Wow. I am surprised that it has been almost two months since I last posted. Well, maybe I'm not that surprised. I haven't felt any inspiration, life is rather dull, and when I sat down to write...not a word would come forth. Today I am making myself talk. Even if it's just about the weather.
Which, by the way, is terrible. Even I, a lover of cooler temperatures and dark winter days, is distressed by the spring we are having. Or aren't having. Take your pick. It is cold, it is windy, it is drizzling. I have given up on trying to keep warm with sweatpants and sweaters, and have started fires in the fireplace to heat the house. In June!! If this keeps up, we will be out of our winter wood before winter gets here. Oh, I'm sure it will end at some point, and my biggest fear is that summer will appear with a vengeance, and I will be sweltering in my un-airconditioned house for three months straight.
So, what do I do on a day like today when my mood matches the weather, and while I need to clean, I need the inspiration of a bright, sunny day?? Why, cook, of course. (Tho I do have a meeting with an accountant/tax advisor this afternoon on some work stuff). This morning I am putting together a pot of spaghetti and making a lemon cake. And I debated about the lemon cake. It's terrible how when one is overweight, and one KNOWS they are overweight, they can still rationalize making dessert. The one I used was the sad, sad look on hubby's face when the lemon cake I made last week went to the Union Gospel Mission (our church provides their meal every 5th Friday). This cake is awesome. If you are a lemon-lover, you would be making this often. It is much easier than lemon pie, and satisfies just as well. So, thank Norma for the recipe....and here it is:
Norma's Lemon Cake
In a 9x13 pan mix together:
l lemon cake mix
1 small box lemon jello (I wouldn't recommend the sugar-free kind)
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. oil
Just blend together with a fork, and pop into a 350 degree oven (F), and bake for 30-33 minutes...til lightly brown on top.
While it's baking, mix together 2 c. of sifted powdered sugar, a few tablespoons of milk and lemon juice. Enough of the wet ingredients to get a thin frosting that will pour/spread. I add enough lemon juice to get the amount of tang I like...it's your choice.
When the cake comes out of the oven and is still hot, poke holes in the surface all over with a fork, and pour/spread the lemon frosting over. Try to wait til it cools before you eat it. It is incredibly moist and very lemony.
This ugly weather is certainly well-loved by the weeds. Oh, my goodness. It is a jungle around here. I hate yard work. Michael does too, but if I glare at him long enough or stand at the window and sigh loudly, he will go out and mow the lawn. A week later he may take out the weed-eater and tackle the weeds. Now, I could probably do that part...except it's a really big Stihl gas-powered thing, with shoulder straps, and a protective helmet, etc. that weighs about 15 lbs. or more. I have enough body aches without weed-eating. (See, I'm really good at rationalizing.)
Anyway, last night I took out our budget book and crunched some numbers just to see if we could afford a lawn maintenance co. Maybe just through the summer. It would take the pressure off hubby, and we'd both be happier people. But there's gas to pay for....and the car payment for the hybrid that uses waaaay less gas, but still needs to be paid for. At the moment we aren't saving all that much in the swap from truck to hybrid...maybe $25 a month. Once it's paid for....woo hoo! But that's several years away. So, with the cost of everything going up, where do you fit in the price of a gardener? I think we can do it...if they don't charge TOO much. But if it's only for 5 months...what the hey. We actually have a friend in Wesport who does that kind of work...and up here...so we'll be giving him a call. Maybe he'll give us a break....he still owes us a gunny sack full of dungeness crab for our wedding! (He was working the crab boats at the time.)
Can you say, "Amen and hallelujah!" Jeanie just called to say she'd been on the phone with a tax advocate from the IRS and the mess with the pastor's taxes from 2004 has been RESOLVED!! Without the meeting we were having this afternoon. Now, this isn't the first time we thought things were okay....we've had high hopes and celebrations before, only to be crushed when more letters came, and differing information from different IRS people said we were still in trouble. Crazy. It was a simple mistake....the tax advocate she talked to today said it was obvious looking at the orignal tax form that we had made a mistake, and knew what it was, and why it had happened. But the IRS couldn't just say, 'hey, this is wrong...would you like to correct it?" In fact, Jeanie corrected it on her own, but they couldn't deal with that....they had to pursue punishing us first. With the amount we said we owed...had the error been uncorrected...plus penalties, and interest. They were ready to levy the church accounts to get their money. Supposedly, this is all taken care of now. I hope so. Jeanie plans to retire at the end of this year, and I am supposed to be taking over. Well.....not unless they PAY someone to do their taxes. It's not gonna be me. The unpaid, uneducated VOLUNTEER help that does their books and secretarial work.
So....now I can concentrate on putting my spaghetti sauce together (a doctored-up version based on Paul Newman's Cabernet Marinara....delicious!). So good, and so easy. I cook some good hamburger, drain, add a small can of tomato paste, onions, celery, garlic, some brown sugar (I like my sauce on the sweet side) and some water or wine as it cooks. I'll add a little parmesan cheese at the end. It's very good. I have a bottle of Gabbiano 2004 Chianti Classico Reserva....I'll let you know how it was. This is a bottle we picked up at Costco....I'll probably love it and it will never be there again! I was going to open a bottle of the Westport Wineries "Jetty Cat Red", but it said it was so special it needed to be shared with good friends on a great occasion. So, someone come down and we'll open it.
And if you're in the neighborhood tonight, come on down for dinner. We'll eat about 6:30.