Monday, November 30, 2009
But sometimes, with friends and coworkers, I would find myself talking about how my mom was an awesome cook, and I tell them about your homemade bread and doughnuts that you made for us every week, and your amazing garden with all the fruits and vegetables. I would go on to explain how you died when I was 11, before you could teach me how to cook. And how my stepmom, although a very strong and courageous woman (taking on 4 stepkids in addition to her own 3-year-old daughter), was just not much of a cook, by her own admission. So, there were my excuses. Then during my adult/married life, I have been fortunate to have a spouse who liked/likes to cook - and that just made it all the easier for me to avoid the kitchen!
One of the changes I've made this year was to face the notion, the self-perception, and yes, even the cop-out that "I'm not a cook" and start trying some things that I've basically avoided until now. The first time I really cooked a full meal was on Easter weekend, with everyone in St. C for the holiday. I made Dave's spaghetti recipe, and it actually turned out pretty good - and everyone was very surprised that I could cook!
I've continued to try new recipes every week or two, and some of them have been great, while others have just been okay. But I find that I'm enjoying the process as much as the end results; I find myself thinking of you many times while I'm going through recipes or gathering ingredients. One of the first things I made was a pot roast, with carrots and potatoes, because that was always one of my favorite meals that you made. I'm proud of myself, and I think you would be proud of me, that I'm learning to cook after all this time. Making wonderful meals for your family was one of your specialties, and I know you would have loved to have been here to pass on that knowledge and skill to all of us. So here's to you, Mom - miss you and love you, and thinking of you today, especially.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Just a few pics to post, for the family members that read my blog. I'm so excited that I will be getting a new (and improved) camera for Christmas this year. My current one really doesn't get the job done, I had lots of pics that were too blurry to post.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor today, and I'm driving there- woo hoo! No driving for the past week and a half, so I am ready to go! Technically the doctor said no driving for two weeks (ok, 2-3 weeks) because any sudden movements (slamming on the brakes, etc) can tear the stitches, but hey - it is just two days shy of two weeks, so I'm gonna go with it!
It was great to have my parents both visit last week; true to form, my dad spent an entire afternoon cleaning out the garage. He loves to organize, and went to work on the shelves, organizing the tools, and sweeping every nook and cranny. I emailed Dave and told him we'd be able to eat off the floor in the garage when Dad was done. Seriously, the man cleans like no one else I know. Then before he left Saturday morning he gave me a walk-through of where everything was, so we would know when we needed something. (Thanks, Dad!)
One of the best things about their visit was just the chance to relax and talk, and spend some time together here at our home. The majority of our gatherings are at my parents' home, with 6 siblings and all of our families; those are some of the best times, and I treasure them, but this was nice to just visit one on one. And here at our house, my parents had a chance to spend some time with our dogs in their own environment too, and see just how calm they are here at home. Usually the dogs are all keyed up when our big family is together; with several dogs outside at my parents' home- it is a zoo!
But here at home they are quiet, and I think Mom and Dad both got a kick out of how well-behaved they are in the house. Of course Rocky wasn't going to give up his chair for anyone, but he was happy to share with them:
We are heading to my folks' house later this week for Thanksgiving, and it will be a great time. I'm trying to figure out just how we're going to get the dogs in the Liberty, since it has a much smaller rear space than the 4-Runner did. But we'll make it, somehow! Better close now, and get to work on those desserts for Thursday.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Ok, on to the other chick flicks, per my sister Tara's reply to an earlier post:
1) The Ugly Truth (Katherine Heigl) - as already reported, it was indeed UGLY.
2) My Life in Ruins (Nia Vardalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) - cute but predictable
3) Last Chance Harvey (Dustin Hoffman/Emma Thompson) - sweet romantic flick about a second chance at life and love; great characters; a little slow, but a good story.
The one I haven't watched yet is "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" with Matthew McConaughey; will have to watch it tomorrow before my dad gets here.
The good news about being off work is that I have ample time to prepare for Thanksgiving at my parents' home, as in what I'm going to make and bring. Dave is doing his fabulous stuffing, that has pork sausage, Granny Smith apples, walnuts and more - it is wonderful. And I think he'll do some sweet potatoe casserole as well, even though he doesn't like it - he knows it is one of my favorites! I am going to bring a dessert, a couple different types of bon bons, or truffles. Both of those sound snooty, but really they're not. The first one is an Oreo Bon Bon, which our friend Laura in KC made, and I had to have the recipe. They are cream cheese and crushed oreos blended together and made into little balls, and then dipped in melted chocolate almond bark. Soooooo yummy, and I know they'll be a hit with my chocolate lovin' family!
The other one is a Cookie Dough Truffle, which was sent to me by a friend who is a dietitian and now going to physician assistant school. She had made them for a physician gathering, and said they were so delicious it was sinful! If they're both good, I'll post the recipes on here. (If they turn out bad, then we'll assume it was the cook and you won't hear another word about them!)
Off to bed, tomorrow I have an outing of necessity - time for a visit to the hair dresser!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Happy Birthday to my dad, who is 73 today and celebrating on his own since Mom is here visiting me. We talked to him this morning, and he said he has a busy day - getting the laundry caught up, (they don't let clothes accumulate for more than half a day, and it is worse now that my dad is retired. He does not adhere to the sorting of laundry by color, and I swear he runs a load if there's just three or four things, and then hangs EVERYTHING on the clothesline out back. Bath towels at my parents are like sandpaper, but more important than basic comfort is the fact that they're saving electricity, as my dad likes to remind anyone who has a comment.) feeding the horses, and just taking care of things around the house. Whatever his secret is, though, I hope all of us kids have inherited it - he's a very youthful 73.
He'll be down later this week to stay for a couple of days; they didn't have anyone to care for the horses while they were gone, so they had to split up their visits. I actually enjoy this more, since I get to spend a few days with each of them on their own.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
My stepmom is coming to stay with me for a few days this week, she will be here later today. I have so many things I really need to do, between now and Christmas, it is hard to think that I really just need to SIT and let my insides heal for the next couple of weeks. Of course with the Percocet the pain is gone, so that fools me into thinking I can do more than I should. Today I'm just going to stick with the Motrin and get an idea of my real pain level.
I'm just going to enjoy the morning- a cup of coffee, wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, with a book and the doggies.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The hospital stay was great, and true to form (yes, I could talk to a brick wall) I befriended several awesome people on the floor during my brief stay. I recruited one of my nurses, (who is pregnant and due in late March) to model for our maternity fashion show at our annual baby event in early March; apparently there are 9 people on their floor alone who are pregnant, so she is going to talk a couple others into modeling with her.
The other fun and informative conversation I had was with my night nurse, Lee, who is orginally from New Hampshire and loves the Red Sox. She was telling me about wearing her green Red Sox hat on a vacation she took with a friend, to Savannah, Georgia over St. Patrick's Day, and how there were several Yankees fans giving her a hard time. But the best part for me was hearing all about her trip, and what she loved about Savannah. They rode the trolley tours all over the city, learning about the different homes and the movies that have been filmed in Savannah; the St. Patty's Day celebration is huge, with a 4-plus hour parade. She said it was one of her favorite vacations ever, and she can't wait to visit again. That's one place that is on my list to visit, and her stories just move it further to the top of the list.
Today I'm just taking it easy on the sofa; what beautiful weather! Dave has the door to the deck open, as he prepares to smoke a turkey. The crisp air and the smoking wood smell wonderful, and I think I'll close now and enjoy a little cat-nap now.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Pulled up to the movie store, hopped out of the car to walk the five steps to open the door and hand the movie to the clerk. Walked back to the car and it was LOCKED. All four doors, with the motor running, and my purse, phone and the second set of keys in it as well. 45 minutes, 28 dollars and several curse words later, Pop-A-Lock arrived and took 30 seconds to jimmy the back window and unlock it! I was so mad at myself, I've done that a million times with my 4-Runner, and have never locked the keys in it!
Then on Friday I took off the side mirror on the Liberty. No need to go into specifics on it, let's just leave it that a steep driveway ("space shuttle launch pad", as Davey B likes to call it), a narrow garage and a hurried, inattentive driver all converged to cause my second stupid driver act of the week! I have to confess, I have taken off the side mirror once before, about five years ago on my Bravada, pulling out of the garage (while my dad was visiting- how embarrassing! Don't think I escaped without a lecture on that one!). The garage is so narrow and the driveway is so steep, it is surprising that it hasn't happened since, quite honestly. Glad the Liberty has the black trim/mirror etc, so it will be much easier to replace than the paint-to-match mirrors and trim on the 4-Runner.
No pics to post from our weekend with Paige and Garry/Heather; it was a great weekend, wonderful to see Paige again and to hang out with Garry, Heather and their kiddos for a couple of days. Dave made his famous 8-hour spaghetti sauce on Saturday, and it was absolutely delish! The five of us (adults and Paige) played a couple different versions Trivial Pursuit Friday and Saturday night, and just enjoyed a quiet weekend with family and friends. Jace had a blast with Garry/Heather's kids, and can't wait to head back up there for our next visit after Christmas.
This week has been especially busy because I'm preparing to be off work for several weeks after having a hysterectomy tomorrow. Not that anyone needs to know all my female business, but let's just leave it that after some ongoing issues it will be nice to have the surgery. It is only a partial hysterectomy, so I won't go into menopause early. I didn't need or want to have everything removed, since I am several years away from natural menopause and all the hot flashes, etc that accompany it. I'll be there soon enough, thank you very much!
So I've been busy wrapping up loose ends at work, and getting ready to be gone for 3-4 weeks. In addition, my parents will be down to stay for a few days on Sunday, since Dave will go back to work on Monday. I'm looking forward to them visiting, but now I've also had to work on getting things in order at home, in addition to work.
Dad is the type that always has to have something to do, and that will mean cleaning out the closets or any other thing he can find to organize. But Dave and I have already scoped out a couple of projects for him, if he wants them; we've been staining the deck but have left the rail spindles for Dad, AND some of the ornamental cornices under our kitchen counter/bar need to be stained to match the cabinets. There ya go, Dad! Plenty to keep you occupied.
That's all for now. Will be back next week, when I'm home in bed and bored, surfing the channels with only Oprah and Ellen to keep me company for the next couple of weeks!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Anyway, back to the car. That's one thing that D.R. hears most on his radio show, apparently - people calling in and wanting to get out of debt, and they're driving a car that is WAY more expensive than they need. So his first suggestion is "Sell the car!" -- Drive something that is reliable, will get you where you need to go, but won't kill your bank account. Get it paid off, and drive it until you save enough to buy a newer car outright, without a payment. And the more we discussed it, the more it made sense for us.
I must confess, I've been spoiled with my luxury SUV.... goodbye, my heated, leather seats... my 6-disc CD changer.... with controls on the steering wheel... I will miss you! But I won't miss the big payment, or the gas guzzling, or the debt we're gonna cut out by trading down to my new-to-me little silver Jeep Liberty.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
At least we did deviate a bit from the standard black hood/cape, scary monster mask and weapon... Jace liked the silver wolf mask, so I found a flannel (well, just plaid- they didn't have any flannel) shirt at Good Will and he and I cut the sleeves off and cut holes in it.