Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Musings

Yes, still a bit burned out on blogging.  However, a few thoughts have come to me today.  But not as burned out as the Chairman.  He's been... well... 

No he doesn't have hemorrhoids (tee-hee)  I am simply trying to imply he's burning the candle at both ends.   

I was enjoying a very peaceful and spring-like day today.  Until one of the MYP told me about a track meet I hadn't planned on attending (and they always seem so very long).  So off we went.  Lisi came too.  She's quite popular at events like this.  

A certain someone is graduating from 8th grade in our house.  She had to pick out a baby photo to show at the slide show.  She picked this one.  It's about 11 months old.  We were home from China about six weeks.  She finally mastered sitting up and beginning to crawl after being cramped in a bassinet for nine months on the other side of the world.  (insert wistful sigh)

If you have time to kill and have fifty minutes, you might want to watch this.  I found this funny.  I love clean comedians.  

Today I was feeling blue.  Then the phone rang.  Someone said a couple things in that phone call that were exactly what I needed to hear (and maybe didn't want to).  The incredible thing was that she had no idea what I was struggling with.  And there it was.  The advice and answers I needed at just the right time from a messenger without any idea of what was taking place.  Times like this remind me that we are not alone in our struggles...  it's a very comforting thing.

Well enough Musings for tonight.  The Chairman is already looking at the back of his eyelids and I want to look at mine too.  Thanks again for listening!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blogging Burnout

No, I don't think I have self-doubt.  I'm just burned out once again.  And please don't fill up the comments section on how everyone faces this at one point or another.  I appreciate your love from afar, would drink in the compliments, but I'm not looking for - or deserving of it.  

This week I'm burned out of blogging.  There I've said it.   I still enjoy reading others people's prose.  I look forward to being entertained with spectacular photos, funny wit, beautiful babies, and delicious recipes.  I just don't want to do that right now.  

I'm at an interesting point in life.  I have MYP and not little ones.  Yes, there are hilarious stories, tear-stained moments, exhilarating times, and proud-mom moments.  But I cannot share them like I once did.  Because they are young people and not little people.  They have their own lives and interests and boundaries and I want to respect them.  I don't want our MYP to fail to come to me in fear that whatever transpired or confided about might some day end up in cyber-world.  So I refrain.  Which leads to much less 'material' or whatever you call it.

Yes, the pup and kitty are still here and still scrapping and still lying beside each other with sweet devotion.  To me, they are incredibly cute.  But one can only share so many cat and dog stories until someone deems you a bit 'over the top' with your pets.  So I refrain.

The Chairman.  My Chairman.  He's as sure and steady and predictable as the sun and moon.  As a husband, that is a wonderful quality that I appreciate and love.  As  far as blogging fodder, not so much.  

What does this mean?  I have no idea.  There's a real possiblily that Monday Musings will be back in operation on... you guessed it!  Monday!  Or not.  Time will tell.  

So there you have it.  Blogging Burnout.  Or maybe it is simply the fact that I really haven't had much in my brain all these years anyway.  (Don't answer that.)  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Musings

Nothing.  That's right.  I just don't have anything to share with you on this Monday of Musings.  Really!  

The sun is almost shining and we might see 60 degrees today.  

The adorable cat keeps slaughtering birds and mice and shrews and moles and other various species of rodents.  It seems somehow 'wrong' to fill the feeder and watch him wait for the birdies to come.

I took three girls 10/11 years old to the mall for a few hours on Saturday.  One of them bought the other two  some fancy-schmancy java chip something at Starbuck's.  The combo of sugar/coffee and silly girls was just too much for them and especially me.  Luckily I was driving them home by the time the mixture hit their bloodstream.  

My darling youngest daughter told me yesterday as I kindly drove her and her sister to a friends house that my belly is sticking out too much lately.  Then she proceeded to demonstrate what it looks like and suggested she be my personal trainer to help me lose weight.  

It doesn't help that I love cooking and I love food and I'm almost 48. 

Or that last night's FB feed had the following recipes on my screen:  
"25 awesome cupcake recipes, Dorito chicken casserole, peanut butter cookie and chocolate trifle, firecracker onion rings, homemade marshmallow fluff (seriously?)"... 

The after-school schedule looks just slightly less busy that an air traffic control tower.  I can't wait for a couple of these extra-curriculars to be over.

I made my first Dutch Baby!  The family gave it rave reviews.  My new cast iron is worth its weight (tee-hee).  

I just cleaned our bathroom top to bottom.  The noxious fumes from the ammonia cleaner about made me ditzy.  Yes, I said ditzy, not dizzy.

I need to walk so the aforementioned belly doesn't grow to enormous proportions.  I have an unrelenting trainer.  

Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thunderous Thursday

No, I didn't take the following picture.

This is basically what I see.  Rain and more rain.  Like lots more.  Like maybe 3" more on top of the 4" we just recently got.  I doubt we hear newscasters saying how low the water table is in dairyland for quite awhile.  It's been incredibly cool too.  And just think!  In five months we'll feel the cool, crisp air of fall again!  I'm encouraging like that.

Yes, the Boston Marathon was heavy on our minds as well.  It's funny how something far away can hit close to home very quickly.  There was a friend from our area running in it.  She was close to the finish when the tragedy occurred.  Many of us worried and waited and were thankful to hear she was ok.  Just read in yesterday's paper that the MYP's pediatrician was actually at the finish line cheering on her sister.  Glad she's ok as well!  

I was at Sam's Club yesterday.  I noticed a big cart pre-loaded for pickup near the front.  It was for a local funeral home.  There was a case of soda, a box of paper toweling, and lots and lots and lots of Kleenex.  Made sense.  

Sometimes I wonder if I'm losing my mind.  Or it is slipping.  Or I'm thinking of one thing and doing another. I'm often surprised to see the cat or dog outside when I think he/she are in.  I hear the microwave beep and wonder what was inside.  I wonder about part-way through a shower, 'did I shampoo yet?'.  I hope I'm a cheerful crazy lady when it comes to that.  

Today I looked at the schedule for after school and had a wee bit of panic.  Child #1 has piano lessons and then a volleyball match at another school north of here.  Child #2 is running the scoreboard at school which is followed by volleyball practice.  Child #3 has a small choir practice and then track practice.  I realized at some points in the evening I need to be three places at one time.  Refer to the above paragraph.  Maybe that's why I'm a bit out of it.  Or maybe not.

The other day while talking to one of the MYP, I was describing what it was like to have a 6 month old, a 2 year old and 3 year old.  And I got wistful.  And emotional.  And sad.  And wishing.  Wishing I could relive a day with those little babies again.  I would love to smell the soft baby neck and wipe the little eye that had a blocked tear-duct.   I would love to pick up that chubby 2-year old boy and squeeze him.  Then as he wiggled free throw him a little ball in our small back yard.  I'd love to listen to my 3-year old say 'opio' for open.  I'd love to lay next to her on her pink-covered double bed and watch her suck her blankie and giggle about nothing.  My babies are gone.  But not my memories.  I often heard other parents tell me, 'please enjoy those days because they go so fast'.  Now it is my turn to say that.  Yes, I know I've said I love to see them grow.  But just for a day.  I'd love to go back and sit on the recliner reading 'Brown Bear' or 'Goodnight Moon' with all three little people glumped together on my lap.  

Well I need to go shopping now... 
And then walk Lisi...

And dream of a day like this...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lounging with Lisi

There's a saying, "let sleeping dogs lie".  And boy do I ever wish she would.  

Hello!  This is your good friend Lisi again.  I've been quiet on here lately.  There really hasn't been much to share.  The big and little people left me awhile ago with another Big Lady.  They were gone a very, very, very long time.  I missed them a lot.  The Big Lady that came to stay with me was very big.  Not big like wide-big, but tall as in tall-big.  Got that?  She walked me with very long strides and made a much nicer fast-paced walk than I get with my own big lady.  And she didn't yell much at all.  I wish my Big Lady would learn from people like that other Big Lady. 

I suffer greatly around here.  There just isn't enough hugs and love pats and smoochies and warm, soft cuddly things to make my life complete.  I caught the Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway taking some pictures this morning on her phone.  I'll upload them here so you can see my typical morning.  Then you can be the judge about my suffering and sleeping arrangements.

I start my day by begging for scrambled egg scraps.

Then we move on to the reading nook.  A few times a week, the Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway sits on the floor and lets me pretend I'm a lap dog.

I LOVE those times but after awhile Big Lady complains that her legs are numb.  

Sometimes she does goofy stuff with me like this:

I have to be patient with her because she doesn't have much of a life and thinks this is funny.

When she gets done messing around with me I head to my bed.  It's a pretty sweet slumber place.

I love the feeling of laying on my squeaky toys.  I'm not sure why, but it just feels good.

Oh wait!  Big Lady is heading for the office.  So just to be close I always move from my bed to here.  I like to be close to her at all times.  You never know when she just might want to go take a walk.  I wouldn't want her to forget me.  

Oh good grief.  Look who just strolled by and decided to get cozy.  Good thing I like mouse-breath.

So there you have it.  The many ways I lounge around here.  I suffer so much sometimes that it was important for you to know.  I hope your living conditions are better than mine.  

Oh!  I saw this cartoon.  It is soooo true.  

That Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway used to shower me with little liver treats when we were in doggy school.  Now?  Not so much.  I highly encourage any young pups out there to play dumb as long as you can.  I didn't and now I hardly get any treats unless one of my Grandpas come.

Now back to my nap... so please.  Let sleeping dogs lie...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Notes from the Chef

Since I kinda-sorta mused on Friday, I think today will be more juicy food-related tidbits.  This will be quite random and so I apologize if your brain seizes in confusion.

* I just bought my first cast iron pans.  I got a buy one-get one and so I got a skillet and square grill pan.  With the exception of their incredible weight as a drawback, so far I love them.  Especially in sizzling the fajitas the other night.  I felt like we had walked into Chilis.  Except for the fact, I had sliced and diced it all myself.  There's something spooky about non-stick pans losing their non-sticky-ness and wondering if we ate it or what...

* Kale.  My granola-crunching, barefoot in the dirt friends have been extolling the virtues of kale.  I have done some reading about it.  It is a super-food to say the least.  So I've been stir-frying it up at least once or twice a week and feeding the Chairman and the MYP.  I made kale chips the other night.  It used up a LOT of kale.  The crunchy salty kale we munched on was tasty.  And healthy.  A win!

* I love using condensed milk in place of cream.  I am learning to use and love plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.  Cholula hot sauce (the one with the wooden top) goes in anything.

* I got a new delivery of hard red wheat berries.  I know you hobby people quiver over a basket of yarn.  Or a new delivery of card stock and ribbons.  Hats off to you!  For me I get that same 'rush' looking at a hundred+ pounds of grains waiting to be milled and put into the oven.  Last night I tried out this recipe.  I tweaked it a bit by putting some milk in for the water and using more whole wheat flour than they asked.  I also added a couple tablespoons of dough enhancer.  Rave reviews I tell you...

* I made my own dough enhancer a couple days ago.  I used a recipe I found here.  So far it is a winner.

* I thoroughly enjoy cooking for the family but for me the biggest challenge is figuring out what to make.  I try to vary the menu with beef, pork, chicken, fish/seafood, or no meat at all.  That kind of helps me come up with new ideas.  Any other tips out there?

* The older I get, the more I use intuition.  The more I have my own concoctions for putting together pasta, salad dressings, making waffles, etc.  I suppose sometime I should write them down.  But it's hard to put an amount on a dab of this and a dollop of that.

* With the exception of Betty Crocker and a few family recipe books/box, all my cookbooks are in the basement collecting mildew.  I "Google" recipes often.  My main source that I love is  Want a banana bread recipe?  Bam!  Here are 500 to choose from based on ratings.   So here's some recipes I've tried and were a great success.  Note that some are certainly not low in sugar or fat.  But once in awhile...

homemade brownie mix
chocolate chip cookies
boneless wings
chocolate cake  (note:  I used cold brewed coffee for the water)
Noodles and Company pesto cavatappi
hot ham and swiss sandwiches
roast beef in crock pot

There are many others and I hope to post more links in time.  Until then...

this nearly happens on a nightly basis

And I quote:

Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is.
Annoying the cook will result in smaller portions.
Old cooks never die.  They just get de-ranged.
There is a lot more juice in grapefruit than meets the eye.
As a child, my family's menu consisted of two choices:  take it or leave it.
It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts when eating a homegrown tomato.
Chili represents your three stages of matter:  solid, liquid, and eventually gas.
An empty belly is the best cook.
Condensed milk is wonderful.  I just don't see how they can get a cow to sit down on those little cans.
You can tell how long a couple has been married by whether they are on their first, second, or third bottle of Tabasco.
A smiling face is half the meal.

Happy cooking!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Frumpy Friday

Frumpy.  I like that.  That's how I feel.  The weather is remarkable in a bad way.  Yesterday, I took Lisi for a walk in a new condition I had never experienced.  What best would describe it is driving mist.  The 30 mph winds mixed with a light mist.  Well lets just say I was soaked to the skivvies.

Yes, it is (too) cold.  It keeps raining.  It is cloudy.  I looked at the ten day forecast just now.  It is to be cloudy and/or raining and chilly for the next ten days.  At least we have confidence there will be LOTS of May flowers!  tee-hee.  But for now, the wood stove is still burning.

When we bought our home five years ago, we didn't know we were buying lake-front property.
That is just across the road from us.  Seagulls have been swarming.  A pair of mallards have taken up residence.  If I see other pairs of animals starting to head this direction, I'll let you know to start building something that floats.

Our resident sickies are back in the saddle.  The residual cough is alarming.  

I know you all are just dying to know.  My shoulder continues to improve.  I have seen my super-clean-cut-reddish-haired chiropractor a couple of times this week.  He speaks in soothing tones right before he does his magic with moving bone-parts back where they should go.  He said my neck was out of joint.  Better than my nose I'd say...  I hear that's worse.  In fact, says it is a person that is in a bad mood because he's offended.  

We are on automatic renewal with our local newspaper.  I did some leg-work and realized I could get it for half the price through a website.  So I called to fuss and just like that!  I saved $150/year.  It pays to fuss.

The other day it was cold and drizzly and one of the MYP said that she was going out to do flips on the trampoline (yes, this is the daughter that had a broken arm recently).  I told her it was cold and wet and not a good idea.  She said, (and I quote) "I'm going outside and having experiences and fun when I am young because when you are a cranky old mom all the fun stops."  Well thank you my love.  About two minutes later, she comes bursting in the back door.  My feet are numb!  I didn't react.  I just smiled wistfully like "cranky old moms" do.  

Today is Simba's first birthday!  I am guessing about 2% of the reading audience actually cares.  He's basically sleeping his birthday away on a soft blanket.  But once we start singing and put the candle on top of the pile of tuna, I'm thinking he'll think this day is great!  

both watching the Chairman head off to make more pennies this morning
That's about all I have for you this time... time to go out once again and brave the elements all in the name of exercise.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Musings

Yes, those are thermometers.  Yes, that is a boy and a girl.  Yes, that is me with the bouffant hairdo.  I might try that once I start coloring my hair a lovely shade of brown (don't hold your breath).

The timing actually couldn't have been worse.  You see yesterday was a very special day if you know what I mean.  Luckily, there are means and ways and numbers to call for the elderly (and in our case, the sick).  So I sat down with my books and called in and listened.  I had company as these two were on the floor below me.
I was thankful for their company even though their young bodies were little steam engines.  And I was thankful that the Chairman suggested we each take a turn.  Yes, technology is wonderful.  But you can't put a price on seeing loved-ones faces and just being there.  

Yes, technology brings changes to life.  Such as getting a text message from daughter #1 saying I should bring up something to drink or eat.  I remember just yelling from my bed.  Must be too much effort.  

This illness did bring back a memory.  I had a mean mom.  Well in actuality, she was wise.  And practical.  And saw through me like a window pane.  One time I decided I'd sure like to miss school.  A big test was happening and I didn't feel ready.  So I got out the old mercury thermometer (you know the kind that you shook down and had to hold a certain direction to actually see the temperature and the kind that kill you with mercury poisoning?).  I decided to run some hot water over it and then pop it in my mouth to be certain I had a right-proper fever so my mean mother would know I needed to stay home.  If my memory serves me right, the thermometer broke and I was stricken with poisoning.  Or it registered 147 degrees.  Nonetheless, my gig didn't work as planned and I boarded the bus and faced the test.  See?  I told you she was unreasonable.

The mice in the neighborhood must think spring is here because they are on the move and getting caught by our tiger-tom.  In fact, we have three on the front porch in various degrees of parts missing.  I think tiger-tom has had so many he's just plain full, but can't help getting the next one that scurries by.

Lisi and Simba had a terrifically terrible wrestling match the other night.  There were growls and snarls and caterwauling.  I stayed out of it while they were giving each other the business.  I looked down when all was quiet and saw that Lisi had won that round.  I love how the picture turned out - the content look of the dog and the irritated look of pinned-down cat. 

Well that's all I plan to muse about today.  I thought spring was coming, but I see a good chance of snow in a few days.  **sigh**

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I won't call it musings because this might be more bullet-pointy than words.  Lets see what happens.

I'm kinda like a horse heading back to the barn after a vacation.  Can't get back soon enough.  Burst out the door in the driveway and run for the furry friends.  Embrace the sights of home again.  I'm very thankful for the feeling home brings.  Safety, warmth, and love.  There are some of you that willingly don't have homes.  I just hope that you can be 'home' wherever you go.  We all need that cozy feeling.

The trip.  Wow.  It was wonderful.  In every way.  We left and spent the first night at a humongous water park in Ohio.  The capacity of the water park was about 2,357 people.  They fit in 2,360 for sure.  The MYP figured out the system and got up early when the park opened and got all the rides in they wanted.

We continued our journey east and found ourselves on this farmette with four MYP and some parents that had their welcome mat glistening when we drove in the driveway.

We learned about life in a different part of the country.  We learned about cutting trees and chickens and a well-organized family that works together.  We appreciate their kindness and friendship.

Next stop was just outside of DC.  We enjoyed a special privilege so much.  There truly is 'no east or west'. After that we were kindly invited to the home of these people.

They are important to us for this reason.  They were some of the first people that encouraged us in the adoption journey many years ago since they had gone through the same struggles except that they went to Russia.  We had just wonderful heart-sharing conversation at their very open home with another family.  Yes, vacationing is wonderful.  However, the high spots are the people.

Next was a couple days as a tourist!
changing of the guard

Arlington National Cemetery

Some relatives found their resting spot there!

the President's pad
As you may know, parking is an incredible challenge in DC.  We drove in and low and behold, found a metered parking spot just one block from the White House!  But it came with a price... we returned 20 minutes after the parking time was allowed and now we have $100 less in our back pocket.

Mr. Jackson at the US Capitol was one of the best tour guides I've ever experienced
 As you can tell, we were dressed for the death march hiking that comes with touring.  We put on over six miles the first day and probably three the second.

The Chairman was so thoughtful.  It started to spit some rain and he suggested the the MYP and I just wait in the truck for a bit while he went off to explore some building he wanted to see.  He even suggested that I take a little nap.  HAHAHA.  Three kids.  In a truck.  And I'm to nap.  HAHAHA!  He's a funny guy.

About mile 4.7, one of the MYP wondered why we weren't back at the hotel swimming.

Speaking of the hotel.  We stayed at a hotel that was flawless.  It had sufficient room for our family.  Free breakfast.  Free night "supper" which turned out to be quite tasty (catered from Hooters (!) if you must ask!), free laundry.  Extremely clean and helpful people.  It was so good I went to Trip Advisor and said as much.

Tollways emptied our pockets.  Like $50 heading east and $50 heading back for home.

The cleaner the toilets, the more likely to have those little protective paper things.  I wish it were the other way around.

And now we are home!  Thirteen hours of non-stop driving by the Chairman.  His request.  Three loads of laundry down and at least three to go.  Bread out of the oven.  Lisi and Simba were in very good care while we were away.  However, they seem very needy now that we are all back.  That's ok.  I like to nurture.

Super-special days are yet ahead before we head back to the routine of life again.  Sorry this was so long!