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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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1 minute ago, Smithy said:

 

Do you remember how big it was? Can I keep it in a small pot that won't eat the Princessmobile?

It got pretty big.....but I'm sure for this winter you'd be fine in a small pot.  I remember her's (after years and years) being in a pot that was like 15" wide and maybe 18" deep (just guessing here).

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Smithy, when it starts getting too big can you break off a piece, toss the larger part, and then start over with the piece you broke off?

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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8 minutes ago, Porthos said:

Smithy, when it starts getting too big can you break off a piece, toss the larger part, and then start over with the piece you broke off?

 

Uhm, maybe? I dunno, but given how easy it's supposed to be to propagate this stuff, it sounds plausible.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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6 hours ago, Smithy said:

I asked the young woman at the table whether she goes out for the saguaro harvest. "Oh yes," she said. Didn't she just about collapse in the heat? I asked. She smiled. "Yes, it's hot -- but we go out, because that's when the magic happens." I wanted to ask whether she meant magic in the figurative or literal sense, but couldn't think of a way to ask without sounding like a dumb insensitive houle/gringa/whatever the term would be to a local Native American. So I made my purchase, thanked her and moved on to the next table. The Farm is on my list of places to visit next time around. Maybe I can learn more then. Maybe somebody here knows.

 

I know they use the saguaro fruit/syrup as part of the summer rain ceremony, so I wonder if that is what she is referring to? There are some important rituals connected to the harvest and use of the fruit.

 

(Some of them a bit odd, not sure how much is still practiced this way, see for example:  https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/precipitous-purgetohono-o-odhams-saguaro-wine-feast-ushers-in-rainy-season-6425902 )

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Also, meant to mention that there is a terrific Tohono O'odham museum/cultural centre at Topawa, near Sells, AZ. It's worth a visit, we used to stop in when we went to Desert Rains Cafe, but since the cafe closed....   😞

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8 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

(Some of them a bit odd, not sure how much is still practiced this way, see for example:  https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/precipitous-purgetohono-o-odhams-saguaro-wine-feast-ushers-in-rainy-season-6425902 )

 

That's quite an article. Not sure whether to look wide-eyed or nauseated...but thanks! :D 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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13 hours ago, FauxPas said:

Also, meant to mention that there is a terrific Tohono O'odham museum/cultural centre at Topawa, near Sells, AZ. It's worth a visit, we used to stop in when we went to Desert Rains Cafe, but since the cafe closed....   😞

was that called the Papago  Village back in the late 1980's?  If so I made John take me there when we visited his brother in 1985...

 

 

 

 


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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3 hours ago, suzilightning said:

was that called the Papago  Village back in the late 1980's?  If so I made John take me there when we visited his brother in 1985...

 

 

Not at all sure about that, I wasn't in the area back then, but it may have been called that by some folks. I don't think the Tohono O'odham would call it that, they don't like being referred to as Papago, as far as I know. Papago basically means 'tepary bean eater' a name given to them by others and then adopted by the Spanish, etc. Tohono O'odham means 'people of the desert' or similar. But I'm no expert either!  🙂

 

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I just stuck the aloe shoots into a small jar of desert soil. I'll probably need to poke holes in this jar for drainag and put it inside some sort of water catcher, but we'll see what happens with the aloe.

 

20191124_132345.jpg

 

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have several small aloes that are many many years old outside in old cutoff plastic bottles filled with hydroponic clay pebbles.   They are under a patio roof year round.  I just top them off with water now and then.   I pretty much ignore them and they stay alive. 

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The Chefs' Competition at the ASDM Sonoran Desert Harvest Festival was much bigger and better organized than it was last year. There were 7 or 8 contestants, and there seemed to be plenty of food although my perspective might have been skewed by getting there early. A big difference between last year and this is that the food samples in the competition weren't free this year. Since the $15 food / drink fee included tickets for at least 15 different food samples and some 6 or 8 drinks, I didn't feel cheated by having to drop a "FOOD" ticket into each contestant's jar.

 

There was a pumpkin carving demonstration at the entry.

 

20191123_113609.jpg

 

When I went in, I could see that the tables were laid out along two walls. (It got much busier later. I congratulated myself on arriving early!)

 

I learned during the evening that the contest entries had to use prickly pear and mesquite in some way, in accordance with the Sonoran theme. I don't know whether there was such a stipulation last year, but it was fun to see the different tactics employed.

 

Two contestants from last year were back again: Ciao Down Pizza Truck and Welcome Diner, on Broadway. 

 

I sallied up to the Ciao Down table. "I remember you from last year!" I exclaimed. "Those rattlenake bites were awesome!" He grinned and said that the rattlesnake bite pizza is easily the truck's biggest seller; he figures that 75% of their pizzas are of that type. Here, as a reminder, was the offering in question last year:

 

20181118_174812-1.thumb.jpg.4228d30d3b731db71bc80469db4419b8.jpg

 

I lamented that when I had visited last year the contest was already shut down, and I never heard the results of the contest. How did they do? "We won!" he grinned. "I'm here to defend our honor this year!" They still use a champagne yeast in their bread. This year's entry was excellent:

 

20191123_114212.jpg

 

When I got to the Welcome Diner table I started with the same greeting. "I remember you from last year!" I said, "that flan was wonderful!" 

 

20181118_174310.thumb.jpg.bac2de668056ad0b9594f6798c2d6bfa.jpg

 

She grinned at me, shrugged, and said, "And yet we didn't win!" I assured her that the flan had been an eye-opener for me, and she said she thought it had been a game-changer for a lot of people. This year it was mesquite-smoked pork sliders with a prickly pear slaw.

 

20191123_113401.jpg

 

I took a sample -- which was delicious -- and wished her luck, and got out of the way for the next in line.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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These two contestants are paired in my collage mostly because I didn't get other photos of either, and they were delighted to pose with their offerings. All the other tables had boards explaining their entries, and it made note-taking as easy as snapping a photo. These two didn't, and now I'm relying on memories over a week old.

 

20191123_114311.jpg

 

On the left: Gap Ministries, the only nonprofit (to my knowledge) in the contest. From what I gathered, their Food service helps at-risk children and families. You can read more about this aspect of their program here. As to their contest dish: well, it was brilliant and delicious. The mini-taco shells were made of egg roll wrappers that had been coated with mesquite powder before frying. The filling was mesquite-smoked brisket, done to unctuous tenderness. There was a squirt of prickly pear something -- bbq sauce, I think? -- and there may have been some kind of slaw. I've forgotten what the creamy white topper was, but I think it was a Mexican cheese like cotijo. Why I didn't take a more detailed photo, or better notes, is beyond me. I went back later for a second helping, loved it as much the second time, and still swore I'd remember without taking notes.

 

If I have my memories straight, the gentleman on the right-hand side of the picture represented Geronimo's Revenge food truck (link goes to their Facebook page). The contest entry was a mesquite cornbread with, um, something topped by a slice of cured pork, with a drizzle of prickly pear syrup or bbq sauce atop it. I'm afraid I don't remember it clearly because it didn't impress me and, again, I failed to take notes. I couldn't taste any mesquite in the cornbread. but he assured me that it was there; it was he who told me about the requirements for prickly pear and mesquite to be used in the contest entries. Nice young man. I don't think he was amused by my question about "Geronimo's Revenge" vs. "Montezuma's Revenge". He's probably heard it before. 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have a few more contest entries to show, and then I'll go back out, so to speak, to the rest of the festival.

 

20191123_114359.jpg

 

Mestizo Sonoran Bistro had the only entry I remember that used part of the prickly pear paddle instead of its fruit. You can see the description of their entry in the picture above. It was quite tasty! By this time I was juggling a wine glass (because I needed something between bites, dontcha know) and napkins and plate, so the closeup photography was pretty much done. The crowd was jostling around, and those of us trying to concentrate on our food were looking for quiet places off to the side. I should note that Mestizo had another food stand outside the contest area, and I tried that too. It was good, more along the lines of the pork sliders we saw inside the contest area. I think Mestizo would be a good food truck to go track down. 

 

Batch Cafe and Bar ("Whiskey & Doughnuts! and much more!") offered mesquite smoked tri-tip on greens, with a prickly pear barbecue sauce. The tri-tip was tender and delicious. I've never met a tri-tip I didn't like! This is another place I think worth checking out.

 

20191123_113757.jpg

 

Finally, to round off the contest, there was the DoubleTree Suites / Los Arboles Bar and Grill entry.20191123_113903.jpg

 

THIS mesquite cornbread actually tasted of mesquite, and deliciously so. I learned from one of the chefs there that there was only about 1 cup of mesquite flour per batch of cornbread; they'd played with it until it tasted right. (Shoot! Now I can't remember how much cornmeal was in each batch. 5 pounds? It was a surprisingly small amount of mesquite flour to make such a difference.) The rest of the ingredients played well with each other. The jalapeno had a nice bite, but not a blow-your-head-off power.

 

The contest voting was done by picking a dried bean out of a box, and dropping it into the ballot box of the winner. It was a tough choice. I wanted to go vote for more than one, but I played by the rules.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I've heard back from Sarah Lee-Allen, who was delighted that I'd come back and delighted at my writeup about her presentation. She liked my information about putting prickly pear syrup in my yogurt, and sent me this: 

Quote

Have you tried the Asian fusion syrup: PP juice, Mesquite syrup, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, etc etc. I used it with chicken and under grilled prawns.

 

Well no, I haven't. Yet. I will. I hope someone else does too!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Outside the contest building, there was more food. The Roasted Chile's stand caught my eye. They had samples of their fudge for tasting. Oh, my! It was creamy and melty. The first impression was of rich chocolate fudge, then the chile heat kicked in. Not a big burn, just enough to get your attention.

 

Of course I bought some. I also bought some of their green chile butter.

 

20191123_103809.jpg

 

Some other people at the stand were considering the samples. "Try some!" I said, "You'll be buying some to take home!" It was funny watching them get the chile kick -- you could see it on their faces -- but yes, they bought some too. :) 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I wasn't terribly impressed with the drinks I tried. In a way that's good, because I had to drive all of 5 miles to get home for the night, but it was a shame not to find a compelling brewery. One red beer I tried had chile in it; it tasted watery at first, and then built an entirely-too-strong-for-my-tastes heat. I think it was habanero chile, but I'm no longer sure. A lot of the beers seemed bent on being very hoppy, very strong, and/or filled with some desert-themed fruit flavor that didn't appeal to me. 

 

I tried two white wines from Rancho Rossa Vineyards and Rescued Hearts Cellars, a non-profit organization. Their Casa Cuvee was a bit cloying for my tastes, but grew on me. I liked their Ziggy Stardust blend right from the start; it was crisp and bright and fairly dry. I won't say I'm ready to join the Rescued Heart Cellars wine club, but I would look for the Ziggy Stardust and for opportunities to try other wines from them, given their stated purpose. They're in Elgin.

 

20191116_212123.jpg

 

Farther down the path, after I visited the Sting Ray Touch exhibit (mesmerizing, especially at night) ...

 

20191126_104439.jpg

 

... I found Town Under Black Distillery, with their Wild Heritage Spirits. Their Three Sisters cocktail is the only cocktail I tried that night. You can read the sign better than I can transcribe it.

 

20191126_102840.jpg

 

What I liked best from this stand was a deeper explanation of the Three Sisters (corn, squash and beans) than I've ever heard before. I always assumed that it was simply an idiom for the native trio of common foods. We have the Cajun Trinity in cookery. Why not the Three Sisters in the desert southwest? The woman from Town Under Black Distillery explained it further, that the three sisters support each other: the beans fix nitrogen in the soil; the squash provides large leaves to shade delicate seedlings; the corn stalk provides something for the beans to climb. I like that imagery of mutual support, very much.

 

Here's the cocktail in question:

 

20191116_204527.jpg

 

The foam on top was the aquafaba. Some of the other samplers were delighted to learn that this was a dairy-free drink. It had an interesting texture, and I'm glad I had a chance to try the drink.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Ham is the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it? We brought with us 2 picnic hams, cut into smaller portions and vacuum-bagged, from a favorite meat market back home. The problem with cooking them so far has been that the meat is so good and each ham so small that the leftovers don't last long enough for my darling to make split pea soup. Split pea soup is his favorite thing to do with ham bones and leftover ham. 

 

So he bought another, cheap, whole ham the other day.

 

Was it Dorothy Parker who said "eternity is 2 people and a ham"? We cooked that one, and the leftovers got split into two containers: nice slices for sandwiches, and little chunks for his split pea soup. The top photos in the collage below show carving the leftovers, and the beautiful potatoes and ham goo left over. We've been eating that separately.

 

20191127_105731.jpg

 

This morning we had to deal with the fourth flat tire of the trip. This one happened while we were minding our business, set up and camping. The valve blew, all on its own, while we were sitting inside. I think we have it fixed now, but my aggravation level is very high at the moment. Nothing would do but make scrambled eggs with ham and cheese for brunch after we'd finished. The plate with the fried tomatoes is mine.

 

In other news: last night was our first campfire cookery of the season. It's been cold here - nothing like at home, but too cold for him to be comfortable sitting outside, even by a fire. We finally did it anyway, and cooked Polish sausages (also from home) over that fire. Those were accompanied by potatoes, ham goo and brusell sprouts that had been cooked at the same time as the ham. That has to be one of the saltier meals we've eaten lately, between the salt in the ham goo and the salt in the sausages. :blink:

 

20191127_105923.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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27 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Ham is the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it?

I can’t say that ham is one of my favourite proteins. Sliced black forest ham on a sandwich is one thing a hunk of that pink stuff on my plate along side an egg is another thing altogether. All this to say that your scrambled eggs with ham and cheese looks very good. I think somewhere along the line someone in the family served ham at every celebration for years that I became completely turned off by it. Akrhiugh in the back of my mind is a sneaky suspicion that it was the family member that turned me off not that the ham! But the ham has taken the both of the blame all these years. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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16 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I can’t say that ham is one of my favourite proteins. Sliced black forest ham on a sandwich is one thing a hunk of that pink stuff on my plate along side an egg is another thing altogether. All this to say that your scrambled eggs with ham and cheese looks very good. I think somewhere along the line someone in the family served ham at every celebration for years that I became completely turned off by it. Akrhiugh in the back of my mind is a sneaky suspicion that it was the family member that turned me off not that the ham! But the ham has taken the both of the blame all these years. 

 

Honestly, I'm with you on this. Our family always, always had ham with family feasts - and all too often it was that nasty "Danish Ham" in the roughly triangular can. To make matters worse, it was speckled with cloves, probably my least favorite spice, and probably drowned in some sugary substance. The one exception, all those years, was picnic ham: salty, fatty, not sweet like most hams. That's still about the only way I like ham, and it's a struggle to find what's called a picnic ham down here: cut from the forequarters, smoked but not sweetened. When I buy sandwich ham, it's for him. I get chicken, turkey or beef instead.

 

All that said, ham with cheese -- as in ham 'n' mac 'n' cheese, or on grilled cheese sandwiches, or with eggs and cheese, works for me. I think the fatty cheese offsets the sweetness of the ham. Thanks for the egg compliment.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I must have been a squirrel in a previous life. Either that, or I'm doomed to be one in the next. I am very good at packing things into small spaces and finding unlikely storage spots. 

 

That trait bites me whenever I move, because I keep unpacking small spaces and having unlikely quantities come out, rather like 25 circus clowns disgorging from a Volkswagon Beetle. The other time it bites me is when I've squirreled something away, only to be unable to find it later. So it is now. I bought 4 ring molds specifically for a panna cotta dessert, tomorrow and again at Christmas. I know, I could simply cut the bottoms off a couple of cans, or use jars, but I don't have cans of the right size, and it's supposed to be unmolded and dropped (impossible from a jar), and I bought those molds specifically for the purpose. I also know that I should give up the elaborate lifestyle I prefer for the half-year we're in the Princessmobile. But I don't want to.

 

So I've looked where I thought I had stored those rings, and the next most likely places. Next up are the really obscure squirrelly spots. And maybe I'll end up punting, and those darned things will appear only when we move out of this trailer. :blink:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I love ham. Glazed and baked for Christmas or Easter dinner, cold on a sandwich, ground up as deviled ham, salt-cured as country ham, a slab fried next to my eggs, chopped up and stirred into mac and cheese, the bone or the hock in bean soup, and I could go on and on.

 

But it has to be GOOD ham. Right now, my favorite is the Appleton Farms spiral sliced half-ham from Aldi. Consistently good, and cheap, too.

 

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4 hours ago, Smithy said:

So I've looked where I thought I had stored those rings, and the next most likely places. Next up are the really obscure squirrelly spots. And maybe I'll end up punting, and those darned things will appear only when we move out of this trailer. :blink:

 

AHA! After I decided to punt, I also opted for a glass of wine. That meant diving into the "wine cellar" under the bed.

 

20191127_194435.jpg

 

I KNEW the rings had been stored there! I had just forgotten that I'd stored them outside a storage sleeve* instead of inside said sleeve.

 

*Yes, I know that storage sleeve looks like it contains Scotch. It doesn't. Any more.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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33 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

AHA! After I decided to punt, I also opted for a glass of wine. That meant diving into the "wine cellar" under the bed.

 

20191127_194435.jpg

 

I KNEW the rings had been stored there! I had just forgotten that I'd stored them outside a storage sleeve* instead of inside said sleeve.

 

*Yes, I know that storage sleeve looks like it contains Scotch. It doesn't. Any more.

Great minds think alike. I’ll just put them around this, they won’t get squashed that way, and I’ll definitely remember where I put them! 🤣🤣


Edited by DesertTinker (log)
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6 hours ago, DesertTinker said:

Great minds think alike. I’ll just put them around this, they won’t get squashed that way, and I’ll definitely remember where I put them! 🤣🤣

 

"I"ll definitely remember...." is one of the greatest lies we tell ourselves. Right up there with "just one more" and the like.

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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