Thank You, Geology Woman!

The seeds arrived today!  I’m looking forward to planting them and blogging about their progress.  I looked up both species online to get a glimpse of what they look like.  Here’s what we’ve got:

Dwarf Banana-Musa acuminate

 
Velvet Pink Banana Musa
Velvet Pink Banana Musa
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They’re Growing Up Too Fast

 This was taken on a trip back east to visit my family.  We had taken a trip to the local mall and they had one of those photo booths.  This is me with my niece.  She is a teenager now and just received her driver’s license this year.  She is my only blood related niece and she is the first born.  I remember when she was born feeling overwhelming in love with her.  I guess you never know how much you could ever love another human being until a child comes into your life.  Its almost scary.

I believe we shopped that day for school clothes.  My sister was with my nephew who was maybe 5 or so at the time.  When my nephew saw the picture here of me and my neice, he of course wanted to have one too, so back to the other side of the mall we returned.

What I love about these pictures is that they’ve so perfectly caught each of their personalities.  My niece is more reserved.  She is a thinker.  I can see that in this picture.  She is very big into softball these days and even gave up a trip to Florida because she didn’t want to miss a game.  Talk about dedication!

My nephew, now in his early teens is big into acting now.  He is the life of the party and when he landed the role as Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web, he told me he had finally gotten his ‘big break’.  LOL.  I love the joy on his face in the last picture.  It is so complete.  We as adults should be so lucky to smile like that and have it be natural. 

The two of them have been two of the greatest joys in my life and they are my hope for the future.  I keep these pictures on a bulletin board in my laundry room.  I remember that day so well.  I look at them and think, my, time is going by so fast.  They have grown up so much.  And man, I look so different from those days, too!  I suppose I’ve done some growing up since then as well.  At least I hope I have.

This June I will go to visit them and hope to take in my niece’s softball game and also to go to an amusement park with my nephew where we’ll ride roller coasters and eat pizza all afternoon.

The Lovely Bone

Like a child with a security blanket, Abby has taken to carrying around this rawhide bone recently.  This was given to her last Fall and it has remained mostly untouched since then.  Lately though this bone has become her constant companion.  When I arrive home at night she has it in her mouth when she comes to greet me.  It is often lying on her bed when she is elsewhere.  She has managed to get it out through the doggie door without getting stuck which was most impressive.  In the photos below she has hopped up onto the bed in a veritable show and tell.  Oh yes, I say, it is a very lovely bone.  Thank you for showing it to me.

Easter Update & Some Other Stuff

Easter Sunday was spent with friends and their family.  We had a wonderful dinner of ham with 2 types of glazes and many wonderful side dishes.  The day was just perfect temperature-wise for sitting out on the patio with a glass of wine.  We had been invited to a barbecue at a new friend’s home in our hometown.  This was more of a party that was in full swing when we arrived.  I’ve never seen so many shots of tequila downed.  My friend was the perfect hostess.  She offered us more food than we could possibly eat.  Hubby immediately went over to where the men were sitting and stayed there the rest of the evening. 

At one table I noticed a young woman downing many a shot of tequila.  The more she drank the louder she got.  My friend told me she was here visiting from out of the country and was letting her hair down.  I’ll say.  Awhile later I was beckoned by my friend over to the table where La Borracha (drunk) was sitting and hesitantly made my way over.  I knew it would be only a matter of time before it was pointed out that I didn’t look quite like the rest in attendance there.  What’s so dumb is that just because La Borracha didn’t speak English she was too drunk to realize that I understand Spanish.  Nothing like being singled out for looking different from the crowd.  I didn’t think it was time to get into my family history here.  What was kind of funny is that when I was speaking to her in Spanish she still didn’t seem to get that I could understand her.  I ran into my friend yesterday and she actually told me that La Borracha had actually asked if I might be able to help her with her English.  I said, sure.  The first lesson is on AA.  It’s a 12-step program. . .

All in all though, it was a great party.  Hubby enjoyed himself.  I ended up talking to a girl from Nicaragua who I have the impression may have been a mail-order bride but I’m not sure.  There was a show on TV awhile ago on how these older guys take these trips to South America to find a wife.  Her husband could have been a shoe-in for that but I didn’t want to ask anymore.  She was such a pleasant person and very happy to be here.  We exchanged numbers so I hope we’ll stay in touch.

Grief-wise I’m doing okay.  I’ve gotten myself back to the gym and have recommitted myself back to healthy eating.  We did splurge on some most wonderful fried fish tacos Friday night. Oh!  They were so good. 

Today seem to be more difficult for some reason.  I find myself first thing in the morning talking to an empty cage and telling Monsoon how much I miss her.  For the most part I have pulled myself up by the bootstraps but there are still some moments when it feels like lightning has struck my chest.  It moves in waves and I can’t help but think of the weather map before a storm when there are these rows of green bands moving through the sky towards the city.  One by one they come.     And I can throw myself into my work or into the gym all I want.  I know that this is just going to take time.  Thank God the grief goes away in time.  I don’t think I’d ever share my life with another animal if I had remembrance of that all the time. 

I’ve had wonderful support from both friends here and family and friends elsewhere but there is no one that can live the grief for you.  It is a solitary journey.  Hubby has been supportive for the most part but I don’t think he feels at all what I feel; that sense of loss.  My boss, too, bless him, had been wonderful while Monsoon was sick.  He’d come in every morning and pull up a chair for an update.  He’d offer a word of encouragement and hope that she would pull through.  The Monday after she passed though he stayed in his office and I stayed in mine.  We haven’t talked anymore about it.  Men just handle these things so differently. 

We went to the Humane Society adoption center over the weekend.  While there were some adorable pooches there, I didn’t feel the remotest connection with any of them.  I sat down late last week with Hubby and talked about his concerns with our getting another ferret.  He didn’t like the fact that she would get into his things (which really he shouldn’t have left around) and that one time he walked into our bedroom and stepped in some poop.  She had an accident and they were quite frequent the last few months before she passed due to her not being able to get in the litter box.  But again, I explained to him, she was ill.  I asked if we could work out some kind of a compromise and to think about it before answering.  We’ll see.  I find myself getting irritable easily with hubby or at work but when speaking with a client who is driving me batty, I’ll respond sweetly with a smile in my voice but in my head I’m thinking, I don’t effing know (or care)!

But I’ve been down this road before and its true when they say, this too shall pass.

I dreamt last night that hubby was outside cooking on the grill.  We weren’t at our house as it was very green and we were standing under a covered porch.  I stood next to hubby while he chatted away when I noticed a small yellow canvas bag closed with a drawstring hanging from a nail on the porch roof.  A tiny ferret foot could be seen pressed against the inside of the bag.  I knew I shouldn’t be looking at it.  I kept trying to distract myself and tried harder to pay attention to what Hubby was doing.  He didn’t seem to notice (typical).  There was such a foreboding feeling and I had to force myself not to look at it.  Then I woke up.  What the hell was that about???

Recipe: Tempeh Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

This recipe came from the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light magazine.  I’ve been experimenting lately with meat alternatives and found this dish to be fairly easy to place together and quite delicious.

Ingredients:

Peanut Sauce:

1/4 cup water

1 tbls brown sugar

3 tbls natural style chunky peanut butter (for best results check the ingredients  –it should contain peanuts and salt only, nothing else)

1 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce)

1 tsp lower sodium soy sauce

Stir Fry Ingredients:

2 tsps brown sugar

5 tsps lower sodium soy sauce

1 tsp Sriracha

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp, plus 2 tsps sesame oil, divided

1 (8 oz) package of organic tempeh, cut into 1/3 inch strips (I found tempeh at Whole Foods but you can substitute firm tofu if needed)

2 cups thinly sliced carrots

1 cup (2-inch) strips red bell pepper

1 pound of green beans, trimmed (I chose frozen but either will do)

1/2 cup of water

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided

6 oz mung bean sprouts

To prepare peanut sauce, combine 1/2 cup water, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp Sriracha, and 1 tsp of soy sauce in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk (mixture will become smooth).  Set aside.

To prepare stir fry, combine 2 tsps sugar, 5 tsps soy sauce, 1 tsp Sriracha, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp sesame oil to the pan, swirling to coat.  Add tempeh and half of soy sauce mixture; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until tempeh is golden brown.  Remove tempeh mixture from pan and keep warm.  Add remaining 2 tsps oil to pan, swirling to coat.

Add carrot, bell pepper, and green beans to pan; stir-fry 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of water; reduce heat to medium.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.  Stir in remaining half of soy sauce mixture, tempeh mixture, half of onions, and bean sprouts; cook for 2 minutes or until bean sprouts are tender.  Serve with peanut sauce and remaining half of onion.

Yields 4 – 2 cup servings.  Use 2 tablespoons of peanut sauce per each serving. 

Viola!  You have yourself an incredibly tasty home cooked vegetarian meal!

April Bake Quest #5: Turkey Meatloaf

  This is by far one of the easiest and tastiest meatloaf recipes I’ve ever gotten.  It is a variation on a Weight Watchers recipe that I’ve made my own.

 Ingredients

 1 lbs extra lean ground turkey (such as Jennie-O)

 1 box of stuffing, chicken or turkey flavor

 2 egg whites

 1 cup of water

 8 oz can of mushrooms, or fresh mushrooms

1 clove of garlic, diced

1/2 cup of diced onions

16 oz tomato sauce (use the canned, not jarred)

Dash of salt and pepper

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl combine ground turkey, stuffing, water and egg whites.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Add in the diced garlic and the mushrooms.  Mix.  (Here is where you can get creative.  Add in any kind of veggie.  Carrots go well.  I’ve even shredded an apple before and added to this concoction).  Fold out  turkey mixture into either a loaf pan or casserole dish.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. 

Add the can of tomato sauce to a sauce pan and heat.  Add in the onions and stir.  Add in a dash or salt and pepper.  Allow meatloaf to cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Top with the tomato sauce and serve. 

This recipe has become a staple in our house.  It is easy to prepare and best of all, the leftovers taste even better the next day!