Wednesday, February 28, 2024

As promised - THE best fries ever


For real!            The Best!

Give 'em a try and let me know what you think.


  • cooking spray

  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into thick fries

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray Very Lightly with cooking spray - too much cooking spray and you're going to get a lot of smoke says the woman who set off her smoke alarm . . .

  2. Place sliced potatoes in a colander; sprinkle sugar over potatoes. Set aside until liquid is released from potatoes, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain liquid and dry potatoes well.

  3. Mix potato slices, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a resealable plastic bag until evenly coated. Spread coated potato slices in a single layer, leaving space around each potato, on the prepared baking sheet.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes; flip fries and continue baking until crisp and browned, about 20 more minutes.

Wondering about that sugar?  What makes it the secret ingredient??   Read here:

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

All Things Bright

 Can we go back there someday?

To that small carousel in the park?
Could we go there in the morning,
And stay there until dark?

You helped me onto that horse,
The one with roses in its hair.
And as the animals ran their course,
The music played its fanfare.

From a nearby snack stand,
You'd buy me a strawberry ice cream.
And as we walked hand in hand,
I'd stare at the glistening stream.

If we did go back there,
It wouldn't be the same.
We've aged, us and the carousel.
Perhaps too much has changed.

I still think of that small carousel now and then.
I think of that horse with roses in its hair.
I think of walks with that strawberry ice cream.
But most of all, I remember you there

                - - - by Beepy731

Photo by Zoe Felix of
Katie Donnelly Photography, Paris

POLITICAL POST - Recommended Reading


To be clear.

Meanderings and Muses is not about to become a complete and total political blog any more than it has ever been any one thing in particular blog.  

Politics is one piece of my many pieces.  

Tomorrow I'll share the secret ingredient to THE best french fries you will ever taste.  Promise.  So if politics ain't your thing, close it up now and come back on Wednesday.

 That said -

Here's the beginnings of a list of columns you might enjoy if you're of a liberal nature.  Who knows, you might know some conservative (Non MAGA) sorts who might enjoy them as well.  

Not all the links I'll be sharing with you are daily posts, and not all that are daily are posts that I myself am interested in reading every day.  Like most of you, I find large daily doses of politics to be too much.

I rarely watch TV news these days, preferring the opportunities of reading, or saving for later, articles and columns of interest that I'm able to access at my convenience.

Many of the columns I follow are available through which is a "subscription network for independent writers and creators."

Opinions regarding range from acceptance to outrage regarding its structure of free content to paid content.  Without getting into all that I'm just here to share articles, columns, and their writers with you.  Philosophies these writers, and, maintain regarding what they're willing to share at what price is not a cause I'm interested in taking on.  A gal can only fight so many battles.

That said - 

My one daily read is Letters From An American by American political historian Heather Cox Richardson.  Prof. Cox is fond of reminding us that  "To understand the present, we have to understand how we got here." She does it in a clear, concise manner.  Easy to read, easy to understand.  She will often focus on a particular topic from the most recent headlines, give its background, analysis, and a comparison to a similar past historical event giving her take on why the events are important in their similarities.

I love Pulitzer Prize-winner columnist Connie Schultz for her straight shooting, honest, hopeful outlook which translates to writing that speaks to me.  And will occasionally make me teary.  Her column, Hopefully Yours, is available through Substack for free, although the option is yours to upgrade to a paid subscription if you care to.  The content you receive is the same either way, which is not true for all Substack columns.  The choice is yours.  And that's the last time I'll be sharing that little caveat . . .  you get to do your own "to pay, or not yo pay" research from here on. 

AND, i love Mike Luckovich

And to end today's political post, here's a recent story that "should" sicken any civilized person -

A January 6 Insurrection Pinball Game - It was, apparently a hit during the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).   Disgusting.

Character Matters!

That's enough for the day. 

 Stay tuned!

But do come back tomorrow for the Best French Fry ever recipe with a secret ingredient!  

Monday, February 26, 2024

What's coming to Meanderings and Muses . . .


I know many of you have not missed my political rants.

Well - I'm sorry, but I've been holding too much in for too long.

So be prepared.  Or - don't peek in until after November's election.  Possibly, not even then.  I understand.

My friend, and occasional blog advisor, Bill Crider, more than once, reminded me that Meanderings and Muses belongs to me.  It is, in many ways, my conscience.  What I share is up to me, and me alone.


I'm gonna be sharing  some things some of you are not gonna want to read.

So be it.

There will still be some book chats, some poetry, some recipes, some music and some art.

You'll still see and hear about me, Donald, and Annabelle, and our life here in the Meat Camp, NC mountains

But because all these things - things I hold dear - are affected by the state of our country, which affects the state of the world, politics is, sadly, a part of those things I hold dear.  A part of ALL our lives.

Don't ever believe your life isn't touched by politics; that's naive at best.

And never has it touched our lives more than at present.


We are at a crossroads.   

The November elections could possibly change our lives in ways we never imagined.

We're in a time in which we need to pay closer attention than ever before regarding what we know about those running for office - local and beyond.  We need, more than ever, to learn about, and pay attention to, the issues of their platforms and the truth about where they stand.  

Who's supporting them financially.

Broaden our knowledge.  Know how to separate the truth from the lies.  Recognize misinformation.

Understand that there are people who will gladly destroy the very foundations upon which this country has been built.

Besides my own opinions that I'll be sharing here, I'm going to share links to a number of political posts.  Some of those posts will be opinion pieces in many forms.  

Some will be lengthy pieces written by historians, constitutional law experts, politicians I believe to be knowledgeable and who have the good of our country in mind.

There will be public opinions from journalists, from political cartoonists, and from you, if you wish.

You're welcome to leave comments, but I'll warn you up front, hatefulness will not be tolerated and will not be published here.  

Additionally, if you have some favorite links that you subscribe to on a regular basis which you think will be pertinent and of interest,  please share them with me.

If you have something you personally wish to add, and would like me to publish it here, please let me know.   Your opinions are of interest to me.  Facts must be cited.

It the spirit of transparency, in case you didn't already know my political/moral standing, it can easily be summed up my statement that I believe Trump to be a monster; a dangerous man who instigated an insurrection in an attempt to overthrow the government of The United States of America.

 Here's a little refresher of that timeline from the Associated Press news

And i feel the need to talk about that, and so much more.

Beginning with this important reminder -


That IS, by damn, a fact


Sunday, February 25, 2024


I have been a fan of Southern Literature for about what feels like a hundred years.  Good Southern Literature.  Which is what the Willie Morris Award celebrates. 

 I have been outspoken about books that are too often referred to as Southern lit when they are, in actuality, simply books written about a stereotypical image of the south shared by a small number of people uneducated about the ways, the culture, the spirit, of the true south.  

David Joy's novel is one that embraces what the south really is - warts and all.  I cannot say enough about THOSE WE THOUGHT WE KNEW (most recent Willie Morris recipient for Southern Fiction) except to say I hope you'll read it.  And then tell everyone you know to read it.   

 "His intricately developed characters, careful establishment of place and thoughtful storyline demonstrate a depth and complexity that challenges the reader to confront preconceived notions about race, friendship and community,” Weatherly said.

Latest Recommendation


How fun is it for a book lover to happen onto a book which happens to be the first in a brand new series and know it's a series you're going to love?

It doesn't happen very often.  At least, not for me.

I usually stumble into a series after reading a book without realizing it's part of a series and then going back, finding Book One and bingeing.  I've done this a number of times, including the J. D. Robb books, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Margaret Maron, David Housewright, Randall Silvis, Mark Pryor and Mark de Castrique to name a few.  I do love having a few series to follow, some of which I was lucky enough to discover with Book One; Louise Penny and Deborah Ctombie pop immediately to mind.  There are more, of course, but you get the idea.

Sarah Stewart Taylor's AGONY HILL, from St. Martin's,  is the newest to the list.  This one will hit the shelves in August and I'm already antsy for the second.

Not too cozy, not too hard.  A perfect traditional mystery set in a realistic community, with believable, likeable,  characters.  For me, it was a comfort to find and I read it straight through.  Being of a certain age (75), it's hard for me to think of a book set in the 60s as Historical Fiction.  But, it is what it is.  <sigh>

Description from NetGalley -

Set in rural Vermont in the volatile 1960s, Agony Hill is the first novel in a new historical series full of vivid New England atmosphere and the deeply drawn characters that are Sarah Stewart Taylor's trademark.

In the hot summer of 1965, Bostonian Franklin Warren arrives in Bethany, Vermont, to take a position as a detective with the state police. Warren's new home is on the verge of monumental change; the interstates under construction will bring new people, new opportunities, and new problems to Vermont, and the Cold War and protests against the war in Vietnam have finally reached the dirt roads and rolling pastures of Bethany.

Warren has barely unpacked when he's called up to a remote farm on Agony Hill. Former New Yorker and Back-to-the-Lander Hugh Weber seems to have set fire to his barn and himself, with the door barred from the inside, but things aren’t adding up for Warren. The people of Bethany—from Weber’s enigmatic wife to Warren's neighbor, widow and amateur detective Alice Bellows — clearly have secrets they’d like to keep, but Warren can’t tell if the truth about Weber’s death is one of them. As he gets to know his new home and grapples with the tragedy that brought him there, Warren is drawn to the people and traditions of small town Vermont, even as he finds darkness amidst the beauty.

Note: FTC Disclosure Notice: Dear FTC - I received a digital copy of Agony Hill from No other compensation was offered or accepted beyond the possibility of a review of the book.

Paris - Christmas 2023


Monday, February 19, 2024

“Why do I read?

I just can't help myself.

I read to learn and to grow, to laugh

and to be motivated.

I read to understand things I've never

been exposed to.

I read when I'm crabby, when I've just

said monumentally dumb things to the

people I love.

I read for strength to help me when I

feel broken, discouraged, and afraid.

I read when I'm angry at the whole


I read when everything is going right.

I read to find hope.

I read because I'm made up not just of

skin and bones, of sights, feelings,

and a deep need for chocolate, but I'm

also made up of words.

Words describe my thoughts and what's

hidden in my heart.

Words are alive--when I've found a

story that I love, I read it again and

again, like playing a favorite song

over and over.

Reading isn't passive--I enter the

story with the characters, breathe

their air, feel their frustrations,

scream at them to stop when they're

about to do something stupid, cry with

them, laugh with them.

Reading for me, is spending time with a


A book is a friend.

You can never have too many.”

By Gary Paulsen, Shelf Life: Stories by the Book 

Thursday, February 15, 2024


Sadly, this has never been more true.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

A Brownie for Breakfast - Go Chiefs!


Starting Super Bowl Sunday off just right -

With a brownie for breakfast 😊

Later I'll have one with some ice cream 😛

In the meantime there's a kitchen full of Super Bowl food, including chicken wings (of COURSE!!!),

some chips and salsa which are a great base for alllll kinds of yummy treats

Gotta have some nuts to munch on during those nervous moments

I am ready

for some football!!!!

and I can't wait to see Taylor and Mama Kelce and families.

Go Chiefs!

Friday, February 9, 2024

My Football Journey - A Long and Winding Road


Super Bowl Sunday!   Coming Soon!

There was a time when my home would be full of people on this hallowed day.

It started when I was a little thing and growing up with a dad who was an obsessive Colts fan.  Actually, I'm not sure there was any other kind of Colts fan.

Tickets were all but impossible to come by.

When someone died their Colts tickets were passed down.

My dad did not own a Colts season ticket, but he owned "part" of one.

He didn't get to go to all the home games, only when his turn came up in the rotation, but those he did get to were always something he enjoyed more than just about anything else in life.

And he was usually in trouble the next day.

He would go with this crazy crowd of cronies.  They were always later getting home than he said they would be.  Much later.  And he would usually bring my mom a gift to ease the pain of the wrath of Hazel.  That gift ploy never ever worked.  Never.

I hesitate to mention some of the gifts 'cause I don't want you to think less of my dad, but LordAMercy.  They were awful.  (But funny.  At least to me.)

Okay.  Here's one.  (My mom would absolutely kill me for telling this story).

Only a group of idiot men coming home late from a football game will think it's a good idea to stop along the side of the road and pick up (okay, let's just say it - steal) a State of Maryland smudge pot.

Anyone remember when this is what road crews would use at night to mark the roads?  Like say, they were doing a repair and wanted to re-route cars away from the repair site?  There would be a line of these flaming smudge pots showing a new traffic pattern.

Well, we had one.

And no, my mom was not happy.  She did not love her smudge pot.

I think I remember her saying she was going to call the State of Maryland and turn him in for stealing state property.

And I think we all got kinda tickled about that, truth be told.

What can I say - I was raised by crazy people who laughed at crazy stuff.  And did crazy stuff.  I would not swap parents with anyone.  Never wanted to as a kid, and am thankful for having grown up to have them as friends.  They were the best.


When my dad couldn't be at a game and when it was on TV there was always this group of rowdies hanging out at our place.  

Here's the roster - Tom Duncan and his dog Bobo (I loved Bobo.  Loved Tom too).  Dude Willoughby and his younger brother Young Dude Willoughby.  Some guy named Fish.  Another guy named Moose.  There was a Donnie (the only one I didn't particularly care for).  And a sweet old guy named Fred.

They would drink beer.  A lot of beer.

My mom would make sandwiches, or sometimes cook them a nice meal.  She would put it out on the kitchen table so they could help themselves and then she would disappear into the bedroom, close the door and read or nap.

She was not a fan of football.


I was usually on the floor, sitting between my dad's feet sneaking sips out of his beer.

This was a problem.

My mother would pitch a fit about him allowing his only child to become an alcoholic before the age of 10.  (I'm telling you, she had some great lines).

It was also a problem when the Colts would score and everyone in the room would stand up, arms straight up in the air, screaming SCORE!

I occasionally had my fingers stepped on.  I also occasionally would accidentally hit someone in the nose when my hands went straight up for the SCORE!

We had an old sofa that sat on 4 short little wooden legs.  When the guys sat back down one Sunday after the SCORE! all four legs popped off the sofa and pinged against the walls.

Oh, yes - Hazel Wilkinson was thrilled.

Long story short - a new sofa was bought.

But the very next time the guys were over to watch the Colts someone's cigar was dropped and there was a nasty burn in the sofa arm.

WHY my mom put up with all this I will never know.   But.  She loved all these guys.  They were all a huge part of our family life for many, many years.

And these things did make for great stories, I have to say.

You might already know the end of this particular saga.

Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the team from Baltimore to Indianapolis, completely unannounced, in the early morning hours of March 29, 1984. This after having been THE team in Baltimore since 1953.

Believe me when I say this is still a topic of conversation and it has not yet been forgiven.

When Donald and I were cleaning out my mom's apartment we found this -

Oh, yes.  This was a huge hit back in 1984.

But I had to laugh that my mom still had it.

Tucked in a drawer.

An old 45 that had been my dad's.

Back when he was heartbroken and mad as hell about losing the Colts.

Back when we actually had a turntable on which this record could be played.

Moving ahead quite a few years and I was now in Atlanta and pulling for the Atlanta Falcons.  This was before, during, and after the Bartkowski years.

There were always, always, always, people at my house watching football.

Once again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

My furniture was now the furniture bearing football scars.

My house was now the place people were drinking beer, a lot of beer, and standing up to shout SCORE!

I was the one making sandwiches and leaving them in the kitchen for everyone to help themselves.


I had become my mother AND my father.

I was also totally in love with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  More so than the Falcons, truth be told.

Mostly I loved Terry Bradshaw, Mean Joe Greene, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann.  Man - I loved those guys.

But, as time went on I lost my taste for football.

Then, for maybe a year, it was back when Cam Newton was a fun new player with the Panthers.

Then it was gone again.

(Am I the most fickle football fan ever?!)


It's back.

and in a big way.

Now I'm head over heels in love with The Chiefs.

Well, okay - yes, Travis Kelce does make me swoon a little . . .

And yes, I love the Taylor & Travis fairy tale and hope they last forever together.

And yes, I think the haters and the conspiracy nuts are pitiful, pathetic, sad, and ignorant.

Now I'm a happy girl with my bum parked in front of the TV watching The Chiefs play ball.  And I will still stand up and shout SCORE!

Football is fun for me again.

Who knew?!

So.  In a couple days I'll be reliving the kind of Sunday I have lived, off and on, since I was a little bitty thing.  Back from the time I was a kid sitting between her dad's feet stealing sips of beer.  I'll be in my own chair for this game, drinking my own glass of wine, and I'll be thinking about my dad.

Watching The Kansas City Chiefs play The San Francisco  49ers in the Superbowl.

No big crowd of people.  Just me, Donald and Annabelle.  Not as many superbowl snacks sitting around as there might have been back in the day, but some.  More than enough.

I am a very loud football fan, even watching it on TV.  That will never change.

I still jump up and yell SCORE!

It seems to be a part of my genetic make-up, that "SCORE!" thing.

And I still yell at the refs.

And I am, of course, a great armchair quarterback AND coach.  

It's fun to have a team to cheer for again.  To know the players and their positions.

Truth be told, none of this would be happening for me if it weren't for one person.

And you know who I mean - Taylor Swift.

I love her.  The woman just rocks and she's made football fun again for people like me who walked away from the NFL for so many reasons.

Man, I hope she makes it to Sunday's game and I hope the Chiefs win, and I hope she and Travis get to share a big ol' smooch on the field afterwards.

Go Chiefs!

I am ready for some football!

Note: This is a revised piece which was originally posted at the Jungle Reds blog back in 2016.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

What's cooking in Meat Camp

 The BEST Pork Tenderloin Ever


  • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin

  • 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

  • 1 cup water

  • ¾ cup red wine

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place pork tenderloin and soup mix in a slow cooker. Pour water, wine, and soy sauce on top, turning pork to coat. Carefully spread garlic over pork, leaving as much on top as possible. Sprinkle with pepper.

  2. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

  3. Remove pork from the slow cooker and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with cooking liquid on the side as au jus.