Daily Archives: April 9, 2017

Declutter 2017: Proof I could have gone farther in math

My last math course was 10th-grade geometry. I did well in it. I am still angry at the high school advisor who told me I didn’t need to take any more math or science classes because I was going to be an elementary school teacher. I am still angry at myself for going along with it.

The teacher of this course was a gentle human. He was slight and sported a handlebar mustache. I think that other kids in class made fun of him but I never did. Maybe he saw that I was on his side. He also had been a student of Bill Jordan, the father of my best friend throughout middle and high school.

Mom’s stuff: 2 recipes made with beer and jotted on an envelope

I have in front of me a business envelope on which are two recipes in my mother’s handwriting written in pencil. The date stamp on the envelope is September 14, 1995.

The first recipe has no title:

  • 1 ½ lb. beef top round
  • ¾ c. flour
  • ½ t. salt
  • ⅛ t. pepper
  • ¼ c. Coors beer
  • ¼ oil


  • 2 T flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • ½ c Coors beer


  1. Cut meat into 6 pieces.
  2. Pound steak between waxed paper til thin (1/4 inch thick).
  3. Stir together ¾ c. flour, salt, and pepper.
  4. Dip meat in flour mixture, then in beer, then in flour again
  5. Brown in hot oil in skillet, turning once (3 to 5 minutes per side)
  6. Remove meat and keep warm


  1. Blend 2 T. flour in drippings
  2. Stir in milk and beer.
  3. Cook until thickened and bubbly.
  4. Cook and stir 1 – 2 minutes, serve as gravy.

The second recipe is titled Chili Tostadas

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 12 oz. can of beer
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 4 oz. can chopped chilies
  • 1 T. Chili powder
  • ½ t. sugar
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas
  • cooking oil
  • 1 16 oz. can refried beans (warmed in a pan or in the microwave)
  • shredded lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 c shredded Monterey jack cheese (8 oz)
  • 1 avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced


  1. Brown beef and onion until meat is brown
  2. Stir in beer, tomato paste, green chilies, chili powder, sugar, and salt
  3. Heat to boiling.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  5. Meanwhile, cook tortillas in hot oil for 20 to 40 seconds on each side until crisp and golden
  6. Drain on paper towel
  7. Spoon beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado on tortillas


Declutter 2017: Two books

My high school may not have been the best in the state, but it was progressive when it came to classes. For instance, I took an English class called “The Literature of Love and Loneliness” in which we read a variety of books about, well love and loneliness. A couple of the books we read for class caught my mother’s eye because she was deeply into self-help books.

Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?

She bought two of the books from that class, the first is sitting next to me on my desk. It is titled why am i afraid to tell you who i am? and was written by John Powell, S. J. The purple book cover features a black and white photograph of a sad or pensive looking teenaged girl. The bright red all-lower-case title of the book wraps around the photo of the girl. I honestly do not remember reading anything from this book whose tagline/subtitle is (insights on self-awareness, personal growth, and interpersonal communication). Chapters include: Understanding the Human Condition, Growing as a Person, Interpersonal Relationships, Dealing with Our Emotions, Human Hiding Places: Methods of Ego Defense and Catalog of Games and Roles.

The other book which is not sitting next to me, it is somewhere in the boxes of stuff, is titled The Wisdom of Insecurity:  A Message for an Age of Anxiety and was written by Alan Watts. I don’t remember this book either, but I remember my mom reading it. I don’t know if it helped her or not.

I never understood the appeal of self-help books. I know they are still sold and lots of people read them. I just never really felt the need to read books about how to fix myself. What I have read always sounds so mumbo-jumbo to me. I’ve yet to find a passage in why am i afraid to tell you who i am? that actually makes sense to me.

Both of these books are going in the giveaway box. No happiness here.