A LITTLE BIT FAMOUS. MAYBE.

Ready, Set, Done!

I’ve been brooding over statistics. In particular, I keep staring at my follower numbers, puzzled, and I’ve reached a conclusion.

I don’t really have more than 7000 followers no matter what the numbers say. I bet most of these “followers” are spam-bots or people who stopped by once, clicked “Follow” and disappeared. Who knows what motivated them to “follow” at all? Maybe it was a slip of the mouse, pure accident?

Hyannis downtown people

Daily views of posts are something. They lend themselves better to analysis. I disregard surges on a single post. Often it’s situational: a big snow storm and everyone shows up to read Garry’s experiences in the blizzard of ’78. Or I write something about a new TV show so when it’s Googled, I pop up. Voila! Thousands of hits on an unexceptional post.

Most people who come to read a post for a specific reason don’t come back. Maybe a few of them will drop by again, but mostly, they won’t. It’s not personal. These are not people who follow blogs. They are looking for information and when they find it, here or elsewhere, they go home.

But I can’t ignore the more than 213,000 views I have on Serendipity. Or the recent upsurge of daily visitors. This does not seem to be a “blip,” and might constitute a trend.

I don’t know most of the people who “read me.” I don’t generate as many comments as more controversial sites. Sometimes, I regret that, but not usually.

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Most of my visitors don’t comment. They don’t even click “like.” Yet I’ve started to meet strangers and discover they’ve “read me.” I’m pleased and happily surprised when it happens.

Blogging can be weird that way. You can be a little famous — and never know it. I’m sure it’s the only kind of “fame” you can achieve without realizing you’ve achieved it.

GOLDEN AFTERNOON

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When Garry said I should come out and grab my camera, I wasn’t as thrilled as I usually am. Mid November is usually drab, vying with early March for nothing special to shoot. Nonetheless, I went. I haven’t taken any pictures for over a week and my camera was lonely.

Mallards golden november at the dam

As we left the house, the sun came out. I noticed more than a bit of autumn foliage. Most of the trees are half bare. Naked branches cluster right, left, or center … but the rest of the tree is still clothed in golden leaves.

November Mallards dam blackstone

Our first stop was Whitins Pond. The last time we were there, it was mostly muddy bottom. No birds and not enough water to float a canoe. Today it looked normal. The mallards I saw were too far away to shoot, but I was glad to see them swimming lazily on what may be the last warm day of this autumn.

Mallards November Mumford

Garry suggested we check out the dam in the middle of town. When we got there, it was after three … late afternoon since the clocks were turned back. The light was golden and so were the trees along the Mumford River. The angle of the sun and the trees turned the river to gold.

mallard Mumford golden

We were above the dam and a whole flock a mallards were enjoying an excursion. There were males with their bright teal heads, females and adolescents — full-grown, but not yet wearing their adult feathers.

November Mallards Mumford

It was gorgeous. These pictures are not processed. This is how it looked in the lens. No special effects … or any effects … were used. Just a little cropping. A drab day turned into a miraculous day.

November Mallards golden Mumford

IT’S NOT PIE WITHOUT CRUST

Pie – Food evokes all the senses: the scent of pastry baking, the sound of a fork clinking on a plate… I don’t think this is going to make anyone’s mouth water, but this is the way it happened. Another true story from the giant closet of memories I call life.


dessert Island

I do not have a hand for pastry. I have had it demonstrated step-by-step and followed along as my gifted friends made pastry. With the flick of a wrist, in no time flat, they had that sucker on a big floured board, rolled out and voilà. Light, perfectly flaky pie crust.

I was glad to discover that the secret ingredient of at least two women whose baking was out of this world was the pre-made crust they bought at the grocery store. It made me feel a little better. They made the filling, but not the crust.

I make great filling.

Yet, I was troubled by my inability to conquer pastry. I’d watched pie crust being made. It appeared easy enough. There seemed no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do it myself. I cook well. I make bread. Excellent bread and by hand, if you please. I also make cake and cookies from scratch. You should try my ginger snaps — they are fabulous (if I do say so myself).

My husband comes from a West Indian family. Spicy meat pies are near and dear to his heart and I had just gotten his mother’s secret recipe for filling. She bought pre-made crust and suggested I should too. She even told me what brand to buy.

I was going to make my own pie crust. No store-bought stuff for me!

I did it. On previous attempts, it had fallen apart when I tried to roll it out. By golly, I was not going to let that happen again. I put the flour in the bowl. I added the butter, and a pinch of salt. Mixed it with a fork. I did that multi-knife chopping thing that turns it into dough, but maybe I didn’t do such a great job. And it was too dry.

So, I added (per the recipe) a bit of ice water.

Which made it too wet. So I added a bit more flour. Then a bit more ice water. A bit more butter. Finally, I could roll it out. I couldn’t roll it thin, but I figured a little thicker wouldn’t matter. I was making meat pies … so a slightly heavier crust would be fine. Wouldn’t it?

I made two meat pies and they looked fabulous. When they came out of the oven, they smelled like heaven and the crust was gorgeous, a baked-to-perfection shade of golden brown.

I proudly presented one to Garry, who took a knife and fork and began to dig in. He could not cut the through crust. He couldn’t even scratch it. Finally, he took a knife and stabbed it with both hands. It would have killed a lesser pie.

NOTE: Garry was a Marine. He does 200 push-ups every morning and has for his entire adult life. He’s no sissy. This was more than 10 years ago, so he was even stronger back then.

The knife bounced off leaving the crust unscathed. Garry kept apologizing, as if it were his fault … trying, I suppose, to spare my feelings. It was hopeless.

I eventually pried the top off both pies and we ate the filling. The crust could have been used as a building material. The one thing it was not, was food.

Is anyone surprised to learn this was my last, absolutely final, attempt to make my own pie crust?