Monday, June 29, 2015

A Special Gift From Me to You!

I have a little gift for you today. Instead of my usual Monday Blog ramblings, I decided to share a few of my Baba's favorite Slovak/Polish recipes. Everybody in our family would agree that Baba was the most terrific cook on the planet. What made her even more amazing was that she could whip up a dinner fit for a king while washing clothes, ironing, quilting, cleaning, and more. She kind of floated through life doing this and that, making every chore seem easy, while always making sure we were presented with dinners replete with scrumptious meals and delicious desserts. 

In addition to the recipes,I've added tidbits about how her Mondays ususally unfolded (pun intended).
Hope you enjoy my journey back in time and place. The years in Baba's house were some of the happiest I've ever experienced in my entire life.


Baba washed clothes every Monday. After attending Mass, she’d return home, consume her usual breakfast of toast and coffee, and begin emptying the upstairs hampers. In the basement, she’d sort the clothes according to color, whites, pastels, darks. Next Baba filled a huge metal tub with water, set it on the old stove, added bleach, and soap flakes, and turned on the burner. When reaching a boil, she’d drop the whites in the soupy mixture and let them soak. Then Baba attached the hose from the utility sink to the washing machine, and filled it with warm water, soap, and the pastels. Viola! Wash day had officially begun.

Because her schedule was extremely busy, food preparation had to be kept to a minimum. Kielbasa Bow Tie Skillet Dinner was quick and easy, so to our delight, Baba made it often. My grandmother was a master of time organization and cooking expertise, and her Monday meals were just as delicious as on days when she had more opportunity to be in her kitchen.

While the whites were soaking, and the pastels were sloshing around in the washing machine, Baba went back to her kitchen to prepare the batter for the poppy seed cake. In less than twenty minutes, the scrumptious dessert was popped into the oven for a little more than an hour. It was then time to return to the basement.
By now the pastels were ready for the next step in the washing process. Baba picked up the clothes piece by piece and ran them through the wringer. A second utility tub containing warm water received the washed items for rinsing. Once all the suds were thoroughly removed, the pastels again traveled through the wringer into a waiting clothes basket.

Baba siphoned out the dirty water from the machine to prepare it for a second load, the whites. After dumping a cup of soap into clean, hot water, she turned it on for another round.

My grandmother carried the basket upstairs, but before going outside to hang clothes on the line, she’d take the cake out of the oven, and turn it upside down on the neck of a milk bottle to cool. After pinning the washed items on the line, and before returning to the basement, Baba placed water on the stove to boil for the bow tie pasta. In the meantime, she filled another pot with water, started a boil, and submerged six-inch precut pieces of kielbasa to cook for ten minutes. Usually both the pasta and the meat were done at the same time. Baba drained the pasta and ran cold water over it so the bows wouldn’t stick together. She’d then take out the meat, place it in a roasting pan, cover it, and be off to repeat the rinse-and-wring process for the whites.
With her second basket full of cleaned clothes, my grandmother added the darks to the machine, and once again headed to the backyard to hang up the brightest whites in town.

Kielbasa Bow Tie Skillet Recipe

Afterwards Baba stopped in the kitchen to cut up the kielbasa in bite-sized chunks. She’d pull out her largest cast iron skillet, melt a pound of butter, and fry the two ingredients together. She never added any kind of vegetables to her dish, and no seasoning was ever needed. When completely browned, Baba returned everything to the roasting pan, covered it, and put it into the oven to keep warm.

Since the poppy seed cake was somewhat cooled by this time, my grandmother took the tube pan off the bottle, ran a knife around the edges, and carefully dropped it onto one of her decorative cake plates. The only thing left to do was sprinkle a snowfall of powdered sugar on top right before serving it.

When the darks were finally on the line, Baba sat at her kitchen table for a few minutes of well-deserved rest. She loved to scoop out a tablespoon of peanut butter and eat it right off the spoon. If she was extra tired, Baba was known to indulge in a second helping.

                         CUCUMBER SALAD

Baba kept jars of cucumber salad in the fridge to be used as a side dish on busy days. It went well with all of her Monday dinners. The cucumbers remained fresh and crisp for weeks.

I hope you will try some of Baba’s favorite Monday recipes. As a family we looked forward to every meal because we knew how much love and caring went into the preparation. We were never served anything that came out of a box or can. With Zedo seated at the head, we respectfully gathered around Baba’s kitchen table 

to share blessings, food, and conversation. We cherished this time together and were excused only when our plates were emptied and our stomachs, full.




Monday, June 22, 2015


Today is our 47th Wedding Anniversay and we'll celebrate by doing our grocery shopping and putting steak on the grill for dinner. Not at all romantic,you say? Well honestly after all this time you just run out of things to do that have that WOW factor!

This morning when I awoke, there was a card sitting on the kitchen table. I knew who it was from without opening it since the only other human in the house is my hubby. Our dog, Shadow, lives with us, but she isn't much for card stores and such. Usually a lick or two on my leg is her way of expressing her undying love for me.

There were only seven words on the front of the card: My Wife, the Love of My Life. Need I say more? After all we've been through, I am still the love of his life, and he's mine! Yes, we've lived,loved, and laughed, but we've also argued and cried. We've celebrated births, milestones, and success, but we've also endured sickness, death, and failure. We've earned handsomely, purchased a beautiful home, and raised three amazing children, but there were many times when money was tight, and our kids gave us fits. Yet here we are, 47 years into it, and nothing has been able to sever our bond.

'Celebrating the day I put a ring on your finger and promised to love you forever and thanking you for making that promise so easy to keep,' are the words gracing the inside of this card. Now the first part of the sentence, I believe. I knew his promise was forever the day we married, I could see it in his eyes.

But as far as 'making that promise so easy to keep' is a far stretch of the truth. I know myself quite well. I'm stubborn, opinionated, and self-righteous. I've been blessed with an above average intelligence, and truly believe my decisions are sound and for the betterment of all involved.Trying to change my mind is like trying to dig to the core of the earth with a teaspoon, an exercise in futility. No, I haven't made his promise easy to keep, but I've made it challenging, that's for sure!

Before taking responsiblity for all our trials and tribulations though, hubby isn't without his faults. He wa an engineer before retirement. Everything to him is black and white devoid of much in the way of feelings and emotion. He'd rather think than speak, and is definitely a home body. Going to dinner even with friends will elicit a 'huh' and a 'yep' as his contribution to conversation. You guessed it, he'd rather eat than speak, and making small talk is painful for him.

So here we are with all our shortcomings and still together. Perhaps we could be considered the poster couple for the institution of marriage. Despite our differences, we both believe in the vows we made to each other 47 years ago. We had no idea then what those promises entailed, but once said we were determined to live them until death do us part.

No, I didn't get hubby a card. I've never gotten him one in all these years. I think that when I agreed to marry him, he inherited the job. By the way, he does choose some lovely ones. He always tells me the cards he picks say what he feels in his heart for me, but just can't put into words. I believe him.

So before you poo-poo at the manner in which we choose to celebrate our 47th Wedding Anniversary, remember that our fridge will be LOADED AND our steaks, RARE! When you're married as long as we've been, hopefully you'll be able to say the same!

Happy Anniversary, hubby, here's to at least three more! If we don't make it to our 50th, I'll be pissed because I've hung in there all this time for that BIG PARTY OUR KIDS ARE OBLIGATED TO THROW!

Monday, June 15, 2015


CLINTON, WALKER, BUSH, SANTORUM, RUBIO, HUCKABEE AND EVEN TRUMP! Why shouldn't BARNETT  throw her hat (doesn't own one) into the ring, I ask? Hell, I fall in the same age range, I know as much if not more about politics than any of these bumpsters, and I can orate far better than any of them!

To be honest, I believe my motivations for such a high honor are less than honorable though! I want to be president so I can live in the White House, sleep in the bed where ultimate power sleeps, eat meals prepared by famous culinary geniuses, walk across the front lawn in my barefeet, and jet across the world to meet Heads of State, shake hands and accept luxurious gifts from them, and return home feeling completely satisfied with my day's efforts.

I want my hubby, children, and grandchildren to brag about me constantly. I want my neighbors green with envy, my friends friendlier than ever before, and my enemies wishing my hair would fall out!

I want to make life-changing decisions for millions of folks on a whim, and never give a second thought to the horrible consequences that follow. I want to tell people how much I care about their troubles and promise to correct everyone of them in a matter of months. And of course, I want all of these snooks to believe every word I say!

No matter how many 'mistakes' I make, I want the populace to forgive and forget, and revere me for my courage. I want to select people for government positions that will agree with me on every decision I make, and be willing to lie to protect my credibility should the situation ever go south.

When my exemplary service is over, I want monuments erected in my honor, and a library built containing every word I've uttered, and every sentence I've written. I want a lifetime pension, Secret Service protection by the most handsome of men, and the undying respect of every man, woman, and child on the planet.

You may think I should be ashamed of myself for not being more like the politicians I've mentioned at the top of my post, but I'm not. They may have lofty ambitions, promise to fight for the poor and downtrodden, and seek justice for all. They may be better qualified for the job. They may have years and years of experience in Washington.

I know I'm the underdog, but that won't stop me from becoming part of the political scene.And why should it? I can spin unbelievable tales with the best of them. I can tell you what you want to hear, and then do exactly the opposite. I can surround myself with like-minded yes-men and yes-women to further my self-serving agenda along. I do have what it takes to lead our Nation into utter chaos!

BARNETT FOR PRESIDENT 2016! I'm all in. Are you with me? I certainly would appreciate your vote, you dummies!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Listen To Your Body! It Knows You Better Than Anyone!

As I was coming in through the side door on Saturday, my right leg gave way, I fell to the floor and could not get up. After trying two or three times, I realized the leg couldn't and wouldn't hold my weight. Luckily my hubby was in the room, and helped me to the recliner. I was in a great deal of pain and had a hard time positioning myself to at least alleviate some of it. I asked Barry to fill a bag with ice, and get me a pillow to use as a prop. He broached the subject of going to the ER, but I flatly refused. "How about seeing an orthepedic?" he asked. Again my answer was a definite, "No!"

You see the same thing happened to me playing basketball during my freshman year in high school, only it was my left leg that failed me. It was 1959, and back then the doctor said it was a sprain, rest it for a few days and everything would return to normal. But after thr ee months, I was still dragging that leg around relying on my right one to do all the work. When I came home for summer vacation, my Baba took one look at me, grabbed her purse and insisted I follow her down the avenue. Although it took us some time, we finally made it to our destination. The name on the door said, 'Ann Hook, Chiropractor.' I'd never even seen the word, chiropractor' before, so I had no clue what I was in for. We had to walk up two flights of stairs, and believe me, that wasn't easy. The hallway was dark and silent. I started to feel a little uneasy, but I had complete faith in my grandmother.

Ann Hook, who was my Baba's friend and fellow church lady, opened the door to her office and immediately started a conversation. The two women talked about quilting, recipes, and church functions. Without so much as a greeting, the chiropractor instructed me to lay down on a skinny cot located against the wall. I did as I was told, assuming she'd examine my leg to see what was what. However, Mrs. Hook simply went to the end of the bed, and while still chatting with Baba, she took my left foot in hand and roughly jerked it sideways. For an instant, I felt a surging pain, then nothing. I was then told to stand up, and when I did, I was totally shocked. My left leg was straight! I could bend it, and amazingly I could walk normally without pain. I still had no idea what a 'chiropractor' did, but believed their services were nothing less than miraculous. When Baba asked what was owed, Ann Hook waved her hand which indicated she expected nothing in the way of compensation, hugged my grandmother, and promised to be at the next quilting session. We left her office, walked back up the avenue and returned home in a lot less time than it had taken for us to get there.

Over the years, that knee 'went out' often, but a quick visit to Mrs. Hook's office and all was made well again. In time I could manipulate it back into place myself. It's been many years since it has given me any trouble at all.

I immediately recognized what had happened to me on Saturday. A week prior I'd been doing work outside and had constantly placed my right leg in an awkward  position when transplanting bushes. I believe I dislocated my knee because I experienced discomfort and trouble walking after the job was completed. I hobbled around for the next few days, then as I stepped into the doorway, the knee of its own volition, shifted back into place causing excruciating pain and rendering me helpless. Because I didn't enlist the skilled talents of a chiropractor, the joint did the best it could under the circumstances.

I have been icing the right knee down, keeping it supported with an ace bandage, using a walker to get around, and believe I'll be ready to go it alone very soon. Funny how your past provides you with certain knowledge and wisdom that stays in your mind for a lifetime. Without realizing it, you can bring whatever you need to the fore when the occasion presents itself.

I have been in tune with my body ever since my first chiropractic visit. I don't usually rely on physicians to tell me what is physically wrong, my body does that for me. By listening to it, I understand its message, and act accordingly.

Don't get me wrong, there are times when seeing a doctor is imperative to your well-being. But I've found that most of the time, if you become quiet, your body will reveal the problem, and offer advice on how to return to good health.

Listen to your body, it's been with you from the beginning and has stored up a treasurer chest of knowledge you can delve into to find answers to the healing you seek.