Vintage Woman

Because being older does not mean having no value

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Clueless campaigners

Sometimes these political campaigns really seem like the old wolf and sheepdog cartoons where they detonate explosives at each other all day, but then when the 5 o’clock bell rings they smile & wave at each other and say “see you tomorrow”. I’m not sure I could ever be so detached, because I hear one in particular them talking about “those people”, he is talking about ME.

Filed under writing politics

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A Pot of Pinto Beans

I cooked a pot of pinto beans today. I had soaked some in a soup-and-salad-sized Gladware container, which holds about 3 cups. I put a cup of beans in there a 1/3 cup measure at a time, rinsed them, and filled the container to the brim with warm water before I went to bed last night.

By the time I was ready for first meal, the beans had swollen and were partially out of the water in the container. Sweet. I washed out my 3 qt. steamer pot. I didn’t even take the time to pick the beans over that thoroughly, because for one thing Sprouts Farmers Market has good beans and I’ve never had any rocks come out of the small quantity of beans I usually buy at a time. Secondly, the soaking water and the rinse water would’ve taken care of any surface dirt. So I throw the pinto beans in my steamer pot, rinse them one last time, and fill with enough water to cover them with no seasoning, no nothing.

My usual recipe for beans is boil them hard for 10-15 minutes, then turn the heat down completely and simmer - barely bubbling - for at least one hour. While that’s cooking, I prepare a mirepoix of finely chopped carrots, celery, and onion. I cook them in the oil I cooked my first meal’s turkey bacon in and I seasoned the mirepoix with cinnamon and cumin.

I used this as an opportunity to practice my knife skills. I’m no Jacques Pepin, but I get the job done. I cut the organic carrots on a severe bias and julienned them, which means cut them into matchsticks, then I dice the matchsticks. I cut my organic celery stalks in halves or thirds depending on how wide they were, then diced those. Half a white onion was also diced. The diced veggies went into my cast iron skillet to soften, then they were added oil and all to my pot of simmering beans, which by that time were pretty nearly done.

This was the time to add salt, not at the beginning of cooking the beans, because salt toughens beans. I wanted to use my Himalayan pink salt grinder that I found in TJ Maxx last week. When I picked it up and started turning it to grind, the cap fell off. Oops! Shit! I’m hoping too much salt didn’t fall in. Luckily Himalayan pink salt is a rock salt, so maybe that saves my meal. I put the lid back on the pot and hope for the best.

Recently, I discovered the joy of eating whole tomatoes out of a can. They are packed in their own wonderful juice, and ice cold, they are just shy of heavenly. Whenever I open a can, I put them in a 5 cup Gladware and store them with their juice in the refrigerator. This makes for wonderful snacking later when they are cold. I chopped up three of them with a half cup of their juice for the bean pot.

After my timer sings briefly telling me the hour is up, the moment of truth. I taste the beans….and am relieved. True, it was saltier than I usually like, because I normally don’t use that much salt, even though my body craves and needs the minerals. At any rate, I didn’t register any excessive – read inedible – amount of salt in my food.

The beans were delicious.

Filed under food writing cooking beans

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When My Life is Ideal, I Am:

1) Walking amongst the trees

2) Learning about the world

3) Studying languages and cultures

4) Driving the countryside in a beautiful, comfortable car

5) Drawing beautiful trees, flowers, and animals in nature

6) Selling my drawings

7) Listening to great music

8) Making good friends

9) Helping people out

10) Keeping my body healthy with good nutrition

11) Staying out of the doctor’s office

12) Showing people how I take care of myself

13) Encouraging girls to think well of themselves

14) Helping others live their dreams

15) Using my drawing skills to help others

16) Wearing nice clothing

17) Sharing my knowledge with others

18) Learning from others

19) Playing with young people

20) Enjoying good documentaries and movies

21) Living well on little to no money

22) Watching great sports with friends, or by myself if friends are absent

23) Well respected and valued; loved, even

24) Sitting in a beautiful park with the wind in my face

25) Listening to the rain fall while standing underneath a canopy or gazebo

26) Spending time in a beautiful garden

27) Writing books to inspire people to live as fully as they can within their means

28) Being somebody’s Abigail

29) Discovering new foods to eat!

30) Writing stories that encourage people to be more accepting of others

31) Finding new ways to see the world outside my neighborhood

32) Visiting other places to see how other people live

33) Satisfying my insatiable curiousity about…everything


That’s all I can think of right now

Filed under writing curiosity passions reading who am I

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Naturally-sweet, the sweet potato is good eating whether by itself or a “side”.

If you have a few of these diabetic-friendly tubers lying around in your pantry or fridge, you’ll always have a healthy & delicious snack on hand. I eat sweet potatoes sliced and either deep-fried or pan-fried, but I prefer to bake them.

Preparing a sweet potato for baking is easy. I usually wash it and scrub it with a brush to remove all the surface dirt since I eat the skin. I’ll cut away any ugly parts and score the sweet potato across the middle several times. If the sweet potato is huge, I’ll go ahead and slice it all the way through. Then I can bake it as-is in an aluminum foil jacket, or I can season it with some butter, cinnamon, and maybe slices of lemon and ginger, but never any added sugar, before I put it in the foil jacket. Baking it in foil helps the sweet potato steam itself, and it takes about an hour in a hot 450° oven. Finally, I squeeze it with a well-protected hand to make sure it’s as soft as I like.

With so many sweet treats out of reach for me, I love that I can eat as many sweet potatoes as I desire.

Filed under food sweet potato cooking diabetic diet baking vegetables health food eat to live diabetic diet writing

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Green beans and mushrooms go together like beans and rice.

I like to use frozen, cut green beans with either fresh, sliced white button mushrooms or cooked, frozen ones in a pan with some butter and/or oil. I lightly season the veggies with salt, pepper, and onion powder, then put the lid on so they can release their liquid and braise a few minutes in their own juice.

As far as eating goes, I like my green beans not-so-green and soft, and I consider them done when I hear them start to sizzle a little. Quick, easy, and incredibly delicious.

Filed under food vegetarian side dish main dish cooking beans cooking for one vegetables writing

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Two animals are born at the same time. While young, they strike up a friendship and play together. Good times. Then one day they discover that they are on opposite ends of the food chain.

The relationship  is strained, to say the least.

Can their friendship be saved? Or is it doomed to fail?

Filed under prose books writing animal story

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Books are written backwards

I believe nonfiction books don’t get to the point fast enough. Every thing the author wants you to know about why she is writing should be in the first chapter. Then all of the research that corroborates the first chapter should be on subsequent chapters, there if the reader wants to go through it. This is especially true of diet & nutrition books.

Filed under writing books

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How to write to The Pope

Have you ever wondered how one goes about sending to a letter to Pope Francis? I looked through my old book of etiquette from 1952 for guidance. Here’s what it advises:

In addressing the envelope, you use the following form:

His Holiness, Pope Francis I
The Vatican
Vatican City, Italy

For the note or letter itself, write the salutation as: “Your Holiness:” (note the colon). Then write what you want to say to His Holiness. Finally, for the complimentary close, use “Sincerely yours in Christ” if the letter is written by a Catholic, or “Respectfully yours” if non-Catholic.

How much to mail a letter to Vatican City? It probably depends on whether Global Priority or air mail is used. according to, though, a one ounce letter going First Class International to Vatican City costs $1.10. Priority Mail International is considerably higher in price

Writing a letter to the pontiff doesn’t have to be intimidating. Just keep it respectful. I think I’ll write a friendly note to His Holiness this week!

Filed under writing short article papacy pope correspondence letters notes