Thursday, January 25, 2024

Life in the Deep Freeze (and Beyond)

Last week we had dinner at the home of friends. It was so frigid outside that when we arrived and entered, greeted by hugs, an inviting fire in the fireplace, and a glass of wine it was like going to heaven. When we left five and a half hours later, we realized it was after eleven. I had no idea. The conversation, the laughter, the warmth, made me forget the chill outside. That's what friendship can do for people. 

Our host, John Schneider, took this photo and regrettably, the only thing missing in it is him! John writes a wonderful daily blog that is short, sweet and wonderful. Sharon Emery, his wife, is the author of "It's Hard Being You" and also blogs HERE. I hope you'll take a look. 

During my senior year in college, I shared an apartment with three others. It was in the early 1970s. Think Vietnam War, protests, Carole King's "Tapestry," musical poetry by Rod McKuen, Watergate hearings, love beads, and Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet." (And if you've never heard of any of those -- well, celebrate your youth!)

Stenciled on our wall was a quote from that book. 

And let your best be for your friend.
    If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
    For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
    Seek him always with hours to live. 

The rest of the poem continues (but never made it to our wall.)

    For it is his to fill your need but not your emptiness.
    And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
    For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.  

I thought about that quote as I relived that lovely evening in my mind. "And in the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

That's how I felt the next morning. We laughed about the "dew of little things" (and a few pretty heavy thoughts, too). We laughed so hard, it was a release. 

A release from the weather. The politics. The whole "getting older" thing. We were joyful. 

  I love joy.


The mold tester has come and gone and I was impressed by how thorough he was. The bad news is that he did find mold and the lab results indicated it was significant enough to require remediation. Getting that scheduled is at the top of my action list. (They sent the quote; it was a big gulp!) I'm not to take things down to the basement and bring up little, if anything, until it is done, which will probably be the second week in February. Then I have to put the basement back together. My Christmas stuff will be up forever, I think. I would at least like to get the big tree taken down by the time I have Cork Poppers here next month. I need the real estate. So it may be stashed in the garage or the guest room. Ugh. Stay tuned.


I've been laying low but had to go out so while I was on the road stopped by the Ditch, not for a walk but for a quick photo. 

When I took that, it was completely iced over and not surprisingly looking lovely. Now it is melting off with lots of water showing. Our winter is weird.


I finished Barbra Streisand's book which I thought was fabulous. I'll have the review in the January book report but I feel safe in saying I may have already read my best book of 2024 in January. It's fascinating. I learned so much about film, editing, the mechanics of putting together a concert or an album, and of course about her life -- it's one filled with insecurities as well as great talent and commitment. It was worth every minute of those nearly 700 pages! 


Friends came for lunch and I made the go-to Ina risotto that I've shared here before, this time adding sauteed shrimp and mushrooms. It was the easiest thing I could think of to make and perfect for a cold winter's day.

I also made Anno's wonderful nuts and I'm putting the recipe at the bottom of this post. I packed them up into a couple of cute wintry mugs I found after Christmas as a take-away. I'm on a nut kick these days and this recipe never disappoints!


And finally, the puzzle is taking shape. I gave up on the  border -- solid pink around most of it. Instead I started with something that might reveal immediate gratification! It's plugging along. I volunteered to host Cork Poppers in early February so I need to finish it by then!

And that's life in the Deep Freeze for now (though it is considerably warmer -- today we were in the 30s and the nights in double digits -- so maybe we're on an upswing.) Here's that wonderful nut recipe! It only takes about 15 minutes prep (with measuring and stove-top time) and ten minutes in the oven. They package up well for gifts. 

Anno's Nuts 

Preheat oven 350 and cover a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil. Butter or spray the foil lightly.
Mix together: 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper (that's the part that takes the longest!)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
In a large skillet, melt over medium heat: 
  • ¼ c. (half stick) of butter
  • Add: ¾ cup of packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of water
  • When the sugar is completely dissolved, add about four cups of nuts. I've done all almonds, all pecans, a mix of both. Doesn't matter. 
  • Stir them about five minutes or so to roast and be sure they are all covered with the sugary mixture. Closer to the end, the sugary part will thicken and start to gently bubble. That's OK -- just let it go a little longer and keep stirring to be sure the nuts are maxing out the syrup. Five minutes on medium should do it.
  • Add one half of the pepper mixture to the nuts on the stove and toss well
  • Turn nuts out onto foil and spread out to as close as you can to a single layer. (With a spatula, scrape all the good syrupy part, which may have started to harden a bit, onto the nuts.
  • Sprinkle with the last of the pepper mixture and bake for 10 minutes. (If you like them hotter, you can add a bit of cayenne -- but be super careful. You can totally mess up here if you use too much!)
  • When done, flip nuts on sheet out onto waxed paper (tear off a long sheet of it). Parchment might work too-- never tried it. Let them fully cool. (Nuts will be VERY hot for a minute). Break up any big clumps.
  • Store in a tin or ziplock. You can freeze them, too in freezer bags. For giving, I bag them up in little clear bags I get at Michael's or those small treat bags and tie them off with a ribbon.
Sharing with:   Love Your Creativity    /    Share Your Style  /  Rain's Art and Dinner Date   


Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Dinner with friends sounds fun. That snow looks good too because we've just had wind (oh, so much wind!) and rain here for ages.

Tom said...

...the puzzle should be a beauty when done. Puzzles are too puzzling for me and my ADD! Take care and stay warm and well.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Thank you for the recipe
Love all your smiles, a nice dinner there
Cold winter and warm friends is the best!

Fundy Blue said...

Well, I guess I can't celebrate my youth because I remember and enjoyed all the early 70s things you mentioned, Jeanie. The late 60s-early 70s give me hope. Things were difficult then in the US, and it helps me to remember that we've gotten through bad times before. Hopefully we'll get through these days too. How lovely to see you having fun with your friends. Good times with friends are as wonderful as good times with family. Your nut recipe looks yummy! Terry and I eat a lot of nuts. All the best to you!

My name is Erika. said...

I'm sorry to read about your mold problems. That doesn't sound like a good thing, and even though it sounds pricey, it will be good to get that done. But I understand why you're ready to pick up the holiday decorations. Otherwise it sounds like you're having a good January, even if it was so cold. Friends are the best, aren't they? Just as important as family too. I hope the rest of January goes well for you, and I'm looking forward to reading about that Streisand book.hugs-Erika

Marilyn Miller said...

I made some spicy pecans for Christmas that I finished nibbling today. Nuts can be such a good snack.
What wonderful friendships to visit for so long. So very, very special!
Sorry about the mold situation. Hoping it helps with your lung issues eventually once your basement is mold free.

Boud said...

That was a good evening with friends, particularly in midwinter. I'm going to check those blogs, too

Rita said...

At least they found the mold and it will be taken care of. Whew! But it will be a pain in the patoot for a while till they are done.
What a fun time with friends. I graduated high school in '68 so I am very familiar with everything else you mentioned, but never heard that poem you had on the wall, though.
Stay warm. I'm sure you'll find a spot for the tree in the meantime. Have a great weekend and good luck on the jig saw puzzle. They are fun...and challenging. :)

ashok said...

Sounds like a great evening

Joyful said...

Your night out at friends sounds like my kind of night. It's so lovely to have good friends. I'm sorry to hear you will need to have mold remediation and I hope it all goes well. At least yours will be finished in a few weeks. Work is finally starting on building renovations to all patios. I think mine will be done mid-summer. I look forward to a new patio with fresh and more nutrient rich soil.

Cindy said...

Did I understand that right, you put this quote on the wall of your apartment while in college... and now you're friends with the author?! That's very cool. That snowy picture of the lake is just beautiful.

roentare said...

I don't have many friends left. It is so good to dine with them and talk and chat. It is one of the great pleasures.

Iris Flavia said...

Gack on the mould, but the first part of this post of yours sure warmed my heart!
It must´ve been a truly wonderful evening.
Vietnam, Flower Power and all this of this era I indeed only know of movies, but our home had 70´s wallpaper, the cool furniture, Dad had the proper haircut, we wore those typical jeans, in German "Schlaghose". They had a revival 20 years ago and sure as hell it felt soooo good to wear them again!
Two years ago I found an original chair in the street, like in the old Star Trek series and certainly carried it home and sit on it right now.
To friendships and the good old times, to laughter!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Mould in the basement is not something to be ignored, Jeanie, and there is no alternative to paying the bill to have it fixed. It would be even better if you could prevent water coming in, but I’m sure you have thought of that! Cork Poppers in February sounds like great fun. I mean if there’s wine, bread and cheese, the world is transformed. Tonight I will open a bottle of wine and we’ll raise a toast to the jury that dinged Donald Trump so forcefully. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

Anvilcloud said...

It is an odd winter. We are back to mild temperatures (it's relative) and non-photogenic mushiness. I am pleased for you that you event was so joyful and uplifting.

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I enjoyed reading this uplifting post! There is nothing better than an evening with good friends and it sounds like yours was memorable. The cold sounds unbearable as I sit here reading about it on my balcony in Sunny warm South Florida. We had mold in our condo a few years ago and it was quite a job removing everything. We actually had to move out for 2 weeks. The Streisand book sounds wonderful and it's on my list to read. My cousin's claim to fame was that when he grew up in Brooklyn, Barbara Streisand lived in the neighbored and they were in th same class in school... Of course ,they were not friends bc he did not like girls at the time!!! Enjoy your puzzle.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Great post, enjoyable read! It is lovely to be in a warm home with long time friends. We've been seeing more of our friends lately, too. Winter has been so mild this year, we haven't had any snow! Weather is weird here as well. Yes, I remember all those things from the 1970s, I still listen to the music from that era. Sorry about the mold!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,
What a wonderful photo of you and your friends.
I love that poem, lovely words like friendship, laughter and sharing pleasures. Pretty views of the Ditch. We are having warmer weather 66° yesterday, our snow has melted. Take care, have a happy weekend.

La Table De Nana said...

You do friendship well:)
Rod..Kahill..Rod was very early 70's to me..a first love..he would read the poems to me..I still have his books and had allbums../74 I married..and none of that was in my mind anymore:) Babies..and home etc..were the top of my list.
It was super cold here..freezing rain..etc..and its been milder and grey thelast few days..

shoreacres said...

Food and friends is a wonderful combination. My friends and I don't do the kind of entertaining you do, but we do get together for each person's birthday and have a potluck. Today's one of those days, and at last it's not raining!
I'm glad to hear that the mold is going to be taken care of. I suppose you've considered the possibility that the mold could have been contributing to your lung problems. In any event, getting rid of it is all to the good.

DUTA said...

The main thing that preoccupies us now is warmth and the weather - no politics, no age related issues.
Your choice of Barbara Streisand's book as the best book of 2024 is hardly surprising, given her personality and huge talent.

Mary Rose's said...

I *felt* that warmth, that glass of wine, the closeness of your friends. You communicated it so beautifully.

BTW, same apartment, same literary sources as you!But instead of a literary quote, we painted an Aubrey Beardsley mural on the dining room wall.

Didn't get the security deposit back (LOL...)


Steve Reed said...

I wonder where Harry the heron is at this time of year?

I'm glad you liked the Streisand book. I will probably read it at some point. Enough people have said good things about it that I should give it a try. And I like her so much anyway!

Glad you had fun with your friends. I definitely remember Ghibran and also Rod McKuen, who my high school English teacher taught as an exemplar of bad poetry! (McKuen laughed all the way to the bank.)

Valerie-Jael said...

I left a comment here but it's disappeared! It's very cold here, though probably nowhere near your cold! But today we had blue sky and sunshine which made the cold easier to tolerate! Hope you get rid of your mold, horrible stuff! Stay warm and well, have fun, hugs, Valerie

This N That said...

Sorry to hear about your mold. I’m sure it’s super expensive to get rid of it. I find it hard to think that there would be any basement that didn’t have some mold seemed like an enjoyable evening with your friends. I miss those kinds of times. Love the poem. I think the weather is weird all over and probably will be for sometime. Enjoy your weekend.

DVArtist said...

What a nice post, except for the mold. Yes, I lived through the 70s and remember all of that. My counsins and 1 brother went to V.N. the cousins didn't return and my brother came back damaged. Leave the past in the past and a welcome to a friendly warm home with wine, laughter, good company that time flies by. Have a very nice day today.

DVArtist said...

Ohhh I wrote a nice long comment and went to post it and blogger ate it up. I will try again later.

Sandi Magle said...

I feel for you--as we went through this last year and still are. As horrible and expensive as remediation is Necessary. Do remember to wipe down everything you bring up with a cleaner that kills mold. We found as soon as anything with spores on it becomes damp, it grows all over again even if it hasnt' come in direct contact with water. I opened a board game Wednesday that had a break in the lid...It had been wiped down originally on the outside, and one of the boards inside was covered even though the box had not been exposed to any damaging water. I continue to clean with a mold erase cleaner when ever I'm doing something down there. All our furniture covers were treated, and all plastic shelving units were sprayed with bleach solution. warning some bleaching products eat rubber/plastic tubs, and I had to replace quite a few of those because of that. Hugs, you will be healthier and its a great excuse to thin all of IT out! Sandi

DVArtist said...

So everything got posted. It was my internet going in and out. We are in a huge storm here. Have a nice day.

Red Rose Alley said...

A lovely time with your friends. Yes, old friends are sometimes the best. Those nuts sounds so good. You know, I've always wanted to try Risotto. I heard it was delicious. I especially loved seeing your snow pictures at the Ditch. And that puzzle is delightful. Something you could frame when finished. : )


Prims By The Water said...

UGH on the mold. Hope it gets fixed soon for your sake. We are no longer under the deep freeze here and I actually saw a heron the other day. I was shocked to see it. I thought to myself it should fly south right away. Janice

Lowcarb team member said...

The evening with your friends looks and sounds wonderful.
We've had quite a few gatherings during January and enjoyed fun times, you come away with more precious memories don't you.

I'm sorry to read about your mold problems, hope you can get it sorted soon!

Lovely photographs from The Ditch.

Take care and enjoy these last few January days.

All the best Jan

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Your photo with your friends is delightful, Jeanie! What a lovely way to spend winter with the warmth of your friends. Our weather has been crazy with very frigid temperatures to the 70's yesterday! Somehow it just isn't right. Your recipe with the nuts sounds great. I'm a fan of nuts and must give this a try, thank you.

Susan Kane said...

I am guessing that there were lots of stories and laughter. And I remember most of those things.

Anonymous said...

This is Lisa. I am so glad you had such a fun night with friends full of laughter! Those kind of nights are so good for the soul! Your generation really lived through some terrifying things. I keep that in mind when I feel glum about what we are dealing with. It’s awful but we’ve been through terrible things and come out on the other side. I hope and pray there is a ‘better’ time after this current era of war and division and, well, Trump.

It’s wonderful to start the year with a book you think will be one of your best of the year!! Especially when it was 700 and worth that time commitment! said...

So sorry about the mold Jeanie, I know you are anxious to get your Christmas put away, fingers crossed you can do that soon! Good times with friends is food for the soul isn't it~. I make pecans with butter and brown sugar, so good! Have a great week ahead~

Pam Richardson said...

Friendships are the best, especially the ones that last a lifetime, We had dinner with friends last night and it was great as the conversation moved so freely. One of my favorite dishes is risotto and yours sounds delicious! Have a wonderful week, Jeanie!

Jean | said...

Beautiful post, Jeanie. I feel as if I was there. And the winter photos are gorgeous. Reminds me, I should email you the winter farm scene I did a few weeks ago. I don't even do landscapes, but for some reason making my first attempt at painting snow appealed to me that day. I need to make that nut recipe. Mr Delightful is a huge fan of coarsely ground black pepper, we go through a ton of it! He will love this!

Kokopelli said...

Perfect evening! :) And thanks for your lovely comment on my blog.

Nas said...

Sounds like good food and great company!

Pam said...

You are so active and it looks like you have so much fun.

Jennifer Wise said...

It's amazing to me how much warmth (literal and figurative) there can be with friends indoors on a yucky winter day. Visiting from Love Your Creativity linkup.

Hena Tayeb said...

What a lovely time spent with friends. Sorry to hear they found mold.

Hena Tayeb said...

What a lovely time spent with friends. Sorry to hear they found mold.

Divers and Sundry said...

Your friends gathering sounds wonderful! Just the thing for these cold winter evenings. I remember the early 70s well :) I'm sorry about the mold and hope the remediation is taken care of soon with no complication. The nut recipe sounds good. I like the seasoned nuts but have never made them.

gigi-hawaii said...

There's nothing like having good friends you can relax with. Cheers!

Linda P said...

Your blog post is interesting and varied. I've enjoyed seeing your latest social occasion with friends, the recipe sounds delicious and the snowy scenes are delightful. I'm pleased you could take a walk and then return to the warmth of your home.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Jeanie, life in the deep freeze sounded nice with good friends, delicious food and lots of good talk. Thanks for the links to your friend's blogs which I plan to follow and read. The photos from the Ditch are beautiful and we also have a fresh 2-inch snowfall as of Sunday. I am still on the wait list for Barbra's book 😟

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Wow!! A lot of action in your January 2024. I love Joy too. I don't love mold either. We are in the same generation. The Prophet, what a revelation that was! Glad you had such a warm and joyful eveing with your friends on a cold winter's night. I just did a post...

acorn hollow said...

how busy you are and fun, wonderful friends busy too! Sorry about the mold
not a cheap thing to deal with.
I have done Ina's Risotto before it is wonderful.

Carola Bartz said...

Dinner or lunch with friends, spending time with them while talking, laughing and simply having a good time is one of the best things in life. I always enjoy that, and yes, we often are surprised how quickly the time passes on those occasions.
Darn on the mold - that certainly is not fun and I hope it will get dealt with successfully soon.
There are so many books I still want to read that I'll probably pass on the Streisand one.
The photos from the ditch look beautiful. But I do hope that you will enjoy more pleasant temperatures soon. My daughter told me of "blitz ice" they recently had - it happens all of a sudden and everything is super slippery. You can't drive neither walk. She still had to get home from work and she opted to ride her bike VERY slowly. She made it home safely, but she sure was glad when she finally arrived there. California really doesn't sound that bad...
Have a lovely week, Jeanie. Hugs - Carola

DeniseinVA said...

Another wonderful read Jeanie. Lovely smiling faces. Good friends have a way of making the clock stand still. Thank you for their links.
I shall enjoy visiting. Beautiful poem! So sorry about your mold problems. Gorgeous snow photos! Barbra Streisand's book sounds like a fascinating read. Puzzles are always fun! Thank you for the recipe, it looks very yummy. Have a great week!

Nancy said...

Cold weather with wonderful friends is the best! We had the same this week.
Your snow photos are so pretty.
All of snow has melted and then we had 4 days of fog!
Thanks for the recipe!
Have a wonderful week ahead!

Victoria Zigler said...

Visits from friends are always a comfort and a good way to forget about the cold weather, as well as the trials - health issues and such, for example - life is throwing at you. I'm glad you were able to have that time with your friends, and that it made you feel so warm and cosy.

I'm also glad you think that book was worth the 700+ pages. It's nice when a book is so enjoyable you don't care how long it is, and feel the time spent reading it was well spent.

Anonymous said...

Lovely dinner _christine

peppylady (Dora) said...

Lovely winter photos.

Tom said...

...I'm sorry about your mold problem, it is becoming too common these day. Your winter wonderland is beautiful, ours has melted away. Enjoy your weekend.

Velva- Evening with a Sandwich said...

Hi Jeanie,

First sending you some Florida sunshine. I love gatherings just like this one. Hours pass while enjoying good times, good friends, wine and food.

I am planning to read the new Barbara Streisand book too.

Thank you for sharing this evening with us.


Rain said...

The first paragraph was written so poetically Jeanie! Made me want to walk into that home myself! ♥ Beautiful photos of your walk! I simply love the idea of your Cork Poppers dates!!!

Jenny Woolf said...

Such a delightful photo! And for all that time to pass without noticing because you were so warm and happy - that's even better! Mould is no joke, you did well to get it checked out. All kinds of nasties can go along with it if you have lung issues. As for trees in February, I understand your feelings. I love to think of my great aunt, a cheerful lady who kept up the Christmas decorations all year because they made her feel happy just to look at them.

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