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{{Tap, Tap}} Is this thing on?

I’ve been away so long that the WordPress interface has changed and I have to relearn it.  Damn.

Anyhoo,  a lot has happened recently, much of it I can’t really discuss just yet.  We’ve still got a lot of ups and downs but it’s OK for now.

To get the old mind-finger thing going again, I thought I’d start off with a banana bread recipe that I made yesterday with the ingredients I had hanging around the kitchen.  This turned out pretty good, considering this was my first banana bread from scratch and I was just going by some online recipe guidelines.  Slather the thing toasted with a shmear and you’re good to go.

Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 cups self rising flour 
(or 2 cups all purpose flour + 1 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp salt)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a standing mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs  and vanilla and beat until relatively smooth.  Add bananas, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Beat together.  Slowly add self-rising or flour mixture.  Beat until all ingredients are moistened but don’t over beat.  Fold in walnuts.  Pour into a well greased loaf pan.  Bake in 350° oven for about 50 minutes or until top feels firm and butter knife inserted in top comes out clean.

Ok, that felt good.  I’ll be back tonight, after my guitar lesson.  Be good, no wild parties.

One more thing: this winter is exhausting.  We’ve had so much snow and frigid temps that it’s enough to make even Pittsburghers question the global warming thing.  It’s like a mini-ice age.  This is what I saw when I opened my door yesterday morning:

IMG_2187

The snow melted last weekend but it was back again in no time.  Yesterday, the temps didn’t get out of the teens.  It was single digits last night. And it has been like this for months.  When I moved here last May, we had already experienced a pretty cold spring. There was a brief heat wave in July but the rest of the summer was cool and rainy.  Sweater weather in August.  My vegetables never really took off and the tomato plants never set fruit.  The rain and cold continued into the fall and we got snow early so I wasn’t able to rake the leaves out of my back yard.  Winter came on Halloween and hasn’t let up yet.  Pittsburgh must be in the center of the polar vortex corridor.  Enough already.  Unfortunately, the forecast says that after a brief and insufficient respite this weekend, we’re going straight back to subfreezing temps next week.  It has been so bad here that the township ran out of salt and 3000 additional tons they need are on backorder.  They only salt the top of the hills so your car doesn’t go flying like it’s on the Thunderbolt at Kennywood Park.  The road crew is so behind on repairs that they were jackhammering and filling a pot hole on my street at 11 pm last Monday night.  On top of it all, the rivers are going through several freeze thaw cycles.  Last weekend, it warmed up enough that we had rain instead of snow.  The Allegheny was high and had white caps on it.  I can’t wait until spring but won’t be surprised if the Point is under water.

I’m going to deck the next person who says they prefer cold weather.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Of Monsters and Men recently.  This one’s pretty good:

There are real jotuns out there.  More on that later…

In addition (but related to Jotuns mentioned above):  I saw this post at Digby this morning about the Ohio job listserv tyrant and just want to relate that this kind of reaction to job seekers seems to be quite common.  I have a story that  will curl your hair.  Someday, I will write it all down in a book and the characters I write about will become notorious and iconic of the malicious narcissists our society has given an inordinate amount of power to lately.  Petty, selfish and vain people have got nothing on them.  We’re talking about a lack of compassion, unethical behavior and gratuitous meanness that makes the Ohio list server lady look like an amateur.  Unfortunately, the heartless, manipulative, sabotaging behavior is so harsh and nasty that it might not be as funny as the rest of the book.  I might have to lighten these people up to make them believable and not Dickensian.

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