Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Package

This the top of a drinkable probiotic product "GoodBelly BigShots." Makes me smile every time I open one.

Ending a Year

One thing I do every January 1 is to take the kitchen calendar and use it as a tool for looking back over the events of the year. The trips, appointments, celebrations that are written down serve as way of remembering other things that don't get written down. For me, reflection is a better way of moving forward than making resolutions. Self-reflection and clarifying. Backwards and forwards. In fact, I found it interesting to learn that the month of January was named after the Roman God Janus who had two faces – one looking backwards and one forwards. Makes perfect sense.

I've spent quite a bit of time this year thinking about how I live my life. I know many of you are aware that Tom and I have toyed with the idea of moving to Pittsburgh. Well, beginning in February, that's where I'll be. We rented a duplex for 6 months as a trial; I'll spend most of my time there, coming home every other month for a calligraphy class and spending some time in the office. I'll be working remotely and developing a once-in-a-lifetime relationship with my grandkids. Tom will visit for sure, but will primarily hold the fort down here. We both have a certain amount of trepidation, but there's also an excitement about it. Probably more for me than for him.

When I originally started talking about cutting back on my job, taking a piece of it that would permit me to work from basically anywhere, this is what I had in mind. Spending time away from Tulsa when possible. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. A new journey, that's for sure.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Medical Care

I went to pick up a Rx today and the price was so outrageous even the clerk paused and said "Can that be right?" It was $743. I did not pay for it. I decided I would call the dr. tomorrow and see about getting an equivalent. The pharmacist said there was no generic. Tom told the pharmacist we'd be back after we mortgaged the house. I guess if I can't get an equivalent, I'll wait until after Jan. 1 so the amount can at least go toward my deductible. Doesn't that seem totally crazy? Plus it makes me mad.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Tom has a friend he's known for 40 years who was diagnosed with cancer in April. For the past few months he and Joe have been trying to find a time to have breakfast, have coffee, get together for some normal kind of relating but chemo appointments, various schedule conflicts always got the upper hand and they ended up settling for communication via email and telephone. Yesterday we received an email from his friend's wife that Joe was giving up. We made the trip today, regardless of inconveniences and schedule conflicts. Tom is so good in these situations. He has a calming, soothing, rocking sort of voice. He held Joe's hand and told him that his wife would be okay; that he wasn't in charge anymore. He told him he knew he still owed him breakfast. There was a chuckle as only guys, one dying with labored breathing can do. We left and Joe took his last breath within 90 minutes. Very eerie to get that call. Unsettling in the way that it feels when someone your age leaves this world.

His wife's words to me as we left this afternoon were "Don't wait for an anniversary to take that trip. Don't put off things you think you want to do." I was reminded of an old Erma Bombeck column about candles that melted in the attic because they were too fancy to burn. It's a reminder, a warning, a story we've heard a million times and yet we continue to save the best for last. We put off doing what we really want to do, waiting for the perfect time, the perfect situation. We say Life is short, but we don't act like we really believe it.

Today. That's what we have. Right now.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Salad

Of all the menu items I made yesterday, my favorite was the salad. I copied the ingredients from a salad I had recently at the French Hen, but I changed the dressing and the type of greens.

I used fresh baby greens tossed with a dressing made of 1/4 c. mayo, 1/4 c. maple syrup, 3T wine vinegar, and 1/2 c. oil. I put the tossed greens on a plate, arranged pear slices, sprinkled pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts on top, and added bleu cheese crumbles. My only regret is that I didn't make more. [The French Hen used baby spinach and a balsamic dressing. My maple dressing worked very well with the pears and cheese.]

Part of the fun was opening a pomegranate for the first time. I'd had the seeds, had the juice, but I had never actually purchased a pomegranate. My best advice would be to wear an apron when you disassemble one. Lots of spurts from those little juicy seeds!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A White Christmas

Yay! A real white Christmas! It's so quiet out;I love the way snow muffles the sounds. And it's especially quiet on Christmas morn. Elves were up late, kids up early. Of course at my house, I'm up early and Santa is still asleep. Merry Christmas to everyone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Blah to Blessed

My sister's been hounding me with the question "Why aren't you blogging?" The more clutter I let in my head, the less I'm likely to blog, which is probably when I should. Maybe it would clear the clutter. I struggle with this December holiday. Too much external energy, not enough time to replenish the internal energy.

I'm better now. The fudge is made and cut; the cookies are baked; cakes are done; brown candy finally tolerable, and last night the traditional pork pies completed the package. These meat pies are part of Tom's family tradition. My family didn't really have a tradition to carry on, so I have willingly adopted this one, although last night I realized what a labor of love it is now that there are only TWO of us to enjoy it on Christmas morn. Tom's daughters salivate when they hear the words "pork pie" but it doesn't help when they are coast to coast. We made three big pies and two small ones, with enough meat for one more big one, which I'll finish tonight. These are double-crust pies filled with ground pork loin seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and a butt-load of onions. We'll take one to the daughter in Seattle when we visit in January, and the others will go in the freezer. It is a nice tradition to carry on; I think we just need to adjust the quantity we make. Maybe two pies next year?

With a blended family, with kids grown and scattered, Christmas is a different holiday. Things have to go in the mail so there's not much under the tree. Still, I like the tree, the lights, the Christmas music. I like sitting there early morning with just the tree and mantle lights on, having my coffee. I like planning a simple Christmas dinner for us and a few single neighbors. I like that it will be cold on Christmas day so we can have a fire.

All in all, I guess I'm pretty darn happy.