Friday, April 09, 2021

Of Cabbages And MURDER

 Well, hello! Long time, no see...or write...or whatever, so it's hard to know where to start. Let's begin with a picture of Cara Cara oranges, because why not?

For some reason, when you cut oranges this way, you CAN'T STOP EATING THEM. I'll put out a whole bowl of these on the counter and leave the kitchen and I'll come back later to find Brian with a plate of orange rinds, just polishing off the last piece. 

See all the exciting news you've been missing?

I signed up to volunteer at vax centers in our county, because I'm a wonderful person. Actually, no, I heard that sometimes they give vaccinations to the volunteers and I decided it was worth the gamble. Also, I'm receiving unemployment checks, so it makes sense to do something to earn them.

So the gamble paid off, with my being fully vaxed (Team Pfizer, whoot!), so that worked out. And - aside from the fact that at first I was signed up for 12-hour shifts, OMG - it has been fun to get out of the house and talk to people, even if it is just to say, "First or second dose? ID, please! Right this way..." over and over and over.

Also, I got a T-shirt, so there's that.

I had no reaction to either dose, which is good, I think? I had set aside an entire day to recuperate after my second dose, and I was sort of disappointed as it gradually dawned on me that morning that I could just go about with my regular Monday routine of vacuuming and cleaning out the fridge. Larry slept all day after his, so I guess we know now who's in superior health around here.

Let's see, oranges, vaccinations, what else has been happening? Oh, yes, it's spring, and if it's spring, there must be delicious marinated cabbage salad (which sounds anything BUT delicious, I admit, but trust me here):

I will put on my recipe blogger hat for a moment and share this recipe for Clairmont Salad, because it is just that good. The name comes from the name of a restaurant near to where I grew up, so I guess it was their specialty? I don't know. All I know is that when I mentioned to Larry the other day that I didn't know why the restaurant was called the Clairmont, he said, "Oh, could it be because the restaurant was near MONTCLAIR?" and I was all OMG, I never realized that. So, yeah, the restaurant was sort of named after its location, and the salad was named after the restaurant. An epiphany for me, if you will...

Clairmont Salad

3/4 C hot water

3/4 C vinegar

1/2 C oil

1/2 C sugar

1 T salt

1/2 t pepper

1 t garlic powder


Small head of cabbage, sliced thin-ish (don't overthink this, just slice it up)

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 cucumber (mini or regular), thinly sliced

Mix together first 7 ingredients. Pour over the sliced vegetables. Let sit several hours, stirring occasionally so all the veggies get to soak in the dressing. If you don't have one of the vegetables on hand, don't sweat it - this recipe is very flexible (I mean, except for the cabbage - you need the cabbage). For example, the version in the photo above lacks cucumbers, but it works!

Of course, we had Easter and Passover since I last wrote, which means an Easter/Passover charcuterie board, designed by Rachel:

This was a little short on Passover items this year, as we had already eaten all the macaroons by the time we thought to do the board, and matzoh doesn't really lend itself to this sort of presentation. Also, I know Thin Mints are not necessarily representative of spring or Easter and definitely not Passover, and neither are mini stroopwaffels, but we'll just chalk that up to artistic license.

The weather turned beautiful this past week, so Susie and I went for a hike at a national park about an hour away. Now, I had done this hike with a friend about 5 years ago, and I had a very clear memory of it as being a moderate, uphill hike that branched out toward an impressive overlook, with a view of the town and the rivers.

I got the impressive overlook part right. Someone must have come in and changed the rest, though, because what Susie and I encountered was a long uphill hike, followed by a lengthy downhill part that led to a rocky scramble that ended in the overlook. 

I won't lie - it was ridiculously hot for April, and I didn't want to hike uphill just to hike DOWN to get to the view, and so I was mostly whining, "It's not supposed to BE this way!" toward the end. Susie, intrepid hiker that she is, ran ahead and secured us an excellent picnic rock at the overlook that almost - ALMOST - made up for the trauma we had just endured (especially since we had remembered to pack both potato chips AND Cheez-Its for lunch).

Nice view, if you can reach it (excellent picnic rock in the foreground)

We were sitting and enjoying the view until a very large, very ugly bug came crawling by our feet, whereupon we leaped up, with Susie grabbing our backpack so the bug wouldn't crawl on it, at which point I saw another bug -- a large-ish ant thing -- come crawling out from where the backpack had been, headed straight toward the very large and ugly bug.

And then? The ant thing MURDERED the ugly bug as we quite literally gawked in horror.

Seriously, the ugly bug (again, literally) flipped over dead, and the ant bug (who was obviously some sort of entomological hit man) started dragging its victim's carcass away. Whereupon Susie yelled, "Ewww, I HATE nature!", thereby garnering some rather pointed stares from the other hikers on the overlook.

The hike down was easier and gave us time to try and process the grisly scene we had just witnessed. And by "process," I mean saying repeatedly that bugs are gross and what the hell was that assassin thing, anyway? Also, EWWWW.


  1. And THAT is why I don't go on hikes! Too much nature.

    But I do admit, that view is pretty amazing!

  2. What an incredible view! As for the bugs, Susie's reaction would be mine as well. Yuck.

    I've written the instructions for the salad. It's getting nice here and I love salads when the weather is warm. This sounds a bit like a salad that they made at my highschool that I ate almost every day...except it was mostly cabbage, carrots and maybe a stray onion or two.

    Take care, stay well!

  3. Glad you got your vaccine. I got my 2nd dose the day before Easter. Hooray!

    Not sure oranges would move like that in my house, now if I put out a plate of cookies or a bowl of chips? Different story.

    How dare someone come along and change that hike. We are supposed to go to Yellowstone in July. I anticipate similar reactions to hikes that we 'remember' as we haven't been there for 10 years.

  4. Wow the circle of life with bugs. Clairmont Salad! As in Clairmont Dinner! My mom never put onions in hers (perhaps because my dad hated onions). Now I’m hungry (how is that different than any other day?)

  5. Nice 3 state view. What hiker hasn't complained about the pointless ups and downs.

    1. I'm really surprised you didn't take this opportunity to remind me that I didn't know where the name Llenroc came from until you told me!

  6. This post took many unexpected turns, which means it was an excellent update. I really enjoyed reading it.

  7. Hmmm where to start?
    1) I am also on team Pfizer. Second dose scheduled Friday. I also took time off after the second dose, but then the first dose took me 2 weeks to get back to normal. And if I have no effects, I will fake it so I can sleep all day.

    B) That is my kind of charcutier board.

    And Tres: I'd love that picnic spot, but also not so much on the bugs. I always think I want to hike and then my body reminds me afterwards why I don't hike.

  8. HA. Loved this. Your Easter/Passover board is perfect.

  9. I could not remind you about what must have been an obnoxious and emotionally scarring remark where I pointed out where Llenroc came from, because I do not recall doing that. That is the difference between being on the receiving end of an obnoxious and emotionally scarring remark, and being on the distribution end of obnoxious and emotionally scarring behavior for a number of years – too much volume to remember.
    What I do remember is you pointing at a blank 12-letter word in a mostly blank acrostic puzzle and saying “That’s ‘Philadelphia’” and getting up and leaving.

  10. Now I have a Craving for Oranges cut a certain kind of way and a Salad I've never had before! *Smiles* As for Hikes, they are never as I remembered them being and someone must come in and change everything, because I refuse to admit I'm just getting too Old for some of these Trails and shouldn't be left unsupervised in Nature... or anywhere else for that matter.

  11. Is that Harper's Ferry in the picture from the mountain? We climbed that mountain years ago and I remember there was a group of young tourists doing terrifying stunts on the cliff face.

    I'm also working at vaccine clinics. For the most part, it's really fun and rewarding.

    1. It is fun, if exhausting - it's exciting to be part of something so historic!