Saturday, December 29, 2007
Anyway, I guess everyone knows that my mother-in-law passed away last evening, December 28, 2007. I suppose it is a relief for all concerned. I have peace knowing that she and Al are finally reunited. These last few years have been hard on her. She was taken from her familiar surroundings, the place where she and my father-in-law spent their last years together, to a more institutionalized setting. I know it was because she needed more care than they could give her at the assisted living place that she and Al picked out together and lived at for the last 3 years of his life, but still... she was alone in strange surroundings with her mind going and I think she spent much of the last 5 years confused, frightened, and lonely. In a way, I am glad for her that this part of her journey is over and she has moved on to the next part. I can see her and Al walking on, together, along the path...
However, her passing from this life means that Pete will be going to Las Cruces, NM for the memorial service. Thomas and I will stay home, this trip. Why does it always seem that things like this happen at the worst possible time? I guess I could phrase that differently, but... it does. Holidays just past and now the big expense of traveling. Thank Goodness we resisted the urge to break into the 'emergency' stash for Christmas gifts. But I don't really worry about the money. We will make things work somehow. What I worry about is Pete getting stuck in El Paso, like we did last Christmas, and not being able to get home for his scheduled radiation treatment. I really don't want him to miss any. The doctor said that they would 'like' him to not miss any sessions, but that if he absolutely had to, they would work something out. I'd rather not risk it, myself. I know his sister needs him there, if for nothing more than to help her deal with their reprehensible, younger, brother. He's just awful, a completely and absolutely horrid excuse for a human being. But anyway, what if he gets out there and something unforeseen happens. What if he misses a session and it messes everything up and he doesn't get rid of the cancer? Well, I guess I will have to worry about that when (and if) the time comes. He's going and there's nothing I can do to change his mind, so... what will be, will be. I should just quit worrying about it.
My sister and I were emailing back and forth about our New Year's plans. Remembering how we used to always watch Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve... we decided that it just isn't any fun anymore. The musical acts they get to perform are so not interesting. We must be getting old. But those little tartlets, rappers and no-talent wanna-be pop stars, just don't appeal to me. I know there are some good acts out there, but they just never seem to get them on shows like that. I'm just not interested in watching acts like the one's they have been having on the past couple of years or so. This is what the ABC website has to say about this years show:
"multi-platinum three-time Grammy Award-winning artist Fergie will return to host and perform during the New Year's party celebration in Hollywood. The Hollywood party will also feature performances by Akon, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Kingston, OneRepublic, Plain White T's, Taylor Swift and will.i. am. In addition, "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba, whose new ABC show, "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann," debuts in January, will make an appearance in the first hour.
The 36th Annual Edition of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" will be broadcast on December 31 on ABC. The special event will be hosted in New York by Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest starting at 10:00 p.m. (ET & PT) and will include three and a half hours of special performances and reports on New Year's celebrations from around the globe."
I liked some of the stuff the Black-eyed Peas did, but I don't really care for Fergie as a solist, nor will.i. am, and I have barely heard of any of the others. Akon and Natasha Bedingfield are the only two I've ever heard of but I can't for the life of me remember any of their songs so they must not have made much of an impression on me. Oh yeah, and I've heard of Taylor Swift, but don't remember any of her stuff, either. Of course, I don't listen to much country and that's what she does isn't it? But you get my point, right?
Jeez, I AM becoming my mother! Ack! Somebody kick me, really hard, really quick! But seriously, at least she liked some of the acts that were popular when I was a teenager and young adult. She liked the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Annie Lennox (Eurythmics) and Eric Clapton and a some more. She didn't much care for Alice Cooper or Peter Frampton or Led Zep or Rush, but she did like a lot of it. There seems to be very little mainstream popular music that appeals to me now days. Anyway, I told my sister I remembered that one of the stations, like one of the local PBS stations or maybe it was VH1 Classics, had a 70's New Year's Eve show last year. I seem to recall that it was hosted by KC & the Sunshine Band. I watched that last year. I am going to look for something similar again this year. She said she is going to do likewise. Watching the ball drop has been a lifelong tradition for me, and I may flip over just to watch that part of the show, but I don't know... it all seems so cheap and tawdry anymore. Maybe I'll just celebrate by going outside and making sure my neighbors don't set my roof alight with their bottle rockets and night flowers and other assorted fireworks.
Enough of this novel for now. My eyes kind of hurt today. More later, I'm sure.
Friday, December 28, 2007
I used to speak to Fissy (Lucille) quite a bit before the dementia got so bad. I would call her at least once a week because Pete wouldn't. We talked about cooking, Southern traditions, family remembrances, etc. I even tried to keep in touch after she got bad off, but she usually didn't know who I was. I'm saddened that I didn't have more time to get to know her, find out what was important to her. I wish I had taken the time to learn more about her, her history, her dreams... What was her favorite food? Her favorite color? If she ever told me, I've forgotten. But I do remember her wonderful smile. The last time I saw her was Christmas 2006. She was so happy to see her son (my husband) and me and Lori (her niece) made over her and she had such a big smile on her face. So innocent and childlike. I will always remember her that way.
On another, happier, note. My Aunt Tina called me to say that my sister and her husband actually came over to her house yesterday for a visit. The first time they've seen each other since my mother passed away back in January 2000. Tina said she invited them to come back for New Year's Day and eat with them. Tina has to work New Year's Eve night, but she will be home New Year's Day. I got an email from Martie (my sister) this morning confirming that she and her husband and the girls are going there New Year's Day. I'm so glad. Words cannot express how relieved, happy, ecstatic, over-whelmed, etc., I am about this. I was getting pretty tired of having to split my time between the two of them every time I went to Florida. It was always so uncomfortable when I'd go there and visit my sister, then have to tell her that I was leaving her house to go visit Tina. But I couldn't ignore Tina just to please Martie. Tina is my family, too. A very important part of my family. Now we'll be three again, like we were before Martie got that bee in her bonnet. Still don't know what her problem has been all these years, and I don't really want to know. The important thing is she is apparently willing to reconcile with Tina and that's ALL that matters to me. I really wish I could be there with them, but it's probably better for them to re-connect without any extraneous interference (and let's be truthful here, if I was there, I would probably try to interfere, head off any trouble before it got started, that sort of thing).
So... that's the bad and the good all in one go. There's so much more to talk about: Bhutto; Pakistan; "Prosperity" preachers (and the stupid sheep they prey upon); the Iowa Caucus (which is less than one week away); so much stuff... but Thomas is about to go bonkers cause the Fedex website says his Xbox 360 console is "out for delivery", which means it could be here any moment now, and he's practically bouncing off the walls, which is making it very hard to concentrate, so I'm giving up and calling this one done.
Take care All!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
And look! It even has tiny little sparkly diamonds down the shank. Isn't that sweet?
The pictures may not be the best quality, but it is so pretty and so sparkly. I can't believe he picked it out all by himself. And that I like it too. Our tastes are usually so different that what he likes I don't and what I do like he detests. I'm not sure why he got it for me. I mean, he's talked about it for years, but we've never had the money and well... you can see from my old wedding band that we aren't wealthy people. Poor folks just don't waste money on things like this ring. He got a really good deal on it (my son told me how much he paid, later on), but it's still more expensive than any single item I've ever owned, excepting cars and a house. I worry that he thinks he's gonna die so he wanted to go ahead and get this for me before he does. Or maybe he thinks I'm going to die because I haven't been able to get my sugar down to acceptable levels yet. I don't know... I'm just being silly, I guess.
He does start his radiation treatments tomorrow. I'm going up there with him. When I asked him if he wanted me to, he says, "They won't let you in there with me, you want to just go up there and sit around in the waiting room?", so I says, "Won't you feel better knowing that I'm out there in the waiting room?". So he looks kind of sheepish and he says, "Well, yes." So I says, "So... then I'm going with you." So that's my plan for tomorrow. He's getting up at his usual 3:30am and going to work, then he'll leave there and come get me and we'll be at the hospital by 11:15am. First they have to mark him and tattoo him for the machine and the girl said that will take about 45 minutes, then they will go ahead and do the first treatment. Since it's his very first, the girl said it could take up to 45 minutes as well. So... I will be sitting up there reading my book until they are finished with him. Then, when he's done, he will bring me home and go back to work. I know he is scared. He admitted it to me a few days ago. A very, very hard (shameful, in his eyes) thing for him to do. Men are so weird and funky about those kinds of things. It's just weird. I mean, what's so shameful about admitting you are scared about having radiation treatments for cancer? I would be terrified. And I would admit it in a heartbeat. In fact, I am scared. For him. For me. For Thomas.
Anyway... you want to hear something funny? This is how much my honey knows and understands me: Yesterday the History channel and Discovery and the National Geographic channel were running some really good biblical history shows. I was watching them while I was ironing Pete's work clothes and then when I was finished with the laundry I just laid down on the bed and continued watching. Stuff like that is extremely interesting to me. Anyway... as I'm watching Pete comes in to see what I'm doing and he stands there and watches with me for a while. He isn't in to all that like I am. He likes historical fiction, but I like my history hard and dry. Just the facts, Ma'am. So, like I was saying, he comes in and he's watching it, and he gets this puzzled look on his face and he looks at me and he says, "I thought you were agnostic, what are you watching this Jesus stuff for?". That just blew me away. How little my sweetie knows me or understands how I feel. So I said to him, "I do believe in Jesus. I just don't believe in organized religion."
And I do believe in Jesus. I mean, I believe there was a person named Jesus and I believe he might have tried to teach mankind a better way of living. I mean, look at it this way: for the stories to have lasted this long, for it to have made as much of an impression on humankind as it has, there must have been a person whom they began the stories about. Look deeply enough into any myth, story, belief, and there is almost always a kernel of truth to be found. I believe there must have been a person named Jesus; just like there was a real Muhammad, a real Buddha, a real Confucius. These are historical figures. We have evidence that these people existed. Just like we have evidence that King Richard III of England existed, or Pontius Pilate. I believe that if we could delve deeply enough into the past, we might find evidence of persons that humankind built the myths of Zeus and Hera and Athena around. Go back far enough and you may find a real Gilgamesh, a real Beowulf, a real Jason, a real Epona, a real Thor. Perhaps there really were Amazons or Valkyries. Or perhaps they were real people like you and me, who did unusual things, were especially great leaders of their people in times of crisis, or were the hunters, warriors, shamans, of their clans, who lead them to a better place to live; discovered something incredible like fire, like flint-working, like how to pile stones up to make a dwelling, etc. and the people remembered them, and told the stories about them and then they died and their children told the stories to their children and so on and so on. And oral traditions change. A word changed here, a sentence changed there and a larger than usual war hammer or ax becomes the hammer that Thor hurls lightning bolts with. Or the weird looking, man-killing foreigner becomes the evil, man-eating monster Grendel, whom Beowulf slew. Drop just a few words and the flood that washed away one settlement in one valley becomes a great flood that washes the whole world away. Who knows. I don't claim that it's the God's honest truth, but it is my opinion. So, yes, I believe in Jesus. I believe in God, perhaps. Perhaps believing makes it real. Perhaps when enough people believe in a God it makes that God live. I don't know.
It was just weird that my darling husband has known me for all these years, been married to me over a decade, and he still doesn't understand my kind of spirituality; still doesn't know that I believe anything. He was so shocked. He looked so confused when I told him that I believe Jesus is or was real. That I just didn't believe what organized Christian religion told me to believe. He really looked shocked when I told him that I believe that if there really is a Devil; a Satan; that he had hijacked the Christian church before it ever got started good. That he has been steering it since the beginning and laughing and rubbing his palms in glee at all the evil the "Church" has done and continues to do in Jesus' name.
I don't guess I should be too hard on the man for not knowing what I believe. I don't always know what I believe myself. Goodness knows, belief in anything is a hard thing to find sometimes. Faith has always been hard for me. I can remember lying in bed when I was a small child, like 4-5 years old, before I even started school, wondering if I was going to go to hell because I couldn't find it in myself to believe in the God that the preacher told me to believe in. I was scared to death that there might really be such a God and that I would be punished horribly for not having enough faith to believe in him the way I was supposed to. I still wonder about that sometimes. Cause I know that if utter and complete belief in God is the ticket to heaven, I'm not getting in. That kind of belief is beyond me. I suppose the one true thing that I've always believed, the one thing that has always stayed with me since I first learned it as a wee small child, is The Golden Rule:
Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You.
I've always tried to live by it. It is a thing that I believe in, a thing that works. It is a true thing that I believe would make the world a better place for everyone, if everyone believed in it the way I do. But I can't force people to believe it. I wouldn't want to if I could. For then, how would I be living by the Golden Rule?
Anyway... enough meandering for today. Must go get some sleep and prepare for tomorrow. I'm stressing a little bit, but I'll be fine, I'm sure.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Anyway... since his Xbox 360 console is in for repair, he came up with the idea to have two Christmas celebrations. So... Christmas Day we will have the traditional feast and open some of our gifts. The day that his Xbox 360 console gets back we will have a nice steak dinner and a second Christmas celebration and open the rest of our gifts. His 360 games primarily. According to the Xbox Live website his console has been received and is in the queue awaiting repair. The web-site says it will take approximately 2 days but the fellow I spoke to on the phone when it broke said that it's taking about 3 weeks total turn around time. Who knows? Certainly not I.
And you just wouldn't believe the improvement in graphics on the 360 over the PS2. I bought a used copy of Stuntman Ignition for the 360 right after we got it and the graphics were awesome, but the game kept freezing up so we traded it in for a PS2 version. Man! The graphics sure suck compared to the 360. We only played it once and I listed it on half.com thereafter. Will shell out for another 360 version soon after the holidays. I liked that game! It was fun.
I have to tell you guys, this coconut Christmas candy I made is unbelievably good. I can't stop eating it. If I don't I may well find myself in a 'sugar coma'. But it is so wonderful, so rich, so creamy, so gooey, so yummy. I love coconut anyway. One of my most favorite flavors in the world. So... just to make you all jealous and wish that you had some, here is a picture I took just now.
Sorry, I had to do it. If anyone wants the recipe, I will be happy to share. Making this candy is a long, tedious process, but well worth it. You have to stir and cook over low heat for EVER, then you have to stir and cook it some more. Just when you think you've been cooking it for long enough, take a deep breath and keep going. Sometimes I don't get mine cooked long enough and it doesn't firm up as well as it should. In that case, you can do one of three things:
1. scrape it all back in the pan and cook it some more.
2. cover it in chocolate to hold it together.
3. eat it with a spoon, it tastes wonderful anyway.
So, Thomas would like to play another N64 game, so I'm off.
Take care everyone.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Brazil-Nut Sensation Fruitcake
Begin several weeks ahead
Makes one 3 pound fruitcake
3 cups Brazil nuts
2 cups whole pitted dates
1 cup maraschino cherries, well drained
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease 9"x5" loaf pan; line with foil. In large bowl, stir nuts, dates and cherries. Add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; nix to coat nuts and fruits.
2. In small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat eggs and vanilla until foamy; stir into nut mixture; mix well. Pour into pan; level top.
3. Bake 2 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Turn out cake; peel off foil; allow to cool completely on wire rack. Wrap well; refrigerate.
That's about it. It's not hard to make. I always made mine about 2 weeks before I gave them to my step-dad. I always made him two at a time and they would be gone within the week after he got them. The recipe says "begin several weeks ahead". I don't know what their idea of several weeks is, but mine never lasted longer than 3 weeks. I suppose it gets more dense the longer you keep it, I don't know. Perhaps the cherries and dates ferment? Maybe the sugar turns into alcohol? Who knows???
This is a recipe from that wonderful, old book: "The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook". What a wonderful gift for the new cook. My mom gave me my copy for Christmas in 1985 (the first in my now huge collection of cookbooks). It still gets frequent use. They still publish a new edition every so often. I've seen them in book stores. Some of the recipes are still the same as what's in my edition. I should get a new one for myself and retire my old one. The poor thing is falling apart.
Anyway, hope you like it, Jeannie. Since your fruitcake recipe made me think of this, I may have to make one for my family, too.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Right now it's looking like it's going to come down to a choice between Hillary and Obama. A tough old bird or a tender, young chick? If I'm frying chicken, of course I want the nice, young, tender bird. But if I'm choosing who I want to run this country, I think the tough, stringy, old bird. The one who's managed to keep from getting her neck wrung long enough to not have to worry about being some one's dinner any more.
But what I really want... what I'm really starving for... is neither fish nor fowl. What I'm really craving... is a nice, juicy, well aged, judiciously seasoned beefsteak (with a dollop of sinus-searing horseradish sauce). What I'm craving is... Joe Biden. The more I listen to him, the more I watch him, the better I like him. I wish with all my heart that he would get the nomination, but he won't. He's smart, honest (as honest as a politician, and a man, can afford to be), experienced, he knows everybody, and he knows what needs to be done, as well as what can and cannot be done.
Oh well... useless to wish for something that I know I'll never get. Time's wasting and what I need to do is decide who I'm going to vote for in the primary between Hillary and Obama. I pretty much think it will be Hillary. By a simple process of elimination. Hillary is smart, experienced, quick on her feet, she knows everyone and everyone knows her, she can do the job, and she's got Bill. I love Bill. He's my hero (next to Makoto Nagano, that is).
Obama is also smart, quick on his feet, and I think he can do the job. His wife would make a wonderful First Lady, he has good ideas. On the other hand... he has no experience, nobody knows him (other world leaders), and he doesn't have Bill. Just kidding about that last part (I think). But seriously... I don't like his body language, sometimes. And the way he does that fake gimpy shuffle walk sometimes. I don't like it. Can you see the President of the United States walking across the rotunda with a visiting head of state and he's doing that shuffle, limp, shuffle, limp kind of walk? How's that gonna look, I ask you? Not that I think people should go around worrying about what others think about them, but... fortunately for me, I don't have to worry about what others think of me. I am not the President of the United States of America. If he does get elected to the office, I hope he can stand up straight and walk like a man. If that sounds racist, I'm sorry. No... I'm not. It's the truth (or my truthful opinion, anyway). I am not racist. I just want my President, the person who represents me to the world, to look good, sound smart, and be someone I, and the world, can respect.
On a lighter note: I finally made the chicken curry and roti that I'd been craving for so long. It was, quite possibly, the best I have ever made. It was delicious, and HOT! Boy, oh boy, was it ever hot. Just the way I like it. I usually try to tone it down a bit so Thomas can eat it, too. But I didn't this time. He had to put a big dollop of sour cream in his just to get it so he could stand it. It still made his nose run, poor child. But he didn't have to eat it. He chose to eat it instead of the chicken soup I made as an alternative to the curry. Pete ate that. He won't even try curry. Not that it bothers me, just means more for me if I don't have to share with both of them, HA!
Finally got the shipping box and label from Microsoft to ship the Xbox 360 to them for repair. (Red Ring of Death Syndrome, you know.) Took a week to get that from them. Had to drive up to the UPS store to ship it off today. I hate, hate, hate driving in the rain! Simply detest it! Wouldn't have done it, except that I promised Thomas I would take it up there today, so... I did it. It's done. And yes, I still have the headache that driving in the rain gave me. But anyway... I was in the UPS store, with my box on the counter, waiting for the young man to scan it and give me a receipt. He was ringing up the lady in front of me, and he looks at my box and raises an eyebrow and says, "Xbox?", so I smile and say, "yeah". A few seconds later a young man walks in and plops his box up on the counter... AND IT'S THE SAME EXACT BOX AS MINE!!! I look at him and I say, "Yours too, eh?". He looks at my box and grimaces and says, "yeah, mine too." Sad story, ain't it? All of you who are thinking about getting one of these new, high dollar, game consoles, keep this in mind: we've had our Xbox 360 since late June of 2007 and it already needs to be repaired. We've had the PS2 for about 4 years and it had to be sent away for repair after we'd had it about a year and a half. The Nintendo GameCube is at least 6 years old and it still works like new. The Nintendo N64 that we have was bought in November of 1996, AND IT STILL WORKS LIKE NEW!!! Wish like hell I'd bought Thomas a Nintendo Wii instead of the Xbox 360. And the Wii plays all the old GameCube games too. A real plus, considering how much the stupid games cost all by themselves.
So there you have it. I think I'm going to go to bed now and snuggle with my man.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Hubby went for another CT scan this morning and this afternoon the doctor called t0 say that the prostate is no longer too enlarged to start his treatments. So... they will call next week to schedule his final CT scan (the mapping scan) and soon thereafter he will begin his radiation treatments. He is so relieved to get this started. He just wants it to be over with, and I do too. The doctor explained that they will not be able to completely cure the cancer but if the treatments are successful it will be unlikely to cause his death. No, I know it isn't a 100% guarantee, but it's the best we can hope for, so I'm going to believe the best possible outcome is what we will have when this is over. I dare not think otherwise right now. Happy news, happy thoughts, happy, happy, happy...
Things are going pretty good. My sister has finally decided that it's time to quit punishing herself and our youngest aunt, Tina (who was always like a sister to us) and get in touch with her again after a decade or more of not speaking to her. I cried when she told me. I'm so happy about it. It's like a miracle. I had given up hoping for it. Had reconciled myself to never being with both of them at the same time again ever in this life. I feel really wonderful about it. I can't wait to go back to Florida and be with both of them in the same place. That will be so fun.
Thomas and I watched that Will Smith movie "I, Robot" tonight. That was good. I'd not seen it before, tho I'd read the book many years ago. That man just seems to have a knack for picking the right scripts for his talents, or perhaps he just has the talent to do any character well. I don't know, but if I was a big movie watcher he'd be one of my most favorite actors. In fact, I'm not sure he isn't my very most favorite, even tho I'm not a big movie watcher. I want to see his new one, "I Am Legend". It looks pretty wow. I read a headline the other day that said he accidentally gave away the ending of it and that the producers, or whomever, were very mad at him. I can see why, considering the thing isn't even in theaters yet. Anyway, I didn't read the article because I want to see the movie and I didn't want to spoil it for myself. Don't know if I can stand to go see it in a theater, tho. The last time Thomas and I went to a movie the place was just filthy. And it had just opened up! We played hooky from home-school and went to the movies one morning. I don't really like public places like that, anyway. I know, I have a phobia about it, I always think about how many germs and bugs, etc., are getting on me. I don't even like eating out in a restaurant that much. There are only a very few in the area I will go to. So... I may just wait until it comes out on DVD and see it in the comfort of my own living room. Either way, I don't want the ending spoiled.
And today we finally experienced the "Red Ring of Death" on Thomas' Xbox 360. It's all of 6 months old. And wouldn't you just know that most of the new games I got him for Christmas are for the 360. Still waiting to hear back from the Microsoft peeps on where to send it for repair and what to do and so on and so forth. It really sucks. I was enjoying the hell out of that Dirt game. I'm totally not good at it, but the graphics are so well done. I guess it's back to the Burnout games or the Flatout games on PS2. I'm slightly better at those. We still go upstairs and play on the N64 sometimes. We've had that old thing since 1996 and it still works like it was brand new. Still have the original games we got him at the same time. Wave Race and Diddy Kong Racing. I'm horrible at both, but not bad on Mario Cart and I love Pokemon Puzzle League. Thomas won't play that one with me anymore. Not since I got good enough to beat him at it. HA!
So that's what I've been doing today. I know it's been an awful long time since I blogged about anything. There's been so much going on: in politics, in the movies, with the family, etc. And I always mean to post my thoughts but something always seems to intervene with my plans. Things like cooking, schooling, playing games, sleeping, more sleeping... I'm really trying hard to get my sugar under control. I get really bad sinus headaches sometimes and I've always taken Advil for the pain. Last night I had a bad one so I took one Advil, and my sugar went thru the roof. It was 389 when I checked it after dinner! Not good. It was down to 244 this morning, but that's still not very good. It had to be the Advil, cause it hasn't been that high in days. So, today when my entire face was hurting from it, I just suffered thru it. I won't be taking any more Advil any time soon, I can tell you!
I really am trying hard. But it is so damned hard. Anything and everything makes it soar. So, I sleep a lot lately. I'm sure I'll have it under control soon and I'll be feeling better in no time. I gots things I want to do. And being a couch potato or going blind just isn't part of the plan.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Just read in my niece's myspace blog that she's now watching Ninja Warrior. She likes it. I knew she would. They finally got cable or direct TV or something, after not having anything but local channels for ever so long. Hurrah! That means I won't have to miss the show while we are down there.
Really looking forward to seeing my sister and the girls. It's been so long since we were together last. Over a year, I think. More like 2 years, maybe. That's too long. And I'm looking forward to seeing Tina and her boys, and aunt Mutt and Uncle T. Mutt had surgery on her knee this past Friday. Didn't tell anyone, Tina let it slip the other day when I was on the phone with her. Silly woman. Wish she would let folks know how she's doing and all.
I think I will go visit Mama while we're down there, take her some flowers or something. Today was her birthday. I made the usual chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. That's what she always asked me to make for her birthday. It was kind of funny tho. Uncle Donnie called last night to talk and he said that he and Vicky were making banana pudding in her honor. That was one of her most favorite things, too. I thought that Thomas and I were the only ones to still celebrate her birthday. It's nice to know that her youngest brother still does, too. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who still remembers her. It is astonishing to me that it's been nearly 8 years now since she passed away. It just doesn't seem like it's possible that it's been that long already. It still pisses me off, even now. I get so mad when I find a really good recipe and I can't share it with her. And I know we would have had some really good discussions on the current political situation. She loved talking politics and had very strong views. Guess that's where I got it, eh?
Anyway... should be in the kitchen right now making fudge. A couple we know are renewing their vows the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we won't be here to celebrate with them. They specified no gifts on the announcement, but since we aren't going to be here, I'm going to make them a little goodie box to give them before we go. Pete suggested a bottle of wine, but since Dean is an alcoholic in recovery I didn't think that was such a good idea. They both love it when I make the goodies for them at Christmas, so I'm going to do that. That way they can both enjoy it without any guilt or recriminations later. Anyway, I'm making goodies for the family in Florida, so it isn't anything to make a little more. Sisterwoman can't have the candy either, but she always talks about how much she misses the roti and other flat breads that I make so I'm going to make her a big batch of flat breads on Wednesday before we leave and a batch of chicken curry to go with. She'll love that.
So, guess I better go get busy. I always get over-ambitious when I start making candies and the like. I love doing it, but after a while of standing over a hot stove stirring the pot my feet get to hurting and my back feels like it's breaking. So I'm going to try to do a little at a time for the next couple of days.
Probably won't post again until we get back. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Seriously, I'm not happy about the sugar level, but at least now I know what's wrong with me. I just want to get it under control and get back to my life. I'm so tired of feeling like my brain is as holey as a hunk of Swiss cheese. I want to be able to think again, to speak coherently again. To make sense again. And have some energy again. That will be wonderful!
I am so relieved to find out what's been wrong. I think I'll go celebrate by taking a little walk. I can live with diabetes. It is controllable. And getting back to walking and working out, getting back to loosing this extra weight, will help with the sugar, too. Extra incentive, indeed.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
The Georgia primaries are going to be held on February 5, 2008. The Super Duper Tuesday as some are calling it now. This whole primary uproar has got me thinking:
Remember way back after the 2000 election when every body was getting up in arms about the Electoral College and many were wanting to change the way Presidents are elected and do away with the College? One of the big excuses for the continuation of the Electoral College was some drivel about that being the only way to ensure that no region was made any more or less important than any other. I still don't see how or why that matters. If we went by the popular vote, then every one's vote would matter equally. Why are 'regions' more important than individuals? Are we not all Americans? Should we not, each one of us, be just as important as the next one? Anyway... the point of this is this: Why do the state's get to say when they hold Presidential preference primaries? And why are the national parties so concerned with protecting Iowa and New Hampshire? Doesn't that give them undue influence over who gets the nomination? It does, and everyone knows it. It's a rare candidate that gets the nomination without having first won at least one of those. So... how does that square with the reason given to keep the Electoral College? It doesn't, does it?
And since the GA primary is in early February, I should really get a better handle on who I'm going to vote for, shouldn't I? I watched part of the Democratic debate on MSNBC the other night. Moderated by Brian Williams and Tim Russert. Once again Mr. Russert asked foolish, hypothetical questions and Mr. Williams asked all the smart questions. I haven't figured out yet why Tim Russert has been asking such stupid questions. I've seen him moderate in two Democratic debates so far this season and both times he asked the stupidest questions. Questions that were so hypothetical that it would have been foolish in the extreme for any of the candidates to answer them. Wonder what's up with him? I always kinda liked him. I watch his show sometimes and I thought he was smarter than he's proved to be on the debate stage thus far.
Like I said, I watched part of it, about half. To be truthful, I changed the channel when Ninja Warrior came on. But, honestly, I don't know how much more of Mr. Russert I could have taken. Barak Obama said some things that made me think harder on exactly how truthful he is. He was chastising Clinton and the rest (but especially Clinton) about needing change in Washington and them (her) being part of the Washington 'business as usual' crowd. But when he plays the campaign game the same as everyone else, attacking other candidates, saying what his 'handlers' tell him to say, etc., how is that change? He vowed to run a clean campaign, to not attack his fellow democrats, to not go around smearing anyone he was running against. And he's not kept that vow, that promise. So, how is he any different than any one else who is running? It sort of turned me off.
And John Edwards is looking more and more like a smooth talking, say anything to get you to buy, used-car salesman. His smile is too slick, his body language is too smooth, if you know what I mean. I like his wife better than I like him, but his wife isn't running, he is. And I don't think I'll be voting for him. At least that narrows the field, eh?
I know I won't be voting for Dennis Kucinch, either. So that's two out right there. Not that Kucinich doesn't speak truthfully and say some things that make sense, sometimes, but he doesn't have a chance in hell of getting the nomination, so... why waste my vote? I know John Edwards could possibly, maybe, perhaps get the nomination, but I'm still not voting for him. That would require me to set all my scruples aside, and I'm not willing to do that in the primary. If, by some chance, he gets the Democratic nomination I would vote for him in the general election. But only because I will not under any circumstances, vote for a repugnicant, sorry, Republican, for President. To vote for a Repukelican would require me to set aside all my scruples and all my morals. And I just don't see myself doing that. To vote for one of them would be plain wrong, bad, bad, bad. I can't foresee, at this point in time, anything that would make me vote for one.
Enough of that... back to the debate. I like Bill Richardson, but he doesn't seem to be a very good public speaker. He's getting better, but I don't think it's in time to really catch fire, so to speak. He's a smart man and whoever does get the nomination, if they win the general, should look into appointing him to a cabinet post or something like that. Not sure if he's forceful enough to be President.
Chris Dodd is also a very smart man. He knows the ins and outs of Washington and of holding public office, but... that's one big problem with him, right there. He seems a good, decent, intelligent man. However, he himself brought up another issue I have with him: electability. He was speaking of Hillary Clinton and her electability, saying that she was not electable because polls indicated that fully 50% of Americans would not vote for her. What he did not mention was that more than that would not vote for him. Not because they don't like him, but because they don't know him. Most Americans don't have a clue who he is. To be fair, most Americans don't know who any of them are, except Clinton and Obama, perhaps.
Joe Biden is also a very smart man, but he has a lot of the same issues as Chris Dodd. Plus, he has the long history of gaffs and blunders that most people know him for, if they know of him at all. He's shown to good effect in these debates. But he'll never get the nomination and I doubt seriously if he'll be called on to fill the number two spot by whomever does get the nomination. He just has too much baggage. He speaks sense, a lot of the time, but so do many of the others.
I guess that leaves Hillary, she looks good on paper, but I don't like the way she talks around the issues sometimes and downright refuses to answer certain questions. She's far too evasive to suit me, at times. I love Bill, but Bill isn't running, Hillary is. That is a problem. If I vote for her, will I be casting a vote for Bill or Hillary, in my heart? I don't know. I think, in many ways, she is a Washington insider, too. But in some respects, it takes one to know how to deal with one, right? And if she does become our President, she will have to deal with them. She also has an arrogant look on her face that I don't like. It could be that my sub-conscious is doing that old double standard thing, but I don't know. I don't like anyone who wears a habitual smug or arrogant look on their face. Neither male nor female. She's smart, tho, unbelievably smart. She can do the job, I think. But so could many of the others. Biden could, Richardson, Dodd, perhaps even Obama.
I know that most Americans don't think the way I do. Or at least it doesn't seem like they do. And I understand that the candidates have to do what they have to do to get their names out there to the masses. Still, I find it all somewhat repugnant (okay, more than somewhat). The whole process is just bad; filthy, fraudulent, flawed. There has to be a better way, doesn't there?
And Hillary is ticking me off a little bit. She's starting to act like she thinks she is the nominee already. Again, it may be that double standard thing, again, I don't know. Things that we take for granted in men, we tend to look askance at in a woman. And I especially don't like to see a woman behaving in a manner that is distasteful, if typical, in a man. Perhaps inside I feel a woman should know better or behave better. But why should a woman be held to a different standard than a man who runs for office? I suppose I am as guilty as the next person of having that perception. I shall try harder beginning immediately.
And I have just one thing to say to Mr. Mukasey: Waterboarding is TORTURE. Simulated drowning of a person is torture. It was torture yesterday, it's torture today, and it will be torture tomorrow. It is wrong. It was wrong for the Nazis to do it, it was wrong for the Russians to do it, it was wrong for the Vietnamese to do it. It's wrong for us to do it. It's wrong. Why is that so hard for grown men and women to understand? I can't even believe they are debating it. What is there to debate? How could anyone in our government think that torturing people is a good idea? It boggles the mind, it truly, truly does.
Enough, this has become a novel.
More later, I'm sure.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
So anyway, the EKG was fine, but he (the doc) sent me upstairs for chest x-rays anyway and he wants to send me to the cardiologist for a stress test and for "just because we want to be on the safe side". He said that if the x-rays showed something weird he'd call me tomorrow. I sincerely hope he doesn't call. I really like Dr. Hogue. He's a sweetie. He doesn't talk down to you and he has a very comforting manner.
And my sugar was 245. Not good. He's sending me for a glucose test, too. Yippee! I can hardly wait. I have done one of those before, way back when I was first pregnant with Thomas. That stuff they make you drink has got to be the nastiest stuff on the planet that anyone could ever put in their mouth. Back when I had mine before, they told me it was 'orange' flavored. Yeah right. Rotten orange flavored is more like. But the consistency of the stuff was even worse than the taste. It was sort of like warm, half-set jello, only more so, if you can imagine that. It was just gross and I'm nearly making myself ill just thinking about it. And I have until Nov. 3rd to dread it. Wish I could just go tomorrow and get it over with.
And then, as if going to the wally world and the doctor (and having to drive a van that is acting up again, only different this time) wasn't bad enough. I had to go to the grocery store, too. I was so tired by the time I got home and got everything put away and supper fixed, all I wanted to do was go lay down. But then Thomas felt ill and I had to tend to him, and Pete wanted brownies and ice-cream for dessert, so had to do that. I feel really pooped, right now.
So I think I will go take my Ambien and hope for a good night's sleep. I've never taken a sleep-aid of any sort and it's kinda making me nervous. But Dr. Hogue said it was non-addictive and that it would be okay. I trust him, I do, but still... it's kinda scary, even so.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Another priceless treasure in my keeping is an old collection of postcards that my great-grandmother Edna Teague Bell kept. I believe they are all to her from various family members and friends. The earliest postmark I have seen so far is 1909. I am working on scanning them now. I have about one quarter of them done, so far. I will put them on a page, as well, once I have them all scanned.
I just had to share this one, tho... it is too funny.
The back of the post card reads,
"Hello Edna, how are you. We are having some rain. I forgot when your birthday was. Come down I have got a rich man to give you. May W".
I am not sure who May is, I don't think it is Edna's sister. She is most likely a cousin or other relation. I just thought that was so funny, "I have got a rich man to give you." Edna was my great-grandmother. She married late, for that time. She was in her 30's when she married Thomas Bell. She was a nurse and had been taking care of Thomas Bell's sick wife. After that wife died, she married him. That must have caused some raised eye-brows back then, not to mention whispers behind hands. However, it worked out for them. They remained married until his death, and had 5 children: Edward, Burl, Mattie, Clara, and Utley. Mattie was my grandmother, my Mom's mother.
Well, back to work. Have lots more postcards to scan. My sister and I did this several years ago, but the images were lost. I've been promising her for a year or longer that I would scan them again for her. She is the family genealogy guru. I'm just the keeper of the pictures.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I am so disgusted by everything that's been going on. The war, this president going on with his little "I am the King" mentality and Congress just going along with it. The new thing that pissed me off was the thing with the CDC testimony before Congress. The White House diced, sliced and julienned the testimony that the CDC lady was supposed to give. I did not realize that they could do that. I thought that when someone or some department got called in to testify before Congress they were supposed to tell the truth, the whole truth, etc. Not tell what the White House says they can tell and nothing beyond that. The whole system is so out of whack. I feel like I'm in a Twilight Zone episode. I have real bouts of actual vertigo sometimes just watching the news. Nothing seems real. And people seem to be fine with just going on about their lives and ignoring the situation.
And the Democrats are really pissing me off. They are just going on like it's all business as usual. And it's not! Nothing is 'as usual'. Why can't they see that? I don't think that a Democrat will win the White House in '08. They are doing all the wrong things and nothing right. And that damned Nancy Pelosi. She is really getting off with me something fierce! If I have to see her stupid smile one more time I may actually throw something heavy at my television. (I need a new one, anyway) She and Harry Reid have made a real dog's dinner of the whole thing. Well, I can't just lay all the blame on them, I guess. To be fair, I need to spread the blame around to the whole Democratic party. They are loosing the '08 election and they all seem to not realize the fact. They are beginning to all look like grinning idiots. Pisses me off something awful!
And to think that the religious conservatives may well be the one's who bring a viable third party to our nation!? How incredible is that? Just what we need, a conservative Christian political party. Can you imagine what life would be like if that took over the government? No better than the Taliban, eh? The skinheads and the KKK and the neo-nazis and others like them would just love that. Give them the right to burn crosses, lynch anyone who isn't a "true believer". Encouraging hate, fostering strife between the sexes, between races, ethnicities, other forms of religion. Ugh! What a nightmare!
I'm pretty sure this isn't what my ancestors fought and died for.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Had a dentist appointment today, so of course I didn't sleep well last night. Fell asleep at about 4am this morning and my darling hubby woke me up exactly one half hour later. Not on purpose, to be sure, but I was unhappy with him, nevertheless. He knows how hard it is for me to fall asleep, and he knows that no matter the length of time I've been asleep, that if I get woken up, that's it, I'm up, for a while anyway. Did manage to fall back asleep at about 6am, then back up at 8am to get the day started. Dentist at 11am until 1pm. And I have to go back tomorrow at 10am. I surely do hope I get some sleep tonight. I am trying to stay awake as long as I can right now, so maybe I'll actually sleep tonight, no matter what the dear man may do.
And I'm starving. I cannot eat in the morning. It just doesn't work out for me. If I do, it just makes me sick, so there's really no point. I truly did try this morning, knowing I wouldn't want to afterward, but I just couldn't. So now I'm making soup. And it's taking ever so long and I'm starving to death. (Do I sound like I'm whining? I think I do.) My head feels like it's sort of floating away, like my neck has become attenuated and my head is somewhere way up in the clouds. I'm so sleepy and tired.
But the reconstruction of the smile goes on apace. Cannot complete it until after the new year. My dental benefits are just about all used up for this year. But at least I am seeing results. At least I do have some insurance. I would not be able to do this at all, if I didn't. No way, no how.
And I finally made myself call the doctor's office this morning, before I went to the dentist. I have an appointment next week to see the doc about all this leg pain and muscle weakness and general yuckiness I've been experiencing. I am not looking forward to that, I can tell you. I mean, I'm looking forward to finding out what is causing my problems, but I know Dr. Hogue is going to insist that I get my female check-up and I don't want to. You'd think with all the technological advances made in the past decade or two they'd have come up with another way of doing that than how they do it. Wouldn't you? But then, it's for women's health. We aren't the priority, are we? I won't get started on the inequality of treatment between the sexes when it comes to health care. The health care system let my mother die at the age of 55; but I won't get on that soapbox today. Maybe another time.
Anyway... think I'll go stir the soup and get all hubby's requirements taken care of while I'm still somewhat lucid. Lunch for tomorrow, coffee maker set, snacks packed and sitting where he won't forget them, etc. Cancer treatments usually make people eat less, I thought. It seems my man is eating at least twice what he used to since he got that first shot. Don't know what to make of that really. Haven't seen anywhere that eating more was a side-effect of that medicine, but it could be. Will have to research further.
Ta-ta for now.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I really enjoy going back thru the pictures. Mostly it was happy times. I look at Mom and see how skinny she was back when she and Dan first got married. Even then she was convinced that she was 'an elephant'. That's what she always called herself. And she looks emaciated in some of those pictures. So do I, really. Easy to see where my sister and myself got our poor self-image from. Mom had a very bad self-image. She was sure, absolutely, one hundred percent certain that she was fat and ugly and worthless. And she was none of those things. But you couldn't make her believe that. And I'm a lot like her, that way. I can look at those old pictures now and go, "Wow! You were a good looking young girl!" But I distinctly remember the way I saw myself back then. No one could have ever proved to me that I wasn't fat, ugly, awkard, etc.
I know I will never be that small again, that nice looking. But I can look at those pictures now without regret (mostly). I have a goal now. I will get healthier, skinnier, happier. I will like myself more. I can do that, now.
If any one cares to look at someone's old family photos, this is what I've been spending nearly all my free time on.
Click on the picture and the link will open in a new window. You won't leave this page.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Most of the pictures I am working on now are of the kids (my son and my three nieces). There are a few of myself and my sister when we were younger, mixed in. I look at those pictures and I wonder where that girl went. My life is nothing like what I envisioned it being way back then. I've known people who mapped out their life while young and then stuck to the plan until they achieved their goal. I don't understand how they do it. I am so far away from what I thought I wanted when I was a girl, I can't begin to trace the convoluted path backward to find out just where I first turned off the road that was leading me to what I wanted then.
I wanted to be an archaeologist, or a museum curator, or a teacher. And, oh yeah, I wanted to be a writer, too. Instead I ended up a customer service manager for a large department store. And now that I don't work anymore I don't even have that much identity of my own. I'm a wife, and a home-schooling mother. I cook, I clean, I do the laundry, I pay the bills and balance the checkbook, I make sure the school work gets done, I trim the hedges, and do the grocery shopping. And it isn't enough.
I love my son. I love my husband. But that isn't enough. I want something more. Taking care of my family is satisfying in it's way, but it just doesn't fill me up like it used to. I want to be an individual again. Someone aside from the family caregiver. I want to make my own choices, for myself. I want to do something that's in my best interest for a change. I want a job, I want something meaningful and worthwhile to do.
Thomas is nearly grown and will be out of the house in a few years. Pete will be retiring in a few years. I don't think I could stand to be with him 24/7/365. Sorry, but that's just the sad facts. I love the man but if I had to be with him around the clock we'd end up divorced or one of us would be dead. I love the man dearly, but I don't like him very much at all. We don't seem to have anything in common anymore and even worse, our differences don't even compliment each other. Anyway...
I just have to say: that bitch who kept on about wanting to know if Nagano-san was gay or not really got on my nerve. What the hell difference does it make? Why would anyone care? She seemed a bit obsessed with it, really. To me that's just not relevant to how I feel about him. Why not ask him what religion he practises, while you're at it? Jeez. And that other rude fool who posted on Konpira's forum. It kinda got off with me. I know I should just take it with a grain of salt, but... we have such a happy little group there and I hate to see creeps like that come along and ruin the good vibe I get from visiting there.
On the brighter side of things... Nagano-san is still beautiful. Overwhelmingly beautiful. Watched Sasuke #12 both times tonight. He's just that fantastic. Watching him makes me incredibly happy. And that's a good thing. A very good thing. Thank you Makoto Nagano.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
This recipe is primarily for my friend Bunny, but I encourage anyone who likes curry to try it. I'm sure you'll like it.
Burmese Chicken Curry
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 half head of fresh garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces*
dried red chilies (You can leave these out if you like, but I like mine really spicy hot. I use 6-8 chili pods)
2 T Curry powder (use the Madras style curry powder, if you can)
1 T Paprika (can use Indian, Hungarian or Czech, whichever you have on hand)
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 15oz. can coconut milk (Goya brand or like, not the sweet stuff for mixed drinks)
1-2 lemons, quartered
1 bunch fresh Cilantro, chopped
2-4 T ghee or oil
Method: Heat ghee in deep saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute gently. As soon as the onions start to turn golden add the garlic slices and saute until golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain well on screen or paper towels. Set aside.
Put your saucepan, with the remaining oil, back on the heat, medium-high, this time and add the chicken pieces (and red chilies, if using). Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Lower the heat to medium low and add the curry powder and paprika to the chicken. Stir for one to two minutes, making sure you don't let it burn. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir for a few minutes. When the tomatoes are wilted down stir in the coconut milk. Simmer on low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over rice noodles or ramen noodles.
Method of serving: Place one serving of noodles in individual bowls, pour curry over the noodles, garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, french fried onions and garlic, and a squeeze of lemon.
If you like a thinner sauce, you can add up to 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth or plain water.
*You can use an equivalent amount of shrimp, or other shellfish instead of the chicken, or you can use vegetables instead of or with the meat. My favorite vegetarian version uses this mix: sugar snap peas, cauliflower, baby carrots, and fresh or frozen whole kernel corn. Spinach is also very nice.
I know I have a picture of the vegetarian version somewhere, but I can't find it. I made a really pretty one and snapped a picture. Hopefully I'll find it somewhere. I like documenting it when I make a really nice dish. (okay, my secret desire is to someday publish a cookbook)
Anyway... there it is, Bunny. It's a really fantastic dish, I hope you'll try it.
... making refrigerator pickles.
I've made Indian pickles out of all sorts of things, limes, lemons, melons, mangoes, chilies, etc., but I've never made regular cucumber pickles. These are actually quite tasty. Supposed to be ready in 24 hours, and better after two days. Recipe says they'll keep in the fridge for up to 2 months. We'll see. I tasted them after they'd cooled down and liked them. I put onions and jalapeno peppers in with the cucumbers, as well as mustard seed, celery seed, whole garlic cloves, and dill. Hope they don't get too hot. If they do, Pete won't be able to eat them. All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with them. They look nice, smell nice, and taste good. What more could you want?
I was a busy little bee today. As well as making the pickles, I made a batch of apple sauce, using granny smith apples with a bit of cinnamon and vanilla bean.
I made a big slab of the whole wheat cheesy bread that Thomas and Pete like. On this one, after I smeared the dough with some roasted garlic, I put on extra sharp white cheddar, crumbled bacon, minced sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and chives.
After that I fixed a full tex-mex dinner, complete with beef fajita meat, re-fried beans, guacamole, fresh salsa, homemade tortillas and all the condiments. We were all quite full after eating dinner, needless to say. I foresee fajita pizzas in mine and Thomas' future. Say... right about lunch time tomorrow.
This cooler weather always inspires me to spend more time in the kitchen. I couldn't believe that they didn't have any squashes or gourds when I went to the store yesterday. My mouth has been watering for Butternut Squash Soup. The recipe I use is actually a recipe for Sweet Potato Soup, but I use an equivalent amount of butternut squash and it's so delicious. They didn't even have any acorn squash, (which will do in a pinch). They had some regular (huge) pumpkins, but... I just didn't need that much. Maybe they will have some winter squashes in soon. Here's the recipe, if anyone is interested:
1.5 lb. butternut squash (or sweet potato, pumpkin, other winter squash of your choice)
1 cup chicken broth (can use water or vegetable stock if you prefer)
1/4 cup orange juice (I've used apple juice here, too, it works well)
1/4 tsp. salt (The recipe calls for it, but I usually don't use it. Your choice.)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (You may want to use less if you aren't used to nutmeg)
1 cup half-and-half (regular or 2% milk works just as well)
If using sweet potatoes, bake them as for eating as is. If using squash, cut them in half, remove seeds, place cut side down on baking sheet and bake at 350 F until fork tender; 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. (You can do this part in the microwave if you want, I just like it better when I roast them in the oven.) When cool enough to handle, scrape the pulp out of the skins and into a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of the broth. Cover and process until smooth. Put this mixture into a 2 qt. saucepan. Stir in the remaining broth, the juice, the salt and the nutmeg. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just before it boils. Stir in the half-and-half and bring back up to temp. (don't let it boil). Serve.
You can garnish this soup with roasted, chopped nuts, a dollop of sour cream, chopped fresh herbs of choice, or nothing.
*If you don't like the idea of the orange or apple juice, you can leave that out and just add 1/4 cup of additional broth or water. The soup is good either way.
*Another way of preparing this soup is to use curry powder instead of the nutmeg. Use a teaspoon or so of good, quality curry powder and add a little dash of cinnamon. Garnish this curried variety with fresh cilantro, green onions, a dollop of yogurt...
Lord! Now I'm really craving this soup! Gonna have to make it soon. Hope you all will try it. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
It was an outdoor affair, right on the Savannah River. A truly beautiful setting and the sky was such a vivid blue, no clouds. The temperature was not too warm and there was a nice breeze. A pretty scene, all in all. The service was very traditional. The kind I hadn't heard since I was a little girl. The kind where the groom vows to love and protect, cherish and provide for her and the bride vows to honor and obey him, come and go at his bidding and promises that his people shall be her people, etc., etc. I couldn't believe that any woman in her right mind would still put up with that honor and obey crap. Never having had a formal wedding, either time I got married, I never had to do all that stuff. I do's were sufficient and there wasn't any talk about obeying, I can assure you. The first time I got married, it was by a lady I knew who was the county clerk in Orange County, FL and she knew better. The second time I got married was by a Justice of the Peace in Arlington, TX and he was very eloquent, but never mentioned anything about obeying. I guess he could tell by the look on my face that he better not try that with me.
After the wedding and reception when we were driving back home, Pete had a real good laugh describing the look on my face when I heard that part of the ceremony. I thought I had done a real good job of keeping my face neutral and not letting my distaste show, but I guess I didn't. Good thing we were sitting in the back.
Later, at the wedding supper we sat with the bride's sister, her sister's husband and her step-sister. I mentioned that I had not heard such a traditional wedding service in a very long time. The brides step-sister agreed with me that it was strange to hear something like that this day and age. Pete teased me and said something about wanting to stand up and cheer when he heard it and that that was the kind of ceremony he wished we had had. I laughed and told him that I might obey him by choice, but that I would never have vowed to obey him blindly. The sister and her husband, who are both much younger than me, looked so scandalized. I swear, I thought these Southern Belles had progressed farther than that. Bet she vowed to obey him, as well.
I just find it so distasteful, so degrading. So the man is sworn to protect, support, and love his little wifey, and she's sworn to do whatever he tells her to do, to forsake her family for his, to care for him when he's sick, to honor him, yadda yadda yadda. But I didn't hear anything about him vowing to honor her, to care for her, to obey her. That's a crock and anyone with a brain knows it. And I don't go for this, "well it's just tradition" crap, either. If you make a vow before God (whatever you call your higher power) then it's more than just 'tradition'. I don't care to perjure myself before my God. I feel like, if you're going to make that kind of commitment, that kind of promise, you ought to be sincere about it. And if you aren't sincere about it, if you don't take it seriously, then you shouldn't do it at all.
Anyway... I think that is the root of some of mine and Pete's problems. He's really very open minded for a man of his generation. But it aggravates him sometimes that I'm not a traditional wife. Yes, I stay home and I don't have a 'real' job, but that is by my choice, not because it's what he wants. And I do try to do things that please him, not because I feel like I have to but because I like to. I married him because I wanted to, not because society or my family pressured me to. He doesn't like it, but I've had to remind him a time or two that when we got married that piece of paper we signed was a marriage license, not a bill of sale.
So, the day just got me to thinking; didn't that young girl realize how oppressive, how degrading, how sexist those vows are? How could she think so little of herself so as to speak them? And why get married anyway? They've been together for so long. Their little boy is 4 and the little girl is less than a year. I suppose they did it for them, or maybe for the financial benefits, or maybe his mother finally talked him into it (she seemed a formidable older woman). I felt such a desire to speak out and warn the girl. Men change. It doesn't matter that he's a wonderful person now, it doesn't matter that he takes his turn at changing diapers and chasing kids now. After you marry him, he will change. And you probably won't like it. But of course, I kept my mouth shut. I would have liked to give her the benefit of an older woman's experience, but maybe hers won't be the same as mine. Maybe her prince charming will stay charming. Maybe he really will love and cherish, support and protect her. I hope so.
Although I love my hubby very much, and although I would be with him even if we weren't married, I think, if I had it to do over again I would not marry him. Perhaps if I wasn't married to him he would understand that I am with him because I choose to be, not because I'm forced to be.
All in all, I think marriage is the perfect way to ruin a really good relationship.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
If you can't tell, Thomas is home. I can't believe the bastard actually brought him home when he was supposed to. Thank you, Lord, I can breathe again.
So... I told you he wanted chocolate cake with cherry frosting for part of his 'Welcome Home' dinner. I made one. The cake is from scratch (a very good recipe from the 1941 Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbook - Thank you so much Mama, for giving me all those old things) but the frosting was store bought. The only kind of frosting I can make from scratch is boiled frosting, you know, what they call White Mountain frosting, or Mountain Peak frosting, or whatever. It's good, but... Thomas wanted cherry, so it was store bought or nothing. Anyway, I bought one can of Pillsbury's brand Cherry flavored frosting and one of Cream Cheese frosting and mixed them together. Those store bought flavored frostings are always so super sweet. Mixing it with the cream cheese kind of helps that problem. Anyway... to me, one who isn't all that into pink, the cake looks sort of like a Dr. Suess cake. Like something from that old Cat in the Hat cartoon they used to run once a year when I was a kid. Wanna see?
I have never been good at frosting cakes. And if I use home made frosting (any kind but the boiled) it always ends up sliding off the cake anyway. My inability to make good homemade buttercream icing or cream cheese frosting may be a sub-conscious reaction to my not liking frosting. I always scrape it off anyway. My cakes of choice are things like coffee cakes, or pound cakes or cheesecakes. Things you don't have to frost. That hugely bad for you Dump Cake is pretty darn good too, if you're in the mood for it. I wouldn't recommend eating it more than once every year or two, tho. All that butter! Lord! A heart attack waiting to happen.
Anyway... my son is home, my cake turned out pretty good. (Actually, the cherry cream cheese frosting didn't taste too bad with the chocolate cake.) The truck race was pretty entertaining today, what I saw of it, and tomorrow is the Talladega Cup race. What a wonderful weekend!
Thank you, Lord! Today was simply wonderful.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Anyway... I find it hard to get excited about many of today's so-called TV/movie stars. Lets see... who would I find attractive in this day and age? Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen... hum... that seems to be about it. And that's weird in itself, since I never feel attracted to blond men. Not any of the ones I've actually met, that is. I think I've only ever dated one blond guy, ever. And it ended badly. But then again, I find those two more attractive when their hair is dark. That makes sense, I suppose, given my preferences.
And another thing: why the hell is an iconic American institution like the Boy Scouts getting it's little badges from China anyway! If they'd bought them from an American company to start with, they wouldn't now have to take them away from the young men who have been wearing them so proudly.
Have not had even one cigarette today. Pretty proud of that fact. Don't even feel like I want one, so far. I keep telling myself that I can do this. I can quit. It is hard, but I can do it. I just hope the man can do it, too. If he can't, he'll just have to stay away from me. I can't smell it all the time and not want one. I know that about myself. I'm okay as long as I don't have to see it or smell it. Otherwise I have no will power. I just have to stay completely away from it. I really hope Pete will be able to quit too. I'm not sure if he really wants to. I mean, he knows it's important for his health, and he's been pretty good about changing his eating habits, but smoking... who knows? He says he wants to quit, but I'm not sure he really does. He's pretty prone to saying what he thinks is the proper thing, and then doing whatever he wants.
In the news today: Rice orders federal agents to ride with Blackwater in Iraq
These guys must be feeling real happy right about now. Their life expectancy just dropped to about nothing. I wouldn't want to do it. Not because I would be afraid of the missions I might have to go on, but because I would be constantly wondering when the Blackwater goons were going to off me. Cynical? You betcha! Suspicious? Sure. Would this administration and their hired goons do it? Without a doubt.
And it's Talladega weekend baby! Probably won't be on-line much for the duration. Wouldn't want to miss any of the excitement. For those of you who don't have a clue what that means: This weekend the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series are racing at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL. One of my favorite race weekends of the entire season. Always great action there.
So... hope every one has a wonderful weekend. I have hopes of one myself. Thomas is supposed to be home tomorrow and the guys are racing at one of my and his favorite tracks. The weather is cool and breezy, and life is good (or will be, as soon as Thomas is here).
Thursday, October 4, 2007
That is, if dumb ass actually brings him home on time, this time. Don't know why I'm getting my hopes up. He hasn't yet, in over 10 years, done what he's supposed to in that regard. But... hope springs eternal, eh? 6 weeks is entirely enough to be without my boy. I don't sleep right, I don't eat properly, I'm depressed, agitated... nothing is right while he's down there. And worse, I am always terrified that that monster will kill him for his money, while he's got him in his control. I wish I could get over that feeling, but it's so strong every time I have to send my baby to him. I know what kind of person he is. He would do it and never think twice.
Anyway... I can't wait until he is home. Then the world is brighter, the way it should be. Went shopping today and bought the stuff for his 'welcome home' dinner. He wants fried chicken and chocolate cake with cherry frosting. That part sounds disgusting to me, but oh well. I always scrape all the frosting off my cake anyway. I don't like it. So... if he wants cherry, cherry he'll get. And if I don't over-indulge on the chicken, I should be okay. I've been pretty good, this week. But damn! I do make excellent fried chicken, if I do say so myself. And I do love it so... will just have to be strong.
I just always get so anxious when it gets close to time for him to be home. Worrying about whether dickhead will bring him home, or wait until the day he's supposed to be here and then call me and say he ain't bringing him home until the next week. That's one of his favorite stunts to pull. Or wait until the day and then call and tell me that if I want him I'll have to come get him. Or lately, this has been the most used thing: he tells Thomas that they've got something really fun planned but they can't do it until the week or the month after Thomas is supposed to be home, then Thomas, of course, wants to do it too, so he asks me if he can stay until then, and I say yes. Then... something always comes up and they end up not doing whatever it was that was promised. It's just bull-shit.
Why do men have to be so stupid and mean and uncaring and just, just, awful? I would have been perfectly fine with being on friendly terms with the asshole and his bitch-woman, really, I would have. Tried time after time after we first got divorced. But he has always, right from the get go, been horrible. Doesn't pay his child-support, bad mouths me and Pete to my son, never abides by the court orders, etc., etc. Anyway... enough of that. It just gets me down to think about it. But I worry...
Hope all goes well, this time.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Today, three House Democrats, Dave Obey, D-Wisconsin, Jack Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, and Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, proposed a "war surtax" to pay for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Personally, I think that's a stupid idea, but none of the other Democrats seem to want to do anything to end the war. Never-the-less, a stupid idea, sure, but then to have to listen to that stupid twat Dana Perino, the current White House Press Secretary, say this (with that stupid little George Bushesque smirk on her face):
So I'm a type?! I'm a lesser being because I don't belong to her party? This is not even close to the first time I've heard a member of this administration speak in a derogatory manner about my party. And quite frankly, I'm sick of it. It's true that I didn't vote for George Bush, but he is the President of the United States. That makes him my president, too. Or it should. But he's not. He refuses to be my President. In fact, this person who is supposed to be my President sneers at me, looks down on me, treats me like a helot. The way I see it, when you become President you become the President of the entire United States, not just the segment of society that voted for you. George W. Bush apparently doesn't see things the same way.
This person who represents our great nation on the world stage has done more to further division, dissent, and down right disagreeableness, in this country than any other ten people I can think of. He fosters discord between the parties. He encourages his minions to fling mud, to cast aspersions on, to out right lie, about the people who belong to my party. I'm so sick of this crap. Why can't people see what this administration is doing? Do the American people really not care?
Anyway... that just really got my goat, this evening, when I saw that heifer looking down her nose at me while she smirked and bad mouthed Democrats. I am a Democrat. I am not a type, I am not a helot, I am not a lesser being, I am not a second class citizen.
I am a Democrat, a citizen, a tax payer, a patriot, a voter, a contributor to my society. What are you Dana Perino? A mouth-piece for a low-down, lying, good-for-nothing, war-mongering, no-serving, drunk-driving, cocaine sniffing, walks like a baby with a full diaper, sorry excuse for a president. So, you are a Republican. That makes you better than me... how?
Monday, October 1, 2007
I can't stand walmart, and only go there maybe once every two or three months. No matter the length of time I spend inside, long or short, when I walk out, I still feel like I've been in there for at least 3 weeks. I can never remember where my car is parked, either. It's most distressing. I think it's some kind of mental block or sub-conscious reaction. I just detest the place.
And then when I got there, they didn't have all that I wanted, anyway. Still have to go to the Publix for the tea. (I know, that doesn't sound so bad, until you realize that there are 5 other grocery stores between me and the walmart and not one of them carries the brand of tea I like, and that the Publix, which is the only other place in town that does carry it, is on the other side of town from where I went today, and the tea was the major reason for me going to either place. I usually shop at Kroger, which is like, 5 minutes from my house, clean, cheap, but doesn't carry my brand of tea.) And besides, it kinda grosses me out to think about buying fresh foods from walmart. Their produce department is just so dirty looking, to me. I can't make myself purchase fresh fruits and veggies from there. So have to go to the regular grocery store, anyway. It was sort of a wasted trip, except all the walking I did and struggling with that wretched cart. That must have been good for something. And I did manage to find some 5 pound weights. Been wanting some of those. Already had some 1 and 3 pound weights, but wanted something heavier.
No, I don't want to look like a muscle woman (not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's what you want to look like, it just ain't for me). But I do want to get rid of this flab that is starting on my upper arms. I do not want to get that saggy-baggy stuff hanging down from my under-arms like you see on some older women. I think I might cry if my arms start looking like Miss Cianne from the church I used to go to when I was younger.
And I need to start researching this stuff better. I think I must be doing something wrong, or something. I don't know. I would have thought that after 3-4 months of walking every day, or nearly everyday, my legs would be over feeling tired all the time. For the past week my calves have been so sore. They feel like they are cramping all the time, it never stops. I don't know. Maybe I need more protein, or more calcium, or both. I do have a difficult time eating meat. It's not my most favorite thing. If I'm not in the mood for it, I have to force myself to eat it, and I'd really rather not do that. And I detest the smell of milk. Unless it's from a totally new, just this minute opened carton, I can't drink it. It smells too weird and bad. I do eat lots of cheese and yogurt. You'd think that would count. Somethings not right, tho. I don't think my legs should be hurting like this. I haven't felt like this since I very first began on this experiment.
Instead of writing this blog, I should be doing research. I honestly don't know anything about working out, or loosing weight, except to be more active and to eat less food and to choose what I do eat with more care. I don't have a clue when it comes to proper exercises, supplements, training, etc. So... I guess I better get busy on that, eh? All suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated.