Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wish It Tasted More Like Chicken

I voted for Luby's but Bob wanted more of a buffet style meal so we went to Palominos. The first mistake I made was to put what I thought was a scoop of dressing on my plate. I took a bite and realized it tasted like fish. It was actually a crab cake. I had to go rinse out my mouth. So I went back and asked for the location of the dressing. The lady pointed to the grayish goo next to the overcooked turkey drying out under the heat lamp and next to what they may have called gravy with floating carrot nuggets. The bad thing is that everything except for the pumpkin pie tasted like fish.

Okay, I didn't go for the food. I wanted to spend time with my family. Joe loaded up on fried chicken nuggets and was almost too full to eat anything else. Jeff talked him into getting a rib.

But like I said, Joe was really stuffed and had to rest up for dessert. Bob and Jeff came up with a plan that they could just take a nap there at the restaurant and in a few hours be ready for seconds. I didn't get why anyone would even think about making plans to get more of that delicious food. Joe laid there until Bob came back with pumpkin pie then all of the sudden he had the energy to get dessert.

Have you ever noticed that if you are trying to avoid having your picture taken you end up having a really bad picture taken? Bob, you might as well pose and smile and look like the handsome guy you really are.

But as long as I am talking about Bob I feel compelled to reveal that he has accused me of somehow paying off the doctor for the signed note excusing me from fixing Thanksgiving dinner. There is no money trail so I guess I got away with it.

After dinner we sat around a while just enjoying each other's company before we went home for the requisite nap. When the guys wake up we are going to Quantum Of Solace. How successful would I be if I surprised everyone and bought tickets to Twilight instead?

I am really looking forward to making a great dinner for Christmas. I never do a turkey because I hate to repeat Thanksgiving but I am really tempted to do it this year since it will not be a repeat.

John will be home for Christmas as long as he doesn't do any egregious act at the Naval Academy bad enough to get his holiday leave cancelled but not so bad to be separated from the service. Megan and Chris might be here too! Just imagine the Karaoke party on Christmas Eve.

All of this resting is doing me good. I went through all of the Black Friday ads and my adrenaline is pumping! This is a year when Walmart seems to be the place to be tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Cancelled

On Friday, after meeting Joe at school, I had an appointment with my doctor. I had been coughing and quite honestly, I could not walk across the street without becoming winded and having to sit down for 15 minutes to rest up from the exertion. He took a chest x-ray and informed me that I have pneumonia. I told him I was glad that I was in on Friday so that I could get the antibiotics so that I could be ready to do the Thanksgiving thing this week. He blew a gasket and told me that this was serious, that it wasn't like strep, and there was now way I was going to be well enough to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

So how does a healthy gal get pneumonia? I blame myself. I had been doing my famous Feast or Famine diet and it was a famine day. I went to bed kind of hungry and woke up about an hour later really hungry. I had a tin of cashews by my bed and grabbed a handful then went right back to sleep. I woke up two hours later choking on acid reflux. I must have aspirated the acid which started the downhill spiral. The lesson to be learned from this is either don't go to bed hungry, don't eat a snack while sleeping, or if you wake up hungry just go back to sleep. At least I am not contagious.

I've been taking the medicine since Friday and today is the first day that I am starting to feel better. I still have to rest up a lot and I am trying not to exert myself. And there is now only one day left until the big day.

I guess we will go to Luby's or something. Jeff volunteered to do all of the work, but I let him know that you have to shop for about two days and cook for about three days to get the entire meal done by yourself. He had a hard time believing this. All of that work for a thirty minute meal and 4 days of leftovers.

Okay, I am the type of person who makes my own cornbread several days in advance because I can't imagine buying those prefab seasoned bread crumbs. If you read my last post you also know that I am the type of person who grows my own herbs. It is this way with everything I make for the meal. It is all fresh, and made from scratch, not a store bought pie in the place. And I really enjoy the process.

Fortunately, I get to have a vicarious Thanksgiving experience this year through my daughter. She is going to cook a turkey! I've already given her thawing advice. I tried to convince her to go fresh but she refused. I'm not going to give her brining lessons or anything complicated. The goal is to get the turkey perfectly roasted in Michigan while I am on the phone in Texas. What a cooking challenge!

You can imagine that after the doctor specifically told me not to cook Thanksgiving dinner I did not broach the subject of Black Friday. I figure if he did not specifically forbid the activity then maybe I could use my own judgement to see if I am feeling up to the task. I have been checking out the ads online but I haven't crafted the battle plan yet. I will probably make two sets of plans. One that includes me if I am feeling okay and one that instructs Bob and Jeff down to the last minute detail about my expectations.

Yes, you read it right. Bob has been converted to Black Friday shopping and has been a devotee for several years. So in a year when I have to cancel Thanksgiving I still have something for which I can be grateful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cilantro Secrets Revealed and Love is Still the Same in the 5th Grade


I had complained about my anemic cilantro over a month ago and just look at what happened. I can't take credit for this. Evidently, cilantro likes a cool climate. It is healthy and robust and I really enjoy using it in cooking and salads.


My Italian parsley did well in the heat but it is doing even better in cooler weather.


The Purple basil likes the heat and cooler weather too. My regular Italian basil and lemon basil are now looking sickly and are going to seed.

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I met Joe and Daniel at school today for the annual Thanksgiving Feast. I was totally entertained by the antics of fifth graders. Alexis was trying to sit by Dillon but about 3 or 4 minutes after she sat next to him he would switch tables. She would wait about 45 seconds so she wouldn't give herself away and then she would go to his new table. Then three other fifth grade girls would follow her, until he switched tables again. This went on for about 40 minutes.

This is a picture of Joe with Alexis in line waiting to get their trays. Joe and Daniel happily informed me that they and Paul are the only boys Alexis does not have a crush on in the forth and fifth grades. I was having a great time and wished Bob was there to enjoy the dinner and show. I decided to buy him a tray of Spring Creek's finest cuisine and heat it up for him in the microwave for dinner tonight. I am even going to give him my extra milk. Now that is love. I know how to catch a man.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feast or Famine compared to the Morning Banana Diet

Every year after Halloween Deanna, Megan and I go on a diet. We have developed this over the past few years. We started out eating yogurt, coconut granola, salad with no dressing and maybe some chicken. That was the first year. We can't eat yogurt without gagging and the granola, while yummy, created some pretty severe gastro-intestinal problems, emphasis on the gas. So we have evolved. Now we drink a light and fit yogurt smoothie every morning while eating a banana and a handful of cashews for breakfast. Lunch is a simple low carb meal, like tuna lettuce wraps. We tried pretending to eat dinner the first year by pushing the food back and forth on our plates so no one would notice but some how the food was always miraculously gone. So now we just try to eat another low carb/ low fat meal. We skip dessert and skip snacks. We allow ourselves one feast a week. We call this diet the Feast or Famine Diet. So, when we go to a bunch of holiday parties we have to choose just one a week to eat whatever we want. At the other parties we just hang out at the vegetable tray.

By the time Christmas rolls around we are pretty famished but we generally lose about 5 pounds each for our effort. But the pounds are actually more valuable than meets the eye. Do you realize that most women gain about ten pounds during that same period? If I am down 5 pounds I am actually down 15 pounds because I have to add in my projected weight gain. This is new math at its best.

A lot of people say that they are just going to try to not gain weight during the holidays. I have found that this just doesn't work for me and I haven't really seen anyone else who has been successful with this tactic. For me, during the holidays, if I am not actively losing weight, I am gaining weight.

We were experimenting for the last few weeks trying out the Japanese Morning Banana Diet but we just felt too hungry. The Morning Banana diet is all of the rage in Japan right now. I have read that it is hard to even find bananas in that country. This is the basic diet: eat 1,2 or 3 bananas for breakfast with a glass of tap water. Eat whatever you want for lunch. Eat a 3:00 PM snack. Eat whatever you want for dinner. Don't eat anything after 8:00 PM. The press is that a lot of Japanese people are losing weight, as if they need to lose weight. Sounds easy, but I just can't seem to make it without breaking the diet at about 9:30 AM. On the other hand there is something magical about the morning combination of yogurt, bananas and nuts. I don't seem to get hungry until after 2:00 PM.

One added benefit to the Feast or Famine Diet is that in January when the diet is officially over everyone else is trying to take off ten pounds and no one is tempting us with rich food at every turn. It is like having a 6 week grace period after the diet.

It is not bad to be on a diet this time of year. It gives me an excuse and a reason to plan my holiday eating. I actually talk to people at the parties and when I go home I have self respect. Also it makes me very picky about the time I choose to have the feast. For example, if I am planning a feast and get to the party and the food is gross or just mediocre, I change my feast day.

After explaining the beauty of this plan I have to admit that I really look forward to Christmas every year. I think I may be just as excited as the four year-olds. I finally get to eat carbs! I am not really interested in what is under the tree unless someone would wrap me up a package of rolls with butter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Becoming A Real Boy

Jeff came home from Houston this weekend. His wallet had been stolen and he was trying to reestablish his identity. When you lose everyting you just are not a real person. He had lost his birth certificate and social security card sometime during his stint in the navy. I had ordered a copy of his birth certificate because as the mother I am entitled to get one from the State of Alaska. When he got home the first thing we did was get his driver's license. This was a lot easier than Jeff thought it would be. Maybe if you bring your birth certificate and your mom and you still resemble the picture on your original license, that is enough. Next we went to get a new social security card. The only reason he was able to get that was because he could answer all of the questions like birth date, mother's maiden name...The guy said the Birth Certificate proved little, only that someone had been born. The concern was that some unscrupulous people are going around overtaking the social security numbers of people who have died.

He waited around until yesterday to see if his ATM card had come in. No, things like that never come in as quickly as you need them. Jeff left this morning and I will have to mail him his goods when they come in. I had to do this routine for myself last January when I left my wallet and phone in a restroom in Gallop, New Mexico on my way home from Las Vegas. I never found anything and had to cancel and replace all of my cards. This experience has made me be more careful. I gave Jeff a smaller wallet with a chain. I am not blaming Jeff for getting ripped off but if he carries around that double sized wallet that is exposed in his back pants pocket, he is really tempting every pick pocket in sight. Discreet wallets seem a lot less tempting to me.

Jeff took Joe to see Kung Fu Panda on Saturday night. They made up a new recipe called a ravioli omelet. I am pretty sure it is an omelet with ravioli filling. Not too tempting to me but Joe just can't stop raving about it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bad Day Defined

After stewing in my disappointment about Obama's victory I was about to do a blog about how ugly Michelle Obama's dress was last night during his acceptance speech. I mean the dress was just screaming "Instantly slims you 10 pounds." As if our eyes were going to be drawn to the red splotchy inset instead of the wide black side panels trying to hide her over-sized hips. Had she truly been convinced her husband was going to win, perhaps she should have gone on a diet to lose ten pounds instead of buying a horrid dress to do the job. He has been way up in the polls for over a month. That is enough time to take care that fashion problem. As I was trying to figure out how to get her picture on my blog I found out that many other people felt the same way about the future first lady's style and have written extensively about it, so I am freed up to help all of my fellow Republicans put this into perspective.

Tonight I went to a visitation. Our Elementary Principal's baby daughter died this weekend from SIDS. I think she was about 4 months old. I looked at the collage someone had put together and there was little Emily dressed up as a Tootsie Roll for Halloween. From what I understand, she had been put down for a nap on Saturday night and she never woke up.

Jennifer is a pretty popular principal with a lot of friends and connections. I could hardly find a parking space at the mortuary. The flowers were beautiful. Emily was beautiful, but this was really sad. Jennifer is really holding up well considering the circumstances.

I wish I could throw her a lifeline and tell her that the road ahead is not going to be tough but that would be a lie. I can only welcome her to the club. This is how parents who have lost a child define the special bond we have with other people who have lost children. It is a fraternity that no one wants to join because the initiation fee is way too high. But once you are in, you have some friends who can really help you like no one else because they have been through it before.

I don't know of any other group of people who could understand why I didn't wear a seat belt for two years after Matthew died. I purposely did not put one on because I figured if I were to get in a wreck or hit by a drunk driver, I wanted the result to be big. It is not as if I was purposely trying to end my life, its just that I was not going to let an opportunity to pass to the other side slip by because of a mere safety precaution. See, I told you that only club members would get this.

Another characteristic of club members is that we don't feel that our families are in that protective bubble. When someone is late and I don't hear from them I automatically assume they have been killed in a car crash. This was a pretty tough road for the teen drivers in our family. As a matter of fact, when Megan was a senior she was in a car that was totalled by one of her friends. As the crash was occurring the last thought going through her mind was, "Mom, is going to be so mad about this." Fortunately, everyone walked away from the wreck. I was feeling guilty about making my kids feel guilty about dying. But then I came to the conclusion that I truly felt this way and I couldn't apologize for that.

I was telling a non-club member about how I try to live my life with no regrets. I realize that every time I kiss my husband or children goodbye it might be for the last time. She tried to see my point but told me that it would be impossible to live life that way without faith in the future. I tried to see her point, but as a club member I have left the Garden of Eden. I know by personal experience that my family is not exempt from death.

One of the best lessons I have learned from all of this is the definition of a Bad Day. A bad day is when your child dies or you have to go to your kid's funeral or viewing. I haven't had a bad day since May of 1996. Every other problem pales in comparison to a truly bad day. I love mundane days. I am grateful every time we get back from a road-trip and nothing major happened. I can tolerate failure and disappointments because its not the end of the world. As long as my kids are here there is hope for the future. Occasionally, I break through and everything works according to plan. When this happens I am having a good day. And rarely, life goes better than expected. Maybe this is the definition of a beautiful day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sarah Palin Visits Far North Dallas and Holds a Mini- Election for Trick Or Treaters On Our Front Porch

I decided to ditch the normal Halloween decorations and breakout the Fourth of July decorations. I filled the slushie machine with red and blue slushies. I dressed up in a red suit and put on a flag pin and flag earrings, put my hair in an updo and greeted my little guests as Sarah Palin.

It was pretty fun! Sarah is very easy to imitate with her Canadian-style accent and catchy colloquialisms. She gives us way too much material.

When the kids came up to the door I shook their hands and introduced myself as Sarah Palin, down from Alaska, campaigning for the McCain-Palin ticket. I then offered them a chance to vote for president by choosing a red slushie for the McCain-PALIN ticket or choosing a blue slushie for Brock Obama. If a kid picked the blue slushie I had to inform him that he would only be getting half of the slushie because I was going to give the other half to poor children whose daddies make a whole lot less money than his daddy makes. I explained that I didn't think the kids got the whole pie analogy because kids don't really like pie, but they like slushies so maybe they could understand what this election is all about.

At this point most of the kids changed their minds and decided they really wanted a red slushie. Of course, several kids stuck to their guns and said they didn't care if they were only getting half a slushie, they were voting for Brock. I didn't make any kids cry but there were a lot of conflicted kids. What should you do if you really like blue slushies but you want McCain to win? Most kids bit the bullet and got the color of their favorite candidate. Well, isn't that the way it goes in politics? I guess this is good training for the future for all of these pre-adults.

Some parents apologized for their kids if they choose a color of slushie not in keeping with the family political philosophy. These kids were usually pretty young and either couldn't read, or just didn't care. They were just choosing the most delicious slushie. The parents usually enjoyed the show. The Dems thought that I was making a joke of Sarah Palin's stupidity. I got corrected for misspelling Brock's name. I had to claim innocence, "You mean he's not an American?" The Republicans thought I was putting the whole thing in terms so simple that even a child could understand. I haven't heard any complaints and my house did not get egged last night so I don't think I offended anyone.

I think CNN and all of the other political pollsters have it wrong. According to my very scientific and accurate poll, the McCain-Palin ticket is going to kick-butt on Tuesday. As proof, I have a whole freezer full of blue slushies that I could not even give away.

About Me

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I am a stay at home mom but the clock is ticking. My husband and I only have one child left at home. I enjoy shopping and finding great bargains.