Wednesday Update

Tomorrow I leave for Florida for a fun girls weekend with my best friend that I have not seen since her wedding almost 4 years ago.  I will admit that I feel a little pang leaving hubby here for the weekend.  The town where we are going is St. Augustine, which boasts tons of history.  Hubby loves history and I know he would really enjoy this place.  The plan is to fly into Tampa tomorrow to meet my friend.  Then she and I will drive to St. Augustine to stay at my Aunt’s condo on the beach. 

My Mom sent an email with what she heard the weather should be like there.  She said it would be in the 80s which would feel like winter to me.  I wrote back and told her I planned on packing my winter sweaters.  Of course I am kidding, but when temps are 100 f or above most of the year, 80 degrees starts to feel cool.  60 degrees is downright frigid!  Brrrr.

This past Saturday I finally caved and took my buttinski down to the urgent care center to see why it is I’m still coughing and dragging after a month. It was determined that I have some kind of infection.  Sinus?  Bronchial?  I really don’t know.  I just want it to go away.  The doctor started me on a Z pack which I also started on Saturday and finished today.  I have to admit that I’m really not feeling all that much better.  Even as I type I am resisting the urge to put my head down.  Maybe this will be one of those delayed reaction medications.  We’ll see.  Tonight I have a hair appointment after work which I have been looking forward to but it is feeling more like a chore I don’t want to do rather than being something relaxing.

While going on antibiotics is usually last resort, I like to give homeopathic remedies a try.  My favorite so far is apple cider vinegar.  Ear infection coming on?  Place a few drops in the afflicted ear, wait about 10 minutes or so and then let drain.  I started making a tea adding 2 tablespoons of the vinegar to an 8 oz cup of boiling water.  This really helps to clear up any congestion.  The problem I had was that I couldn’t really take it consistently while at work because the stuff smells so bad and I didn’t want to be meeting clients smelling like Easter eggs.  At night though I will fix a cup and it is really great stuff.  It doesn’t taste the greatest but it does offer up some relief for upper and lower respiratory stuff.  My Grandfather swore by it.

 Race season is also upon us and due to the aforementioned cold/infection/bubonic plague, I have not been actively keeping up with the regular exercise routine.  It was a relief at the doctors when I was weighed and hadn’t gained anything despite the diet debauchery that took place over Labor Day weekend while camping.  Hopefully after a few days of fun in the sun I will be feeling up to par again.

 We had our niece and her family over for dinner this past weekend.  It’s so nice to see her so happy.  She and her husband have two kiddos; a little girl who is almost 6, and a little boy, 15 months.  The little guy tore through our house like a mini tornado.  I have not seen that much energy exhibited in such a small package in quite some time.  He was absolutely adorable though.  My niece mentioned how my MIL thought the little guy resembled hubby as a baby.  From the pictures I have seen I can definitely agree with that.  Also, this little munchkin managed to somehow push the screen off the sliding doors which missed my head by inches.  Even Abby, who loves children, was walking with a limp at the end of the night.  I was instantly reminded of how when hubby and I were first dating, the wine glass population diminished to a mere glass after about six months or so.  I can only deduce that it must run in the family.

Temps here are slowly starting to cool down.  Cool being a relative term.  Nights are comfortable and days so far are either in the high 90s or low 100s, and it is dry, dry, dry!   Finally!  We will be camping up north in a few weeks and already we are looking forward to beef stew and warm clothing by a blazing fire.  Fall is just the best!

 

 

10 Random Things About Me

Recently I was tagged by my friend Pam over at Hawleyville for this challenge.  Pam and I have been friends for over three years now, having first met on Vox.  One of these days I’m going to fly out to her neck of the woods and join her when she visits the Shot Fairy.  😉

1.) My first job was cleaning rooms at the Holiday Inn when I was 15.  I lasted 2 weeks.  I could barely keep my own room clean at that age, let alone an entire floor of dirty hotel rooms.  The manager was an older lady named Hazel.  The staff secretly called her Witch Hazel.  On the day I announced I was giving my 2 weeks notice she said I could just leave now and gave me a shove down the hallway towards the time cards.  Guess the name was fitting, huh?  My Dad had to turn around and come get me after just dropping me off.  Thus ending my career as a chamber maid. 

2.) I went to Catholic school for junior high and in that time I learned to love to write.  In Mr. Brunner’s 7th grade religion class he had us keep what was called a Religion Journal.  I was 12 at the time and here I am at 43 still journaling.  There was a sense of relief at that young age in being able to write everything down.  Even now I still feel a sense of relief when getting things down on paper.  In addition to having an outlet, this sometimes  has helped me see things more clearly when dealing with something particularly vexing.  Once in a great while I’ll pull out one of these notebooks to look back on what I was doing say, in 1984.  I used to listen to the radio a lot while journaling and would often jot down songs from that time period.  It’s like looking at a written time capsule.  Journaling of course has led to blogging, which has been a wonderful experience all around. 

3.)I was engaged twice before meeting my husband; once in my early 20s and once in my late 20s.  Both of those earlier times I was presented with a ring.  When hubby and I met and decided to get married, I didn’t give a darn about a ring.  After we had been married for a year we decided to get one.  I met hubby during Happy Hour at a Mexican restaurant back in 2004.  I couldn’t stop looking at him.  He was one of the most handsomest men I had ever seen and he also didn’t pay me the time of day.  I forgot about him but kept running into him at the same place.  Finally he noticed me.  Years of online dating and I meet my husband in a bar.  Go figure. 😉

4.) Ferrets!  Ferrets have been a part of my life since 1996.  An ex-boyfriend wanted a pet that would be good to have while living in an apartment.  CJ was the first ferret I ever knew and loved.  I swear my Smokey is the reincarnated version of CJ.  They are a lot alike personality-wise and looks-wise, too.  After CJ came Cindy.  They were the best of buds.  Why stop at 2?  I acquired Petey a few years later and the three of them accompanied me out to Arizona during the big move 10 years ago.  I can still see them in my rear-view mirror hanging out in their hammock in the back of my SUV.  When they all passed in 2003, Monsoon came into my life.  She sadly had to be put to sleep this past April (man, I still miss her so much!) and then I adopted Smokey in early May from where she had been dropped off at a shelter in the Tucson area.

5.)My Father’s parents were from Connecticut.  I remember spending a lot of time at their home as a child.  My Grandfather built the house in the early 1940s.  At the time it was the only house on a large hill in the middle of a cow pasture.  My Dad remembers waking up in the middle of the night and there being a cow looking at him through the window.   My Grandparents had a built-in pool, also built by my Grandfather.  There were lots of fruit trees in their yard and also a trampoline that was built into the ground.  My sisters and I spent many an afternoon eating peaches and bouncing on the trampoline.  The trees and the trampoline are long gone.  Only the stumps remain of the trees and a shallow hole in the ground where the trampoline once was.  My Grandmother, God bless her, still lives there and will be 91 this December.  Their home was one of the few that still has a root cellar.  Their garage door also faces the backyard because as the neighborhood grew, the street was made facing the other side of the house. 

6.)My Grandfather told me before he passed that we were related to the Mongolian conqueror, Genghis Khan.  He pointed out Asian features in different family members once at a get together.  I asked my Dad later if this was true and he said he doubted it.  So, I’m not sure if there is any validity to this but I also thought it was interesting.  I do know for a fact though that I am a distant cousin of Bing Crosby.

7.) I am blessed with a job that I enjoy going to every day.  About two years ago I took my current job more out of necessity than anything else and I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoy it.  My Boss is great.  The office is by far one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever worked in and when I leave my job at the end of the day I feel so much satisfaction and confidence in what I’m doing that I don’t see myself being anywhere else.  I have a big say in what happens here and it has been a compliment to me when my boss has come to me on a few occasions to seek my advice.  I can’t say enough good things about where I work. 

8.) In 1981 I was 13.  My Mom and I were walking down a street in London when suddenly she put her hand in front of me to stop me.  We both looked up to see a burnt out structure that was now boarded up.  It was the US Embassy that had been bombed by extremists.  This was the first time in my life I had seen something like that.  Since then I have been to the sites of where the Alfred T. Murrah building in Oklahoma City stood  (there was still office furniture in the parking lot) and of course Ground Zero in New York. 

9.) I go to church.  I am far from perfect and would never judge anyone on their beliefs on that matter.  Some stuff I write about here but its more personal to me.  I was born and raised Catholic and stopped going once I was old enough to leave home.  I started going again in 2003, stopped for a while, and then started to get consistent again in 2009.  Hubby was raised in the Bible belt and his Dad was a minister.  He is the only one in his family that is not a church goer.  I respect his wishes, he respects mine, and we make it work.

10.) In my late teens, early 20s I studied opera music.  I was convinced I’d grow up and be a singer.  Back then it was rumored that Pat Benatar had studied opera so I did, too.  I sang in a few local bands but grew up and kind of forgot about singing.  Earlier I played the electric guitar and would sometimes bring it to school with me to practice during study hall.  One time it was out of tune and the shy music kid who road on my bus decided to tune it for me.  That shy kid dropped out after school ended that year and became the bass player for a band popular in the early ’90s called Extreme.  Flash forward to 2011 and that same shy kid, Nuno Bettencourt, is now playing guitar for Rihanna.  Wish I had’ve kept that guitar!

Well, there it is.  And now I’m tagging the following folks for the same:

Kim

Boston Margy

Zoom

Freedom Smith

 

September Bake Quest: Tofu & Broccoli Stir-Fry With Spicy Peanut Sauce

This is one of the meals I make on the fly and add a pinch of this and a dash of that.  Hopefully I’ll have the ingredient amounts correct.  You can add other veggies for variety.  I like this meal because it is relatively simple to make and it lasts for a few  nights.  I find myself eating this quite a bit when Hubby works nights.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1-8oz package of firm tofu, cubed
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly minced ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, divided
  • 1-16oz bag of frozen broccoli
  • 3/4 cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 8 oz of whole grain spaghetti

Add sesame oil to a large skillet, rotating to coat skillet.  Set to medium heat.  Drain package of tofu and then empty content onto a paper towel lined plate.  Cover with another paper towel and lightly press down to absorb excess water.  Add tofu to skillet, stir every few minutes.

In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, ginger, 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce and garlic.  Whisk until blended, then set aside.

Once tofu starts to brown, add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet.  When the soy sauce mixture is nearly absorbed, add the bag of frozen broccoli to the skillet.  Add 1/4 cup of water and cover.

To make the spicy peanut sauce, combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, peanut butter, 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce.  Stir with a whisk. 

In a sauce pan bring water to a boil to prepare spaghetti.  Cook spaghetti until soft. (boy, I’d be a really bad cook book writer, huh?)

The broccoli tofu mix should be heated thoroughly after 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add cooked spaghetti to the skillet and stir. 

Makes 4 servings.  Top with peanut sauce.  Store leftovers in an air-tight container.  This dish will last for several days in the refrigerator and is easy to reheat and serve. 

https://akamonsoon.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/bake-quest-10-for-september/

Autumn

“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. 
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”
–   Edwin Way Teale

“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. 
So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
–  Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.”
–   George Eliot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Once more the liberal year laughs out
O’er richer stores than gems or gold:
Once more with harvest song and shout
Is nature’s boldest triumph told.”
–   John Greenleaf Whittier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Delivery from Japan

My blog friend Toukou san , from Japan sent a beautiful gift which arrived yesterday.

Inside this carefully wrapped box was a candle holder made by my friend Toukou san who is a potter.  He wrapped the candle holder in newspaper so I tried hard not to rip the paper because that was interesting to see as well. 

 

 

Toukou san tells me that this candle holder is designed to be lit with a candle honoring someone who has passed. 

This is taken from the top, where the candle will sit.  Notice the intricate colors that design the top.

Domo arigatou, Toukou san!  It’s beautiful.

Another Labor Day Weekend Down

It’s been almost a week since we left for the annual Labor Day camping trip and I am happy to report that we made it up with no incident.  We took two vehicles, just in case.  MIL drove up with hubby while SIL1 drove up with me.  We arrived in the early afternoon and I was surprised that hubby was not already there as he and MIL had left before us.  As it turns out they made a few stops.  Five to be exact.  I joked with SIL1 that the only reason why there were so many stops made is because the Old Battle Axe (me)wasn’t around.  My Dad was the same way and had an extreme aversion to stopping on a long road trip.  You had to be bleeding, barfing or broken, and even then it was questionable.  I am definitely my father’s daughter.

This year was quieter than most years.  A few of the regulars didn’t make it  but I have to admit it was kind of nice this way. 

MIL really enjoyed herself.  We were bombarded by phone calls first thing by SIL 2 & 3, and also BIL making sure that MIL was in good hands.  Upon arrival she announced several times how beautiful and peaceful the surroundings were.  The first evening us ladies decided to turn in early.  It was very chilly so we all had to dress in our winter p.j.s.  MIL started telling us about her adventures in Mexico with one of her sisters and we laughed until we had tears in our eyes.  It was very much a sleep-over atmosphere. 

On Saturday afternoon MIL decided she was going to make homemade tortillas for the crew the next day so we headed into town to pick up some provisions.  We tried to find a rolling-pin but there were none to be had.  We improvised using a cylinder shaped concrete tool hubby had taken out of his truck and it worked better than any other rolling-pin I’ve ever used.  I just happen to bring a pizza stone from home and this ended up being the perfect baking instrument.  We placed it over the outside gas burner and it cooked up the most delectable tortillas ever made from scratch.  MIL had made a batch for us to have for breakfast Sunday morning but once word got out, one by one the other campers started to wander over.  We took out the butter and sugar, as well as a few plates.  Before we knew it everyone had a fresh hot tortilla.  They were definitely a hit. 

In addition to hanging out doing a whole lot of nothing, SIL1 and I went for a long hike early Sunday morning.  Abby accompanied us.  It has been a whole year since we’ve camped in that part of the mountains and I didn’t realize how much I missed it.  It was great, too, spending time with SIL1.  She, like my husband, is a great conversationalist. 

The weekend seem to go by in a flash.  It seem to be quicker than even last year.  SIL1 made mention of that as well.  I guess that’s what happens when you enjoy yourself.  MIL said she would like to go back again and she talked about all the articles of clothing she’d have to get; new boots, thermal underwear, a jacket, etc…  Now MIL is a very traditional Mexican lady.  She wore a skirt all weekend and she wears her waist-long hair up in a bun.  I’m still trying to picture her in boots and thermal underwear and I just can’t see it. 

Upon arriving home on Monday, the Smokester’s little shadow could be seen from under the door to our bedroom.  I picked her up to say hello and she immediately pulled away from me.  I placed her down and she ran into the laundry room only to curl up on a towel I was getting ready to throw into the wash.  She ignored me for the rest of the night.  That was one miffed mustelid, I’ll tell you!

As of Tuesday though I seem to be back in her good graces and she was accepting and giving kisses again.  The boy who was watching her said she was fine.  I noticed her toys had been pulled out so I can see that he actually did come over and play with her.  My one concern was that she might get stepped on where she has a habit of sticking so close to feet.  I had warned the boy several times about that.  He is actually 6’5″ so he is not built like a boy. Everything went well though.  Next time though I think the Smokester will come with us.  I thought about her several times over the weekend and hoped she was okay.  My phone also died on the first day and wouldn’t you know I had forgotten my charger on the counter.  Luckily everything was fine. 

So there it is.  Another Labor Day Weekend down.