Saturday, December 4, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Ok, there is lots to be filled on from the past couple months that I've been AWOL. But now is not the time. Now is the time for an early Christmas prestent, in the form of a very funny blog. Just a heads up, Elaine and Gary are a ficticious couple with some rather ridiculous decorating tastes. Thanks to Tirzah, who informed me of the entertaining site. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Going Dark

Or whatever it is that Jack Bauer does on occassion. Or, I've come across some new and interesting reasearch and I might be consumed with tracking down articles and such and might not be updating things here as often as I'd like.
Surprisingly, this was all the result of my last dr visit and my eventual decision to not take any of the drugs right now. Except for the LDN. Reading a bit more of the risks and not feeling quite desperate enough to try them helped a bit too. As did the latest news story I read suggesting MS may have a very different cause than what all the drugs are predicated on. An MS Drug shirt would say "The immune system is evil and must be punished' or rather killed. My brother in law had a shirt with a similar saying only it was liver that needed punishing. It was a drinking shirt, needless to say. Well I like my liver and my immune system so I'm not taking either drug. And then this morning I read this article:
Which suggests the cascade of events leading up to demylenation may actually begin with astrocytic necrosis induced by anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies. And not necessarily the result of the immune system turning cannibalistic and eating all the myelin. The cannibal part sounds ok but astrocytic necrosis clearly wins the day in cool, freaky terms. So I'm going with that one. The recent findings, although there have been some similar  Japanese studies earlier, was done by Dr Prineas, whom I've read about before. So I liked that.
Anyway, I might not update for the next couple days. Or shower. Or cook. Luckily the kids love and fight over the new vacuum cleaner so I know the rugs will get cleaned. And we'll get our schoolwork done too. But otherwise I think I'll be consumed with reading more about the new research. I'll get to see Dr M in November, and that will be fun. But it is  a ways off. Especially when I have something exciting I want to discuss. Or maybe I'll hire Audrey to keep things up to date here. I think that's what I'll do.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gilenya or Tysabri? Decisions, Decisions

And no. Those are not names for future little Pattons. Although I could see a TV series 'Gelenya, Princess Warrior' being a big hit. Actually, those are the names of the two drugs I am supposed to choose between. So says my neurologist. I had a different kind of visit this time and I can't quite put my finger on why, but it was not very satisfying or inspiring. Maybe it was the fact that I wore my PJ's. Maybe it was just that time of the month. Or maybe it was the vegan cookie I ate for breakfast.
The morning started a little crazy when I called to confirm my MRI appt, as they had not called me the day before. As is their cutsom. To call, that is. Anyway, I did indeed have a 9:30 appt, but they were super booked as one of the machines had not been working the day before and they were trying to fit everyone in. The tubes are not that big and it was creating quite a back up. The receptionist asked how quickly I could get there.
I said 15 min. without traffic. But it was 8:00. So there was bound to be traffic. And I was still in my jammies.
'That's fine. We'll put you in scrubs when you get here. Just hurry.'
Jammies are well suited for MRIs as there are no magnetic fasteners to interfere. So I took a quick shower, had a sip of coffee, packed a change of clothes, and arrived in my pink flannel pants and t-shirt. There was traffic. So I cheated, never mind how, and got there in about 15 min.
They had the nice warm blanket ready for me and nobody gave me funny looks for my unbrushed hair or my PJs.
I chatted with the technician as he put the IV in. He asked how my MS was doing. I didn't know he knew. I suppose it said on the order somewhere. I told him I didn't know. I guess we'd find out. His cousin was diagnosed with MS a month ago. And is in a wheelchair already. I felt a little sheepish being able to hop on and off the MRI bed no problem. Especially as it has been about 19 yrs.
Afterwards I got dressed and found a comb in my purse. So my hair looked bettter. Not stellar. But better. I wasn't meeting Dr M for two hours, so I headed to Trader Joes for some snacks, then to Tully's for coffee and perusing of the WSJ, which I had had the presence of mind to pick up on the way down the driveway. Then I worked on my list of discussion points before heading up 30 min early to see Dr M.
The receptionist told me they could not find my appt- I had called them before I left to confirm as well-but that they got the MRI report and he could see me right then. So he did. I was a little disappointed as well that he didn't run the usual battery of tests. I had specially chosen my shoes to facilitate the walking heel to toe one. Also, last time, the nurse informed me that looking at your feet makes that one more difficult. So, if you ever need to, just look straight ahead. 
I think maybe he was a little  crunched for time, and that my have influenced the feel of the visit. Or maybe he was having a bad day. Or maybe it was any of the above listed reasons. I don't know. The  long. or rather short of it is he saw some persistent black holes on the scans- they were there in April-he does not put much stock in the 'diet as therapy' approach, so I decided to stop giving up dairy, and he'd like me to go on one of the stronger medications. Hence the fancy post title.
I did tell him that the left side of my face has felt a tiny bit odd. He said that was the side he was inspecting last visit. And my throat has not gotten better. Actually, I'm not sure about that entirely. I think it may have a little. But then again, I could just be used to it. He said relapses usually last  up to 6 weeks. Longer than that and its probably a permanent thing. He also reiterated that 90% of people go progressive in the first 20 yrs. After which, none of the medications can help. Of course there is that other 10% . But he expressed that he felt my case warranted some second line medication. He gave me my options and two months to think about it. Unless I decide sooner and call to tell him so.
I'm not thrilled about either option. Gilenya, sweet as it sounds, lowers your heart rate- you take your first dose at the hospital where they monitor you for 6 hrs. Then you take your colored pills and go home to try it on your own. It has nice side dishes of skin cancer, pulmonary issues- shortness of breath, coughing, pneumonia- edema in some part of your eye, which can lead to blindness, increased risk of infections, and there have been two deaths. Something about chicken pox. Which I had already, so that makes me safe. I think. Originally it was called 'fingolimod' and is somehow derived from a chinese fungus.
Tysabri was well publicized a few years ago and pulled from the market as there were deaths caused by PML,  a nasty brain infection. They think, now, that they can limit your chances of death by more monitoring.' Oh look. We were monitoring him. And now he's dead.' That last bit sounds a lot funnier if you read it with a British accent. Try it.  That's how I wrote it, and I thought it was funny. I was actually wondering the other day why it is that the Brits are so darn funny. And I don't think it's just the accent. They just really are a funny lot.
OK so they don't just monitor you, they can seemingly treat you if they catch it early enough. And they try to limit the time you are on the drug as every bit past 2 yrs or so increases your chances for death. So you sometimes take 'holidays' for a few months. But who knows what accumulated use might do to you. It has not been around that long. But is has been around longer than Gilenya and is just  a monthly infusion so not that big of a bother. Granted you're not killed by it. So actually I feel a little leaning towards it. I don't know what hell hole it was discovered in. I'm pretty sure there were no chinese herbs, fungus, mice, or spam involved. But I really don't know the secret recipe. It also has risk of other more benign infections as well.
There is a third drug I'm interested in 'laquinomod' but it won't be available til late next year, given it doesn't kill off all its trial participants. So I could pick one for now and maybe switch later. It's really difficult to choose. Pick your poison is definitely how it feels. But I have some time to research and sort it out for now. And I'll be having half and half and butter or whatever else suits my fancy while I deliberate.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Care Package

Shane showed up from work yesterday, generally he calls first to let me know he's on his way. But he just showed up so it seemed like a really good surprise. And then he further surprised me with this care package.

He definitely knows the way to my heart.

They were still beautiful and fresh looking this morning. Probably because they stayed nice and cool. The weather is feeling very fallish and I think soup weather is not far off. Which is ridiculous.

After teh big kids cleaned the kitchen last night, I found someone had set up and was planning to make hashbrowns for breakfast.

Complete with a set table for the four kids. Note the stack of books by Audrey's plate.That would probably be enough to get her through breakfast.

When I went to say good night to the kids and praise them for their good work on the kitchen, it was really sparkling, I asked who had done the breakfast prep, thinking it was Cyril as he loves hashbrowns. Turns out they didn't know about it. It was Kateri. Who also had her  morning outfit picked out and folded next to her bed. I could really learn a lot from this girl. I hear her shredding the potatoes right now. I'm thinking I'll just hand over the management of the house to her this year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Last HairBender

Shane took us to dinner and a movie last week. The movie was The Last Air Bender, which, for not being all that great, had me captivated for a good spell. Actually, it was Kateri that was captivating. I noticed her moving around a lot, and when I turned to see what she was doing, found she was moving her arms in graceful arcs and spirals, like she was giving some sort of  benediction to the empty seat in front of us- I guess the other viewers read the reviews first. Which was unfortunate, because Kateri was quite the show.

She sat, eyes intent on the screen, watching every move the 'benders' were making to contort the water to their wills. She mimiced every sweep and wave, and then some, adding a flourish here and there. Personally, I thought hers was better. I motioned to Shane and we both sat, mesmerized  by her actions. Suddenly, it was the best movie ever.

I was thrilled when we went to the beach later, and she tried her bending skills on the Puget Sound. It doesn't show in the picture, but she was able to conjure up a bowling ball sized orb. She had her back to me, so I couldn't really see it either, but she was happy and excited to find out that she was a water bender.

She has decided to take a year off from her dancing career. A move I whole heartedly endorsed. I was not at all pleased with some of the 'older girls' numbers at the last recital. But I am seriously considering putting her in a tai chi class. It might slow down her realization that she is a 'will bender' as well. A power I think she is not at all ready to take on. And I would love to watch the practices.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

This past week was very busy with just little amounts of time un pack, pack, and leavea again. Right now I am  attacking the mountain of dirty laundry that has piled up, but don't think I'll get to the summit today as I'm running out of detergent and its way too hot to drag the kids to the store.

Speaking of hot, Shane and I got to take a vacation to Portland this week end, where it was in the 90s. And we were at an outdoor concert. But it was so worth it and luckily there was a breeze most of the time. And when there wasn't, I used my paper plate for a fan.
And because it is hot here too, I'm going to have to tell most of our week end in pictures.
Xavier Rudd was first. It was fun to see him again, though he only got to play 5 or so songs, and not any of my favorites from his latest album. But it was still neat.

Rodrigo and Gabriela were amazing. And afterwards we got to shake hands with both of them. I felt the front row ticke price was totally worth it. They were really fun and incredible musicians. I felt really inspired and have since learned how to play a C major  chord on a ukelele.

Before the concert we wandered around the grounds.

Sat in the cool tasting room,

and tried to stay in the shade when possible.

After the concert we were on a high. Not that kind, but form the smell of the air I think others were. So we stopped in at one of the bars,

For mojitos,

and broiled figs with cheese and balsamic.

When traffic cleared, we headed back to the hotel. And still not being tired, we sat in the bar and had a drink and several tasty appetizers. Then finally feeling satisfied, we braved the "Elevator of Death" to get to our room.

The elevator had this super annoying and surprising habit of shutting  two seconds after it had opened. Shane had a close call but after that we were always careful evaccuate as quickly as possible and there was no further injury.

 And here is the watermelon and feta salad which I'd been dreaming about since our last stay at the Governor a year ago. I think they changed the dressing on the frisee, but it was still amazing and we got to have it twice.

But before all this went down, the whole family went to Lake Wenatchee for a reunion and memorial and getting to know cousins. But, since it is so warm, I'll have to save that one for tomorrow. And I think the dryer is about done.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Checking In

I got to see Dr M today. Unlike dentist appointments and shots, I always look forward to visiting with Dr M. I didn't have too many wild and crazy theories to discuss today. Mostly it was just to do a three month check up of being on the LDN. He said I could stay on it for now and we'd see if the MRI in Sept indicates a need for something more drastic. And then I'll probably say no.  As usual I aced all the little tests. I think. The walking heel to toe was sort of off, but I had flip flops on. Once I took them off it was fine. My legs were a little sore and stiff from working out yesterday so my gait might have been a little off.  I explained it though. My weight was a little up from last time. I think it is probably just due to the time of the month. I didn't explain that.

Then he had me do the close your eyes, put your arms out, touch your nose. I assured him I had not been drinking. Then he looked at my face. Intently. I started to feel a little under the microscope. Did I forget to wash my face? What had I eaten for breakfast? He told me to close my eyes. I couldn't help peeking just so I could see his expression. Which didn't give anything away. He told me to smile. Finally, satisfied, he said,

"Ok. You can relax and have a seat." 

I asked what he had seen or was looking for.

"Oh, it was nothing."

I asked what the 'nothing' was.

He talked about seeing things that might seem off or clues to somthing bigger. Like a person with one scuffed shoe, who obviously drags that foot and other things a detective would notice. Finally he told me it seemed one side of my mouth seemed more expressive than the other. But upon closer inspection, it was 'nothing'. I still felt self conscious everytime I smiled and I've been checking in the mirror since I got home. Nothing.

So that was all good and I'll get to see him again in two months and I can stick with the LDN. So I'm happy.

On another note, this is the wine chosen for a recent wedding. It was only $4.99 at Trader Joe's and its pretty tasty. I stopped to pick up some more after the doctor visit but the Kirkland one was out and the wine guy told me the distributor is out as well. So if you find yourself at Trader Joe's you might want to pick some up, if you can. The Redmond one still has some. I haven't checked the other local stores.

Shane came up with a fun activity for the kids and asked me to get some mini marshmallows and tooth picks at the store. This is Cyril's creation.
This is Cyril's creation  on fire. No questions.

And that's life at the moment. Sticky, sweet, and on fire. Not sure how that really fits this moment. But, oh well. There it is.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's that time of year again

Guess who is going to have a birthday?

Kateri has been planning her birthday pretty much since the day after her last birthday. She has invited anyone and everyone, even though she has not decided where the party is actually going to be. Our house or Grandma and Grandpa's. She decided she wanted me to take her shopping. I had to run to the drug store so she came along and I told her she could pick something.  She picked out a little travel toothbrush with a bright pink case and tube of toothpaste. I know. I got off easy.

Then she decided Grandma could take her shopping too. So yesterday, Grandma had some time and took her shopping and out to dinner. She came home with a royal wardrobe and lots of trimmings and trappings for the big day. And of course, she will assist Grandma in making the Giant Pink Princess Castle. Just like last year. Because Grandma doesn't get enough practice making big cakes. (That is a big joke around here. I can't even count the wedding cakes she's done so far this year.)

Anyway, these are a few of her new outfits.

She had decided to wear this one to the party, as it is the most "princess" looking dress.

This has leggings too, but she decided the shirt could double as a dress. She was really excited to get tennis shoes, and today wore them jogging around the neighborhood. In 80 degree weather. But what good is a new pair of shoes if you can't show them off?

I thought this little skort and top were pretty cute on her. Oh, and she picked out some royal jewelry too. And if you can't decide which one to wear, wear them all!

There are other clothes, but three outfits seemed  enough for one day. Oh, wait. She did wear her new Tinker Bell PJs to bed. So I guess that makes four.

She really has grown. I think her heighth is trying to catch up to her maturity level. Last Friday she almost single handedly took care of Matteas overnight. I drew the line at changing his dirty diaper. She was very put out. But she made him bottles, nachos, snacks, and snuggled him to sleep in her bed. He woke up in the night so I put him in our bed. Kateri said,"Finally, I  can get some sleep."

The next day she was so worn out she took a 2 hr nap. After the cousins had left she was forlorn and didn't know what to do with herself. She came into the room and asked, mournfully,

"When can I get my own baby?"

Whenever that day comes, at least I know she can handle it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcom to Our Poo_

Well it's cold, and it's July here
And the back yard smells like poop.
Its kind of a drag to think about,
This might be the best this summer gets.

A couple weeks ago, the kids convinced me it was a good time to get a swimming pool. There were hot days coming and the run on pools had not happened yet, so I agreed and we headed to Plastics 'R' Us, whick was still pretty well stocked. Of course that only makes it more difficult to choose, having more than one to choose from. I was thinking the little inflatable one or two ring pool would still  work for them. They reminded me that there are FOUR of them and they wanted to get more than their toes wet so we started looking at the larger pools. A lot larger.

They liked the floating rim one. I envisioned a kid getting stuck under the floating rim. They liked the four ft tall one, I envisioned being paged for heavy lifting everytime the younger ones wanted in or out.  We finally settled on the 3 ft tall x 12 ft diameter pool. Then I thought I should double check with Shane and ask how much lawn we were willing to give up. He pointed out we we don't have much lawn, mostly clover and dandelions and he didn't care how much of it we drowned. The other 'feature' of our yard is that it is mostly clay with a clover veneer. So it doesn't drain much. Or at all. We decided we could turn the left side into a swamp, so I hauled out the huge box, plopped it in the car and away we went.

With the two big kids helping, set up was pretty quick. Filling it up, no so fast. But eventually it was enough for them to splash and swim in and they spent the rest of the day in it. And the next. Then we headed down to the property so we had to drain it. At first the almost 2,000 gallon capacity seemed cool and luxurious. But when you go to drain it, its kind of a pain. Luckily it has an attachment for a hose so at least we could spread it around.

Well, it has been too cold since and we have not filled the pool again. There was one warm week-end, but we were away. Apparently it got very warm. It was at least hot enough to give one of our little lizards heat stroke. At least that was our guess when we found her sunken-eyed and super stinky the next morning. I got to use one of my snowman cookie boxes again. Our back woods now houses a pet cemetery and it is hard to not step on hallowed ground, which Cyril gets very offended by. I guess we should build a fence around the graves.

But back to the other offending odor. We decided we should move the pool, since it was drained, and maybe give the clover a chance. It looks ok when it is mowed. So last night we flipped it over on its back side, its 10 metal legs all sticking up in the air like a dead animal. And from the deceased clover patch came a stench, much like a dead animal. There was no safe place in the yard so we rereated into the house gagging and laughing. We suddenly remembered the summer before when we had just done the same for our old pool, thus releasing the toxic smell into the air making our back yard off limits for at least a week. Then that night, our neighbors decided to have a big party in their back yard. They have dogs so we could just imagine what all the guests would be  sure they had just stepped in all evening.

But lucky for them, this is no summer party weather we've been having. If it lasts a week, we might be get away with it. Its still pretty ripe this morning, I had to take the garbage out, but without the sun heating and intensifying it, it might not last as long.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July Weekend

For the Fourth, we headed down to my parents' cabin where we enjoyed a variety of activities.
Pippin was willing to make a path fro Grandma anywhere ane everywhere she needed one, and a few extras.
Cyril was thrilled when,  on our first walk, he found a snake. He was not so thrilled when it "juiced" on him.
The boys had fun shooting the BB gun.
So did this girl.
Cyril found time between finding critters and swimming to work on his aim as well.
There was lots of rock skipping. This one was a little big.
The kids could not wait to get in the river and jumped in with their clothes on.
MOm asked if I wanted to help her cut a four ft trunk with a long saw. Of course I said yes. We got about half way then solicited help from the boys. It was a really good work out and I am still sore. The log turned out to be rotten in places so we'll need to do another cut. So Shane volunteered to get a 4 ft chain saw and come back. Because you should never waste a good opportunity to procure a really cool tool. And becasue he's nice. And because he'd really like to have one.
Shane joined the kids in the water and they swam across the river.
In the evening, after some rather tasty ribs, Shane pulled out the fireworks we picked up after church. He and Sandor, my brother, had fun lighting off the big mortars, the rest of us were huddled around the bonfire trying to stay warm. Then, being boys, they decided to see what would happen if you put the mortor in up-side down. This is what happens. A small bang, then a loud thunk. It's good the package came with two tubes. And then, of course, we had to see what would happen if you just left in on the road- no tube. That was pretty cool. I treid to get a picture but was too busy watching it to get a good one. They are so pretty up close.
Audrey spen most of the week end making horse trails with the grass Grandma had just cut. She was very sad to leave it.

Actually, they were all very sad. Here they are begging to stay 'just one more night'.
I am sure Shane is anxious to get his new chainsaw and go back, so I think we'll be there soon. This time we'll take our fishing grear too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News from the Front Lines

Here are the latest headlines in the war on chaos.

Operation Laundry is proceeding as expected. It is currently in its second wave. There is confirmation that a  smaller target, operation unpack, was already completed earlier and has already yeilded returns totalling in the $.75-$1 range.

Operation Laundry is expected to last into the late afternoon and possibly into the next day, if needed. Officials say they are 'sticking with it to the end'.

Opreation Carpet Bomb was also considered as an option, but was summarily dismissed due to the very high collateral damage anticipated.

Operation Toilet Bowl Sweep, on the other hand, was carried out eariler this morning with complete success though it is anticipated the same maneuveres will need to be repeated in the future on and on-going basis.

"This is not a bad thing, or a sign of failure" high level officials are saying.

"This is more of a precautionary, or pre-emptive, if you will, move. But we feel such actions will decrease any future disruptions due to unsightliness 99-100%. Which in this situation, we consider a complete victory and absolutely worth the small effort. We are also training the natives so in the future they can take ownership."

Experts are also being consulted on  ways to mitigate the necessary frequncy of this response by educating the newer troops on the benefits  of good aim.

Re-building efforts are already underway, with clothing, food, and any medical assistance necessary being provided on demand. A speedier response will reach those who say please and don't whine.

So far, insurgents have been few and when dealt with swiflty and firmly, have so far shown a willingness to reform and co-operate. However we have gotten word troops on the ground are calling for more soap to combat inflammatory or disrespectful language.

So far, all those involved are calling the efforts a success and do not anticipate any setbacks.

"This in not a perfect situation. We can't rule out surprises or side effects of say, running out of coffee. Things may arise and mandate we take a different tactic. We're agile and can adapt to such things as having to make a coffee run occasionally. And we're very quick to get back on track and stay focused on our ultimate goal. Clean House."

Officials also tell us more is going on that at this point they are not able to disclose. Wanting to maintain good relationships with all those involved, they feel it may have undisireable repurcussions to have complete transparency.

"This is a highly sensitive situation and we feel that information on a need-to-know basis serves everyone best. And who is really going to miss the 3-limbs-missing doll or the trailer with one wheel? Seriously. This is in everyone's best interest."

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Today is Kateri's Big Day. Where she gets put on frilly clothes. Be in the spot light. Command everyone's attention. And then dazzle her adoring fans with her ingenious and original antics, for which she'll get a standing ovation. Pretty much like every other day in her life so far. I get the honorof seeing her first this afternoon. Shane and Audrey will hit her second show  this evening. I'm not sure we'll ba able to recdord her dance, but I'm hoping so. Last time was such a hit. I think she might be a little more on top of the timing and choreography this time. But I'm secretely hoping we'll get to see  a  few Kateri original moves.
This performance will be a tap dance, which I think she is liking better than the ballet portion of the class. But what's not to really like about black shiny shoes that make satisfying clicks drawing attention to every step she makes. That is if you can hear them over the 'non stop  wanna see how quickly I can talk' monologue phase she is in. And being a girl, she can do both. At the same time. Which is nothing less than dizzying.
She posed for a few shots. The she went into photo shoot mode and went wild. When the Elvis poses started coming out, I figured we should stop. In looking over the pictures, I realize how much of her face you CAN'T see, because of her hair. Even with it all slicked back, the encroaching forest that is her bangs, takes up half her forhead.

Shane had to go To Texas this past week. So I had to make some curtains. Shane actually noticed them when he came home. He said they made the room look smaller and closed in. I told him I was glad he was home.

Maybe sheers would be a happy middle road. I need something to block or at least mute the sun when it comes blazing in. Not that it has been a problem the past few days. But maybe later this summer.

Well, we're T minus two hours. Time to start taming the mane again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lots Happening

We've been fairly busy the past few weeks. Unfortuantely, not a lot of it has been due to the sunny weather. Actually, today was the first time I had to water my plants. Hopefully its the start of a new trend. It's hard to believe it is almost July. You certainly would not have guessed it from the weather.

But we've been finding ways to keep busy. We are done with school and into our summer schedule. Which means we're free to go wherever the day and our whims take us.
Except Mondays, when I have a chiropractor visit and then we go to take care of the miniature horses:

Wednesdays, when I have a chiropractor visit and the kids have swim lessons.
Thursdays, Kateri has a couple more weeks of ballet.

But the rest of the time we're free.

We enjoyed our first arugula from the garden , dressed with only some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. My favorite.
The strawberries are doing very well. Lots of berries popping out. Now I just need to keep the slugs away.

And we also celebrated my parents' 40th wedding anniversary.

On top of all that, Shane has been travelling a bit. Florida a couple weeks ago, San Diego the next, last week N Carolina, this week Houston and Austin. July might get crazier if he gets the Japan-Taiwan-China-India trip as well. I think I'll line up some projects. There are still lots of window needing to be dressed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Knock, Knock

Things have been fairly quiet here. The weather has been very fickle. I got a sunburn on Saturday. Sunday our outdoor party got rained out and we had to make alternate plans. My garden is doing mostly well. The slugs are still getting their snacks, but since Shane trimmed the grass around the boxes they have fewer places to hide and I think I am gaining on them.

We are rapidly losing interest in things like math and phonics. Cyril finished his reader yesterday. Audrey has a few more math lessons and I am looking forward to calling it quits. I was looking forward to a slower pace for summer. But then I signed the kids up for summer swim lessons, made chiropractic appointements for 2x a week, and we are continuing taking care of the horses once a week. Somewhere in there we will fit trips to the beach and other summer activities.

I've been super spacey the past few weeks and a litte on the grumpy side. Yesterday I had an appt with the chiropractor. Luckily Shane was able to work from home so I didn't have to haul the 4 kids with me. When I got in the car the "empty" light was lit up. But when I saw the ramp to the free way was already being light controlled, I figured I'd better not stop. It is crazy that a 12 min trip took 20 min,. At 10:00am! I got my last cel phone call while driving in, and the office said to come anyway.

On the way home I got lost, which is not unusual for me, but kind of ridiculous as I've been to the same building to see my midwife for three pregnancies. When I finally found the AMPM the silly card reader acted like it was not really a card reader, just a decorative slot for you to slide your card in and out of multiple times without giving you the slightest aknowledgement. Rather irritated, I darted across four lanes to the other gas station, which was far more responsive, and finally filled up. Then while sitting at the light, my phone rang. It has had this habit lately of hanging up and shutting off when I push the answer button. And as expected its usual performance. I saw it was Shane but didn't have time to boot up, enter my password, and dial before the light turned green. I was so frustrated I fantasized about smashing my phone repeatedly on my steering wheel. I could just feel the case cracking as I bludgeoned it again, and again. At least the visual made me laugh. Kind  of a laugh cry though.

Finally it connected a minute from home. It was Shane again, worried and wondering where I was. I told him the appointment was a little longer than I expected and I had gotten lost and had to stop for gas. Then I ranted about the phone for a bit and I told him I was ready for a new one. He's been wanting to get me  a Kin. I feel a little old for one, but if it is super user friendly and won't keep dying on me I'll take it.

I decided it was a soup kind of day, the rain had not left us yet. Just as I was sauteeing the shallots the doorbell rang. I left the pot and ran to open it, thinking it was one of the kids and would just be a second. No. It was a salesman. I told him I was in the middle of dinner- it was 6:00, what did he expect?. He said he'd just make it real brief. He was going to be doing some pest control in the neighborhood and since he's already be here he could give me a "really, really good rate". He had just signed up my neighbor "Doug" who had to replace his patio and was signed up for a spider control treatmen.

 Firstly, I don't know of a single neighbor named Doug. Secondly, all the houses around here have aggregate patios- which I loathe with  passion, and I'm not sure what spiders could do to them. Thirdly, my shallots were going to burn.

I told him again, I really had to go. He offered to come back. Actually , he just stated that he would come back. So I told him,

"Don't bother. We really don't need your services."

"You mean you don't have any pests you want to get rid of?"

"Just door-to-door-salesmen" I answered.

He look confused a second.

"I'm sorry. What did you say?"

"Nothing" I said. Feeling kind of remorseful for being snippy. But really, why is is impolite to communicate in a "this can't mean anything else" way, but a sales man can trespass on your property, waste your time trying to get rid of him, and try to make you feel like you need whatever he is offering.  I told him seriosly, I was in the middle of making dinner. Thanks but no thanks. And finally shut the door
The shallots didn't burn. But I did burn the garlic twice and had to re-do it. Maybe I deserved it.

This morning after breakfast the kids looked out and saw in the swing set area a large rat loafing around. I had to wonder if possibly it was a set up.  I think a  pellet gun will be fine for pest control.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chicken Class

My mother-in-law and I took another cooking class. This time the theme was chicken, and just for fun the teacher threw in several rice dishes. I really liked the rice and her idea of making a big pot of brown rice at the beginning of the week, and having it on hand to add various other ingredients to to make nice side dishes. Without having to wait for the rice to cook. Shane was little less than thrilled when I told him about it. He generally does not like rice and is baffled as to why I still make the stuff. But, ususally if there is enough of a sauce he ends up eating it. Which encourages me to make it again. But I'm pretty sure he will like the new recipes.

This first one didn't have any rice. Just some chopped chicken with pasta and bleu cheese. She added some of the  the pasta water to it to make a sauce. For not having 1/2 and 1/2 or heavy cream, it was very rich. And creamy.

This one was baked chicken with feta and lemon. For the rice she sauteed shallots, zucchini, mushrooms, and chives.

This was pounded chicken breast with a mustard spread rolled around an asparagus spear and baked with a prosciutto wrap. For the rice she sauteed shallots, roasted cherry tomatoes,and  toasted pine nuts. I think this was my favorite rice. But they were all really good.

The finale was Vietnamese chicken skewers with sweet chili sauce. For this rice she added some warm coconut milk, toasted coconut, and lime zest. Plus a squeeze of lime juice.

I have not made the big pot of rice yet. Mostly because the kids have lost all my tupperware out in the yard. I suppose I could portion it in ziploc bags and freeze it. But I already washed the kitchen floor so I feel like one domestic project is enough for today. Although I did also go out slug hunting this morning. I'm comitted to keeping my tomaoes and strawberries safe. I think I might get some disposable gloves to help next time.