake and maybe two inches high. This monster truck was tiny and hand cut and shaped, so I did the best I could. Also his mom had a special topper to go on the top of the cake.

Sunday was quiet exactly as I wanted. While we’re just doing normal stuff, we get so busy, I’m learning to plan low key type days now and again. Maggie and I took a couple walks too which is nice.

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 17th, 2023
Friday Five

TGIF!! I honestly can’t believe it’s Friday, but here we are! It’s time to share five random things about our week. Here’s mine:

  1. I was on a wicked losing streak with audiobooks, and then I saw “Outlander” by Diane Gabaldon was on my free list (meaning books that are included in my monthly fee, so not really free). I read that book decades ago and never watched the series, so I figured I’d listen to it. I have to say, that book holds up for me. I’m enjoying it! In physical books, this week I read a nonfiction “The Microbiome Connection” by two gastroenterologist. It’s not exciting reading, but I found it helpful. Then I started listening to podcasts along the same line, and YouTube determined that I must be on a weight loss journey, and began suggesting podcasts like “How to melt the fat off” Or other quick fix quackery nonsense that I’m way too old and jaded to believe or care about. <<Insert Eye Roll Here>> One a more serious note, I’m concentrating on getting more comprehensive information on the things my doctors have told me. While they are good and dedicated, they don’t have the time to explain the in depth research behind the concepts.
  2. Yesterday once the rain tapered off to a mist, I took Maggie for a walk along the stream behind our house. The stream has completely washed out a road to get up to the ranches in the hills which must suck for them. Maggie and I enjoyed the walk until the end. But before I get to that, here’s a pic
  3. So we were very careful and I know this area well. However I failed to think about one critical detail — by the street, either the housing track of the city are planting trees and shrub. Looking at the picture, the road is on the right, up a small incline. Maggie and I walked on a flat area where I wouldn’t slip. That went great. But at the end, I needed to step up a slight rise to get to the street. I’ve done this so many times! But this time, once I stepped, I sank. Like quicksand! It happened so fast, the mud got up to my knee before I could get enough leverage to pull my leg out. I was fine–just soaked in mud. Maggie had, of course, stepped up there too, and her paws sank a few inches too. My best guess is maybe there was a whole for a plant there, and all the rain pushed the soft dirt back in, and when I stepped in the perfect spot — I sank! Once Maggie and I were free, I started to walk home, but I was soooo covered in mud, I gave in and called Wizard. If you listen carefully, you can still hear him laughing! It took a long time to get all that cleaned up! My jeans were so mud caked, I had to squirt them off with the hose before I dared put them in the washer. I dumped Maggie in the bathtub, and had to hand wash her collar and leash. It was quite an adventure! But it wasn’t until later than it dawned on me I could have been hurt, especially if I’d fallen with the bottom half of my leg stuck in that mud. But I wasn’t hurt so it’s all good :-)
  4. We have another storm moving in early next week, but so far, that looks like less rain which is very good. Flood and rockslides are a big worry. The good news for us is our backyard is draining really well. We are very happy about that.
  5. Today is Turbo’s birthday! He’s five years old and growing into such a big boy. He’s having a party tomorrow and that will be fun. So far, that’s about all we have planned.

So that’s my five and now I’d love to hear yours! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023
The Sourdough Bread Experiment

So you all know I grew my own starter and made my very first batch of sourdough bread. Here’s the two finished loaves:

And here’s one of them cut (the second one is in the freezer):

Also here’s my Dutch Oven that I absolutely love!

Now my thoughts:

  1. My starter Rye-N did his job! The bread rose and had a decent crumb for an total novice bread maker. So yay Rye-N!
  2. The bread had a really good “oven spring” which is the rise in the first 20 minutes of cooking. I’ve already said Rye-N did his job, but so did my Dutch Oven. They were a great team.
  3. I kept hearing from all the videos I watched on making sourdough bread that it took time to get the dark color. My oven however, is an over-achiever and I was looking for ways to slow down the color. Ovens are all so very different.
  4. The crust was very crackly-chewy and the inside tender. Overall I was very happy with the way my first try came out.
  5. BUT! And this is the weird part for me, I was not ultimately impressed with the taste. I actually like my simple gluten-free bread I make better. The one with the cheaper flour (that’s relative — gluten free flours are more expensive in general). I am truly surprised by that, but it just means I have a fairly easy go-to recipe at my fingertips.

So overall, I’d call this a success for my first try. While my rye starter was a total rock start, I’m going to experiment with different starters and recipes over time. I’m having fun working with different yeasts, trying different things and learning in the process :-) I still find it hilarious that I’m doing this now when I’m limiting both gluten and wheat in my diet, but that’s usually how I do things, LOL.

So that’s my big sourdough adventure! Now I have a question for you all: What’s your favorite kind of bread?

Monday, March 13th, 2023
Weekend Roundup

Happy Monday! Most of us in the U.S. lost an hour on Saturday night, and this year, I am feeling it. I usually adjust quickly though, and hope all of you do too!

Friday it rained, and Saturday was cloudy with a misty sprinkle here and there. Maggie and I ignored the moody weather and took a second walk to see the stream behind our house. Turns out, other dog walkers had the same idea :-) They were all leashed and well behaved, so that made it nice for all of us. It’s a rare event for the little stream to make it’s way down the hills, and we all seem drawn to it, LOL! Well except at dusk-ish or dawn-ish when the coyotes are out. They were definitely hunting early Sunday morning and when I went out back, it sounded like they were near the stream. Maggie was having no part of going outside once she heard them — smart dog!

Also on Saturday, Wizard and I went to a big box home store, and found a couple pictures for the living room — I’m really happy as we believe the pictures will help tie all the elements of the room together (at least in our minds, which is good since we’re the ones who are living here :-) )  While at the store, I looked at Dutch ovens and Wizard was over that dilemma. “JUST BUY IT!”  So I now have a Dutch oven, LOL.

Sunday I tried making sourdough. It was an all day event that produced two hopeful loaves which are the final proofing, or whatever it’s called at this stage, in the fridge. With no sourdough experience, I have no idea how it will turn out. We will find out today when I bake it! I’m also trying a gluten free pizza dough, I’ll have to let you know in the comments how that comes out since I’m writing this will the dough is rising. Note to self: Why do I tackle two projects like this in the same day? 

Oh and a random comment — the cold, freezes and snow in some areas did not kill the poppies. I’m surprised! When the sun is out, the hills light up in an orange carpet. We can see then from our dining room windows, and on walks. We are enjoying the moment as the heat and less scenic views will be here soon enough.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2023
My Happy Surprise!

So yesterday was just one of those days. Nothing bad, just one irritation after another. And then this came:

My thoughtful sister-in-law knows that I love baking and that I need to go mostly gluten-and-dairy-free for awhile, so she sent me this book. She and her adult daughter do a lot of baking together and they love this book, so I’m confident I will too. It’s full of beautiful pictures and interesting recipes. I can’t wait to read through it all and pick out the ones I want to try first.

But even better is how sweet and caring a gesture this was. It made my day and week so much better! I’m so very grateful to have such a kind and thoughtful sister-in-law.

How’s your day going?

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