Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bits & Pieces

In Memoriam - the crew of the Challenger
Each January here in Florida, we remember Challenger. I will never forget standing in my driveway in January 1986 - my "spot" for watching launches - and seeing Challenger's vapor trail split in two. I rushed back inside in time to hear the announcer say, "Obviously, there's been an anomaly." How do they do it? I wondered later. How do they maintain that absolute calm in the face of disaster? But I think most of us didn't have to wait for the analysis - we knew it had been an unusually icy morning for Florida, and sure enough, that turned out to be the cause. Although the flaw was quickly remedied, nothing could bring back the crew, including Christa McAuliffe, the first public school teacher to go into space (back row, 2nd from the left).

On a happier note:

A portion of the All-County Orchestra & Chorus, Orange County, Florida
I was truly impressed by the excellent concert performed by students from Orange County elementary schools Thursday evening, January 29. (And truly stunned by the number of competent string players that age.) In addition to violins and violas, there was a huge cello section and two basses that towered above the boys playing them! Our Riley was in the chorus, which sang in Latin and Lakota (Sioux), as well as English, finishing with a rousing and complex arrangement of the African-American Spiritual, "Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho."  The Orff Ensemble, primarily drums and xylophones, were also great, their performance even including one number with wafting scarves. "Songs" by the Recorder Ensemble circled the globe, interspersing the performances of the three larger groups. All in all, a truly superior evening, until it was time to safely dismiss 400+ students to the their parents! We all sat there, glued to our seats, obedient to our instructions, and waited for the teachers to get everyone sorted out. Which forced us to postpone our dinner reservations! But it was well worth it. Orange County Elementary Schools did themselves proud last night.

How Cassidy Saved the Day

 I was out of the house Thursday afternoon from 2:00 until 5:45, arriving home just in time for a 6:00 pick-up for the concert mentioned above. And to find my message light blinking, with a frantic "Call me!" from my daughter. (I'd had my cellphone with me, but somehow I hadn't heard it ring. Changed the ring tone as soon as I got home last night.) Anyway, it seems Riley's blue concert shirt was nowhere to be found. Riley had to go to dress rehearsal without it, while Mommie Susie looked everywhere and made frantic phone calls to see if an extra was available. Because Riley would not be allowed to sing unless she had her shirt. And then Susie remembered Riley had been at my house the previous afternoon. Was it possible . . .? But I wasn't home. And my daughter couldn't find the key she has for my house. So . . . she brought Cassidy (the baby of the family at 8½) to my house, and Cassidy crawled through the CAT DOOR—the teeny weeny cat door—between my screen porch and the family room. No shirt in the living room where the girls usually spend their Gramma afternoons, but fortunately Cassidy remembered that Riley had been sewing on Wednesday afternoon - though why she would take her shirt into the sewing room no one knows, including Riley - and there it was! Mom dropped Cassidy and Hailey off with Daddy and rushed the shirt to Winter Park in the nick of time.
Oh, the drama of childhood balanced with the joys.

Python Hunt - Again

Although the great Everglades Burmese Python Hunt proved a disappointment, Miami-Dade County initiated a hunt this week for North African rock pythons, huge constrictors that can grow up to 20 feet and have been known to consume antelopes in their native land. Fortunately, it's believed this species is confined to a 6-square-mile area in western Miami-Dade, and it was felt they would be easier to find than on the much-heralded hunt a couple of years ago.

But the next day, the newspaper revealed that not a single python had been found. This, allegedly, was a good thing, officials said, meaning that they were well on their way to eradicating the problem. My take on it? I'm not a fan of Miami, which always seems like a foreign country, mostly inhabited by Cuban ex-pats determined not to assimilate, but now I'm really certain I'm not traveling to the lower east side of the Florida peninsula!

Leftover Tidbit from Christmas

 Neiman Marcus has a reputation for including several outrageously priced items in their catalog. The one below is not the most expensive I've seen, but it comes close to it. And is something we can all recognize - a Christmas Nativity scene. The nativity in the catalog is described as created by Jay Strongwater. "Hand-enameled metal figurines with hand-set Swarovski crystals." There are 16 pieces, from crèche to Rejoicing Angel, each priced individually. When I totaled them, the price came to $33,935!  Just what you always wanted for Christmas, right? Frankly, exquisitely beautiful as it is, it seems downright sinful. Guess we leave this one for the billionaires of this world.

A Really Snappy Pot Pie Recipe

I found this recipe online last week - from the Pillsbury kitchens, I believe. It was so tasty I'd like to pass it along. Supper for two. Easily doubled for four.

½ lb. lean ground beef
¼ cup chopped onion (½ medium)
3/4 cup Green Giant Steamers frozen mixed vegetables
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
3/4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Pillsbury "Grands" Frozen Buttermilk Biscuits (from 25-oz bag)
2 teaspoons milk (optional)
½ teaspoon sesame seed (optional)
Fresh herbs (Grace's addition)

1.  Heat oven to 400° F. Spray 8- to 10-inch skillet with cooking spray. Add ground beef and onion; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked. Drain.
2.  Stir in frozen mixed vegetables, brown sugar, mustard, chili sauce and Worcestershire sauce. (This is where I also added some chopped fresh herbs from my garden.) Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
3.  Spoon beef mixture into 2  (1½-up) ungreased overproof bowls or ramekins. Top each with a frozen biscuit. Brush each biscuit with milk; sprinkle with sesame seed.
4.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until biscuits are deep golden brown.


Final Tidbit

Can't remember where I found this one - probably on Facebook. 

Everything you need to succeed in life—
A funny bone, a wishbone, and a backbone.
~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by.

For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.

For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.


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