Happy 74th Birthday Mom

Today is mom’s 74th Birthday.

Wow!

Spending a lot of time lately with her thoughts
I spoke to her a number of times today. Left a singing Echo message before sunrise. Then I called her later in the morning to say hi. We had a good conversation, she is pretty good today. Then I called her 45 minutes later just to be silly, and we had a good laugh. Then I called her 5 minutes later and we had a good talk. In the process I was checking to see if she would remember the previous calls, just checking up on her.  It is a thing I do.  She did remember from call to call. She couldn’t always do that, and a lot of things now still never make it to memory.
 
But we had fun. She really likes her Echo, she will tell you about it every time you call. Even if the calls are all on the same day. 😉
 
I could tell that she was doing a lot of thinking back, reminiscing. I guess with Alzheimer’s that is the path you take.
She has always been one to compare people across generations. She uses it as a way of framing her life. You know, “Oh, you get your sense of humor from your grandfather”, or “That Xander is James‘s little Michael. Typical family stuff. We talked like that for a long while, or she talked and I agreed with her along the way.
Group Picture
Not so long ago
I think most of the time she is sort of just sitting there with her thoughts. And I wonder what those thoughts are. I wonder if she sees the world at all like she did before, or if her memories have moved and reshaped to bring her to where she is. If you ask anyone in the family, they will tell you the thoughts have moved, reshaped and even appeared out of nowhere. Nature hates a vacuum and when your mind starts losing a hold on the ones that were there, I guess maybe it has to create something to put in their place. It can be really frustrating for the people around them, I guess it probably is for them too. 
I am glad that her mind has moved in a happy way, she is genuinely happy, or at least that is what I believe.  It is nice to talk with her about love and joy.  It is nice to share love and joy with her.
She told me the nicest thing today when we were almost done with our talking.  Mom said, “You know, your spirit is a lot like mine.”  Well let me tell you, that is about the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.  I love you Mom, Happy Birthday. 
74, that is just hard to believe.

Cold Weather Hot Tubbing

Drink Glogg from Mug

A Hot tub in Bitterly  Cold Weather

Damn, it is cold outside!

In case you haven’t noticed, it is cold outside.  Winter in Wisconsin has seen many days and nights with bitterly cold weather.  I will be the first to tell you that my tolerance for winter gets lower and lower each year.  But if you are going to live in Wisconsin, you are either going to learn to embrace winter, or it is going to bring you down.

There are a lot of ways to embrace winter.  Many people use winter sports like snow shoeing, skating, skiing, sledding, snow snowmobiling, ice fishing and really anything that gets you out and doing something in the snow.  I enjoy many of those myself.

But most days I can’t do those things.  On those days, I turn to my hot tub.

Cold Weather Hot tubbing

So in Puttin’ Up style, I have taken to the video.  After going out at 0 F and throwing snow for an hour, I decided that it would be a good time to head for the hot tub.  This next video talks about one of the best ways to combine a few of my favorite winter things.

Cold Weather Hot Tub Survival Kit

When it gets bitterly cold, got being prepared can actually be dangerous.  In the video below, I give some suggestions for things you should use to safely enter your tub when the temperatures are so cold your hand will freeze to the cover lifter.

Alright, so some of you may be asking, is Doc T wearing clothes in that Hot Tub?  If you can’t tell, it doesn’t really matter does it.

Making Swedish Glögg – Mulled Spice Wine to keep you warm in the winter

Glogg Ingredients

Today we are puttin’ up Swedish Glögg, a wine based drink that will take the chill off of even the coldest night of the coldest winter.  It will warm you, and you will sleep well afterwards.  This is a drink that should be shared with friends, family, or people who you just want to warm up with.

This is approximately the recipe that my wife’s grandfather used to make, and this post is in honor of Poppy.  I make it every year and it has in the process become part of my winter tradition.  One of the things about making something like Glögg is that each person ends up making the recipe their own, adding those little touches of their own that make it your recipe.  In that spirit, I will list the ingredients needed to make a basic batch, but not the measurements because frankly I don’t measure the ingredients myself.

The video below demonstrates what you need to get it started and how to heat it the first day.  It is a multiple day process because the ingredients need to sit in the wine for a while after it has been brought up to temperature to let them a chance to really share and merge their flavors.   The ingredients are listed below the video.

Swedish Glögg Recipe (Glogg)

Ingredients by Volume

  • Dark Red Wine – 1 gallon.  I prefer a Burgundy
  • Port – 1 bottle
  • Citric fruit – oranges, lemons cut in wedges
  • Sugar
  • Prunes
  • Raisens
  • Almonds, crushed
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Your Secret ingredients or spices

Directions Day 1

  • Pour wine into a large pot
  • Add Sugar, fruit, spices
  • Bring up to hot, but not boiling (About 170 – 180 degrees F – The video shows how to tell when it is the right temperature)
  • Let sit at least one day
  • Watch this video to see how to do the rest of the recipe

Directions Day 2

  • Add Port, bring back up to temperature and let it sit.
  • Remove Fruit
  • Strain to remove spice material and clarify the Glögg
  • (optional) Add fortifying alcohol such as rum, vodka, spiced rum, moonshine, or whatever you like
  • You can serve it cold or hot, but I am not sure why anyone would drink it anything but hot.  Same temperature as preparing it, do not boil and about 170 degrees is ideal.

 

“Hot stuff when drunken hot.” Poppy

Making Home Brewed Kombucha, step-by-step demonstration

Make your own Kombucha

So you were thinking about making your own Kombucha.  The good news is that it really isn’t that hard once you know what you are doing.  All you need is a couple of cups of Kombucha, a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), tea, sugar, a glass jar to brew it in and something to put it in when you are done brewing it and waiting to drink it.

In the video below, Doc T shows you how easy it is.  He also goes into bottling and flavoring the Kombucha after it is brewed.

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