What terrible thing have I done to anger the gods of cooking so??  Here is a quote from last night’s post: “As I have said far too often, I am out of my comfort zone when trying to cook.  That is why the Anniversary Dinner tomorrow is a carry-out special.  It does demand cooking the Prime Rib for an hour, and reheating the side dishes that came with it.  I should be able to handle that much, but who knows how it will come out.”  The last clause was prophetic.

Last night’s post also noted that the Honey Crunch Pecan Pie had sloshed a couple of times leaving pools of surgary filling on the bottom of the stove.  Why do I suspect that everyone reading this who has ever cooked already knows what happened this morning.  Here is the what I brought home from the Brick Oven Restaurant for our Anniversary Celebation dinner with three couples who drove over from Kansas City:  five pounds of Prime Rib, Baby Red Potato Cheese Bake, Tasso Corn Bake (a signature dish), Au Jus, Creamy Horse Radish & Dinner Rolls.

All I had to do was finish cooking the Prime Rib for an hour in the oven and reheat the side dishes in the microwave.  You know what happened when I turned the oven on to preheat it to 275 degrees.  Yes, the smoke started pouring out of the oven vent.  It wasn’t just a little bit of smoke, but thick smoke as in burning sugar.  Again, I had to pull out the sheet entitled “How to Cancel a False Alarm” just in case the smoke detector went off.

It is good that it was not seven degrees with a wind chill outside since I had to open every window in the kitchen, the front door, open the door to the garage (and open the garage door itself).  Of course, I had no choice but to put the Prime Rib into the smoking oven, since there would soon be eight of us sitting at the table intent on eating an Anniversary Dinner. One of the side dishes managed to bubble over in the microwave to add insult to injury.

Then there was the award-winning Honey Crunch Pecan Pie for dessert.  After all the challenges getting it cooked last night, it actually looked pretty good.  And, it would have been perfect if it were called Honey Crunch Pecan Upside Down Cobbler!!! It looked like it was done.  It didn’t jiggle when I moved it.  When I cut it and tried to get a piece out to put on the dessert plate, what ended up on the plate was a dark brown heap of goo with nuts in it and pieces of crust trailing through it. That piece and every one after it came out the same way.

We squirted Redi-Whip (the one that is cream, not oil) on each piece and ate our dessert.  There was some sympathy applause in the form of verbal commnets on how good it was.

I will admit publicly here that twice in the course of getting the rolls heated and in the basket, some of them fell on the floor.  I had just cleaned that floor with my Swiffer Wetjet mop shortly before the Kansas City Crew arrived.  I am sure it was completely sterile.  There were two different witnesses, one to each drop.  They each promised secrecy, each unaware of the other.  Needless to say they were both guys.  We grew up eating dirt on occasion — so what’s the deal?

The good news was that the Prime Rib was spectacular, the side dishes were each distinctive and wonderful tasting.  We had a great conversation, and in spite of looking less than appetizing, the Honey Crunch Pecan Upside Down Cobbler really tasted as good as would be expected for an award-winner.

Will I ever do such a thing again, invite people over for a meal at our house? Unless I can figure out what I did to anger the gods of cooking and atone for my sins, I think not.  Hold it!!! Our Son and Daughter, their Spouses and our Grandchildren will be arriving at our home Sunday late in the morning so that we can have Christmas Dinner together.  There will be nine people!  I am preparing that dinner!  Maybe they won’t read this post before Sunday.  Who knows what I can do to ham steaks, cheesy potatoes, grape salad, garden corn — and half of a Prime Rib roast left over from today (it was huge).

No, I will not be making Rosalie’s Honey Crunch Pecan Pie!!!! (I may, however have a large glass of the secret ingredient in that pie — check last night’s post.)

Mary Ann was quite subdued today.  She seemed very tired.  It was hard for her to get to sleep last night.  She seemed excited about today.  I am not sure if she engaged in conversation when I was out of the room, but it did not appear to me that she was very responsive and communicative.  She went to bed at 6:30pm after napping with her head on the table in front of her transfer chair for an hour or so before then.  I hope she perks up by Sunday when the kids are all here.

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Maybe that is a little dramatic — three exclamation points — but we do now have a number of new items of food in the freezer.  While our Daughter, Lisa, stayed with Mary Ann for the three days I retreated to Oklahoma, she made lots of things that are within my cooking comfort zone and put them in the freezer.  She wrote the preparation directions on pieces of paper and put them with each item.  Gratefully, they are mostly the kind of directions that say, thaw, cook in oven for an hour at 350 degrees.  I can handle that!

Pete and Carla stopped by with a meal this noon.  They are very thoughtful folks.  I was sorry to miss seeing them since I was at the lake while Volunteer Jan spent time with Mary Ann. Jan and Mary Ann seem to enjoy each other’s company.  This afternoon Elaine came by, picked up Mary Ann and took her to the Quilt Show.  Mary Ann loved making quilts for a number of years.  She especially liked piecing the tops together.  She spent two years hand stitching the quilting on her first quilt, a queen sized sampler quilt.  After that, she took them to be machine quilted once she got the tops pieced. It has been hard for Mary Ann to accept the loss of the ability to make quilts.  After such a busy day, Mary Ann crashed late this afternoon, so the evening service at church was not an option for us.

This morning’s time at the lake provided a couple of interesting treats in observing wildlife.  The first is a repeat of an encounter I had a few weeks ago.  Again today there were two Ospreys sailing overhead.  One came right over the car, so I got a very good look at him through the binoculars.

I made my usual visit to the Delaware Marsh, which now has very little visible water in it.  The area that I walk has one large puddle left.  As I approached it from a distance, walking a on tall ridge alongside the marsh, the water in the puddle seemed to be almost boiling with activity.  When I focused the binoculars on the mud sided puddle, it was boiling, not from heat but from the movement of snakes, maybe a dozen of them. They were twisting and turning rapidly, in constant motion.

After watching a while, it became apparent what was going on.  The water had dried up in most of the area, leaving that large puddle as the last, very confined, place where the frogs and fish were trapped.  While I am not absolutely sure about the fish, I could see the frogs jumping out of the water, flying into the air, with snakes in speedy pursuit.

Some of the snakes were pretty large, at least two or three feet long — some probably longer.  The snakes began slithering off in the mud and marsh grass as I approached.  One large snake and one medium sized snake remained in the mud at the edge of the water even though I was not far away.  As far as I can tell, looking online, they were white bellied or yellow bellied water snakes.  They did not have the telltale triangular head of a venomous snake.  While I am not particularly fearful of snakes, I kept my distance.  The binoculars provided as good a look as I would get even if I tried moving closer.  I am sure they would have moved away quickly if I had climbed down the ridge into the marsh.  My visit to that puddle probably provided a stay of execution for some frogs and fish.  I doubt that the stay will be for long.

Uh-oh.  There seem to be signs of restlessness being revealed by the video monitor.  I hope Mary Ann sleeps well tonight since tomorrow includes two different Sonograms, heart and carotid artery.  We always hope for no change in the condition of both.  Blocked heart arteries, some weakened heart muscle and a dented and rough surface on a large lesion on one side of her carotid artery keep us aware of the harsh realities of her condition.

Each day is a gift!

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.