When Life Gives You Lemons Make Marmalade

Gby4evr! The last password I created for work. Although my work was very satisfying and I  am thankful for the experiences and opportunities I’ve had there, it gave me great pleasure type this into the corporate login page  several times a day for my last three weeks of employment.

Dudes! I have got the citrus marmalade thing down pat now. Here’s my production so far:

  • Grapefruit Vermouth verdict: overcooked, bitter, very firm. Has the consistency of a gum drop.
  • Lemon Lime verdict: exquisitely tart, loose set – possibly undercooked.
  • Lemon Orange verdict: perfect!

[Sidebar: I am very happily retired and do not miss work at all except for one little habit that I find very hard to break: I can’t stop communicating in bullets. I realize that I’ve used bullets aplenty here before but now it’s my only outlet to use them at all. Thanks for understanding! Just be glad I’m not that attached to PowerPoint presentations.]

MINIMALISM I was always a minimalist when it came to PowerPoint design. Just a few clues on the slide and the information delivered in the voice over. Try to imagine my lilting voice here convincing you that you too should be making your grocery lists using bullet points.






I’m really enjoying the wonder of this transition time. Remember when I was complaining that I can’t keep track of the days of the week and I needed an Alzheimer’s clock to help me? Well, please cancel that complaint – now EVERY DAY IS SATURDAY. And when I said I was looking to add some structure and commitment to my life , such as church attendance or a regular go out to dinner night? Not yet, please. Every day is Saturday and THEY’RE ALL GOOF OFF SATURDAYS. I’m waiting for the boredom hammer to fall on me like everyone cautions that it will unless I develop some new activity to replace working but it hasn’t happened. That might be in the future but for now I revel in the goofing off.

I’m not entirely without ambition, though. I’m throwing myself into the domestic pleasures that I haven’t had time for as an employed person. No set plan, really and certainly not anything that actually needs doing (like cleaning). I’m just an unemployed butterfly flitting from making marmalade to producing homemade bread, which if truth be told is not yet a success. Except for the Irish soda bread which doesn’t count because it has no yeast in it. Yeast is my nemesis.

Recently, I got the idea to crochet dishcloths. Don’t laugh! #1. I’ve never made one before and #2. do you know that they now have yarn called “scrubby” that is specifically made for this application AND some of it is sparkly!


So be warned, anyone who comes to visit me. Everyone gets a door prize of an 8 oz. jar of artisan marmalade and a hand crafted dishcloth (also recommended for facial exfoliation).  ←seriously. Maybe I can learn to weave some little baskets for a nice presentation?

Bloodied, But Unbowed

HELLO SUNSHINE.   Undaunted, she set about in search of her mandoline.

I could tell you about my loaf of bread that was both underbaked and a doorstop at the same time. Or maybe about the Grapefruit Vermouth Marmalade that you could use as weed killer. I might even have time to regale you about the reception of a one-pan chicken and rice dinner that was Not. Good.  Undaunted by the less than stellar results of my return to the kitchen,  today I attempted to make lime marmalade by using a mandoline to slice the whole limes and I could tell you all about that, too. But right now I’m looking for the bandaids.

Suzette At Rest

out of office
SUZETTE AT REST Announcement: I have retired from work. Whatever shall I do to fill my time? #retired #retiredlife #notworking #outofoffice #atliberty #free
     It happened. As I sit here beginning this blog post, I see by the clock that I’ve been retired for 24 hours and 2 minutes.  I believe it’s going well so far.
     The first thing I did this morning while the coffee was brewing was pick up a screwdriver and go outside to the front lawn to look for weeds to uproot. I have never intentionally done this before in my life. If I had happened to be passing by a particularly annoying  weed, I might have stooped to yank it out. Might even have  gone to get a screwdriver if I was sufficiently annoyed by its refusal to surrender to me. But this morning, I just casually thought it would be a good use of my time while I waited for the coffee.
     Apparently, my body automatically reset itself to retirement mode and I was acting from pure instinct. In the same way that newborn babies instinctively turn their mouths in the direction of the nipple, newly minted retirees must have the instinct to fret about their lawns. I have no other explanation.
     But I’m glad it happened, even though its not what the youngs would call hip. Or cool.  Or whatever the term is now. To me, it is a signal that I’m going to have an easy adjustment to a life of leisure.
     On the other hand, I find myself in an EXTREMELY ANNOYED state, which is entirely consistent with my pre-retirement attitude.  See that picture and caption up there? I posted them on Facebook and Instagram and no one even mentioned the hat. I’ve been saving that hat for more than a year for exactly this occasion. I admit that I got it for the impact I imagined when my coworkers saw the, so probably not meaningful to people who didn’t live and die by email. But still, you would think that it would generate a few remarks, wouldn’t you? But no.
      Also, it’s gone unnoticed that the bolded title of the posting is a reference to the John Updike book Rabbit At Rest. Harry Angstrom and I are both retired to Florida and are unable to “stop nibbling corn chips, macadamia nuts and other junk food.” That’s a joke. And it’s not true, she said while eyeing the pile of pistachio shells next to the keyboard. I just thought the phase would evoke the memory of the very famous Pultizer-prize winning novel.
     But it doesn’t bode well, does it, for me to be utterly and completely irritated by the fact that total strangers (for the most part)  who cannot read my body language or see my facial expressions would not immediately get the admittedly obscure references that are so clear to me in my head. It might be a sign that the road to retirement contentment is going to be rocky.
     But I forge ahead. Now that I’m no longer a High Powered Executive Business Woman, I feel like it would be appropriate for me to be doing something kitchen-y. One of my Ponderosa lemons is ready to be plucked, but I’m a little afraid of it. Not sure I can face even a thin slice of it’s reported “extreme tartness” floating on top of a cup of tea or perhaps a tankard of gin, so I do have a plan to make Lemon Marmalade out of it.
The small one in my hand is a red grapefruit. The big ones on the plant are Ponderosa Lemons.
    Wrinkle in the plan: I have never made marmalade before. So rather than taking a chance on ruining my lovely giant lemon which took about 8 months to mature, I’m going to make some sacrificial Grapefruit Vermouth Marmalade as a practice run. I just saw the recipe on the webs this week so it seems predestined, especially since I had the ingredients on hand. Those of you who know me in real life know that I am married to Mr. Sweet Rob Roy and we positively swim in sweet vermouth around here so all I needed to buy was 4 grapefruit. And some sugar.


     There we have it. I’m retired.

Angels and Devils

Okay – here’s my idea: I’m going to have an open house/buffet party but with a theme: all of the food will be either something Angel or something Devil.

What a great idea, Suzette! Too bad you can only think of Angel/Devil’s Food cake and Angels/Devils On Horseback.

de What other foods are named Angles or Devils? If I can’t come up with anything else, it’s going to be a pretty short party. And frankly, I’m only interested in the idea of walking around with a doily-covered tray and stopping in front of people to inquire Devil On Horseback?  I can’t really announce that I’m going to have a Devil party – I fear that would be misunderstood even in NJ let alone here in Florida where people talk about Jesus non-ironically – so I’m using the Angel foods to soften the first impression.

I guess I could have a Pu Pu Party and replicate that delightful Chinese restaurant appetizer – I haven’t seen that around here yet. In fact, I can barely find Chinese food. Thai yes, Sushi yes, but not much actual Chinese. What was on a Pu Pu Platter anyway? Spare ribs, little egg rolls, maybe some Crab Rangoon? Maybe I can just cobble together things that I like – chicken wings, pizza rolls and so on.

Okay, this is going off the rails. Let’s get back to Angels and Devlis. I suppose I could bolster up the offerings by allowing this with “cloud” in the name or anything diablo-style. Really, aside from the party name and the Angels on Horseback, I’m at a loss.

Please help! Are there any shrimp things named Angel or Devil?


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Newsletter From The Home Office: Welcome 2018! Nervous, Depressed and Overheated

Simple nervous tension.  I’ve lived long enough to know not to make any resolutions for a new year, so I didn’t do that. Instead, I made a half-hearted sort of wish that I would be able to help myself sleep through the night in a dark room with no TV and no podcasts going on. I tried that for part of one night, and it was okay but on the second night I turned on Acorn TV and binged watched (sleep watched?) Love, Lies and Records. The issue is that I prefer to be in bed but not sleeping to being in bed sleeping. I guess I should take another stab at it. I like to say my sleep issues don’t affect me but today I find I can’t think of the words I need so maybe …

The time of unhappiness is past. I thought I might invite some neighbors around for a hot and cold buffet open house thing on New Year’s Day afternoon. We haven’t really had an open house since we’ve moved here and now it’s been 15 months so the window of falling back on the old we’re new here and it took us a while to get settled excuse is rapidly closing. Surely by now the neighbors must suspect that we are weirdos. But in the end I knew if I did that, I’d spend the entire time between the invitation and the event regretting it and trying to think of believable ways to get out of it. I do enjoy being in my house alone but I realize that now that the kids are gone and we don’t work locally, the organic networking that happens to weave you into a community don’t exist for us. I should work harder at it. Maybe I’ll invite people over for a hot and cold buffet/open house at the end of January and call it The Winter of Our Discontent party. This is going to sound really snobby and that’s because it is but most of the people – lovely people really and so polite and kind – around here cannot spell the name of their own dog so that party name might cause some confusion. Maybe I’ll just buy the Steinbeck novel from Abebooks.com for a buck and stay in my house alone until I’ve read through it. I don’t know – Steinbeck, though [sucks air through teeth]. The first thing I read from him was The Grapes of Wrath and it depressed me so much I almost lost an entire winter.

Intentionally hangry. Apparently, “hangry” is a word now? All around me people are talking about intermittent fasting. On Thanksgiving, we were invited to a dinner by one normal person whose significant other never misses a chance for an intense one-on-one lecture about the evils of gluten and another guest who only eats every 4th day and fasts for the 3 in between.  Spoiler alert: I declined. I wasn’t about to spend the biggest food holiday of the year with food cuckoos. I was making fun of the intermittent fasting cuckoo to someone who is important to me and she said “Oh, that’s what I do. My doctor told me to try fasting 2 days a week.” She reported weight loss where she had not been successful before and said it really wasn’t a hardship. Ultimately, the normal person who issued the dinner invite told us to stop clinging to outdated eating patterns and get with the modern way to eat – intermittent fasting. I don’t know. I’m not convinced, though. Still sounds cuckoo to me. Maybe if I arranged a day of only clear fluids, I’d be happy to go to seep and stay that way until it was time to eat again.

Like a heat wave, but opposite.  We’re having the first cold snap of winter here in Florida. In general, I prefer to be chilly to being over heated so I proudly tell you that I haven’t turned the heat on in this Florida house since I moved in – until yesterday. I went to the supermarket and walked past an area where warm air was blowing out of the ceiling and it made me happy, so I succumbed to Sami’s nagging requests and let him turn the heat on. I hope my eyeballs don’t dry out.

So, Welcome 2018! Lots to think about in order to plan a successful and interesting year.