This is a cooking blog with a back story. It focuses on food, family, fiber arts, pets, friends, and fibromyalgia. It's about life at a certain age, the joys, the sorrows, the backaches, the mental confusion. There's a lot of kvetching, complaining, occasional profanity, righteous indignation, political incorrectness, knitting exhortations, and really good, original recipes.
I am in an oddly cheerful mood. Maybe because I slept late, maybe because I had such a lovely time last evening. Maybe because I haven't taken the damn iron pill yet. Perhaps it was that awesome strawberry margarita I imbibed while enjoying the view at Downtown Disney. Whatever the reason, I am embracing it on this Sunday before Hell Week. Oh yeah, I have seen my court schedule for next week and it simply defies description. But for today, and only for today, I am feeling quite chipper. Carpe diem!
Downtown Disney and the Lego Dragon. Yep, all Legos.
Eric, his really neat kids, and his lovely wife Amanda
Eric's brother Brian, and Brian's lovely wife Christine
... and a couple of grown-ups. Kathy, Rob, and Alan.
We also got to meet Amanda's mom Sue, and I just had the best time with all of them.
While I am carping my diem, I am throwing caution to the wind and expanding my friends list on Facebook. Six degrees of separation and I'm having fun. See ya in cyberspace ;-)
Now a bit of news from the culinary department - regardless of what anyone tells you, there is no recipe for lasagna. I've got the perfect proof sitting in my fridge. Talk about a creative use for leftovers ... we'll see how this one works out after I bake it off tomorrow. I have never made a lasagna the same way twice. I know I've never made this one before ... collard greens? Yeah, stay tuned.
That's what I feel like, crap. Gradually, insidiously, I have been feeling more craptastic every day, a direct result of the length of my days on this earth. My mortal coil is unwinding like an over-wound clock. I have not bounced back from my adventure in the emergency room over Labor Day weekend, despite being pretty diligent about taking iron, calcium, and B12 supplements. Every time I swallow an iron tablet, I experience an immediate assault on my tender digestive system. But swallow them I do, and I haven't passed out again, although I have had a few passing moments of lightheadedness and a very brief weakness in my left leg. Crap and crap again. As Mick Jagger sang, what a drag it is getting old ...
In my pre-2003 days, when I looked in the mirror I only saw myself from the chin up, because to look anywhere else would have been too difficult. I was a Very Big Girl in those days, and not happy about it. Fast forward nine years, and I have simply stopped looking in the mirror. Encroaching old age just ain't pretty, at least in my case. I love road maps, but not all over my face, if you get my drift.
The worst part is not cosmetic, but it is physical. I am almost always tired; sometimes I feel positively frail. I have always kept my distance from anything geriatric and now I know why.
I am still cooking, kids, and I will be posting the recipe for my Chicken with Artichokes later today. I may not be able to turn out a buffet for 40 hungry friends and relatives, but I can still feed my family, and I'm a whiz at potluck lunches. Which reminds me, I brought in a Better than Sex cake to the office last week (by special request of mi amiga Cristina) and a good time was had by all. I will post the link, along with the chicken recipe, over on the recipe blog. Make these two dishes for the same meal, and your family will nominate you for sainthood. Really.
Guess who is not heading into the office today? Absolutely correct, the same little old lady who is going on a cruise over Thanksgiving and another cruise in December. Being able to drive to Port Canaveral in just an hour is proving to be one of the best things about living in Florida.
I haven't changed my mind about tattoos (I may eat pork, but I would never let someone put a needle and ink to my skin), but if I ever did catch the bug, this is one I might consider. Saw it on the Yarn Harlot's blog. No, the Harlot hasn't been getting tattoos, but some of her fans have.
We are heading to Rainforest Cafe this evening to meet up with our friends and their family, including grandkids who I have only been able to admire from photos. We are very much looking forward to this and have been for over a year, which is when Kathy and Al started to plan it. Kathy was my freshman college roommate and a darn terrific cook in her own right. Pictures to follow.
So I'm knitting with cotton and it is making me sneeze. The fabric of my life. The color is lovely, it is called 'camomile' and I love it, but it comes imbued with a floral scent which is making me sneeze. Since I am knitting a tiny kimono, this is a bit concerning as the future recipient may end up sneezing. The label says the scent fades with washing, so this may end up as a prewashed garment. Very trendy.
I prevailed at a certain trial today, and I am sad. And that's all I can say about that.
We are, for the first time in months, fully staffed, and I am positively giddy with delight. And I am looking forward to some friendly visitors in the next two weeks. Life ain't perfect, but it's pretty good. This week, anyway.
So that was a rather unpleasant post ... here is something a lot more positive:
That's an adoption, kids. In Florida. Two dads and one very happy son. Oh, and Judge Waller. She's happy, too. That courtroom was filled with friends, family, and a whole bunch of lawyers and social workers who were thrilled to see it happen.
So busy ... no cooking ... not nearly enough knitting.
I hate to sound like a whiny old lady, but this anemia is kicking my arse. I cannot begin to describe to you how much I truly loathe the iron pills. I don't think they are helping me.
Besides being tired, I am angry. A low-grade anger that bubbles to the surface each time Certain Topics or Certain Persons are mentioned. It's all about Family and at this stage of my life, I was looking forward to peace, tranquility, and many happy Thanksgiving dinners. Instead, I've got anger, regret, annoyance, and more anger. Thanksgiving is going to be me, Rob, Cory, and three Cornish hens. Any other combination is only going to result in heartburn.
If I had the financial wherewithal, I would head to St. Croix. Or Alaska.
Heck, if I had the financial wherewithal, I would retire at the end of the year, walk away from this white elephant of a house, pack up my family and pets and head for Cleveland. Lot of good restaurants in Cleveland. From there ... anywhere the road and my Ford Expedition takes us.
My blogging mojo has bad juju ... or something like that. I'm going to blame it on the anemia, and the cure is certainly worse than the disease because taking that iron pill every day is doing not-so-wonderful things to what is left of my digestive system. Enough said about that.
My spontaneity, however, remains firmly in place. Sure, sure, the cruise is all ready and set up for December, but I did myself one better and planned a mini-vacation to Savannah in about three minutes. Seriously. Spent last weekend in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States with my best boy. The weather was beyond perfect, and then there were all these dachshunds ... I had no idea that Savannah hosted an Oktoberfest celebration every year, but I won't be forgetting it. It made an already lovely day walking along River Street even better, and I didn't think that was possible.
And then there is the food. I am beginning to think of Savannah as a mini-New Orleans, sans chicory coffee and beignets, because it is hard to get a bad meal there. Of course there was the Original Pancake House. Then we checked out 700 Drayton, which is in this really cool building on (what else?) Drayton Street. Definitely have to go back and work our way through that menu. And to end a great trip, brunch at B.Matthew's Eatery on Bay Street. Rob told me yesterday that since we ate our way through Savannah, he wanted to take off a few extra pounds so we could eat our way through the cruise in December. I love that man.
Rob and the amazing apple pancake at the Original Pancake House.
I have fallen into garter stitch knitting and I can't get up. It wasn't even a graceful segue, but instead one of those catch your foot on the curb and go sprawling into your neighbor's lawn sort of deal. There I was, knitting happily away on lace patterns, and my brain started screaming baby surprise jacket ... finished it, started another ... whipped up a garter stitch baby hat that matches the baby surprise jacket ... finished that, started a tomten jacket and a baby kimono, all in garter stitch. Ordered two books from Amazon, all about garter stitch. As the kids like to text, WTF??? I wonder if I will ever get my sock obsession back. I could use a few more pairs. Seriously.
I have discovered the wonders of iTune extend beyond downloading my favorite music. TV episodes, my friends. Whether it's the season finale of Doctor Who, which I missed because I was in Savannah, or the first Man from U.N.C.L.E., vintage 1964 black-and-white, for a small fee I can download, own, and watch each episode as the mood hits me. On my iPad, through earphones, while I knit. It doesn't get much better than that.
The Jewish holidays slipped by quietly for us. We have not attended services in some years now, but I'm okay with that. My feelings about God and Judaism are the same as always; my methods of practice have shifted and morphed over the past 50 years, and somehow I am back where I started. Which is to say I won't be joining the local Chabad in the near future. If I plan ahead, I can probably Skype next year's High Holy Day services. Yeah, I'm bad. No regrets.
This is how we break the fast ... if we had fasted ...
Today's recipe is brought to you by Traditions-R-Us ... Jewish stuffed peppers in a sweet and sour tomato sauce. I had chopped meat on the brain (and that is not a variation on Mad Cow Disease) and gave Rob the choice of stuffed peppers or Swedish meatballs. Even though there is a jar of lingonberries winking at us everytime we open the pantry door, he went with the peppers, which suited me just fine. One of my very favorite dishes of all time, and one of the first things I learned to cook.
And it is definitely a good day to stay home and cook, because the weather has been worse than awful. It feels like monsoon season in Korea. Twelve days of rain in one of the most fantastic countries on earth. It was worth it.
UPDATE: Yep, I should have posted this almost two weeks ago when I wrote it, but my blogging mojo seems to be as anemic as I am, so everything is delayed. Many mea culpas and I will try to be more diligent.
Used properly, Facebook is fun. While it has become popular to blame all of society's ills on social networking, I blame people. People who are going to screw up are going to do so regardless of the available technology. There were people screwing up with smoke signals back in the day, and that just progressed through written notes, telephones, telegraphs, faxes, email, and Twitter, and MySpace. No matter how people communicate, some of them are going to screw up. So I don't blame Facebook.
I like Facebook because I am a congenital loner. I don't do well in crowds, and while I really do need the company of humans, cats, and dogs, I also require a considerable amount of time to myself. Facebook lets me keep in touch with people I like and care for, in short, manageable bursts. It also lets me keep in touch with people I would otherwise have lost to time and fading memory, and that is where the fun comes in.
This was posted by one of my friends from high school, who now lives in Ithaca. That's a human peace sign, and I am crazy about it.
I will be cooking today (Sunday) after a two week hiatus. Although I had ground beef in mind, once I walked into Publix I saw Nice Pork Chops on sale, and with the help of my iPad and an app called "What's For Dinner" I gathered the ingredients for Rachael Ray's Spanish Pork Chops with Linguica Corn Stuffing and Cherry Rioja Gravy. I have made this recipe before and it is quite delicious.
Monday I got to work on peeling and deveining two pounds of very fresh shrimp. Took me an hour, but it was so worth it. I made my shrimp scampi as usual, except first I brined the shrimp (for all of twenty minutes) and stirred a couple of tablespoons each of regular basil pesto and sundried tomato pesto (both from Classico) into the butter-olive oil-garlic sauce. According to Rob, it is the best scampi he has ever eaten. Whoa. Talk about rich ... it's a good thing neither of us has a gall bladder any longer, or that scampi would have done us in (but we would have been smiling all the way to the emergency room.)