11/29/16

An Auspicious Day (plus page 4)

Today, for the first time in over two months, we have two vehicles with no check engine lights on!! Of course, this may change at any time, but for right now, I think we have it licked. Until today, the longest the check engine lights stayed off in either vehicle was 3 days. Most of the time, they came back on before I got home from the mechanic's.

I really hadn't realized how stressful it is not having dependable, running vehicles...and how stressful it is not being able to fix said vehicles, no matter how hard you try. I was very fortunate to go directly from an early/mid-80s car (that I could fix myself--no computers) to a brand-new truck (that I couldn't work on--computers) that has reliably run the last 12 years with only one major repair before now. This year my luck ran out...and I couldn't handle the constant uncertainty of when and if the truck or our new-to-us car (that I can't work on--more computers) would break down again.

Without working vehicles, our lives shuddered to a halt. We haven't been to church since September. I've barely done any food shopping. I've had to cancel appointments. All our focus has been on making sure that Danny made it to work each day...and I failed at that once or twice.

All of which really made me reconsider the effect of the uncertainty of war on a civilian population.

Right now, I have the ability to keep fixing our cars without having to worry about non-available parts. Right now, I can go to the store and be fairly certain that I can buy most if not all of the items on my shopping list. Right now, I know that if I flip the light switch, the electricity will be there to illuminate the room. Right now, I know we have access to clean running hot and cold water. Right now, I know we are (fairly) safe at home.

But what if I couldn't depend on those things? I just about gave in to depression trying to fix those **** cars. I hate to think of myself as some fragile snowflake, but I seriously need to toughen up. If I can't handle the stress of two months of broken cars, how on earth would I handle a broken, struggling country at war?

Thoughts to ponder...

On that note, here is page 4 of the Guinea Gold Newspaper. As ever, click to enbiggen:

11/25/16

More News from the War

Pages 2 and 3, for your viewing pleasure.
I really like the article in the middle of the upper half: "Dewey Predicts Success in Presidential Election". Some things never change.

Page 3:
Europe is being blitzed, the Japanese have everyone worried, people are dying, yet they still find space in the paper for the week's racing results. Priorities, people.
Page 4 on Monday.

Enjoy (if that is the right word) your Black Friday. Our cars ate the Christmas budget, so we're staying home this year; drinking tea, eating leftovers, and working on rehabbing Danny's father's bookcase for the front room (beadboard, wood filler, and paint will make anything look better.) Life is good.

11/24/16

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope everyone out in Bloggerland has a fantastic day!!

11/23/16

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving...

...and I've spent most of the day getting ready for the yearly "Big Eat."

On the menu this year: The free turkey from Danny's work, mashed potatoes, gravy, herb stuffing made from the frozen remains of bread I made last month, corn on the cob, green beans, and cranberry and fruit jello (apples, celery, jarred mandarin oranges, nuts, raw cranberries pulsed in the blender, and two packages of raspberry kosher jello.  My grandmother always made this instead of cranberry sauce, so it just isn't Thanksgiving without it.) Pumpkin pie for dessert.

Except for the turkey, all the rest of the food was readily available with rationing. But this is the end of my eggs. The chickens had better get their act together and lay some eggs before Christmas dinner or they will be the featured dish.

For after dinner, we picked up a board game to play while we digest our food: "The 1893 World's Fair". Daughter has been studying the fair, so I thought it would be fun to play while learning. Then we plan to watch "Christmas Story."

While we're busy eating, etc., tomorrow, here is page one of the newspaper for your enjoyment:



(Click to enbiggen. The articles are fascinating. Pages 2-4 coming up.)

11/21/16

Our Great Adventure (Warning: Picture Heavy)

Did you get Friday's hint?

That ENORMOUS hotel is the The Greenbrier Inn, located at White Sulphur Springs in beautiful West Virginia. I'll tell you more about it...and it's famous Cold War bunker...here soon! But first: The Rest of Our Trip!

The WV School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, WV, runs a state-of-the-art medical simulation lab. Ever since Danny started his job of developing the Sim Lab at our local Medical College (pretty much from scratch), he has heard glowing reports of WVSOMs lab. So he made an appointment to visit and tour their lab.

Business trip!!! Expense account!! And just down the street from the Greenbrier, a visit to which has been on my bucket list since forever! Clear the calendars, I'm a-tagging along on this one!!

Note: One advantage to rationing clothing. It makes it VERY easy to pack.

One of the doctors at the school recommended the General Lewis Inn (more way cool pictures at link) in Lewisburg, as well as recommending the French Goat restaurant just down the street from the Inn. As much as I'd love to stay at the Greenbrier, even I had to admit the prices were a bit in the stratosphere. Not exactly expense account material. So we stayed here:

 The far section behind the tree dates to 1834. The rest was built in 1928.
I am so glad the doctor recommended this Inn. If you are ever in the White Sulphur Springs area and want an absolutely fantastic Historic Inn to stay at, that won't break the bank, The General Lewis is the place to be.
Our room was the upstairs left, the one with the window open.
 Once we were all checked in and Danny had gone on his tour of WVSOMs Sim Lab (and I had hit the local antique stores...and made a FANTASTIC find, which I will be sharing here!!), we decided to walk to dinner...and promptly got lost.
An example of Lewisburg's fire hydrant art. Lewisburg reminds me of the best parts of Asheville, NC, without the pretension.
Google Maps had us walking in circles (okay, it was really 10% Google Maps and 90% operator error. I'm not a homing pigeon. Don't judge me.) We stopped to take a picture of a cool log cabin that looked like it was still being lived in and ask directions.
 Log cabin being photobombed by Stephen, temporarily known as David, because I'm old and deaf. I'm blaming his Virginia Beach accent. That's my story, I'm sticking to it.
 
Turned out Stephen is the chef at the French Goat and as luck would have it, could give us very good directions to the restaurant...which was just beside the log cabin. (Okay, so I'm deaf and blind. It happens.)
Stephen introducing us to Marcel, the very polite French Goat. Marcel's girlfriend, Margot, hangs out on a wall in the bar. 
After an absolutely amazing meal (I mean amazing: I'll be dreaming about (and trying to imitate) the meal I ate there for a long time!) we wandered back to the General Lewis.
Danny being all handsome in our room.
 
 The canopy bed. Sweet dreams were had by all.
  The next day: The Greenbrier Inn!!!!
 
I took SCADS of pictures. The decor is larger than life.
The concierge took our picture. Danny being handsome, me being me.
 The Greenbrier reminded me of Disneyland, writ large. I felt all Japanese, snapping pictures of everything I could see. I'll spare you most of them, (visit the Greenbrier website for much better pictures than mine) but I have to share this one:
Greenbrier employees building the Children's Present Tree. They were actively arranging presents while we watched; there were at least double the amount of presents shown here still stacked in one of the conference rooms, waiting to be moved into place. Those black bins were heaped FULL of wrapped presents, sorted by age and boy/girl/either. I asked if they got hazard pay for paper cuts.
Every year, Jim Justice, the owner of the Greenbrier, insists that at least $1 million in toys are wrapped and distributed to needy children in the area. He wants to make sure that every child has a specially chosen present to open on Christmas Day. Wow. Just...Wow.
 
Now, The Bunker Tour!
 
(I have no pictures of the bunker tour: they confiscate all electronic equipment before the tour. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.)
 
Our tour guide walked us through the hotel, explained how the government hid the bunker's construction and existence in plain sight, how the story was leaked, and how the space is used now. It was interesting, I'm glad we went, but in many ways it felt tourist-trappy, if that's a word. Most of what he said is at the above link.
 
THIS was much more interesting to me: 
$10 at a Lewisburg antique shop. The date is Monday, August 7, 1944. The articles are amazing!!
In the interest of length-of-this-post, I'll post pictures of the entire paper Wednesday. I believe you can click on them to enbiggen to read.

That's all for today. See you Wednesday!!

11/18/16

Hints

Defining Luxury Since 1778
See you Monday!

11/16/16

Short Post


Just a short post today...I'm trying to catch up on housecleaning, laundry, basic upkeep. You know, all the things that fall apart in a house when no one is watching. I mean, you should see my bathroom. Wait...on second thought, no you shouldn't!

The turkey-for-Thanksgiving ration problem has been solved. The college is handing out free turkeys to all faculty. Hey, I'm not the sort of girl who turns down free food. Don't judge me.

I've decided to just start over with the rationing. I'll use up the food I have right now and do grocery shopping this weekend. I still have a few Black Market credits I'm holding onto...may use them for Christmas.After all, what is Christmas without candy canes?

On Monday, I may (if the Lord is willing and the creek don't rise...and the cars don't break down) have lots of stories about Cold War bunkers (not WW2, but still.) and some interesting pictures to go along with them. I'll give you a hint on Friday...see you then!

11/14/16

The "Never Home" Blues


I honestly am confused as to where in the rations we are and where to go from here.

I started this little experiment at the end of September.Within two weeks, both vehicles decided, nay, demanded that we devote all our time and money to them. Since that time (almost 2 months) I have only managed organized grocery shopping three times.

Three times. Two months. One week's food each time.

The rest of the time, we have been eating out due to: lack of time to shop/not being home to cook; spending all my time hanging around the mechanic's shop an hour from home; and scheduling conflicts that require driving hundreds of extra miles each week (For example: Last weekend, Danny filled in for a 12 hr shift as a paramedic...and promptly got stuck in Lexington due to weather/pilot out-of-hours, and stranding the truck at the base. I had to drive out to Lexington (3 hours, one way) to pick him up, then drive him to pick up the truck. No time to grocery shop; not home to cook. We have had whole weeks of this type of thing. I'm exhausted.) The last time I managed to grocery shop, I bought rations for one week...and have used almost none of it. My refrigerator is full of badly wilted veggies and slightly out of date dairy. A dozen pumpkins ($1 each after Hallowe'en) are lined up in the kitchen, awaiting processing. I haven't made fresh bread for a month.

The schedule for the upcoming week isn't much better. As far as I can tell, I'll be cooking at home only three or four of the seven days. Two of the days we will be out of state, and one or two we will be out of town all day.

In addition, winter is finally here...and the chickens have decided that laying eggs is more of a warm weather sport. They have mounds of warm, fluffy straw; their chicken coop is nicely winterized; plexiglass windows let in lots of nice winter sunlight; and they have as much high protein, tasty chicken chow as they can eat. Makes no difference. For the last two weeks we have gotten zero, zip, nada eggs. I only have about 8 eggs left in the fridge. We went with the "chicken keeping" ration option, which means we're not eligible to buy eggs. I'm wishing now that I had stored more eggs when I had the chance, instead of trading them on the Black Market. (If you coat eggs in a thick layer of Crisco and store them in a single layer [I use a plastic cake storage pan] in a cool/cold place, they will keep for months.)

So I wonder: Do I just buy another week's rations and go from there? Do I sift through what I already have and save the rest of the ration points for the next week? Since we've been eating out so much (which I'm fairly certain would not have been possible for the average person during wartime, although there were restaurants available and the price was controlled to make eating out more affordable) do I just forfeit our rations up to now and start again next week, schedule willing (since I do have lots of food left over at home)? And what about Thanksgiving? It's only about two weeks away. Would it be fair to use all our unused ration points to buy a turkey?

We've got to stop eating out so much, it is breaking us. And now that we have no eggs, I'm going to have to rethink many of my recipes.

For example, take Eggplant Parmesan (which is surprisingly good without the "Parmesan" part of the agenda). No meat ration at all. Filling, tasty, quick. The batter requires three eggs. So much for Eggplant Parmesan until the chickens get back in the swing of things.

Strata. Potato pancakes. For that matter, pancakes proper. Quiche. Frittata. Lemon-rice soup. Et cetera. I had never noticed how many of the recipes I make require eggs. With no eggs and the little meat provided with the ration, meals look to be getting a bit harder to plan.

I'm going to have to research what a wartime family would have done faced with constant upheavals like this and use it as a guide to go forward. I'll post what I discover.

11/11/16

Happy Veteran's Day!

 Thank you, Britain, for Winston Churchill. He truly had a gift with words...must have come from his American mother (snark)!

Thank you to all those who have served our great country. You are the best of what America is and can be. I, for one, am hoping this new administration finally treats all Veterans with the respect and dignity they have rightfully earned.

“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.” John 15:13

[I'll be back on track next week. The truck is fixed!! (I had to replace the ECM. $500 total. Not bad.)  I've figured out the car!! (It needs an ABS module so it stops trying to skid the car off the road each time I apply the brakes. $3,500 new from the dealer; rebuild for $120. Guess which I'm gonna do.) The election is over!! And much rejoicing is heard in our Republic!! (The ones who think we are a democracy are weeping, wailing, and gnashing teeth. They should have paid more attention in Civics class.) Now I just have to figure out where I am in the rationing and go from there...I really haven't been home the past two weeks.] 

I hope everyone out in Bloggerland has a safe and happy weekend!!

11/4/16

I ATEN'T DED

(Extra points if you get the reference.)

I'm away from blogging until at least Monday. I've been rasslin' cars all week. Not joking: I've been at the mechanic's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, today, and am scheduled for Monday. The only reason I wasn't there on Thursday was because I was busy rasslin' the bank for money to feed my car repair addiction.

See you (hopefully) Monday, when the clouds will part, the birds will sing, the sun will shine, the cars will all run without their check engine lights on, and I can get back to blogging about living life the WW2 ration way.

(P.S. If any of my readers work in car design: Press nuts on an axle?!? Really?!?)