Follow by Email


New Year - Happy?

Goodness, so many thoughts roaming around in my head today.

Sherman, a dear, dear friend left this earth ten years ago today. I have the privilege of being in touch with his wife and grown children via Facebook and I am very happy for that. Very happy.

This picture is crazy - Brenda, the woman on Sherman's right has also passed away - too young. And the woman in pink, is John's wife Laura. John died a year ago yesterday.

I cannot even explain how much Sherman meant to me. He "saw" me. He was love, pure and simple, but he didn't put up with any bullshit. Teenagers adored him, including my son.
He was hilarious and high maintenance, (and got a big kick out of me telling him that), stubborn and kind, wise and a little scary, in a mind reading kind of way.
When the BF and I broke up, Sherman sat me down in his office, and with his face about two inches from mine, said in a steely, quiet voice, "Don't you ever, EVER, sell yourself short again."
I'll try not to Sherm.

Wednesday, three of us went to the Nasher Museum in Durham.

The Record was one of the special exhibits - waaay too avant garde for me, but The Vorticists was very interesting.
There was a poem by T.S. Elliot, "Rhapsody of a Windy Night" and
the third verse made me think of this tree from my Christmas eve day walk at Bolin Creek.

A twisted branch upon the beach
Eaten smooth, and polished
As if the world gave up
The secret of its skeleton,
Stiff and white.

On this balmy 50+ degree day, I went out to Pittsboro. Picked up this fabulous AND inexpensive piece of art at lovely Vespertine Cafe. I want to hang it over my bathroom mirror:

Ginna was listening to the Gotan Project, she always has the best music. 

On the New Year Day brunch front, the pork is marinating, the salad is melding.

Hey, speaking of salad, my friend Beth showed me a great way to chop herbs. Y'all  probably already do this because I can tell - y'all are smart.
Every time I use this method I think it's a freaking miracle. I am easily entertained. The cup from Whynot Pottery is perfect for this purpose.
Stuff herbs in a small container.

Use kitchen shears to chop.

Magic! All chopped & contained in cup.

Kitchen shears used to one of those utensils I poo-pooed, they seemed fussy and all "oh-look-at-me-I'm-a-chef"-ish. Now I have three pair and I use them ALL the time. There's the chopping herb pair seen above, the pair I use for heavy duty action, like cutting pizza (a genius tip from Sandy I.) or chicken bone, and the small red pair (thank you SG) that I use just about every day for everything from opening cat food bags to cutting string.

What else has been going through my head? Oh, yea - aggressive drivers. There was an abundance on the road today. My judging self had a hard time remembering to say blessings instead of this:


Let's see, what is going to be my last dinner in the year 2010? Me thinks white trash Tuna and Noodles. I'll untrash it just a little with Trader Joe's lemon pepper pasta.

Thanks all ye faithful ones who, god love ya, read my puny blog and think it's funny or enlightening or silly or moving or enjoyable or wow, I can do better than that (I agree).
Thanks for all your comments here and on Facebook.
I feel the love.

Time me eat!


New Year's Eve Eve

Bleh. That's how I feel today.
Remembering my friends, John Pezzi and Sherman Brees who both died this time of year, John a year ago today. Sherm, ten years ago.

In other news, Mom's catheter is out and we went to Nantucket Grill to celebrate. She said she felt "so good" several times.

RBC finally figured out how to set up her VA account, so I need to get over there and sign, sign, sign. Found out during the process of setting this up that they closed the Fernandina branch of the credit union - wow! no more Amy. I'm wondering if I should move everything up here.

The snow's mostly melted, now everything looks dead and brown, the sky leaden. Christmas decorations are disheveled and bedraggled, tilting crazily off the sides of mailboxes.

The cats have been funny today, choosing to stay in bed snuggly in the silk comforter rather than greet me when I came home from the movies. What is up with that? Ungrateful felines.

We southern gals have to have three things New Year's Day - black eyed peas, pork, and some kind of greens. Most everyone does collards, I prefer kale. Here's my contribution to the FUWOF's New Year's Day brunch:

The recipe is from Cooking Light, it's so crazy good and easy.

Sweet and Tangy Roasted Pork Tenderloin

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. tomato paste
11/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 black pepper
1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed
cooking spray

1.) Combine first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish, add pork, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2.) Preheat oven to 450.
3.) Remove pork from dish, reserving marinade.
4.) Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Brush with reserved marinade. Insert a meat thermometer into thickest portion of pork. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until thermometer registers 155 (slightly pink). Remove from oven, cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Couple of notes:
Always used balsamic vinegar (I was out of cider vinegar) and I always marinate it overnight.

Click Black Eyed Pea Salad for the recipe.

Have made myself put away the New Pornographers and Neko Case, am now listening to Glasser, I love to turn up my top of the line 2003 Toyota Corolla sound system so I can FEEEEELLLLL the drums.
That got me hankering for some military tattoo. You know it, I am loony for a bagpipe (and a man in a skirt).

And that leads to Ewan McGregor (Scottish) who was in the movie "I Love You Phillip Morris" and then that got me thinking about "Long Way Round" which I rated five [rare] stars on Netflix - seriously, it is where I became a fan of Ewan. Even if you don't like motorcycles (I don't especially). Fair warning, there's some salty language from time to time, because it is two lads off a holiday basically, but it's great fun overall. all a good night...


Poor Mom

Yesterday afternoon around 4:30 I got a call from Clare Bridge. Braced myself for the "she's pulled out the catheter again".
Instead it was, "she was hit in the chest by another resident. She's okay, everything is fine, but we're required to tell you this occurred."

Poor Mom, this was not a good weekend.

Lillie and Finn on my lap, Oscar was curled up next to me. Who says cats don't like to be with people?


Yesterday and Today

Went on a nice walk with three of the gals, the two mascots, and the furry gal Solo. Then we sat in the lobby of the very uncrowded and quiet Marriott and drank their complimentary coffee.

Then I went to Mom's. The nurse had just left after re-inserting the Foley, Mom was laying on her bed, subdued and weepy. Presented her present (jeans, a red sweater, and a sparkly flower ring), she was more weepy, (but really liked the ring). Then we watched some "Ben Hur" on TCM.

I did not feel up to taking her to the K&W and I really don't think she was up to it either.
Ripping out a catheter has got to wear you out, don't you think?

Went over to Jim and Daphne's after that and hung out over there for about five hours. I brought over a Whole Foods vegan Harvest Berry pie (I worked so hard!). Dinner was a fresh ham (not cured) from Nancy the egg lady's Fernhill Farm, layered salad (my favorite!), great mashed potatoes, green beans, collards, dressing, and fingerling sweet potatoes. Ate so much layered salad I can barely look at what came home with me, but will probably get over it.
Went home when it started to snow, around 8:30 - 9 PM. Watched "Waking Ned Devine", one of my favorites, and went to bed. 

This is what I woke up to this morning:

Braved a trip to Kroger for the trinity of snow day essentials - bread, milk, and alcohol (wholly spirit!) (okay, okay, it was a cheap "shot"!) (HA!).

Today is a comfort food day - a casserole of baked penne is bubbling in the oven. Threw some horseradish cheddar into the asiago, fontina, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese mix, along with Hogan's Magnolia Farms grass fed beef, and Trader Joe's marinara sauce, which has become my go-to base for anything requiring tomatoey-ness.


I may just watch "Arrested Development" for the rest of the day and eat baked penne and layered salad.

Happy Boxing Day everyone.


All I Got For Christmas

Was a phone call saying Mom had pulled out her Foley catheter. Yeah!!
I was immediately reminded of the doctor's statement that only intoxicated people did that. I'm thinking demented is right up there with intoxicated or being on PCP. (never hear about that drug anymore. Did it go away or something better came along?)

It's not like I can put it back in so I'm still sitting at home being selfish, having a piece of blueberry pie and a cup of coffee. Feeling a rising resentment towards - well everyone. Mostly because I can't feel selfish in peace. Jeez. Feck off guilt! (Father Ted reference)
Oh, and I've run out of deodorant (alert the news media!)
I'm going to continue on my selfish path and go for a walk at noon.

Last night's Jewish Christmas Eve (Chinese food and a movie) was a good time with six of the FUWOF gals. Thanks for asking.


One of My Favorite Places

From 1968 - 1973 we lived in Kodiak, Alaska. It was the longest we ever lived in one place.

Kodiak is a island in the Gulf of Alaska, home to the Kodiak bear, (brown bear grown extra large), and the king crab. When we moved up there in 1968, the town was still recovering from the quake of '64. The quake wasn't as big a problem like it was in Anchorage, but the ensuing tsunami wrecked havoc on the town.

In 1968, if you turned right when you exited the Navy base, (they left in 1972 and it became the largest Coast Guard station), there were two miles of pavement, the rest of the eight miles into town was unpaved. At some point they paved the main road all the way into town to just a bit past the High School. All the other streets in town were unpaved.
If you turned left there was 500 feet of pavement, then gravel roads for about 40 miles and that was it - the end of the line. There was one blinking yellow traffic light on the whole island and that was on the base.
I remember asking my mom if we were isolated.

We would have picnics in the snow with the Scottish Highland cattle, who lived outside all year long. Sometimes you would have to shoo them out of the road.

Other times you'd need to adjust the road to the width of your car:

We were too far south to have six months dark, six months light, but in winter we went to school and came home from school in the dark. When I was older I could stay out until it was dark in the summer, about 11 PM. It was light again around 4 AM. We had blackout blinds on all the windows.
On the longest night of the year when it never got dark enough to see the stars, Mom and I would stay up and play Canasta until it was light again.

Williwaws came down off the mountains and the freezing howling winds would cause road condition Charlie (only emergency vehicles on the road). Dad would get stuck out at the ComSta (communications station) which was ten miles away at Holiday Beach.

Old Woman Mountain

Each morning, breakfast cereal was accompanied by the sound of C-130's and other SAR planes warming up outside the hangers across from our house. (I love C-130's, they have a comforting almost maternal look to them.)
When I see a box of Frosted Flakes, I hear my dad's spoon slowly clinking against the side of his coffee cup and plane engines.

The view from our living room window

C-130 landing on ice. Amazing pilots.
View from our dining room in summer - note the mountain, Barometer.

Winter. Where's Barometer?!

So many memories. Picking salmon berries or low bush cranberries on Pillar Mountain. Having a heat wave at 70 degrees!  Making snow ice cream. Walking home from my friend Judy's house feeling like I was the only person in the world, big fat snowflakes falling and the lone sound being my boots crunching in the snow. Feeling so lucky I got to live in such a beautiful place.

(All the pictures were taken by my mother with her beloved Minolta)


Lessons I Learned At The ER

for you gentle readers who are not friends on Facebook and were thus unable to be riveted to my status updates, (I remember thinking, so this is where Twitter comes in handy), yesterday I picked Mom up at 10:30 AM and whisked her to the UNC ER because she was - er - impacted.
Or, as I so lovingly put it as we walked to the car, full of shit.

(laughter, the best medicine - right?)

One de-impacting, one enema, some vomiting, two x-rays, one CT scan, one ultrasound, one Foley catheter, three nurses, two doctors, and fourteen and a half hours later, we left.


Here's what I learned:

2.) Drink plenty of fluids - especially water
Example - see above.

3.) Wear eye protection - all the time.
(this doctor had an all caps voice)
SIR, WHAT HAPPENED? (indistinct mumbling continues)

4.) Do NOT ever get a salivary gland infection.
Example: twenty minutes of listening to a man first have a camera put down his nose, then a breathing tube inserted.
The nurse who did it was very sweet, he was also [one of ] Mom's nurses, he said when I told him it made my stomach hurt to listen that it wasn't as bad as it sounded.
It sounded pretty bad.

In addition, there was all the various and constant dings, buzzes, rings, clanging, banging, intercom announcements, people vomiting, or saying "Ouch, OUCH! Stop doing that!" 

Thankfully we were in an honest to goodness room from which to eavesdrop on other people's pain, not in one of those horrible beds lining the hallway. There was a very comfortable reclining chair for me. Small gifts, greatly appreciated.

Mom slept through a lot of it. She was a trooper, until the very end. I don't think she liked the last nurse, who seemed to be in a big hurry to get rid of us.
Mom got mad and said she wasn't going to go or put on her clothes because she was already home.
"I don't like this!", she declared of the Foley catheter and leg band. (Instead of the bag you have to carry like a purse full of urine. I know - ewwwwww! I really couldn't see her being able to handle that at all.)

Don't blame her one bit.

Oh, and last but not least - to everyone who commented, prayed, thought good thoughts, wished for the best, offered to feed cats, bring me ruby slippers or pie, and made me laugh, (you know who you are Becky Kelley!) - Thanks! It meant a lot. Really.


I Am NOT Like That! Part Two

I sometimes think it's not clear in my blog that my mother had/has an excellent sense of humor.

As we'd watch the Anal Retentive Chef fold the garbage bag over and over, then staple it shut - I'd say he's just like you! She'd reply, I'm NOT like that!  Sometimes I'd just go to the freezer and get a bag of cookies, then she would laugh.

Her big defense - you are too!
Yeah, but about completely different things, like organization and tidy counters. The Boy told me he would purposely tip the pictures on the wall off kilter - something else that makes me crazy. (Or pictures hung too high - arrrrggghhhhhhhh!!)

Her and I would bust up in Publix over Big and Crusty Bagels. (gross and so second grade I know). Except for the dark months when she wasn't taking her meds, she has always been a good sport and been able to laugh at herself.

I just wanted to clear that up.


I Am NOT Like That!

Remember Phil Hartman's character Cooking with the Anal Retentive Chef on SNL?

That was my mother.

She said she wasn't like that, but oh, yes she was.
Toast had to be buttered all the way to the very edge all the way around - I swear it took her five minutes to prep her toast. Her hamburger bun had to have the mayo on the top bun and the mustard on the bottom one.
If it was done wrong, she got a little squirrelly about it.
Yeah, not OCD at all.

Who else would slice each individual pecan for cookies or Cherry Nut Cake? Slices, people. Not chopped all willy-nilly into different sized pieces. No, each sliver of pecan was the same size.

Speaking of cookies:
If the recipe said "makes five dozen" - then by god she was going to get five dozen - or more.
All the cookie dough blobs were exactly the same size and placed precisely the same distance from the next cookie dough blob. Actually, it is not fair to call them blobs - that would be what mine looked like. I used a tablespoon and she always told me they were too big, not to mention my pecans were um, diversely shaped. It drove her crazy. (Bwaahahaha...)
Hers were rounded from one teaspoon to another until they were smooth perfect orbs of doughness. If one cookie had the balls to spread into another cookie - oh my god. Defective! She hated that.
They'd cool, on a wire rack of course, for the exact amount of time called for. Later they would be packaged into plastic baggies. This was before zip-lock style bags came in a small version, we're talking the sandwich bags that had the fold over flap.
Two cookies (no more, no less) would be placed in the bag. The flap was folded down (need I say it?), neatly, two or three times, and stapled. Two staples. These little packages were then placed in the freezer - after being labeled with the type of cookie and the date it was made. All ready for school lunches.

I suspect this attention to, ahem, quality control was why my dad never made the potato salad. The potatoes (and eggs and onions and sweet gherkins) must be cut precisely for potato salad, each piece was exactly a bite-sized cube.
Dad often made the dressing for the potato/macaroni/coleslaw salads. Mayo, mustard, and vinegar, which in the correct combination will get you right in the "gill slit", that spot where the earlobe and jawbone meet. (you know the place). I liked my dad's version better because his was more tart.
If there was extra, it became "squeezy" dressing - so called because it went in a leftover picnic ketchup "squeeze" bottle. Nothing better over a slab of iceberg lettuce. If you're a Brit - Salad Cream is a good equivalent.
Grinder at far right.

Dad made the coleslaw. He'd get the grinder (a.k.a. old school food processor) with its multiple attachments down from the cabinet over the stove and clamp it to the counter. We were not allowed to touch it because it was sharp.
Then we'd wait impatiently for the core of the cabbage that he would slice, salt, and distribute. You'd have thought it was candy the way we gobbled it up.

An item that held great promise was the giant green Tupperware bowl. If Dad got out that bowl and the electric skillet - popcorn was in our future!
He'd melt the butter, (oh okay, it was margarine. We didn't know any better then), in a small one-cup Revere Ware pot. (My brother got that. If I'd had room in my kitchen for the electric skillet it would be here now) That giant green bowl also held Chex Mix.
Oh laws how I love Chex Mix. I could eat the entire bowl myself (I never did, but I could have!).

You can rest assured each piece of cereal was equally coated...


To Sum Up

Yesterday I went over to CB around 2:30 PM to move furniture around for the new chair and didn't leave until 7:30.

It was too long.

My mother was a micro manager, this has not changed. She used to re-make the bed after I made it.
I hate that. (Really, who does well under that management style? No one I know.)
I asked her to sit in her [old] chair while I moved things, but she couldn't be still. Wanted to help by putting things back on the dresser I wasn't done moving or standing in the way or picking up tiny pieces of thread off the floor.
Finally after she told me for the fourth time, with considerable glee I might add, that I was going to hurt myself, I asked her to go out to the main living room. Then I could think and talk to myself and found an arrangement that worked. The coffee table is now the TV stand and the TV stand is a donation.

When she came back fifteen minutes later, she was teary eyed and had Harold, who lives across the hall, in tow. I was informed that he is a nice man.  Sitting on the seat of his walker was a plate and cup, the cup got emptied in Mom's trash, then he announced he was finished. Mom gave him a hug and Harold went on his way.
She cried a little.

Was she upset her furniture was moved? I don't know.

A knock on the door - Harold was back to ask if we had a key to his room. Meanwhile Mom seemed to have forgotten the sequence of events needed to use the toilet and was milling around in confusion crying.
I put her in the bathroom and scooted down the hall to find someone with a key for Harold.
Had to tell her to wash her hands, she said she did, and she didn't. So, I had to get things going (becoming a micro manager myself - ugh!). Then she dried her hands with a used Kleenex and when I used another Kleenex to throw that one away, she pulled them both out of the garbage - so we had to do everything all over. Yes, I am becoming a germaphobe. So?

By this time, I was frustrated and cranky. Mostly because this is not the first time her confusion about bathroom procedure has flared up. I worry Depends are in her near future.

After all that fun on an empty stomach, I was hungry. We went to Bob Evans - where, according to her, she's never been before!
"Bob - how did you get here?!"

She had meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And even though the bubbling lava hot potatoes burned her mouth every bite - she did not remember to blow on the next bite to cool it off.

Here's one area she has changed.
As children, going out to dinner was a double-edged sword of fun and the tenth circle of hell. Because my parents thought nothing of sitting around after dinner for hours, just talking! Oh the humanity.
Talking about boring stuff (i.e., not us)!! Having a third cup of coffee!!! Oh gahhh, another cigarette!!!!
I swear they stayed longer just to torture us.
Now, she is up and heading for the door the second she's done eating.

Afterward I ran into Home Depot for a Sharpie for writing her name in her clothes. Hopefully that will help stop the traveling. Then back to CB for the writing. She hovered and moved clothes from the done pile back into the not done pile. Then hung them from her arm when asked if she could hang them in the closet. Then she got mad when I asked her to sit down because her back seemed to be hurting.

My sense of humor (and patience) was done run out by then.

I was back over there this morning at 8:30 for the chair installation.
She still thinks I got one just like it.

Mom, far left with Coke - Dad far right.


Vegative State

It is a dreary wet Sunday. A day for sleeping in, washing clothes, and cooking.

Popped out to Kohl's for a bit. My mother is a founding member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - could only locate three pair Friday night. Arrrgghhhh. Honestly, where DO they go?!

Did two massive loads of laundry (wouldn't you rather hit yourself with a hammer than read this?!), which is becoming like dusting - I already did that once, why do I have to do it again?!
Especially putting things away. I wish I was Samantha in "Bewitched" and could just wiggle my nose to have tedious chores like laundry all done. Wouldn't that be great? I'd also employ the nose for all things gardening, ironing, and dusting.

There was just a huge crash from the direction of the living room - one moment please:

Nothing drastic, Finn knocked the recipe binder onto the floor. Guessing it was him since he was nowhere to be seen.

Today is fruit and veggie day. First there was blackberry pie for a late lunch (many thanks to Whole Foods for packaging half pies), then I made Simply Recipes' Sauteed Greens with Pine Nuts. The kale wasn't chopped small enough, it was a bit chewy; I would add more red pepper. The raisins are a fun little surprise.
Also roasted some sweet potatoes and a spaghetti squash. Mashed the potatoes with a handful of dried fruit.
I love spaghetti squash. For me, pasta is just the carrier for the important stuff - the sauce and cheese. Spaghetti squash is the perfect no guilt carrier.

Okay, off to clean up the mess in the kitchen. Wish I could twitch my nose for that too.


Night of the Living Dead and Other Observations

Last night, after our RoomStore adventure, Mom and I watched "The Jeffersons" on the muted living room TV while the rest of the folks ate supper. (Mom proclaimed her dislike for Mr. Jefferson.) We sat out there because her room was locked and I still don't have a key.

It occurred to me that all the inmates people in there (that I've seen) are Caucasian. Most of the caregivers during the evening are African-American. Some are from Jamaica, some from Africa. During the day shift, most of the care-givers are white. People have worked there a long time though, some of them fifteen years. Guess that says something.
I hope it says this-is-a-great-place-to-work-I-get-treated-fairly-and-I-WANT-to-work-the-evening-shift.

One of the women says, "Somebody help me!" over and over. Mom rolls her eyes when she starts up.
As in - "Oh God, here we go again."
One of the caregivers said there are a lot of former professors and other smart type people in there. One of them studied dementia for twenty years and now she's in here. That just might be the definition of irony.
Interestingly, (to me anyway), there is a higher proportion of men in Clare Bridge than there was in Wynwood. 

Bob, who was a pilot at some point in his life, shuffles around the halls in his baseball cap and aviator jacket. He doesn't really speak, it's more of a groan. Another man, whose name I don't know yet, came up and started talking to my scarf about war maneuvers. A woman in the dining room asked if I was "going to take care of things around there." I said I would do my best.

I left Mom in her room, after someone unlocked it for us, dressed in her pajamas and robe watching the dashing Mr. Poitier in "Lillies of the Field" on TCM. (my favorite "Scrooge" movie - with Albert Finney - was coming on at 9:30 and I don't have cable. Dangit.)

Then Bob and I shuffled down the hallway to the lobby, where I was released.


Santa Baby

Alcohol is in order. Please standby....

So, yesterday's meeting with the VA rep went fine. Mom performed well. When he asked if she knew what day it was she said yes, then asked him what day it was. Same for the President and year.
Pretty sure she confirmed she was incompetent. 

I have to open a bank account in her name with me as fiduciary. The VA money goes into that account, it can't co-mingle with her other money (her "estate" as he called it. HA!).
It can only be used for her cost of care. If we need to make a purchase over $1000, they have to approve it.
Guess the vacation to Cancun is out.

He wanted to know if the two characters witnesses would attest to my being fabulous, moral, a fine upstanding citizen, and stuff.
I said I sure hope so, cuz I paid 'em.
VA people don't have much of a sense of humor.

This afternoon we went to Rick's Diner. She was making car noises on the way over, it was like riding with Mel Blanc.
She made up a word for zipper too, zerfluffle or something along those lines. My very own Dr. Seuss.

After the chicken salad sandwich, we went to RoomStore to get her a new chair. She's been using this accent chair that has no back support at all, or she sits on her bed, even worse back support.
The short straw went to a very nice salesman named Michael, who did not have a clue what he was in for.
Told him we were looking for a small chair, not deep because she is short, and cheap inexpensive. We wandered around and she sat in chairs, some good with ugly patterns, some bad with good patterns, others too big, too deep, too expensive.
Mom was sitting in this nice red chair ($599 - ah, no), which I noticed was a recliner. She wasn't expecting it, so when I pushed it back, she yells, "Oh God, she's trying to kill me!"
Well, obviously that was hilarious. And brought the whole store to a standstill for a few seconds. Michael left the area, I think to laugh his ass off. He did come back.

We finally settled on a small oatmeal colored chair and ottoman (included in the price) for $199, which he gave us for $159 (perhaps to get us out of the store), the store manager is delivering it for $30 cash on Tuesday (instead of regular delivery charge of $99). Pulling the poor widder woman stuff works sometimes. It's not like I'm lying.

On the way home, she kept asking if I got a chair too.
No, it was for her, Merry Christmas.
"I'd better be good then."


Steath Cat - Not

I had a good title but I lost it.

Oscar was trying to be sneaky and get to my empty chili bowl on the sly. Hilarious because he is a large cat and does not do stealth at all.

About as subtle as an eclipse.

He jumped on my desk, nonchalantly looking everywhere except at the bowl or me, (are those pictures new? hey, check out that printer. this lamp smells interesting), then tiptoed in front of me to check out the bowl.

Have a meeting Thursday morning with a VA rep. They need to make sure I'm not ripping off my mother's widow pension (just a little over a thousand a month). Background and credit check, plus two character references. He has to meet with her for a few minutes to see if she really is incompetent I guess.
Should be interesting.
I hope she calls me Mommy.

Sometimes when I'm taking apart a box for the recycling bin, (the one that held the LED light bulb was like a puzzle), I think - somebody made this. Someone designed it, someone printed it and someone assembled it. Do you ever think about that?
Or a simple pencil. Somewhere there is a factory making #2 pencils and people go to work there. Forty hours a week, making pencils. I loved when Mr. Rogers would do a feature on how something was made, crayons for instance. (I confess to watching Mr. Rogers waaaaay after The Boy stopped.). All these things we never notice most of the time - lampshades, silverware, Post-It notes. Someone makes them.

There is no point to this at all. Welcome to my head.


Turkish Cooking

This afternoon after the walk, three of us went to the Divan Cultural Center in Cary for Turkish cooking class where a couple of absolutely charming young woman cooked three recipes and we helped.

We made a meatball soup (my favorite), a pea, carrot, and potato side dish, and simit - little pastry rings - imagine pie crust with sesame seeds.

Oh and halva, a sesame paste and honey confection, which was already made.

While we were making tiny meatballs, it started snowing! This is early for us.

Snow conveniently corresponding with post UNC game traffic made the ride home from Southern Village where I parked for the walk, usually about ten - twelve minutes drive, take about thirty.
But people were mostly well behaved (except in Cary, several honkers there) and we all made it home unscathed.

I made a video (of the snow) but can't get it to post for some reason.
You'll just have to imagine it.
Here's the recipe for "treated soup" or meatball soup.

1 lb. minced meat (lamb or beef)
2 slices stale bread, crusts removed & insides crumbled by hand
3-4 tbsp. uncooked rice (they used short grain rice)
1 tbsp. black pepper (their recipe calls for a dessert spoonful)
1 egg
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 bunch of parsley - finely chopped

Mix together all ingredients except parsley. She kneaded the mixture for at least 5 minutes and said her mother throws the mixture down on the table 30-40 times as well.
There was some discussion between the two instructors about the parley. One advocated adding the parsley to the meat, the other wanted to roll the meatballs in the parsley. They compromised by doing both.

Make the meatballs small, about the size of a shooter marble. 

1 med. onion, finely chopped
1/6 of a cup oil
1tbsp tomato paste
1 quart (or so) of water (their recipe calls for 1.5 liters - there was some conversion math going on)
1 tsp. salt

Saute the onion in the oil. Add tomato paste and "turn them in the pan for a bit." Add the water, salt and meatballs. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
You may also (they did) add a can of drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans) OR 2 chopped potatoes and carrots.

The meatballs were very tender and light. I attributed this to the amount of kneading the meatballs received.


Week Recap

I used that word [recap] in my last post. It's a fun word.
Madcap is another fun and vastly underused word. CP used it at our FUWOF Mediterranean Deli anniversary luncheon. My inner crow was so enamoured of the word - as it swung and shimmered in the air - that I cannot reclaim the context in which it was used. (OHHH sparkly! seems like a purple word, doesn't it?)
I've been trying to figure out how to slide it into conversation ever since. Like she did, oh so effortlessly.
CP is a modern day Flannery O'Conner, she is. Not that Flannery used the word "madcap". But CP has that same Southern command of the language. 

If I had a totem animal it would be a crow/raven or a bear. Wait, I need to be both. I'd have to have a bi-totemic personality. Depending on my mood. Because bears just aren't that into sparkly. But they will kick your ass.

Anyway, let me sum up :

Mom: having bad week, crying. Will change her med time - again. Sugar down even more, insulin reduced. Dinner at Bob Evans - again (BOGO breakfast when you sign up for email.). Called me her mommy. Wants to buy a house. Carries dinner napkins around with her all the time. Infatuated with them. Why?

Bad car noise - fixed for free. (yeah Auto Logic!)

Got a sweater completely free today using my 15% off coupon in combination with $10 in Kohl's Cash.
Shut the front door!

Changing my CFL light bulbs to LED's - one expensive bulb at a time. I've replaced three, only twelve to go!
Pros: No mercury, no hazardous waste, no flickering, no humming, and they're dimmable.
Cons: Expensive and not very bright - yet. Only found the 40 watt equivalent at Home Depot or Lowe's. Not good for reading at all.
Side note: Have you found the CFL's living up to their "lasts for five years" hype? I haven't.

Have you noticed when driving that people just want to be first? No matter how fast I'm going, it's not fast enough. Go 100 mph in a 35 mph zone and some schmo will need to pass so they can BE IN FRONT. W.T.F.
Definitely a bear totem moment.


I Love Auto Logic

Remember back in September when my car made a bad thud thud thud noise when I pulled into a parking space at Wal-mart?


Well, first - hummmmpff.
Second, you can refresh your memory here.

Just in case you didn't feel like re-reading that whole post for the two sentences pertaining to the car noise (I don't blame you), let me recap: CP and I tried to recreate the noise by turning 360's in the parking lot. Nothing.

But a few weeks later, as I was making a hard left - it did it again. And it kept doing it. Again. And again.

I was freaked out. So sure it was going to cost me one million dollars, I ignored it.
(Just like I do with any dental pain - thus assuring that a $100 cavity will become a $1000 root canal.)

Finally, today I said to myself, "That's it. Stop being stupid. Take the car in, you'll only make it worse if you ignore it."
Drove the seven miles to Auto Logic in Carrboro which was the only place my little Blanche had ever been in her whole mechanical life - until gas went over $4/gallon. Then I started cheating on them by taking her to the dealership two miles away - who, I might add, were never trusted to do anything but an oil change.
I am frugal about the darnedest things.

Anyhoo, Garth, he of the loveliest blue eyes, jumped in car, we made a hard left turn in the parking lot, he jumped out, looked under car and said:

"Blah, blah, cover, blah, scraping, blah blah blah, couple of screws..."

(it was exactly like this Gary Larson cartoon - the dog side - not the cat side for once.) 

The rest was drowned out my my huge sigh of relief. You just cannot imagine. Well okay, maybe you can.

AND about ten minutes when Gene brought back the keys - he said - "No charge." !!!!!!

Oh Auto Logic, I do love you and only you.