Monday, September 27, 2010

moving forward...

So I am mostly back on my feet after the mind shattering pain that was my grandmother's death & funeral.  She died a week ago today.  We buried her on Friday.  I now understand the saying "wracked with grief".  I didn't know it was possible to cry so hard or have my body shake so badly.  I've never experienced a headache like the one the day after her funeral.  My clinical husband diagnosed me with severe dehydration from crying so much.  Things I didn't know were possible.

I am so glad it is over.  Not grams' life, but her death & funeral.  I can go back to just being her granddaughter.  I don't need to be strong or in charge any longer.  I don't have to make decisions any more.  And most of all, I don't have to worry.  That is the most liberating feeling of all.

Her death was much like the last 16 years of her life -- on her own terms.  While she had cancer for the past 9 months -- check that, we have KNOWN about it for the last 9 months, but she probably had cancer for years -- she only suffered for the final weekend.  And she really only suffered for a few hours before we started plying her with morphine.

At any rate, she is gone.  I will never be the same.  But I have to move forward.  I am actually looking forward to moving forward.

So when I have times like this and all else fails, I go back to my zen.  The thing that brings me the most comfort.  I break out my spinning wheel.  The flow of the fiber through my fingers is a hypnotic, tranquil experience.  It helps me to find my center.  It brings me peace.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Linkie Love

I'm not feeling particularly great today.  I am filled with the owies.

I am learning all about nerve blocks.  Apparently one is in my near future.  I just hope it helps.

Since I don't have a ton to say, I'll hit you with some links of some of the people I love...

UnixSage - my husband

For the Love of Cooking - my oldest son's girlfriend

Painted Spring - my boss

Adventures of the Rock Star Dyer - my co-worker

New Horizons - my favorite college freshman

The Fix My Friend Project - me & my bestie

and last but not least, my work blog - Paca-Blog

Go give them some love.

Today's Boo photos...

medium son giving the boo his morning goodbye hug

boo in full sprint, delighting in the day

Monday, September 13, 2010

Still alive & somewhat kicking

A week with no posts -- gasp!
What happened to that new leaf thing I promised you?

Well, I have a good excuse, a really good excuse, actually.

I spent most of last week in the hospital.

Apparently my body doesn't like me very much.  Or I should say parts of my body, namely my anti-bodies and nerve endings don't like the rest of my body.

So I didn't put the boo on the bus last week.  The ever-amazing O & A took over all parenting duties as I got poked & prodded, injected & had blood draws, laid on tables & inside big thumping machines.  And spent a lot of time just sleeping in a hospital bed.  I watched more TV last week then I have probably watched in the past 3 months.  And daytime TV really sucks.  Now I know why I don't watch!

So anyway, enough about all that.  I am home, I am recovering.  I am a big fan of pain patches.  I now have 3 new doctors; a new surgeon, a new rheumatologist & a new pain specialist. I will go spend quality time with all of them this week.  Oh and I need to go have a sleep study done because they are pretty sure I have sleep apnea too.  fun.

I did not manage to get a good boo waiting for the bus photo today.  Which was a shame because he is quite cute today in his rolled up clam digger pants.  I did snap a pic while he was sitting in the bus.  Yes, that is peanut butter smudged on his face.  All 7 year old boys are allowed to be covered in peanut butter -- it's a rule.

Here is the boo's van, pulling away.  His afternoon van is a more traditional yellow special needs van.  This one is his morning van.  He gets both vans all to himself.  Joys of living in the middle of nowhere -- private chauffeur service to school.

Wanted to share a pic of the beautiful flowers my pseudo-daughter, Randi, brought me while I was in the hospital.  There were more flowers, but Lunos & the boo enjoy dissecting flowers.  Lot's of "she loves me, she loves me not" going on at my house, apparently.  Oh, and the cat is not allowed on the table.  Not that it matters at all to him, but for the record, this is a forbidden activity.

Remember those lovely Waverly printed dish towels I shared with you the other day?  Turns out they are kinda on the tiny side.  Too small to hang traditionally.  So I hung three of the 4 on my kitchen cabinets.  I'm not sure if I like them or not.  

Here is a shot from more of a distance.  Ignoring the stuff on the counter, what do you think?  Oh, and you will notice the cat in the window.  Where he is also not allowed to be.  Because it involves climbing on the table to get there.  As you can see, Lunos completely respects my authority.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Kakuro, Pear Butter & an attitude

The Little Book of Bathroom Kakuro: 200 Original Cross-Sums Puzzles for Brain-Sharpening EntertainmentI have a dirty little secret. 
I am obsessed with Kakuro.  For those of you who don't know, Kakuro is somewhat similar to Soduku, in that it is a Japanese logic puzzle involving numbers.  However it is much more math based, involving what combinations of numbers can be filled into a grid in order to make a complete puzzle.  I do Kakuro puzzles every night before I fall asleep.  I recently picked up a copy of The Little Book of Bathroom Kakuro: 200 Original Cross-Sums Puzzles for Brain-Sharpening Entertainment.  Kakuro puzzles are SO addictive.  Last night I was up until nearly 1:00am working on these little gems.

There are several websites devoted to the art of Kakuro, however I am a purist who much prefers to work with a pencil.  And an eraser; a BIG eraser.  If you like logic problems and enjoy making your brain do mental gymnastics in your down time, I highly recommend Kakuro.  Just don't blame me if you don't get enough sleep!

Remember the other day when I shared with you the bountiful harvest of pears that Miss Jural shared with us?  Well the pears have been well & truly buttered! And wow, is it amazing!!!

I cannot fathom that I MADE THIS.  And it was SO easy!!! Of course, in true Angela fashion I have no measurements, but I think this would actually be hard to screw up.  


Enough Juicy Pears to fill your slow cooker, cut into 1" chunks, with skin on. (If your pears aren't juicy, mix them with sugar in your slow cooker and allow to sit at room temp for 8-12 hours to bring out the juice)

approx. 2 cups sugar

approx. 1 T. ground ginger

approx. 1 T. ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together.  Cook on Low for 12-18 hours.
Allow to cool (this may not be necessary, but it's how I did it)
Puree in food processor or blender.

Serve & swoon!

And finally, we reach the "attitude" portion of this blog post.  And of course, it is in respect to the boo.  Boo had a fair morning this morning.  Not great, not bad, just average.  

And then we went outside to wait for the bus.

And some little boy decided that listening to mom was overrated.

And it would be much more fun to run around in the wet grass like a maniac.

And then roll around in the grass.

And get soaked.

As the van was pulling up.

Ah yes, Mother-Of-The-Year Award, here I come!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Rescue mission peek & a recipe: Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

 Yesterday I ventured to my local rescue mission.  I love this building.  It's in a old church.  The upstairs is devoted to clothing & soft goods as well as all the crafty supplies; the ground level has furniture, housewares, cleaning supplies & pretty much everything else.

My mission, at the mission, was to get some scrap towels for cleaning walls, baseboards, etc. in preparation for selling my house.  Sadly, the towel selection was lacking.  I did get a few small hand towels/dish towels.  But I scored major when it occurred to me that baby receiving blankets could also be used just as effectively for the job.  I brought them home for the approval of Paige, my housekeeper/moving consultant and she immediately declared them perfect for the purpose.  Yay!

I took a few quick photos as I was waiting at the checkout counter.  The first photo shows the "fine china".  Check out that Pfaltzgraff Brown Drip!  Hard to believe I used to have the better part of an entire set of that stuff.  It is apparently quite collectible.  I think I gave most of mine away because I thought it was ugly.  I'm pretty sure my former mother-in-law still has an entire collection.  In the second photo I just love the dozen bowling balls.  How fun!  Wouldn't they make an awesome display piece in a courtyard or patio.  I have no idea what you could do with a dozen bowling balls, but I would love to incorporate them into my decorating scheme somehow.  Loads of kitschy fifties fun.  Speaking of that, I think my "thing" is going to be flamingos.  My bestie collects ladybugs.  I've always wanted to collect something, but have never found the thing that felt right.  I've flirted with dolphins, elephants, frogs, pigs, and even dragonflies.  None of them has ever felt right.  I've stayed away from flamingos because in general I don't like birds.  But what's not to like?  I will continue to ponder the merits of flamingos as a collectible.  I know for sure it would be a fun bathroom theme.

 Dinner last night was a smashing success.  My parents were visiting from out of town.  I only see my parents a few times a year, so I wanted to impress them with my cooking while they were here.  Growing up my dad was quite the cook & I've taken after him.  He says that I have even surpassed him -- high praise indeed.  For dinner I took the leftover zucchini stew and added it to a mixture of fresh tomatoes that were sautéed with fresh garlic in olive oil, balsamic vinegar & a touch of white wine.  I mixed the whole thing in with farfalle pasta & shredded fresh parm.  It was amazing!
The dessert I made was an homage to my dad.  When I was a kid growing up we went to Maine most summers.  There my mom & I would pick blueberries every morning and then we would feast on Lobster & blueberry everything for two weeks.  It was heaven.  My dad used to make a dessert with blueberries and vanilla pudding.  I stole bits and pieces from his recipe and created this one.  It would be MUCH prettier if I had sprinkled some fresh blueberries on top.  Presentation fail.  But taste -- omg good!

16 oz. whipped cream cheese, softened
8 oz. cool whip, thawed
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 large package instant french vanilla pudding
1 premade shortbread crust (you may substitute graham cracker crust)
In a large bowl mix softened cream cheese with blueberry pie filling.  Add package of dry pudding mix.  Mix thoroughly.  Gently fold in cool whip.  Pour into pie shell and chill 2-4 hours or until set.

 And finally, today's photos of the boo.
Boo was NOT interested in waking up this morning!

 I drug him out of bed about 10 minutes before his van arrived.  Threw him into his clothes.  I even put his shoes on while he was still laying in bed.
He of course refused to eat breakfast. 
Really, I don't blame him.

Finally, Mr. Claire arrived and he grumpily climbed into the van for another exciting day of Second Grade.

update:  I got an email from his teacher saying that despite his unhappy start to his day he was doing okay.  Of course, the fire drill 10 minutes after the start of the school day didn't improve his mood, but otherwise he seemed tolerant.  Yay!