Last week in January

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not a lot has been happening lately. I did have a post for Monday and one for Wednesday, but I needed to go upstairs to type them on my laptop. And it was painful. I’ve been decidedly crippled in the right leg. Today is Wednesday night and I’m actually feeling fairly chipper getting caught up with life. I’ve been up and down the stair, I wrote up and mailed winter letters (not Christmas ones), made dinner, returned a library book, and found a light switch I’d forgotten. (It was rather silly. I literally forgot where the switch was for the basement light. When I “found” it again, I seriously rolled my eyes at myself.)

I did have another crazy dream. This one I awoke with a WTF?  There were the stairs again, but this took place in what may have been a department store. All around people were being infected and emitting an orange goo. The people were not zombies, not like the ones we know. The goo was the infectious substance and all it had to do was touch another person. Some gangs would throw it at people to infect them. One gang flipped the goo at people on plastic forks. They wore bright pink shirts reading Kate’s Cake Flippers and marched in sync. They also did handstands and cartwheels and then ended up back in line. The absolute oddest thing was a giant tv room playing a brand new episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. Both healthy and sick people carefully crowded the area and took sides on which captain was better. Picard or Kirk. My part of the dream was watching the activities like from above, avoiding goo, and climbing stairs hoping I’d not miss any of the episode! I didn’t choose a captain, but it would have been Picard.

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I’m going to post this before I get distracted. There’s over 18 inches of snow that fell on my Alaskan house, my heating bill was over 650$, and I’m not going to get my passport. However, the Tustamena 200 happened (sled dog race) and the book I ordered for my birthday has been sent by the seller!

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Favorite Morning Song

I was blessed to see a “Silver white winter melting into spring” this morning, I went outside, dancing dodging drips from the icy branches, and grinned! A million songs popped into my head to celebrate the morning. Church ones, pop and rock tunes, and of course, my all time favorite whistle. “Sunny day, keeping the clouds away…” Yes, the Sesame Street theme song. (Or it was a million years back, it’s probably changed..) No matter, when you see a beautiful morning or day in front of you, do you have a song that jumps into your mind?

(I’d highlight and italics words, but I forgot til now and trying to go back and select a section is proving ridiculous. My last post on costumes, the WordPress site tweaked it horribly. I didn’t notice til I read it much later.) 

 

Sew, Sew-

I used to sew. When the boys were little, I’d make their Halloween costumes. Mum sewed EVERYTHING. Quilts, blankets, clothes, and more. I wasn’t going to compete or even try to do what she did, so I didn’t. She’d send patterns for costumes and sometimes fabric and I’d make them. The pumpkin one Little Bear has on (he’s 4, maybe) was supposed to have stuffing, but he objected. Strider got so mad when people asked him if he was Batman. He was a BAT! (then there was the year he was about 12. He wore a black cloak and carried a staff. Few people realised he was Allanon from Terry Brooks’s stories.)

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As Strider grew up, he was in theatre. From the age of 13 to 18 he was in 13 different productions. Many were plays needing costumes not found in closets or thrift stores. So, I sewed and created.

I didn’t know when he was in ‘HONK!‘ that I’d learn to love making hats.

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Music Man was a great deal of fun! We adapted modern dresses to fit the period and sewed a few and I made some amazing Titanic hats. The blue one at the bottom and the pink one are the only two I have left. The flamboyant blue feathered one was for Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (the Mayor’s wife). It was given to the girl who played that wonderful character after the play was over. (she said it fell apart..my two are still in VERY good shape!) I wear mine every now and again. Getting into a modern car with one  is not very easy. And if you happen to have one of those automatic seat belts you can almost decapitate yourself quite easily!

I made tails for a comic murder mystery.  Little Bear later wore it to recite The Gettysburg Address. (I also made the vest for this one…that was more work than I thought!)

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Then, Strider was in a number of plays that really needed something outside the norm.

He was younger in the first photo, but I enjoyed that one! His cape is attached at the shoulders and he wore underarmor-like tights and shoes from a Shakespearean play. The other photo shows Strider as a Sultan. His headdress has a mirror in the center. When kids in the audience were not paying attention, Strider would bend his head so the mirror flashed on them. He also had a GIANT wooden sword in this play. (The Craftsman created all the weaponry for the High School plays. Swords, daggers, tommy guns, and a rather clever blunderbuss, using a funnel) The Sultan’s cloak was used in a couple plays. So flamboyant and grand. Except for the glitter. It was a huge piece of black fabric reaching the floor, with gold swirls all over it. Strider could make it flow when he walked or pull it close, it was as magnificent a prop as his beard for this play (frisked up, it was an angry beard. Smooth, it was a calmer Sultan). 

Then, he was in two classics. First is a very low budget version of Lumiere and a super fun version of the Lion from Oz. (The Craftsman did arrange it so the hat’s candle would light up. There was a battery switch in Strider’s vest pocket) The gold leggings Strider has on were a huge hit. The gold sequin tails were a pain in the butt to sew, but I also made him a nicer silver version for his Senior prom because he asked(See below). I was pleased when the director wanted the Lion’s outfit to be more like something from CATS!. Strider was worried til I made the pajama pants similar to the Sultan ones. Being a bean pole, he didn’t want to prance around in skin tight stuff..although, he did when he was in ‘The Clumsy Custard‘ (the turquoise outfit with the cape).

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this was VERY bright and shiny!

One of the things I have learned is that I can sew simple costumes. Real things are much harder. Costumes don’t need more than dark sturdy threaded seams and small discrepancies can be overlooked. I have made quite a few pillow cases for graduations and weddings, a couple of skirts for myself, but for the most part, my machine sits idle now. I don’t mind. Maybe I can get the glitter out of it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullying Cat Nips

You know Yellowfang, don’t you? she was cranky, stubborn, impatient-and the most loyal cat you will ever meet.” Erin Hunter

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photo from a couple of summers back.

I was going to call this post Bully Cat Nips, but I didn’t want anyone to think it was a good thing! It is annoying and frustrating.

To look at this picture of our yellow/orange/white kitty, one might think he’s as sweet as the violets he’s sleeping on. And you’d be correct, part of the time. He really is a character, friendly to humans, and is almost like a dog in many respects. But, to another feline, this adorable 24 toed meowser is on the other side of nice. He’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde sort of creature.

Moses met with one of the neighbor cats the other night. It was short, loud, and completely random for us two leggers. When Moses sauntered in finally, he had spots of fur not smoothed against his coat. After a short while, we could tell he was hurting. He didn’t want touched, he wasn’t interested in his wet food snack, and he curled up on a soft shawl I placed on the floor.

Thankfully, he was back to normal in less than 8 hours. And unfortunately, he quickly lost my sympathy when he got into a vocal discussion with Mittens as she walked past. Our Moses is a brat and a bully. He needs to remember he’s almost 17 and settle down!!!

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photo from 2016

 

Health and Home

What a crazy world.  There are so many beautiful good things in it, I’m beyond more than thankful for those and hope they outweigh the harder bits! This last weekend has been full of both kinds. First, we got snow. You might not know this, but I absolutely LOVE snow. Because I’ve been sore, I couldn’t go outside and make a snowman. But, I wanted to!! It didn’t last long, which was ok. I needed to drive to my doctor and even with snow tires, I didn’t want anything to distract me.

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Although, something did. Before he left in the morning, The Craftsman told me I needed to put gas in the Escape when I reached the larger town. (And that he should have, when he had it on Friday) I’d not gotten very far from the town we live in when the yellow gas light indicator came on. I drove on prayers and fumes, luckily reaching the gas station before I was stranded. However, the gas station’s technology was down. (sometimes technology is NOT the brightest rock on the beach!) I was told 10 minutes, so I waited. Luckily, I’d left early and had some spare time. After my timer went off, I limped back to the station window to be told things were still down!! At this point I was slightly annoyed and on the edges of my window of spare time. I decided to keep praying. I got to my doctor’s office and called The Craftsman to tell him he might need to rescue me after my appointment. He then asked if the yellow light was on and was surprised at how far I’d driven. (I almost was annoyed at him, but he’s a mechanic and I’d actually talked to him the night before for quite a while about life stuff. He was a bit discombobulated!)

At the office, I almost fell asleep. I’m so tired all the time, although it wasn’t why I was there, so it wasn’t a topic. After meeting with the assistant and some poking (why do doctor sorts poke you to see if you hurt???) and discovering I did hurt, I was sent off for an x-ray. Not because it was needed, it was a just in case.  I was also told I need to elevate my leg. Apparently, even though the painful spot is higher, it is probably why my knee is sore after being on my leg all day. It is also probably why my right foot is a billion time colder than my left one at night. (She said the temp was only slightly cooler. I told her it wasn’t bedtime yet!) It is most likely why I limp more after sitting. Anyway, because I am upright, she said the pain would be lower the longer I was up. I’m not sure I understood it, but how on EARTH does one elevate a whole leg when there are things to do??? I’ll need to wait til after dinner is done and cleaned up.

After I was done there, I opted to put gas in the car before getting the x-ray. It was stuttering..(is that the right word??) as I drove up to the gas pump. (The funniest thing, The Craftsman passed me on my way to the station. He had decided to come and rescue me before I called for help!) The x-ray was interesting. It was of my right hip, which is somewhere in that padded bustle of mine!!! I’ll get the results later this week. I’m also going to call the eye doctor about my ‘dry eye. The eye drops don’t seem to be helping. I use them sometimes 8 or 9 times a day and it is often all crusty.

As I mentioned, I talked to The Craftsman for a while. I have learned to use better words (Not ‘you said’ and so forth), explained some of the things I might need instead of just want, and pretty much surprised him completely. Almost like a talking plant. (Audrey!!!) Hopefully, it wasn’t a horror moment. Although, part of what brought on my talking was how much help he’d given me on Sunday. Especially when I found the pork roast I’d set on a shelf to thaw had bled all over the fridge. (I NEVER EVER leave things to thaw in the fridge on a shelf!!) I cleaned up everything, then decided to clean the whole fridge because no need to do something half-assed. (I think my phrasing startled him, too!) The help was getting it all apart and I then needed assistance getting things back together. I had thanked him for the things he’d done, told him I wanted to order Little Bear’s birthday present (he wants some of CS Lewis’s non fiction and other works), and that I didn’t really have anything I wanted for mine when he asked. He was frustrated, which opened the door to my own flood gates of words.

Speaking of words, I finished a couple of vampire stories (I normally can’t stand vampire stories!). These authors are about the only exceptions to my dislike: Elizabeth Hunter is way very cool and I always enjoy Patrica Briggs. However, the oddest thing was a taser. In both books, recent publishings, there were vampires who were taken out momentarily by tasers. Startled by the coincidence, I realised how much easier a taser would be to carry and use than a stake. (and I wondered if the authors read each other….)

Vampire Movies Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from CartoonStock

 

Sticks or Straws On the Range

Freddie was a tiny woman from England. (I wish I could find a picture of her!!) She and her husband, Roy, would often visit their daughter on the Oregon coast. I was blessed to have purchased their former home near by.  (Actually, our  houses were so close we were neighbors separated by a rickety pole fence and only seconds from each other!) She was shorter than my 5’2″, with an iron grey bun on the top of her head. When she let it down, her hair went past  her English buns. Roy was a few years younger and a million miles taller, she called him her ‘boy toy’. During WW2, Freddie was an air raid warden no one messed with.  When her daughter moved to the US, Freddie and Roy did, too. Then they left again only to be frequent visitors. When we met her much later, one of the things we remember best was her baking. Freddie’s scones and cheese straws (also known as twists or sticks) were only surpassed as favorite treats by her tasty fingers dipped in chocolate. (shortbread cookies, I think) I’ve always tried to recreate the cheese straws and my searches online seemed fruitless. Probably because I stopped searching after a few years!

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After posting my last attempt on here, I had more recipes shared. However, I used the old cookbook version instead of the pastry puff one.  (I’m pretty sure Freddie never used anything refrigerated in her straws, except cheese!) Using Colette’s 1950’s find, I mixed and rolled and baked happily. The straws didn’t turn out the way Freddie’s did. (Perhaps she did use milk and baking soda…I imagine the old baking hand she was tweaked recipes to suit her tastes!) I didn’t quite get 50 straws, my cutting wasn’t entirely exact! But, what I ended up with were addicting and are almost gone in less than 24 hours. (I think I made 40ish of varying sizes) The bent straw in the photo above is because it twisted off the pan and was baking down against the side of the oven. (YIKES!)

I did need to find cup and temp equivalents to match the given recipe (silly Americans to not use the metric system~) and I ended up using a LOT of water to get the dough to stick, instead of the 4 TB. I was surprised at how little cheese was needed to make a cup of shredded product and it took a bit of time to cut the hard butter into the flour properly. I didn’t put in seasonings and that made the first pans of straws rather boring in taste. (I have powdered mustard on my list for next time, the other is in the cupboard!) However, as stated above, it was a win win experience when complete. Everyone I gave a straw to, liked them. The straws didn’t appear to mess up my glucose. Even the next day people snacked on them sans reheating. I will make them again with the proper seasonings inside the mix instead of  putting Mrs. Dash on the outside and try to recreate Freddie’s straws with this recipe…..and a few ideas I have. (I recall hers as being more substantial, not so skinny and fragile)

This recipe is why I love blogging. Connecting people to each other in words…and in flavors! Thank you to everyone who chimed in with their ideas and especially to Colette. Happy Baking Sigh!

Trapped Cat Nips

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Think you have nine lives, do you? I saved you once…. don’t make me save you again.” Erin Hunter

The other night Mittens discovered the cat door. She’d gone through it once before, but that was when an extension cord was threaded thru it to help power something outside for a few hours. Since it was ‘open’, she naturally went through it. This time, however, it was just closed normally. We had no idea where she was. A norther furry feline lost somewhere. We looked everywhere inside and called her. Eventually, she was found outside, ready to run back through the open two legger door. She was chilled and unimpressed, it seemed, with her foray into the yard. So, without telling anyone, Little Bear locked the door to where Moses or Maxwell could come in, but they’d need to use human assistance to get out.

Late in the night, The Craftsman couldn’t sleep. As he went out into the kitchen for a drink of water, he saw a shadow streak from the food dish near the sink. Then, he heard a thump and then a frantic climbing of the walls sound with accompanying mews. He went downstairs to the basement doorway area with a flashlight and found, huddled in a corner near the door, a neighbor cat! He quickly opened the door and the stressed feline shot outside into the cold darkness. Trapped no more and quite possibly no longer planning on stopping in for a midnight snack of ‘free’ kibble at the big house inside the fence!!

Needless to say, I was very glad a human was awake and incredibly glad Moses and Maxwell slept through the entire visit.

 

For tooth—

 

In June I had that interesting experience of a first root canal. The last day of December, the dentist here suggested it might be infected. So, he sent me to a root canal specialist. Today, I learned that the tooth with the root canal looked pretty good. He wasn’t surprised to see there was some swelling, apparently root canals can take a long time to get better. However, a tooth nearby has a crack. (It is number 12, the view is front and back of the tooth next to the one with the ‘black’ root which is missing.) I’m sad cuz that is the tooth that was ‘capped’ after mum died (the call I answered in the hall and when I came back in the room where 3 others were, she had gone). Dr. Todd wanted to address it asap, so it wouldn’t need a root canal done on it…

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The specialist likened it to a ding in the windscreen. Once you get a mark in it, the window is compromised. You can mend it, cover it up, or even replace it eventually, but the damage has been done. So, he gave me a couple of options for the tooth in question. One, he could look into it and see if it was able to be taken care of. Two, I could get it removed and have a transplant put in. Three, the second one might happen after the first one anyway. He suggested not waiting too long as the tooth appears to be taking punishment from being used. (so, not sure if I can wait til I’m back in Alaska. You know, where the same ‘mechanic’ can fix the old problem? lol) However, as one root canal dr to another, he felt the one done was well done!

My immediate plan: I’m going to continue to take pain killers as needed and decide what to do without dental insurance. This is one of the few regrets I have about being north. I should have stood my ground about meals and not eaten so many containers of glucose tablets. I should have brushed or chewed sugar free gum after eating glucose tablets and refrained from too many caffeinated beverages. However, you can only go forward and I reckon I’m thankful my back hurts so much this week! At least it has cut down on the mouth pain a bit!!

Dream Chasm

In the last days I have gotten to facetime a fellow blogger (JOY!), baked and discovered a single ingredient changes the outcome (I’ll share that later), fallen on icy steps (my back hurts so much this Monday), and remembered another dream.

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The fall was horrible. I woke up on Sunday feeling not so great, but by the time I got dressed, I was much better. I admit, I was wearing a very cute blue and white striped short skirt and oversized white sweater with blue and white paper beads from Ethiopia and earrings from Alaska (white ivory dangles with forget me nots painted on), so that helped me feel great. I had gotten on a pair of nylons (I think I lost a few calories in that exercise!) and had on new blue comfy Sketchers. I had thought about dressier shoes, but figured I’d better not risk it. (Thank God, I wore the comfy ones!!!) I confidently strode out onto the porch, then off the doormat onto the deck, and slipped like a take in a Laurel and Hardy film. Except it wasn’t that funny. I was crumpled on the steps, managed to finally gingerly get up, balanced my way back to the door, and discovered I’d ripped open a knuckle. I then determined I was NOT going to go to church, I’d wait for the kid to wake up for Sunday School. Most of Sunday I felt ok, but this is late on Monday and I feel like I’ve been dragged behind a Zamboni! (OK, not quite that bad, but I do hurt!) Thankfully, I can sit up straight in a favorite old kitchen chair and it only aches most of the time.

My dream was on Saturday morning. I hope it doesn’t take up too much post, it was fascinating in a way and I recalled quite a bit of it. Reading comments from my other dream..they make sense. Trapped and taking care of things and wanting release of some kind. I’m going to write down those response and the ones to this one and see what I can make of them. I’d think about a journal, but well, I’m doing that! Lol

This dream was full of youth as well. Except these were all young adults. Although we were outside in a camping situation, this one was more of a science study station. It was a change of a season, possibly winter? Many of us were leaving the station, I was one of those. We were on a beach shore and needed to take a small boat to a larger vessel that would ferry us to our final destination. The small craft could only carry one passenger. (No, I hadn’t been watching an ocean documentary!)

The man in the small boat reminded me of a nice tall thin man from the Oregon Coast. He had a dry sense of humor and was a good friend. He arrived in a canoe and said we had to cross a chasm. I remember asking if there were life jackets aboard. He replied, ‘No’, but that was a good idea. He went off to look for some. But, the next thing I knew, I was alone in the canoe with all my gear, traveling across grey stormy water with no life jacket!! Oddly, I did make sure my camera was nearby because as terrified as I was, I might have a chance to get some good pictures.

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Photo by Thach Tran on Pexels.com

 

When I got to the chasm, it wasn’t what I had imagined. I had figured it would be a deep darkness of wave with foaming water walls with my craft climbing the side like something from Deadliest Catch (Alaskan TV series about crabbing). Instead, the chasm was a deep abyss of nothing and I was almost on a ledge of water on the side. I remember scarcely breathing, huddled against the metal side of the canoe as it slowly traveled along the ledge, like a moving sidewalk of water. Across the chasm, there were waves and it seemed like glass was holding the water out of the darkness. Yet, I noticed a humpback whale swimming in the grayish wall. I carefully inched my camera out and snapped photos as I gripped the side of the canoe. I could hear music in the water. There was greenish white light, but it was magic in the midst of my terror of being trapped or lost or whatever it was.

I reached a dock of sorts. Wet steps leading somewhere up. It wasn’t where I was supposed to be, but it wasn’t in a canoe in water! I crawled out of my boat, secured it, and climbed the ancient looking stair. They went into what seemed to be an abandoned cabin resembling a ship. I called out and opened doors leading into closets. (one of them had a sign on the door marked similar to something from the Wonka chocolate factory!) I opened one that went into a cheery, masculine library and a voice behind me asked what I was doing. It was a grizzled sea captain sort and I told him I was a bit lost and my name. He then seemed to know exactly who I was. He said I’d missed a turn, he’d call for me to be picked up, and would I like a cup of tea. I stared out of the windows and saw where I had started and the larger boat waiting beyond the island I was now on. Bewildered, I woke up still hearing whale song off in the distance. I never did get the tea!

The very oddest part of this dream was The Craftsman. For some reason we actually got to talk to each other after I woke up. Earlier in the week, I had worn a pink and black tank top to bed and he mentioned I had on a nice shirt. Encouraged, I decided to try and talk- if there was a chance. It was like pulling teeth. Why can I talk to others and not him??? (NOTE: I find out about the tooth on Tuesday morning.) In the short discussion, it turned out he felt inadequate because he doesn’t stay as erect as he once did. (Now, I have no idea where he got that idea. Size and what not have never been important to me. Turn me on with your touch or words and I melt like butter in summer sunshine. What is between the legs isn’t near as important as what is between the ears! It is interesting, but not as important!) Then, he said about sex ‘I always want it, but I don’t like to do it.’ Startled, I asked for clarification and found he thought I always wanted sex and he didn’t feel up to it and was letting me down and wanted it because I did.

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Photo by Zun Zun on Pexels.com

So, I finally learned some things. I also know he’s done a bit of self-pleasuring of his own. The unopened box of condoms from ages past has two left and there is a tube of astrolube on his side of the headboard. I also know I need to be less interested in intimacy that ends up an actual penetration of any sort and be more content with petting. When I was in Alaska, I did experience more..hands on?.. intimacy. Perhaps that is the distant whale song I hear?

Crossing cultures On the Range

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I have been not exactly busy…but well, walking upstairs to my laptop is a lot of work. The main desktop is often in use when the kid is home and I tend to have other things to do during the day, when it is free. (wow, that was a bit of a sentence!!) I need to get caught up on the blogs I read in my inbox and add the comments I think when I read them! Oh if there was a way to instantly add those comments…ok, maybe not!!! lol

One of the things I baked recently was an experiment. OK, not exactly, but somewhat of one. When we lived on the Oregon Coast, my neighbor’s mom would visit from England. She’d make these amazing crispy tasty cheese twist treats. She called them cheese straws and a few times she made them, her daughter and I would try to figure out her recipe. She was of the generation of a scoop of this and a handful of that and a pinch to make it taste better. Needless to say, we never managed to get her recipe. It would completely muddle her when she’d grab a handful of flour that we’d want to measure!

I looked online, but nothing ever quite matched Freddie’s. I’m afraid it is gone with her now, but I decided to try and make them again. I used my basic biscuit recipe (what Freddie called scones) and it was too soft. Little Bear called them twists and I suppose that is what they are! The straws were good, but not exactly right. I’ll keep trying and maybe less baking powder next time…..