Crisis on the Homefront


We have been in California for about six years now, three up north, three in SoCal. It was as recent as our move from Vermont, that we disposed of our 20-year-old TVs.  You know, the big old bulky ones.  We still had our first television, and a couple more we bought within five years of that one. 

Imagine our joy at a new "flat" television! We eventually bought two. One stopped working this weekend, just as Mercy Street and Victoria were due to air in about 8 hours.  I watch often on my iPad or computer, but for the boy who grew up watching a bigger screen from the couch, this was a full-on disruption of the household. 

Happily, a new one is installed after a touch and go sitch in which I was able to figure out the Roku by adding a MAC address for it, but torching access for all other devices. A home without a TV is relatively calm compared to a home without internet access. 

All's well now. As the financial gatekeeper, I'm even somewhat happy with the price. Although, when did TVs become disposable? 

Why does the purchase of a package of hot dogs require three new condiments?


This is our refrigerator, but not our food. In ours, the larger area outlined can hold food. Actually, since the meat/cheese drawer and produce drawers are always full of meat, cheese and produce, the smaller oval shows exactly how much refrigerator space is available to the cook. Two little shelves are not enough to make much ahead of time, or store leftovers.

The rest of the space is designated condiment area for smoked sausage, hot dogs or other glorious (I guess) pre-cooked tube meats that go on a roll and require a slathering of something from the 10 shelves in our refrigerator. I bet you are thinking this household eats said items at least once a week. Nope. I cannot even remember when we last did. It probably was a hot dog from Costco during the Christmas liquor shop when hunger overcame logic. 

Today my inventory journey includes the refrigerator, and it certainly isn't what the Lowe's people dream about in this picture. It is more like five mustards, several hot sauces, several Asian delights that go on American meats these days for the Millenials, and a few pickles, olives and sauces I recognize. 

It would be easy to say, nothing new comes IN unless something goes OUT. Enforcing that? Impossible. They are both much bigger than me. One hopes there are many expired sell by dates in there.  

On that note, my Flipboard today had this article about expiration dates on food:

   "You’re about to see a big change to the sell-by dates on food"


Taking Inventory - Food

Handy Meal Planner with Tear Off Grocery List

I'm not sure if the cure for boredom is a boring task, but that's what is being done on the home front. 

The goal is to know what we have and by that, I mean all categories.  It took me three weeks to gather all the financial information to a one-page spreadsheet. The process included calling all those pesky accounts to either downgrade or cancel to see where we could get a better deal for us not them. I believe AT&T has a rather large dossier on me by now. We spoke too many times. 

That done, I started taking inventory of the food in the house. I figure this is the second area we could have potential waste. 

After researching pre-filled pantry, refrigerator and freezer lists, I gathered together all on my own spreadsheet. Three pages of food items to notate with quantities. By the time I got to the inside freezer, I was just making my own list. Here are a couple of blank ones if you are interested in a similar exercise.

Printable Blank Pantry/Freezer Inventory Sheet

Organize Your Pantry

Although I thought for sure I was using up what I had "in stock", maybe not so much. A quick calculation of ingredients turns out to be about 45 days of food on hand. This surprises me even though I've been mindful regarding meal planning. 

I purchased the notepad shown at the top of my post. For $10, you can find this on Amazon (link when you click on pic). I have been using it for three weeks now and my grocery list is more focused. It looks more like a scratch pad when filled out by me because things change with schedules and leftovers, but it's only one sheet for the week and you start with a fresh one on Monday!

Okay, off to figure out what to use up in next week's plan. This is boring stuff, but I will say it feels so good once a household category is under control. 


Valentine's Day Menu at the Loreto Home

Bourbon Glazed Salmon Recipe with Asparagus

I really think it is going to be this simple. Salmon and asparagus. I have everything I need to make the meal.  For dessert, I am considering a family favorite, Brownie Pudding:

Brownie Pudding


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add milk, oil, and vanilla
  3. Stir until smooth
  4. Stir in the nuts
  5. Pour into ungreased 8 x 8 pan

For the top:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water


  1. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa
  2. Gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  3. Pour over batter in pan
  4. Bake 350 F oven for 30 minutes or until cake tests done
  5. Serve warm or cream makes it good
  6. Makes 8 servings

Tip:  Surprising best sellers right now on eBay: sunglasses!  Christian Dior

We Are Officially Bored!

Yarn Bee Hint of Silk - Purl Soho Broken Garter Scarf Pattern

There seems to be nothing of interest on television lately. I told my husband I think the frenetic coverage of the election has ruined us for now. How can anything be that exciting...whether good or bad excitement?

I hear "The Crown" is worth watching while I knit. Or crochet. Or cross stitch. 

I've made the Broken Garter Scarf, shown in progress above, before with a vintage yarn. This Hint of Silk yarn drapes beautifully. 

We are ready for spring and longer daylight hours and sunshine!

Late 1930s or Early 1940s Rayon Peignoir Set by Tula



This lovely peignoir set by Tula Narco was found locally. My research shows it was probably manufactured around the time our little Spanish colonial was built. The glamorous touches on both, consistent with the era, make it easy to see the lady of the house gliding silver screen style down the hallway to the bedroom.


I wish I had a mannequin on which to better showcase its loveliness. You can see from this one on eBay how beautifully the rayon fabric drapes. 

There are a couple of vintage Tula ads here. 





Cross Stitch and Comfort Seeking

1989 Sunset Down a Country Road

My husband and I have had a virus for about 3 weeks now. We are in need of comfort. It seems the world has changed also, too much. Although more to our liking, any change is unsettling. I guess we fit the grandma and grandpa description that advertisers use as keywords to lure people our age to their products, although we have no grandchildren and a son in grad school. We are not looking for any soon.  I'd like to forgive these 20-30 somethings that decide I need a phone that is easy to use with large numbers and a font easily read by my 87-year-old mother. After all, I still have blonde, sometimes lavender, hair to the middle of my back.  

I found this cross stitch scene from 1989 in my stash from an estate sale find at some point. Since embroidery was to be my go-to for comfort this year, I started stitching on this. All those white areas take tiny cross stitches in colors that blend with the nearby scene. I have done some of the green. Boy, is it a challenge... and not so much a comfort.

A chocolate cake from scratch helps soothe us, along with bypassing Facebook. Is it possible politics have ruined FB for most of us? 

Cork Lined Embroidery Hoop with Metal Tension Wheel

Embroidery hoop

I really wanted to purchase the French General "French Embroidery Hoop". Just because it is so cool. However! I have several vintage wooden and metal hoops in my stash, and even at a discount of $25, it doesn't make sense to add another item to the bin. 

Then this beauty appeared while I was searching for materials. {{cue angels singing}}

This one is approximately an inch larger in diameter than the one mentioned above. I love the wheel screw which makes tension adjustment easy. Similar ones are/have been for sale on eBay for $16.95.

If anyone has any information on its date of manufacture, please let me know. 


Unexpected gifts



We are thankful for friends and family that made our holiday season delightful! It began with a cross-country trip by our next door neighbors from Florida who traveled long hours to visit for a week here in Riverside. They brought laughter and gifts reminiscent of our adopted home state.  The day they left we traveled for my husband's work to San Francisco via Spirit "First Class" by chance. The best way to get there, of course. Holiday lights during visits with friends and family there made it extra special. The late night loss of the rental car in Redwood City made it an adventure. We were finally rescued by an off-duty sheriff and his family. (Who couldn't find the parking garage after several attempts, either. But, it ended well.)

Almost everyone I knew had their tree up and decorated for Christmas and my husband went out of town for another week. Our friends took me with them to get a tree, chose one on the lot, unwrapped it, tossed it in the back of their truck, stopped for a tarp for us, and set it up ... in the stand! 

Christmas Eve at their annual party is always memorable for the food and company, many were there from New York.

My sister came for a long week from Texas, a comfy visit, and a huge help when most needed at the birthday party. The same night I was rescued by two chefs who cooked my main dishes when this brain shut down after days of prep.

We are done now with 2016, which usually ends for us after the birthday on the 10th. Except, last night the "pizza man" brought a birthday tomato pie and white pizza in the traditional half sheet size of Rome, New York, my husband's and his hometown. 

The picture shows the contents of a shiny envelope that arrived for me from ipsy. A mysterious gift, indeed, to add to the list of thoughtfulness we were surrounded with this year. 

Thank you to many friends from Florida, the Bay area, central New York transplants, and a reluctant Waco, Texas resident. Your gifts were fun and helpful. Your friendship is treasured.