Sunday, May 3, 2020

Mosaic Monday #78: A "Wait"-y Month

Graham crackers with cream
cheese frosting and nuts
As I set about preparing this post, a recap of April 2020, I began as I always do, scanning the photos from the month.  A dangerous thing to do in this instance, with the preponderance of food photos.  Did we do anything other than eat?  I mentioned this to Spousal Unit, and he said the motto for the month was F-A-N - Food + Alcohol + Netflix.  Whatever you call it, I have managed to gain four pounds since February.  Yikes, I am going to have to make some changes!  For now, let’s enjoy the photos – at least they don’t have calories!
Team Cooking: Stuffed Tomatoes and Chicken in Cinnamon Sauce
We weren't big fans of either recipe
Just another breakfast omelet!
Apple Pie made with all of the remaining
2019 Goodland apples from my Mom's tree
Team cooking: Corned Beef Pasties. The filling was outstanding; we
would replace the pastry with the one Head Chef uses for steak pie 
Upper left: Red Beans and Rice  Upper right: Pork, Applesauce and Vegies
Bottom: Corned Beef Hash and Scrambled Eggs
Of course, there was more to the month than eating.  Anxious to get out of the house for a change of scenery, we attempted some hikes.  I say attempt because two of the three were unsuccessful.
Upper left: we made it to Lupine Lake on 4/2
Upper middle: Glacier National Park Closed
Upper right: Snake Loop Trail - only made it a mile from here on 4/9
Lower left: only made it a mile from here on 5/1
Lower right: COVID-19  Save Lives Now  Stay Home

Countryside driving also helped us escape our four walls. 
Upper photos - making S'mores along the river
Lower left: Kootenai River   Lower right: Playing Rook,
one of my childhood games
Left: Osprey nest along Thompson River
Scenes along Thompson River

Searching for any excuse to have a celebration (or was it any excuse to have champagne?), we jumped at the second anniversary of moving into our log house.  It may sound like an unlikely pairing, but we tried a new recipe (Biscuits and Gravy Casserole) to accompany our champagne.  I love breakfast for dinner (well, for any meal), and it wasn’t too far to stretch imagining that champagne as a mimosa!!!

#1 Son celebrated his birthday during the month, and on one our Skype calls he jokingly threw up a picture of a $800 Lego set of the Millennium Falcon, with “Birthday?” scrawled across it.  We couldn’t (and wouldn’t) get close to buying it for him, so I did the next best thing and stitched him up a Falcon.  This joined several other quirky items meant to create a mini-Grand Cayman care package – sun cream, mini bottles of rum, a sea shell, biryani recipe, cardamoms and bay leaves.  After all, it became very apparent as April marched on, that we would not be going to Grand Cayman to celebrate his college graduation.  This care package would have to do for now. 

Albert Tennyson wrote: “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”  Perhaps he should have written a corollary for middle-aged men: “In the Spring a middle-aged man’s fancy heavily weighs to thoughts of fishing.”  Man with Hat began tying flies again, spreading feathers, thread and wire across the table on the lower level.  Of course, one can never have enough gear, so one day the UPS man brought this lovely fashion item - his first set of waders, ever.  Don’t you just love the look?

It was my turn to indulge myself when I bought a “new” card game.  For some reason, I got to thinking about a card game that we used to play when I was just little.  I could not remember the name of it, but the concept and the design of the cards was burned into my neurons.  It is a “driving” game, and some of the cards are designed to stop your opponent from progressing.  Even thinking about the cards would bring a smile or even a giggle to the surface.  I did some research and quickly (re)learned that the name of the game is Touring.  And would you know that good old Google informed me that there was ONE set out there, the exact set we had when I was a kid?  A wink from Spousal Unit, and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.  I spoke not a word, and went straight to work, ordering that vintage game!  It has brought me great joy to play it again, and to show the cards to our kids, who agree it is delightfully quirky and funny.
Everything is as I remember it, down to the "green felt" case with the cards and instructions.
This version of Touring was created/sold in 1965.  I adore the simple artistry which is so
compelling - the mustached man is SO expressive (and the animals are too)!

Dried Yarrow in my garden
The month was not all jollies.  My Mom was admitted to the hospital for a couple of nights (not related to COVID-19), and then released to the skilled nursing facility at her senior living community.  While the facility and the broader community have not had any COVID-19 cases, this development has caused more than a small amount of anxiety in my family.  We all have heard the tales of aged family members in these facilities, where they cannot be visited by anyone other than medical staff.  Well, now this has come home to roost.  We are continuing to pray for her recovery and a return to her home environment when it is medically prudent.

Glacier Lily in my garden
Each day, I followed the growth of Montana COVID-19 cases, which peaked on April 11 with 23 new cases for a total of 377 cases (6 deaths).  As of yesterday, we have 455 cases (16 deaths), and we have averaged 1.6 new cases a day in the state for the last week.   Based on this and other factors, the Governor started a phase one re-opening on April 24.  It is encouraging, but I think there are many of us that are still skittish to resume anything close to “normal” until we have been able to significantly ramp up testing, conduct contact tracing and/or have a vaccine.  In other words, my wishes from this post will have to wait a little longer.

Way down on the scale, in the category of “first world problems”, we officially cancelled our trip to Ohio for #1 Son’s graduation (the ceremony would have been today) and the follow-on vacation to Grand Cayman.   Glacier National Park notified us that we would be refunded for our backcountry camping applications, and it is unknown when they might be issuing any backcountry camping permits (can you hear the bears and other wildlife celebrating?)  The Alaska fishing trip Spousal Unit had scheduled in August with several buddies has been cancelled.  Sigh.
Reflection in Hodge Lake
Raptor on my trail cam
So, I continue to keep myself busy, with sewing projects, walks, and checking the trail cam.  

Violet Protest Project
I made two masks from a barely worn shirt.
I was blessed to find fusible interfacing in my
Mom's sewing machine, and elastic in my 
sewing kit.  Using the sewing machine
was like riding a bike - you never forget!
Sandhill cranes returned to our lake on 4/8
We woke up one morning and this grouse was on our deck.  I am not sure how it got there, but it certainly seemed confused about how to leave.  When I gently shooed it, it halfheartedly tried flying through the cables of the deck fence, as though it had already tried that.  So, I guided it around the side deck and down into the garden.  It finally moved off under the front porch, as you can see in the video below.

A future post will show you what’s happening in the garden; for now I will show you a couple of pictures of the Oriole feeder that I put out on April 30 (you may remember this was a Christmas gift).

Of course, I was over the moon to be able to kayak with my Dear Neighbor Friend this week since the stay-at-home directive was lifted (pretty easy to maintain the six foot clearance in a kayak!)  I was too busy talking to her to take any pictures, so I will leave you with one of my favorite photos from a past kayak excursion with her.  This was taken the morning after a crazy storm, and for me, it represents the hope of better days to come.

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  1. You have so many wonderful nature photos! The reflective photos are just fascinating! And just so you know, the photos of food just make me more hungry. I'd love to have one of your S'mores! Have a grand week!

  2. That was a fun look at April but my goodness, that food even looks yummier now!

  3. Oh, kayaking is perfect! Wow … Man in Hat has some very neat protective wear to go fishing. That mid-covering looks like it would do a good job shielding essential workers. Sorry to hear of your mom but glad she was out of hospital quickly … it’s a worry … but your State, in contrast to some others, seems to be doing well and on top of things.

  4. ...for health reasons, I've lost 20 lb over the last 2 1/2 months. Health scares are quite the motivators!

  5. April was a packed month even if you weren't able to be out like normal. So sorry to read about your mom, I do pray she is better now and makes a full recovery. Our state is opening up, shops are open, restaurants are still carry out unless they have outdoor seating. I went to the store on Friday for the first time since March 11th. Oh no, I did go one time in April. felt good, strange, exciting and scary all at the same time.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  6. Smiling... but there is no FAN here. There is FCN = doof + cakes + Netflix, of course.

    And some other things too. I enjoyed reading about kayaking on the river. It must be wonderful.

    Stay well and healthy.
    Happy MosaicMonday

  7. Sorry to read about your mom, saying a prayer for her.

    I love all the photographs you've shared here today, April was a busy month.

    Wishing you a happy May and let us hope things improve and life goes back to a more 'normal'.

    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  8. Sorry to hear about your Mom.. I hope she has a good recovery. Yes, eating has become a main focal point during this time and cooking every night. Lets hope it is a good May and things improve. Be safe.

  9. Hi Angie, prayers for your Mom as she improves and gets well. Thank you for your 78th Mosaic Monday, for sharing your past trips, good cooking, (ok, the fishing waders too) and the card game from the past that you found. Keep on keeping well.

  10. Wonderful post Angie, I hope your mum recovers and is back in her home as soon as she safely can be. Great for you the getting your childhood game and those waders are a classic your spousal unit should be very happy and no doubt is desperate to get out and give them a try. Wonderful present for your son, and I always enjoy your animal photos. Some baking has been happening here, more time to try things out I guess. Enjoy getting out on the lake.

  11. What a good review of your month that actually looked pretty good in spite of the virus. Except for learning about your mom; probably because of my own great age, through all of this I find myself most near tears reading about people being alone in their illness (Covid or other) .... I hope things work out for her.

  12. HI Angie
    I hope your mother will be well and return to her home! Prayers towards her recovery.
    All your food looks so good. I've also been cooking all the time but trying not to eat to much bread or other carbs as much as possible, although I do admit to a couple of pieces of dark chocolate every day as a treat. We've been cleaning up our yards which has helped us keep moving. Like you, we've cancelled some long desired and awaited trips----but hope and pray we stay healthy and be able to go in the future. I'm praying every day that a successful and safe vaccine will be developed. As of today Colorado has had 842 COVID19 deaths and our state entered a "safer at home" phase where things are slowly re-opening while we are urged to continue to stay at home.

  13. judging by the lack of flour on the supermarket shelves I think a lot of people have been baking. So good to get out for a walk and dispose of some of these extra kilos. Spring and summer for you will be good for this. I wish your Mum a speedy recovery - so stressful for people with older family members at the moment. I think we are all a little skittish about getting out amongst others. Take care and stay well.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. I usually upload food photos to my facebook page, but oddly enough i haven 't done any uploads during Covid 19.

    What i'm doing that's new is looking at a lot of TV. During the month of April i looked at the entire Season 1 of 'The Princess Wei Young'

    Tried to add a link to my favourite song from the series but it was not accepted

    'If Heaven Has Compassion' by A Lin. You can search for it at Youtube

    Happy Mosaic Monday


  16. Hello, Angie
    Your food all looks delicious, YUM. Countryside dining sounds nice to me. I am sure all the critters are celebrating having their habitats to themselves. Hubby and I are going to wait until we feel safe, everyone else I guess can do what they want. We are not in a hurry to go anywhere..Your views are just gorgeous, it was nice you could go kayaking. Happy belated birthday to your son. Wonderful photos. Thank you for hosting MM. Take care! Enjoy your day, have a happy new week ahead.

  17. We've sure done our share of cooking and baking. We always cook good meals but the baking is something 'extra'. I'm hoping to have more trails open this week. I'm glad you were able to get out on the water. Sure makes you feel better to get out in nature and is not risky in the least! Take care and thanks for the party!

  18. Yes, I can definitely identify with that, Angie. Home cooking figured prominently in our activities and yes, I have gained a kilo in a month and a bit.
    Lots of walks around the neighbourhood and the nearby parklands and riverside are one form of exercise now that the gym has closed "until further notice"...
    Your photos are lovely as always.

  19. Now then, that "Touring" game gives me ideas about searching for fave games of my childhood! :-)

  20. You've had a busy month! I enjoyed it. The food is amazing.

  21. Angie, Two years in the house. I was checking your blog went you were building. Congratulations! Nice to have a place you love to shelter in place. Thanks for sharing the trail cam photos. Is it possible the grouse is nesting under the deck? Have a great week! Sylvia D.

  22. I've been cooking and baking up a storm too. I finally made my own dough for cinnamon rolls.

  23. Hi, Angie. Happy Log Cabin Anniversary! Reading about your meals and seeing your photos has me wondering what to make for our next meal, which is coming up mighty quick. If only I can say to the Husband, "Imagine yourself eating the corned beef hash and apple pie." And, there they are. hahaha. I used to do that a lot when I was a kid looking through magazines. Savory cinnamon sauce is an interesting concept. It would be worth trying once.
    The COVID rate in our county is about the same as Montana, which is fortunate since we are surrounded by very populated counties. The county sheltering restriction has been lifted, but not the State's, thank goodness. How did I get onto that subject? Down to the kitchen I go to make something. :-)

  24. Hello Angie, Better days to come for sure! It's been ages since we played Rook. We used to have games at least monthly with another couple when we lived in Huntington Beach. That Touring game is special for sure. So happy you found one and are enjoying it. So many of us are dealing with cancellations. Your food photos are quite inspiring. I'm surprised you have only gained 4 pounds! Happy May to you and I hope by the end of May we'll hear lots of Merry month of May news!

  25. Great pictures! Best wishes to your mom!

  26. Dear Angie - Your April looks to have been busy and you must feel fulfilled. Your hand-made mask looks nice, will be useful for cough etiquette. I’m happy for you that you got liberated for kayaking. The last photo makes me feel hopeful, too, for the world as well as for your mother. Hope and pray your mother’s speedy recovery.


  27. Hello my friend! So sorry to hear about your Mom. Sending prayers and good vibes. Like you we are taking it slow and keeping away from people. Under the command of our We had to reschedule our Oregon trip to October and all Steve's races have been moved. So lucky we got our Disneyland trip in in January. I hope you will be able to take some of your trips in the future. Your cross stitch is wonderful!! You take care and keep safe. Love, Kit

  28. Hello Angie, A post with good and bad, just like life. I'm glad your mom is doing better. It's hard to not be able to visit with our loved ones. Congratulations to your son on his graduation. Nature is a great solace during these times. I love spending time in my garden.
    Take care.

  29. A lovely post. Sending you all good vibes.

  30. Great mosiac of everything, I love it.

  31. Champagne for breakfast! Such decadence Angie. Only in Spain might we try a little Cava with orange. I am surprised you claim to have gained weight when I read of your long distance treks – yes calorie burning treks rather than my gentle strolls. Well, what do you know? I found a “Touring” too - £20 on Ebay. “EXCELLENT CONDITION - see pictures -”. I just had to look after your description.

  32. What a busy month you had Angie. Those food photos has my stomach growling. :) Best wishes to your mom. Thanks for sharing all your beautiful photos. Have a great evening.

  33. We need to do some driving trips to add to our daily walks. There are some beautiful destinations here in Washington we can explore. That is so cool about finding a childhood game you enjoyed. The game we play a lot is Scrabble using our iPads. Wish we could find some more iPad games for two. - Margy

  34. Wonderful series of photos ~ favorites are the nature shots and animals ~ feathered friends as well ~ kayaking sounds delightful! Especially now.

    Be Well,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  35. Sorry about your Mom being in a skilled nursing facility without being able to have visitors. I am going through a similar thing with my brother at a long term care facility.

    I haven't gained any weight but I haven't lost any during my work at home time. I am busy filling out retirement paperwork. Wow, I never knew.

    Sounds like you have an active life despite what is going on. Kudos to you.

    1.6 new cases a day!! That's great we are about 60 times that here but our Guv is proceeding full speed ahead anyway on opening things up.

  36. i enjoyed reading about your april antics...good thing i was eating a blueberry muffin or those food pictures would have killed me!! i love biscuits and sausage gravy, one of my favorite restaurants have it on their menu and you can even get it for dinner!! i am going to make a list of favorite restaurants i want to go to, once things really settle down!!!

    i am sorry to read about your mom, i hope things improve for her!!

    i really enjoy board games and card games!! here in new jersey i have lost count of our number of cases and deaths but it is staggering!!!

  37. Although our son graduated in December, we had planned to be in the States this month for the ceremony since his university only does the one. Now we don't even know when it will be safe to travel. Kuwait had it's highest number of cases today, 641, so as of Sunday at 4 p.m., we will have a full curfew until the end of the month. I have plenty to keep me busy and happy, but I think my husband might lose his mind. Just ate some apple crumble with banana "nice"-cream and it was delicious. Sending healing wishes for your mom. Take care.


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