Wednesday, 26 October 2011

It's Only a Game



Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference


Last night Son #1 had a volleyball game.  I didn't know that a volleyball game consisted of 5 games to 25 points.    Maybe I knew but was just in denial. 
 I offered to drive him to the game as The Husband had fire practice with the local Volunteer fire department.  

The seats in the bleachers are about nine inches wide - considerably smaller than  needed  for comfort.  And they are plastic and slippery.   There are no back rests.  Five games is a lot of time spent sitting on those seats.  I guess they don't want us to stay too long.

One thing you may not know about me is that I hate competition.  I don't care if I'm number 1 or number 78 and I hate watching anything where the outcome is that one person/team is labelled better than the other.  It makes me nervous.  I don't like to watch.


At last nights game the crowd and players were well mannered,  cheering and groaning and happy with how he games were unfolding.

The score was close.  Home team had two wins and  the Visitors had two wins going into the deciding fifth game.    

I watched a bit, they were down three, up two and then I couldn't stand it any longer and I pulled out my Southern Living magazine that my niece sends me from Texas and buried my nose in it looking for pretty things to do with my house. 

  Every cheer and every groan had my stomach in twists but I didn't look up.

A friend, who's husband is an ex professional football player, was complaining that  her father-in-law didn't go to even one game to see his son play.

 I told her why.
It's because some of us cannot stand to watch their offspring make an error,  miss a play or be disappointed. It make us feel the need to be medicated.

Next time The Husband will do the driving to the games and I will stay home - sitting on a soft and comfortable chair, reading a magazine, looking for pretty things to do with my house.




Country Living Magazine

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Put the Coffee On - I'll be Over for Muffins...



Apple Sauce Muffins 
1 1/2 cups Flour 
2 tbsp Oat Bran
 (you can leave this out but don't as it regulates blood sugars!)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp Baking Soda 
1/2 tsp Cinnamon 
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice 
1/4 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg 
1/4 tsp Salt 
2 large Eggs 
1/2 cup Brown Sugar 
1/2 cup Butter, melted 
3 tbsp oil 
1 cup unsweetened Applesauce 
1 cup Walnuts chopped – use Pecans if you like 

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Put paper muffin cups in pan.

Stir together flour, oat bran (use it dammit - it's good for you), baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix eggs and brown sugar in a bowl, then add butter, a little at a time, whisk till creamy. Stir in applesauce, then fold in flour mixture until just moistened. Stir in nuts, put batter into muffin pan. 

Bake until muffins spring back when touched, about 25 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and cool slightly.

This makes 12 standard size muffins.


Yum.

Not My Reality

This morning the local radio station's impossible question of the day was about reality shows.  The question was,   'if you watch a lot of reality shows, this happens to your personality'.

In quick succession I shouted out possible answers - hoping that one of my boys would call in and we would win a 6" Subway sandwich.

Your brain shrinks - I shouted
You lose your sense of compassion, that chunk of brain that holds compassion disappears - completely!

You leave your spouse, have an affair and your life falls into ruin.
You act like an ass to get attention!
You lose your ability to interact with regular people - or any people... (I was running out of answers)


Call this in boys, we can win!

Boys? are you calling them?



The answer?

'You become an angry person.'



What the fffff.fptt!  Why are these reality shows on television?
The world is angry enough.  


 I don't watch them but just hearing about them makes me plenty angry.

Okay,  I'm over it now - I just needed to vent.











Monday, 24 October 2011

Who Says Stuff from the Freezer isn't Good?


Freezer Biscuits

 just under 1 tbsp regular Yeast
2 tbsp White Sugar
1/4 cup Warm Water
5 cups  Flour
3 tbsp White Sugar
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 cup  cold Butter 
2 cups Buttermilk


In a  bowl, stir yeast and 2 tbsp sugar with warm water; let sit for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix flour, 3 tbsp sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter to medium coarse texture.   Stir in yeast mixture and buttermilk, and mix  until dough sticks together. It will be soft and a bit sticky. Flour your work surface, roll out dough to 3/4" thick. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2 in biscuit cutter and poke tops with a fork. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once biscuits are frozen, put in a freezer bag (mark what's inside and the date) and return to freezer. Biscuits can be frozen for up to one month. 
To bake, take out number of biscuits needed and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm spot and let rise for about 1-2 hours (pretty vague time requirement!) until biscuits almost double in size. 
Preheat oven to 425 deg F or 220 deg.C , and bake for about 10 minutes, watch carefully, as cooking time depends on thickness and size.   Yes, size matters.





Thursday, 20 October 2011

Happy Day

Just a quick update on the goings on with our friends after they where figuratively punched in the gut and had their feet kicked out from under them.

My friend had her surgery, did not have a mastectomy but instead a lumpectomy.  The cancer cells do not appear to be in any surrounding tissues or lymph nodes so the doctors feel her future is good.  They will be deciding in the next couple of weeks if treatment is needed.

One day at a time.   
Breathe in, breathe out.

Sean's friend, Austin, came out of the surgery quite nicely, is alert and has spoken a few words.  Something he was unable to do before surgery so everyone is hopeful that there will be no more bleeds or clots and that when the swelling on the brain goes down he will be back to normal.  

He had his dad Facebook pictures of him after the operation with the comment "I can talk, bitches!"
The entire thing brings tears to my eyes and when he's back to normal I will say "language, Austin, language!"

Sean said, "Look, he won't need a halloween costume.  He has the  bandages, stitches, bruises..."

He got 'the look' for that one.

Kids..... they make our hearts burst with pride and break apart with anguish and worry.

So another prayer of thanks and a prayer that you will all be safe, well and happy and that we will all see the  things in life that are joyful.



Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Parents Worst Nightmare

This evening we heard that one of the boys in the Earthquest program with Sean was in a car accident last night.  He was on his way home from a friends volleyball game 7:30 at night when his truck went off the road and down a 25 foot  embankment and hit a tree.  The Jaws of Life were needed to help get Austin freed from the vehicle.  He has serious head and limb injuries.  Tonight he is having surgery  to remove a blood clot from his brain. 

Austin is 17 years old, a Lacrosse star, likes to joke and laugh and have fun and is very much liked by many, many people.  My heart is breaking for him, his friends and his family. 

We are praying for him.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Three Rights makes a Left




My son will be 16 in the beginning of December and on his birthday he wants to write his driving test so that he can drive our car.  He has also been saving his money so that he can buy his own car.

That got me thinking about my first car.

It was a 1962 Ford Falcon and had been well used.  It's top speed was 55 miles per hour which is fine until you have the need to pass another vehicle.  I learned to follow the slow movers.  
Sit back, relax and follow.

The car was white, automatic, four door and had a grey interior.  It was neither sporty nor sleek.  It was embarrassing for a 16 year old to drive until I realized any car was better than no car.  I drove that car quite a lot.

The antenna for the one station radio it could reach was broken, the big chrome horn honker was loose and rattled,  there was an odd scraping noise that came from the bottom of the car that sounded like I was dragging wire.   I wasn't - I checked.

One day my sister and I were driving to the family farm.  I had told her I would pick her up pretty early as the car's top speed was slow and that we didn't want to arrive mid afternoon.  When I pulled into the parking lot of her apartment complex I could see her fiance standing at the window so I honked and waved.  He waved and I saw him telling my sister I was outside waiting.  
After the car was loaded with all her  necessary stuff, off we drove. 

 I turned left to face the exit of the parking lot - the horn honked - fiance waved.  I  turned left around the parked cars - horn honked - fiance waved.  I turned left,  exiting the parking lot - horn honked - fiance waved.  I turned left to get on the main street - horn honked - couldn't see fiance wave.   I turned right to get on the highway - no honk.

Later that day when I dropped my sister off at her home - her fiance said he had several dirty looks and several talking to's about the rudeness of his fiances friend honking the car horn so early in the day.

He thought we were just honking because we would miss him.


A few weeks later I turned left into a parking spot in front of a restaurant where I was meeting friends and the horn honked.   
and honked, and honked, and honked.

Friend came out, lifted the hood, pulled a wire and the honking stopped.

Soon there was a bumper sticker on the car that read,  "Horn Broken, Watch for Finger"

Yes, such a thing does exist.  
Still.  

Monday, 17 October 2011

Fruit, Fall, Fail and Finally

Fruit

Regular apple on the right and mutant apple on the left.  That apple is large enough for 3 people.  We had several like that.


Fall
I read an article that stated you should not rake the leaves in the fall.  Yay!

Fail

 The following pictures are of my glazing disaster.  Further down this selection of pictures you will see what I was aiming for.  This is not it.





 A tiny bit of the correct color is visible on the rim of this bowl below.
 



Wall plaque - cracked and warped.  Grrrrr.




I think I will fill this one to the brim.  I think there is some chilling in the fridge.


 The bowl on the right is the color this stuff should be.
 



 This bowl below shows some hint of the blue. Not nearly enough though.







Christmas tree decorations for my away family's stockings.  It looks like the star is goosing the polar bear.  
They are not to be hung on the tree like that.




Finally

  This is the new paint on our house - we are getting close to finishing but it's also getting close to winter. 
We need to move along.

Note to self - start nagging The Husband.




The two dots on the garage door?  That's  my car headlights.






$% # ! *& "{ +@ !! #

.....or as my son says "Bob Sagget!"

This weekend was volleyball tournament weekend.  Not too far from home but far enough that all three where gone from 7AM until 9PM - give or take a few minutes.

I ate all my favorite foods and did all my usual chores - minus the interruptions - and spent a lot of time in my pottery room.  What a luxury to be uninterrupted.

Saturday was a pottery glazing day.
Sunday was a firing day.

I had high hopes.  
All the recipes had been followed with the utmost of care and consideration.  
All large pieces were sprayed.  All small pieces carefully dipped in the buckets. 
 All were dried completely.

This morning I opened the kiln and #$@!}^%.

Darn glazing..

I need to take lessons.

(insert disappointed face here)

Dining Alone


Both boys had  volleyball tournaments weekend.
The husband and dad did the driving.
He is also in charge of feeding them which was meals from the drive through.
One meal was Subway sandwiches so that's not so bad.....
Better than fries or poutine, I guess.

This was my opportunity to make something for my dinner that not one of them will eat but something that I absolutely love!

Beets and squash, two of my favorite foods.

So this is how it goes together.






1 (2-pound) chunk of Squash (butternut is my favorite) peeled and cut
 into 1-inch cubes


1 pound Beets, (3 or 4) tops cut off, peeled and cut into 
evenly sized chunks



1/3 cup Olive Oil


3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. Fleur de Sel
 Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. fresh Thyme 
Crumbled Goat Cheese





Place the squash and beet pieces in a bowl.

Add the oil, balsamic vinegar, fleur de sel and cracked pepper.

Toss well to coat.

Transfer to a cookie sheet and spread out in a single layer.
Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for about 50 to 60 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown and tender.
Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle the thyme leaves over top and garnish with goat cheese.
Season to taste with additional fleur de sel and pepper.

Try to use Fleur de sel in this recipe.  The taste is superb.


Serves 4-6.
  


But I almost finished it all.  


Yum.












Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Life Goes On.

I have been away mentally.  I have not felt like sharing and I have not had joyful happy thoughts.

These past weeks have been a blur of emotions.  A close friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I am panicked.  She is panicked.  Its hard to look her in the eye and not think that her days on this earth have been shortened substantially.

So many things run through my mind and I try not to say them out loud because they are not always the right words.

'There is a cure around the corner.  I heard that they are making great progress with (insert new drug name here)'

'You'll be fine - just keep positive thoughts.'

'I know someone who was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and he/she is  still alive.'

'Just hang on till your kids are graduated.'

'I can make you chemo turbans.'

'What am I going to do without you?'



And then I start bargaining with God.

Dear God, I promise not to pray for the lottery win if you just let her live.

Dear God, I promise to be a better person if you just let her live.

Dear God, I promise to spread the word of God if you just let her live.

I promise, I promise, I promise .... etc. etc.  


I think my voice is too quiet for God to hear as I've bargained before with not good results.


And I am suffering guilt from thinking how my life will change with the extra work helping them out and the extra time they will need that will be added to my already busy life. And then I think how her life, and the life of her husband and kids, have changed and I feel like an ass.

But our lives still go on.  I go to work, she goes to work. I meet with friends, she meets with friends.  We clean and cook and discipline our teens and talk on the phone and take out the recycling and try not to think too far ahead.

 Not past the surgery date which we hope and pray will be the end of her cancer.



I can't help but worry about her kids.  I hope they don't have to live their lives without her.

Dear God.