Monday, January 29, 2007

Celebrate

A few days ago I wrote about how this was the week my brother passed away two years ago and all sorts of things came out on a public forum. There really should be a warning on drinking wine and blogging. Anyway, I decided that instead of remembering when Pat died, I will remember the days he lived. How he smiled, the twinkle in his eyes, and his love of laughter. He loved to make people laugh, even when the disease was at its worst. He didn't care. Life was funny and he wanted everyone to share in the joke. Just look at the twinkle!! Maybe it was because I was making fun of his Ohio State sweatshirt and told him he should be wearing a Syracuse Orange sweatshirt. I do believe his response was....Syracuse Sucks. He said that often.


Pat was not afraid to try anything new. During his healthy days he would snow and water ski, scuba dive, sky dive, rock climb and pretty much anything else you dared him to do. He wanted to experience it all. And damn it he did. That was lesson #1 I learned from him. Life is too short not to go out and try new things.

Lesson #2 was to laugh and make people laugh. Growing up I can remember he always had a ton of friends. He was like a magnet! People just wanted to be around him. I looked up to him so much and he was always proud of me. That I remember. He didn't push me aside as an annoying little sister (which in fact I was), but would let me hang out with him and his friends.

Lesson #3 was when there are things you can't change you deal with it and always be grateful. Although he was practically immobile and couldn't really speak except for a few words he still loved to have a good time. He would give people hugs (as much as he could), he would laugh and he would tease. When the nurses, doctors, or aides helped him he would always say thank you. Pat even said thank you to his hospice nurse. He was grateful. There are things that just suck in our lives, but there is so much more to be grateful.

So this week I am going to celebrate Pat's life, not dwell on his death and reflect on the lesson's he taught me.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

No-so-low fat snack

How does a good low fat snack go bad? You dip it in chocolate. And you enjoy every minute of it too.

I wanted to make some chocolate covered pretzels to take for a snack this week, but was too damn lazy to go to the store to get pretezels. But I really wanted something...then I remembered....we have a bulk supply of animal crackers! Ah ha! I love those Ah Ha moments.

Using a double boiler I melted some chocolate chips with a wee bit of soy milk and dipped those lovely bunnies, camel's, horses and sheep into the chocolately goodness to turn them into delicious no-so low fat, eat a handful at a time snack.

On another note, we bought new furniture today! Wooooohoooooooooo!!! Finally after 10 years we bit the the bullet and bought two new couches, a loveseat and chair. All are made of fake leather and just as, if not more, beautiful than real leather. The reason behind the faux leather is the dogs. We really need something that I can wipe the hair off and will put up with the wear and tear of greyhound laziness. I will post pictures when it arrives. The dogs are NOT going to be happy because their favorite futon is gone.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Moving on...

After my depressing post I thought I post something not so....depressing.

My dogs are bored. We have had some really cold weather and snow. Lots of snow. With the weather being so damn cold the dogs can only go out into the small dog yard to do their business. If I let them out to the big yard they get stuck because the ground is so cold it hurts their feet. But here is the thing. I have four dogs - going out several times a day in a small dog yard. When the snow melts....oh god. It is going to be shit city. Turds as high as the birds eye. It is SO going to suck.

I also come to realize my male greyhound is weird. He really is. For instance, he likes to play with a cat toy. Yes a cat toy. It is called a cat dancer. It is a feather with a bell on a long string attached to a stick. You can whip it around to make the feather dance making your kitty go bonkers. As we have come to find out it makes one particular greyhound bonkers too. Not only does Echo (my cat), Rimmy also loves it. Close your eyes and picture this....one cat jumping up to get this feather, at the same time, a 90 lb greyhound lunging forward to get the feather. Egads! Very scary and why I have to hide the damn freakin' thing in the closet!!

The other thing that I feel ranks Rim up there as one of the weirdest greyhounds on the planet is his habit of drilling his nose into my neck every night. He literally takes his nose and roots in my neck! Then for the rest of the night it is stinky hot greyhound breath and the sound of Darth Vader in my ear. Weird. Weird Weird!!

Random Ramblings

Another crazy week at work. I don't mind because right now it is good for me to be busy. When I am not busy I have time to think. To remember. For the next week I don't want to remember. This time two years ago my family and I watched my brother die a slow and painful death. It was ugly, it was brutal and there are moments that the memories of those two weeks damn near bring me to my knees. They are sharp and fly into my mind unexpectedly. The moment I got on the plane to meet with the doctors and nurses. The meeting when we decided not to give him a feeding tube and he would die. Hospice. The look in his eyes, the tears he shed, and how he was always thankful.

We never left his side. It was our promise. He wouldn't be alone. He was finally released on February 2nd - one week from his 38th birthday. This week will be random ramblings of those days. They won't make sense. They will be contradictory. They will be my penance.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A lesson in Coconut Milk

Last night was my first experience using coconut milk. It was a little scary. Yes, scary and yes, I led a very sheltered life not to have experienced coconut milk.

I was cooking up a batch of coconut red lentil curry soup. It called for a 15 oz of coconut milk, which I purchased on 1/13/07. Remember that date. I open the can and what I see is this solid paste? I poke it with a fork and there is liquid in the can, but it looked all nasty. What the fuc* is this? Is it bad? Is it supposed to look like it is has gone bad? It was can of white snot for godsake. I assumed it was bad so I looked at the expiration date on the can. Oh it expired baby, by TWO FREAKIN' YEARS!!!! It is expired in 2005. My grocery store is out to kill me. Alright that is stretching it a bit.

So now I am right smack dab in the middle of making my soup AND there is a blizzard going on outside. We live in the wonderful part of the city that falls in the middle of any snow band of lake effect that comes through. As I am in the kitchen cursing like Al Pacino in Scar Face I realize I have to go back to the store. Off I go. Driving off in the white abyass.

When I get to customer service I wasn't nasty or mean. It isn't their fault personally so no sense in taking it out of them. They are just teenager's working to make a few bucks. I ask for the manager and show her the expiration date. The look of complete horror and shock on her face was payment enough. She gave me the money back and gave me two free cans to replace. That is cool. I don't ever want to be one of those people who are opportunistic and want to get store stock for some expired coconut milk....well, unless they kill me, then yes, I would want a big payoff.

I get home open the can that doesn't expire till 2008 and what do I see? SOLID PASTE. Oh shit. So this IS how it is supposed to look like. Damn. Glad those cans where expired or else I would of felt like a great big AHOLE.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Here is Looking at You Kid

Okay, normally I don't post kid pictures, unless they are of the four legged variety, but I had to put these pictures of my nephew on my blog. They just made me laugh so hard that I had to share. My mother-in-law was diganosed with cancer and lost her hair. My sister-in-law's and her thought it would be cute to try her wig on my nephew.

You just KNOW these pictures are going to haunt him during his dating years!

What a week!

Tuesday was the start of the spring semester and things were hoppin' in my office. I love my job, I really do, but this week has taken a toll on me physically and mentally. See, I work for a career center at a University working with students on resumes, letters, internships, jobs, etc. This has been the busiest first week that I ever remember and I have worked there for 8 years! It has been non-stop from the minute I walk in to the time I leave of people wanting something from me. It was a give, give, give, give week. By the time I got home I was so exhausted that all I could do was sit and stare the T.V. I was literally talked out. Normally it isn't that bad, but we are short 2 staff members and when you are dealing with 1800 undergrads and 150 grads that is baaaaad. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with a new person starting on Feb. 1st. Wooo hooooooo!!

All this is going on at work and I was sick with a cold. Not a bad cold, but still feeling a little lousy. Thursday I decided to take some Dayquil to help me get through the day. Holy shit! I was HIGH AS A KITE on that stuff. What the hell! I couldn't focus, was hazy, was having trouble making decisions! It was sooooo bad. Seriously. It was like the Charlie Brown cartoon. When someone was talking to me all I was hearing was Wah Wah Wah Wah. Now normally I would enjoy this feeling...JUST KIDDING, but it is very difficult to do student appointments when you feel like your head is floating somewhere up on the ceiling. I managed to make it through the day, get home and had a wonderful crockpot of Tortilla Soup waiting for me. This soup is the bomb. Trac came over and I gave her a batch to take home for dinner for her and her hubby. She called me this morning raving about it.

You know I was thinking about this today. If a year ago you would of told me that I would be trading dinners with Trac, my vegan friend, I would of you told you that you were either on crack or full shit, or both. I remember way before I went veg, I was trying to make something that Trac could eat and was in a total panic! Seriously. I had NO freakin' clue what to make, how to make it, etc. A total mental meltdown. This makes me laugh now. It seemed so hard then and yet, now it is so easy, so natural to make a meal without using meat or dairy! Here I am making vegan meals and giving them to my vegan friends with confidence that it is a damn good dish. Just goes to show ya, life can lead you down paths you never thought you venture.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This weeks menu

Sunday: Mushroom, Black Bean, Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers. I have made this before and it was funkalious.

This week we are in for some nasty winter weather so I decided to make food that will warm you up from the inside out.

Monday - Eggplant Parmesan (vegan style)
Tuesday - Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup. First time making this.
Wednesday - Sticking with the curry theme I am going to make a Vegetable Curry.
Thursday - Making another appearance, Tortilla Soup.
Friday - Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup. This was highly recommended by Trac.

As the sweet snack for the week Vegan Peach Cobbler.
This week I have been fighting off a cold. My weapons of choice arem 1000 mg of vitimin C and E, with a healthy dose of Echinachea. Plus, trying to stay a distince from the typhoid Mary's of the office. As a back-up, slathering myself in anti-germ lotions, creams and sprays. All I have managed to do is hold back the waters before the dam breaks. However, the dam is about ready to break and sweep my butt down the river of hell. I think this morning's run did it. I knew better, but I did it anyway. Say hello to dumbass...her name is Bridget.

I woke up this morning to drizzingly rain that was going to turn over to snow. A good day to run inside, but I was to pick Trac and Cosmo up for our long run at the park. After going back and forth with myself, I decided to go to the YMCA and run on the treadmill. Just three miles and maybe do some lifting if I felt up to it. I called Trac. She LAUGHED at me for she was expecting my call....see this blog. It is true. I do not like to run in cold and rainy weather because when I get home it takes and extremely hot shower, layers of clothing and snuggling under 3-4 blankets for me to get warm. Yes, I am big ass sissy and I don't care. I am proud of it in fact. Anway, I get in the car, pull out of the garage and low and freakin' behold it has stopped raining. Shit, shit, shit, shit. Now I have NO excuse not to run at the park this morning. Yes, I still feel like a steaming pile of dog doo, but it isn't raining! I will never live it down with Trac if I don't go. I call her to tell her I am picking her up, but I am only going to run three miles.

I ran 5. Now I am riding the river with an elephant on my chest.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Cabbage Patch


I love cabbage. Any kind of cabbage, served anyway, raw, cooked and/or stuffed. It is a ball of yummy goodness. With the leftover cabbage from the stuffed cabbage rolls last week I decided to try the cabbage and tomato soup from La Dolce Vegan. Yet again, a fantastic soup recipe from Sarah Kramer. It is sweet due to a small amount of maple syrup, but not too sweet and it hides a hint of sour. Definitely a soup on a cold day to make you feel warm and fuzzy all over. Next is more roasted applesauce with walnuts. Then tofu dill for a sandwich from VwaV. Also very tasty.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Return of the Fishes

Tomorrow's lunch. Roasted applesauce that turned out fantastic. Nothing like homemade applesauce. Main course is horseradish and coriander crusted tofu -- not to bad, but not all the great either. It didn't have the zing I was hoping to get from the horseradish. But I made up for it with some wasbi mashed potatoes - ZING!!!

Tired old bones

Saturday was the dreaded long run day with the running group. It was time to up the mileage to 4.5. Shit. I felt like a gunfighter going off to a showdown -- will the west trail take me down or will I take down the west trail? Lets just say it was a draw and today I am feeling it.

One of my friends, Jen, just started running about a month ago. She and her greyhound Clifford joined us on Saturday. Jen stuck with Trac and Cosmo. All four of them did awesome. This was Jen's longest run to date and this was Trac's first LD after being sick for over a week. They started out strong and stayed strong.

My first .5 - mile is always hard for me for some reason. It takes awhile to get in the zone, to feel relaxed and comfortable. If after the first mile I don't get that feeling then I know I am so screwed for the rest of the run. Saturday was no different. I started out feeling like a hairball a cat coughed up. After the first mile I started to relax and entered the zone. The precious zone. Hello precious (doing my best Lord of the Rings impression).

I love the zone feeling. You feel like you are just gliding along, your body and breathing relaxed as you sink into the stride. BUT -- falling out of the zone hurts. At first you are stunned. Where did it go? It was just here? Where the F**K did it go!! as panic start to set in because you know it is gone. Saturday, the zone left my sorry ass around mile 4. After that it hurt. My back, my feet, my ass, everything. I don't know if I will ever be able to do a long distance run without a limb falling off.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Poor Sally

My old lady Sally had a tough couple days. Tuesday night I was in the kitchen putting dishes away when I notice her pacing around. It isn't out of the ordinary for her to be in the kitchen because she loves to see if something tasty fell on the floor. However, she seemed to be dancing. For a split second my inner voice told me she had to go outside. Sure enough she squats and pees right in front of me! When will I learn to listen to my inner voice? Anyway, I am shocked. This is not like her at all. I let her outside and sure enough she is running around the yard squating every few seconds to pee, with no pee. Yep. Sal has a UTI (urinary tract infection). Poor girl. Yesterday morning I called the vet and made an appointment for today at 10:40 a.m.

Now comes Poor Sally Part 2. I get home from work and let everyone outside. They go rip tearing out in the yard after a squirrel. I hear Sally yelp. Ah shit. She is walking around and not limping so I wasn't too worried. Everyone does their business and is ready to come in for dinner. I go out to inspect Sally to see if she is injured. As I am looking at her front paw, I look in between her toes and see a big puncture! Ah shit.

This has happened before to my dogs so I wasn't freaked out. Puncture wounds and scratches from all the sticks from the back wooded part of the yard. I usually keep it really clean with lots of antibotic ointment and it heals up nicely. But this one is different. There was blood coming from the back of her paw. I turn her paw over to look and sat there staring at it in disbelief --why can I see light? The stick went completely through the webbing of her toes! I could actually see right through her foot. So I immediately got on the phone to the vet and told them we have to move our appointment to immediately.

Sally is doing very well. No surgery, no stitches since it was a through and through. There isn't anything to sew up! AND she just missed the artery. We are doing a foot soak in this blue medicine 2 x a day and strong antibotics for the boo boo and UTI. Currently her nickname is swiss cheese.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New digs for the birds

My husband is obsessed with the birds in our yard. He worries if they have enough food, if they like the food he puts out, etc., etc. Everyday I find him at the kitchen window looking out to see if the morning doves, chicadees, cardinals or woodpeckers (I could go on and on) are enjoying the cornucopia of food outside. Now he is worried about the little chicadees during winter so he built this:


A winter bird house. The hole is just big enough for the little birds to get in to roost during the cold. Bill wanted me to make a special stamp for the house too. It reads: St. Francis Watch Over us.

Here is the inside:


Look at all those perches! Oh I hope they use the box because Bill will be devastated if they don't.

The return of the Bento!

Tomorrow it is back to work and time to get back on track with my eating habits. I have been really bad over the holiday and gained some pounds. Normally I wouldn't freak, but since I have been struggling getting my thyroid regulated weight has become an issue. The doc has been trying to get me out from being hypothyroid for about 4 months. During that time just maintaining my weight has been incredibly hard. However, I do believe we are at the right dosage level now. Wooo hooo! But that is no excuse to start slacking.

My bento contains a vegan stuffed cabbage roll and some mashed potatoes. Sooooo good. The cabbage rolls are stuffed with bulger wheat, walnuts and some kick ass spices. For dessert I have some raspberries & blueberries and some chocolate bunny crackers. My mid-afternoon snack is that cute little pear! When I look at how tiny it is the old commercial about tootsie rolls pops come to mind - The owl on the tree branch - how many licks does it take to eat a tootsie roll pop...one....twoooo....threeeee.....three.