Monday, April 1, 2024

Marching Into April (Finally!)

I can't say I'm sorry to flip my calendar to April. In "The Waste Land," T.S. Eliot wrote that  April is the cruelest month. But March -- at least this March -- has definitely been the weirdest.

We've gone from 70 degrees to snow in a matter of days. In the last week it seems like it's just mid-30s and 40s, mostly gloomy and rain. It's Michigan -- it's what we do. At this time of year the snow doesn't last more than a day or two.

Easter came and went. It was fine. Nothing to write home about but nothing bad either. My back has been in a world of hurt so I was pretty low level. I have to say I felt like a slacker. No Easter cards went out this year and Rick's basket was pretty paltry. But it didn't stop us from coloring eggs! (Back is much better, though. Rest matters.)

The days leading up to the holiday were fun. Well, for the most part. The basement is coming along. It started out the month looking like this.

And progress has been made. I'm getting zones set up for china, holidays and such. (Not everything is on the right shelf yet, but at least it's getting into the right part of the basement! I can reorganize when all the shelving is in place.)

There is another pile for charity or to go on the street or to be donated to the theatre's rummage sale. And what I have "together" isn't really organized yet, just in areas so I can neaten it up.

And this pile? And ones like it on two other tables? Well, I'm working through them. Those tables have things like this that still need to be sorted or reviewed, then put away, pitched or donated.

And, I did a few of the Grumpy Chick drawing challenges, which was fun. I enjoyed the hen...

...not satisfied with the eggs -- the nest needs better depth -- but it was fun to do. I have more to finish.

I'm nearly done with PT, unless they renew it for another session, which I hope they do. The worst part about anything last month and no doubt next, is getting anywhere in town on time. With all the construction going on, parts of the freeway are down to one lane, many exits closed and city streets are also under construction. I'm not complaining (much), just  adding to my travel time. I stopped moaning about it after the bridge in Maryland collapsed. Apart from the tragedy of lost life, people there are really having to add to their commute time. 

There was some time for socialization in March, too. I had a wonderful, energizing lunch with my pals Susie and Jane. We get together monthly for lunch and this time were at Susie's. I've written about her late husband, Dick, who passed a bit over a year ago. Their home is filled with his art and it just makes me happy to be there. Add to it deeply thoughtful and stimulating conversation and you have a wonderful afternoon of fellowship.

Rick's guitar friend Onur, whom I wrote about HERE, came to dinner with his wife, Melene. We had a delightful time with some wonderful musical accompaniment, too. (You can hear a sample of his new CD on his website or view some performances on his YouTube page.

But I have to say the morning leading up to that was filled with frustration and colorful usage of vocabulary. I thought I'd make my go-to chocolate mousse for dessert. Easy, light, delicious. Basically, you melt your chocolate, get your egg whites into stiff peaks with a bit of sugar, fold and put in ramekins. Simple. (It's from my favorite "French Market Cookbook" and it almost never fails.

But for whatever reason (maybe because I was doubling it) and even after whipping the eggs for over a half hour, the egg whites wouldn't peak. I turned one batch into meringue shells, hoping they'd peak enough for that and tried again with the same results. (They didn't.)  It had to be doubling the recipe, or maybe I missed a bit of yolk when separating. Or, just as possibly, the chocolate cooled too much before I mixed the not-fully-stiff whites with the chocolate. In any event, it was like sludge. More like truffle glop. Rick said it tasted good (I don't particularly like chocolate so it's hard for me to judge) so we threw some whippy clouds on it and served it. No one complained. But no one asked for the recipe either. I'd do it again though (but wait till this round of bird flu has passed so the price of eggs comes down. Good chocolate will always stay high!) Don't blame the recipe  (below) on this one -- it has never failed before.

As I mentioned above, we did get our eggs colored in our annual Good Friday tradition. Rick made pizza, followed by eggs and then "Life of Brian." (This time I made a blueberry crumble for dessert and it was much better. But Mark liked the chocolate and so did Rick, so despite it not being "moussey," it still worked!

I dye a mix of boiled eggs (for deviled eggs and salads) and raw. It always makes me happy to open the fridge and see colorful eggs.

Oh, and we had a drive-by shooting in our quiet little neighborhood. No one was hurt. There were about a dozen police cars and the ones we spoke with seemed relatively unworried. No victim, no suspect found. You sort of have to know someone to get shot or murdered around here so no one was too worried. Well, I suppose someone was. It was a bit creepy -- while they were shooting at the apartment building on the right side below, I used to live right across the street in that white house on the left, a tad close for comfort. (Now I live two blocks away.)

So, now we're in April, the big eclipse on the horizon. And spring. 

(Although the day the morning this paper came out, we woke up to about four inches of snow! On to the so-called cruelest month!)

Sharing with:   Talking About It Tuesday    /   Rain's Art and Dinner Date   /   Share Your Style   


Tom said...

...spring is a tug-a-war between winter and summer. Happy April.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Thank goodness it is sunny here this morning (April 1st). Although yesterday I awoke to a smattering of snow on the ground, but it disappeared fairly quickly. Yours eggs are lovely! I have no advice concerning your mousse. I've never made anything like that in my life, just whipped egg whites for meringue. If you lived closer, I'd give you some eggs from our girls here. -Jenn (oh yes, and April can be the cruelest month in our neck of the woods, too. Sometimes Spring, sometimes Winter).

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Jeanie
I have not dyed eggs in decades. I do like hard boiled eggs and egg salad.
Great shot of the woodpecker on the feeder. Our weather is similar to yours, chilly, cloudy and rainy. No snow though. I am sure you will be happy when the basement is back to normal. I like your cute grumpy chicken! A drive-by shooting in the neighborhood is spooky. I hope you gets some relief for your back pain. Take care, enjoy your day and have a great week!

Linda Sue said...

Dang, so sorry about your back pain, Pain makes me too cranky to be around but there you are being all cheerful and arting and making failed mousse, and driving through "STOP" traffic!
March has been a yo-yo this year for sure. Still I love the cold weather- summer is no longer my favorite due to temperature rising.
Carry on, it is spring! You will be better and I hope that PT is helping!

R's Rue said...

Hoping April isn’t too cruel. Hugs

gigi-hawaii said...

Well, "April showers bring May flowers." That's how it goes. I love your basement. I would love the extra storage space, but NOT the stairs going down into it. Not with my bad knees.

Steve Reed said...

What a cruel trick the weather played on that newspaper publisher! (Not to mention the rest of you.)

I love your colored eggs. Very unconventional! And how weird about the recipe. I'm not a cook so I can't speculate about what might have happened, but still...strange.

Hena Tayeb said...

Oh my.. a shooting sounds scary.. thank god no one was hurt.
Good to hear your back is doing better.. something we have to just rest.
I like your cranky chicken.

Rita said...

Drive by shooting--awk! That's scary. People often get shot accidentally!

I love the way you dye your eggs! Do you just dab the dye on with makeup sponges? I've never seen them done that way and they are gorgeous!

Glad you are feeling better. Having to rest your body until it decides to be more cooperative really changes the pace of your life, doesn't it? It's still feels odd for my body to be the boss of me...even though it has been now for over two decades--lol! Will be great when your basement is finally organized. Just take it slow. ;)

Have a much less painful week, my friend. *love and gentle hugs*

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, the shooting would have me terrified. You have made wonderful progress in the basement and that has to make you happy. I hope your spring appears soon. Happy April!

Linda P said...

This is another interesting blog post Jeanie. I enjoyed seeing the painted eggs, the bird feeding in the snow - we have to remember our feathered visitors. You're progressing well with your basement decluttering. A sit down to take a rest is important too. Wishing you a good April.

crackercrumblife said...

We really need to plow through our basement hoard. Lol. Maybe we will this week, since it is going to be kind of icky weather. I also have to work on Wyatt's room though, so maybe not.

Your dyed eggs look wonderful! Like works of art!

My name is Erika. said...

April is starting in tough way here too with a big dumping due Wednesday night into Thursday. I am really antsy for spring and yard work, but obviously that will have to wait until the snow we are supposed to get melts. Your eggs look so happy, and even if Easter was a bust, at least you colored eggs and look like you had some fun with Rick. May I ask if that is a harp in one of your basement photos? It's coming along nicely, and I can relate as my basement is pretty full of things too. Happy April Jeanie. hugs-Erika

Lowcarb team member said...

Goodness! That shooting sounds scary!

Pleased to read that your back is feeling better, long may that be so.

I just can't believe April is here, the year is going by so quickly.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new month and sending lots of good wishes.

All the best Jan

Boud said...

That is an enormous basement! Sorting that with a bad back?? The eggs are lovely, but the snow is not. We have a week of rain, but at least it's not ice

Anonymous said...

This is Lisa. I am sorry to hear about your back pain. That is so debilitating! I hope you get cleared for more PT and that it helps!

We did not dye eggs this year. It kind of escaped my mind and then I didn’t feel like running an errand to get a dye back. Plus I am the only one that eats hard boiled eggs. We will pick that tradition back up next year!

March has been a bizarre months here, too. We had some gorgeous days and then tons of snow - over a foot fell last weekend I think. The boys loved it but I was happy to see it go. Now it’s just cold, damp, and dreary. I am ready for some sun!!

I commented on another older post today but got a weird error message - let me know if you saw that comment come across!

Carola Bartz said...

I'm glad that your back is better - back ache is always so limiting.
I like that cook book, but haven't tried the chocolate mousse yet. Sometimes things that we have made several times just don't work out suddenly for no reason. Next time it will be perfect again.
You do have a lot of stuff. It must take a lot of energy and time to sort through all of that. Maybe it's good that we don't have a basement.
Those drive-by shootings - scary. Only in America. What an accomplishment.
Will you go somewhere to watch the eclipse? The total eclipse is not too far away from you. In 2017 we went up to Northeastern Oregon to watch the total eclipse and I am so glad we did. It was a VERY long drive with overnight stays on the road, but it was so worth it. This one is too far away - the nearest points would be either Mexico or Texas, both too far (or closed borders so we wouldn't be able to come back without a huge delay). If you can make it, go.

DUTA said...

'Piles' frighten me. I've donated some, but there are piles I move from one place to another yet, I'm too attached to the items to try get rid of them.
And ...I don't have a basement.

peppylady (Dora) said...

It been so long since I colored eggs. Look like your having fun.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Glad your back is feeling a little better - that's no fun at all! You made good progress on your organizing, though! I think organizing is therapeutic, and you get to sort through your thoughts as you work! Your chicken is very cute and the colored eggs go so well with her. Having time to spend with friends and good conversation is one of the best things in life. So sad about your friend's husband - must be tough for her. Love that she has his artwork all around. Sometimes it seems to take forever for the weather to finally admit it is spring. We've had a few days of warm sunshine, but it is a trick - tomorrow goes back to winter again. Hope you continue to feel better and the sun comes out and warms things up. x K

roentare said...

So good to see colourful eggs in the pictures. I used to enjoy dark chocolate very much. Maybe it is time to start enjoy them again.

midorilinea said...

Hopefully your back is feeling better! So nice that you had a nice lunch with your friends and your eggs came out beautifully!

xoxo, Midori

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Sorry to hear that you have been suffering with a bad back, Jeanie - no fun. You’ll have to get Rick to bring out the tandem bicycle and go riding with him. That sounds like the cure! I don’t have a bad back but from time to time I get a twinge or two and I find the best thing to do is walk. I seem to be able to “walk it off.” Good that you have your basement well on the way to being organized. Slowly it will fall into disarray again, but for now there is a place for everything. Well done!

La Table De Nana said...

That snow is coming here:) LOL I know right away if whites don't peak soo enough..there's a problem..happens to all of us.. a touch of grease in bowl..etc..anything..other times they whip like a dream:) Your snow will be here Wednesday-Friday..
So cute you all color eggs..Busy March you had..
Pain is no fun.Take care..Kudos on basement organization!What is it with all this violence..the world is teaching it:(

Jenn Jilks said...

I'm glad your back is better. Mine was somewhat sore after ditch diving.
We've been doing clean ups and purging here, as well. I'm finding it hard getting motivated, though.
All the best!

acorn hollow said...

I am so sorry your back is bothering you and I do hope it continues to get better.
Loved your grumpy chicken!
I love that you colored eggs
A drive by shooting is horrifying! Stay safe.
Yes that poor bridge and those that lost their life so sad.
Your basement is looking good lots to go thought.
We are up for 18 inches starting very early tomorrow morning.

shoreacres said...

I'm glad you're making progress on your 'piles.' If I had a basement like yours, I fear I'd just close the door and quietly walk away. Of course, I've been decluttering for years, and that's the trick: it's like the old joke about how to eat an elephant. You do it one bite at a time!

There's nothing more frustrating than whites that won't whip. I had to learn to just not try it down here except in winter, when the humidity drops. In summer, meringues and such turn into sticky goo, and there are times when it seems to take only a minute for even the best-heaped, fluffy whites to begin dissolving.

Jim and Barb's Adventures said...

Great progress on the basement, that looks like it could be overwhelming. March and April can be cruel months, warm one day then snow repeated throughout the months!

Marilyn Miller said...

I hope April surprises you and isn't cruel at all.
I loved seeing the art on Suzie's wall.
Wondering if it was the weather that caused problems for your egg whites? Humm?
I love the thought of looking in your refrigerator and seeing colored eggs.
Good luck with the cleaning and sorting in the basement. I will be in mine today.
Glad you enjoyed a little night music when your friend came for dinner.

Sandi Magle said...

That all seems like a lot, Jeanie. And yes, the weather has been disgusting. I wish those 70's never occurred because it teases us so. It's miserable outside, I snuck out and took photos of the greenhouse and it is still too cold to even move into. Love your eggs! Hugs, Sandi

This N That said...

We have been having the same weather in Pennsylvania. It's crazy!
Your eggs are beautiful.
As for your basement, this is the perfect time to get rid of stuff. Remember the saying if you haven't used it for........... Get rid of it. I'm sure you don't wanna leave that for somebody else to do.
Cute paintings. Perfect for the time of year.
Sorry about your chocolate mousse. Probably taste good! Can you get an A for effort.
That is a good kind of snow. It doesn't stay around very long. Enjoy the rest of your week. Ours is a very wet one. 3 inches so far.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

I'm so glad to hear your back is doing better, I hope it continues to heal.

I'm also so glad nobody was hurt in the shooting!

Keep warm.

Prims By The Water said...

Not sure if we will be able to see the eclipse on our side. It may rain or snow. UGH Who knows. I was going to dye some eggs naturally this year and forgot to. Guess its next year now. Yours did look colorful! Janice

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Good to hear your back is better, Jeanie! And that shooting is so scary. Love your colored eggs. And well done on basement progress! Those kind of jobs seem to take forever, but you are really making progress. Have a happy week.

Lorrie said...

I hope your back continues to improve, Jeanie. Being in pain makes life a little greyer. Your coloured eggs are vibrant and pretty. Hopefully the snow will melt soon.

Iris Flavia said...

Sorry to learn about your back and... snow still, yikes.
Your basement is huge. You would laugh about ours... But I guess we´re off "better" ;-)
Funny hen! And I like the eggs, too!
To friendships, if "only" monthly.
Your chocolate adventure sounds a bit frustrating! Glad it was yummy after all - the shooting sounds very scary.
Hope Spring is now really around your corner!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

Coloring the eggs looks like fun. I'm sure doing the basement project is not helping your back. Can't believe you went from 70 degrees to SNOW- How crazy... Always enjoy your posts. Thanks.

Anvilcloud said...

There is something about turning the calendar over for Easter. We can pretty well be assured that there will be some nice weather before it ends. But we are expecting snow today (Wed -- I'm late). said...

Glad you're making progress in the basement Jeanie, I know that has been bothering you! This is a crazy time of year weather wise, everything is in bloom here, I just hope Mother Nature doesn't have a late freeze ahead to ruin things! Life is full of challenges, you just have to focus on your those darling egg hunters! Happy April~

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, hope your back is better. I know how horrible that can be. Mine is hurting in my neck now. What else?? Scary about the shooting. I swear it is hard to go anyplace now without thinking about something like that could happen. It looks like you are finally getting your basement in shape. What a job! A shame your dessert didn't turn out right. I always remember my mom saying something about things not setting up because of damp weather. Do you think that could be the culprit? Happy Spring..xxoJudy

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Wow, this really hasn't been the best few weeks for you. Hope your back is better. I would be terrified if someone did a drive by shooting near us! Your eggs look great, though, so maybe it will be brighter days from here.

Joanne said...

Your eggs look lovely! Our weather has been pretty icky in March (and April isn't looking much better as we're getting a mix of rain and ice today). I had been complaining a lot about all our road construction too but we've had a few bridges close/collapse in Providence, RI too and after hearing about the Maryland one I figured it could be so much worse.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

All those gray days in Michigan just kill me. (I have SAD and that's why I love living in Florida). I'm glad your back is better; so is mine, yeah! I'm proud of you hanging in with the re-organization of the basement. I look forward to you sharing sunny days and walks down to your feathered friend.

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

Seeing your colorful eggs reminded me what my mother did years ago when we colored eggs. After they were thoroughly dry, she took a very small dab of Crisco and rubbed it over all the eggs. Not only did it make the eggs a bit shiny but also brought out more of the color. Since just before Easter our weather has been cold, rainy and we had graupel or sleet today. I’m really craving sunshine with warmer temperatures. Your basement is coming along. Once it’s finished, you’ll have to share photos of it. Have a good week!

DVArtist said...

A lot went on in March for all of us. Your basement is really coming a long. Fun time with Easter, the eggs look fabulous. I am so ready for sunshine. We get a day and then 14 days of rain, wind and gloom. In fact it's raining right now. LOL

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

March was a strange time for you. I'm glad that month is over and I hope April is a better month.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

We colored eggs as well and have always had fun mixing the colors, but the tie-dye ones you and Rick did were really artistically done. The basement project may seem never-ending, but the photos show you are making progress, Jeanie. Spring? we're in the midst of a nor'easter today with gusty winds, snow and it will continue for a few more hours.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Glad nobody was hurt

Wondeful coloring eggs

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Glad nobody was hurt

Wondeful coloring eggs

DeniseinVA said...

Low key but at least you got your eggs done and they look great. We have had rain for the last few days but the sun shone later today and it was a welcome sight. You've done well with your basement. Please rub elbows with me so that I can get started on clearing out things in ours :) I certainly hope your back feels better soon. Back issues are horrendous. Happy April to you Jeanie and may the sun shine for you throughout the month.

anno said...

So glad to hear that your back is feeling better! Ongoing pain is exhausting and definitely affects all aspects of life. Hope you are ready for walks in the MSU Gardens and at the ditch -- looks like the cherry trees and crab apples will soon be in bloom.

Your eggs are gorgeous! And I'm glad you had that bit of color to discover when you opened the refrigerator door. Plus there's the added promise of egg salad & deviled eggs to come. That would make me happy, for sure.

Also, it looks to me like your basement project is coming along quite well. Just having everything sorted into categories is so important. Once the shelves are ready, it looks like this project will be wrapped up pretty quickly.

Last, what a terrible shock to have a drive-by shooting in your own neighborhood. So glad that no one was injured -- sure hope there is no repeat performance.

Welcome to spring! (Such as we get here in the Michigan...)

Anca said...

A drive-by shooting sounds very scary. I hope they catch the people involved.

Well done for sorting out the basement. I need to have a look at the loft/attic and recycle/donate things I don't use any more.

The eggs look so lovely.

roughterrain crane said...

Thank you for showing us beautiful eggs. I hope you enjoy April.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Thanks so much for your visits and for your continued prayers as we navigate through this difficult time...
Debbie-Dabble Blog

The Happy Whisk said...

These eggs are boooofeeefull.

Little Wandering Wren said...

I have always loved your upbeat writing style Jeanie :) Between a bad back, a drive by shooting in the neighbourhood & roadworks you have cause to complain for certain and you keep so upbeat! Good luck with the rest of the basement sort though, we are doing just the same on the other side of the world! Wren x

Nancy said...

Your eggs are so pretty! It's always fun to color easter eggs!
I am glad the basement is coming along. And hope your back stays feeling better.
I'm sorry to hear about the drive-by shooting. Oh my, how scary!
Here’s to a fabulous April!

Anonymous said...

Seems to me you're doing well with a string of immensely trying events... I would be almost panicking about the basement reorganize....but you're getting on with it methodically, despite your bad back and all the other frustrations and the creepy drive by ...painting, socializing, cooking for others and feeling gratitude . It' great if April gives some kindly weather too!

Veronica Lee said...

So sorry to hear about your back pain, but I'm glad to hear that it's getting better.
Your basement progress looks impressive! It's always satisfying to see things getting organized, even if it's a slow process.
And those colored eggs are absolutely beautiful!
It's a shame about the chocolate mousse mishap, but it sounds like you made the best of it.

Here's to hoping April brings better weather and fewer surprises, Jeanie!

Lisbeth said...

That was, after all, a rather eventful month, good and bad. The shooting does not sound good. I am happy nobody was hurt.
You are lucky to have such a big space in the cellar. I am sure it will be very nice and tidy by the time your are ready. And, ... you will know where everything is. That is otherwise a big problem.
In Sweden we talk about April weather and it has been such here as well this year. Cold and windy, and then a day of sunshine and a little bit of warmth, and then back to cold and windy. We always have a small wind here by the sea, but this winter has been terrible with icy winds for several months.
Dinner with friends is always a treat. I hope you enjoy the rest of April and that we will see a little bit more of the sun in the future. By the way, how was the sun eclipse?

Danielle L Zecher said...

I'm glad your back is doing a little better. Rest is important!

You've made a lot of progress in the basement! It probably doesn't feel like it since you've been dealing with it for so long, but it definitely shows in your pictures.

The road construction here is pretty bad, too, but like you, I'm not complaining about it (at least not as much) since the bridge collapse. We just try to avoid the interstate as much as possible.

Your eggs look so pretty.

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