Mar 30, 2010
My office is a hot mess. I know that there are other areas of the house that need attention, but tonight it was the “family tree” shelf which was piled with books, folders, printouts, notes (letters and notes that my mom took and saved 20 years ago, my notes and documents from my spurts of searching over the years) that caught my attention. I know that I organized it once upon a time, but over the last few years, I’ve pulled information that I failed to refile while at the same time printing new documents that needed to be filed appropriately.
I unloaded the shelf onto the floor of the living room and sat there on the floor with a glass of wine prepared to dig in and fix my mess. My computer and family tree information are on my computer…in the office! It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed to relocate and reassess my plan of attack. At the moment I am tempted to dump the whole pile back on the shelf and find another distraction…I know that I can find one easily.
In the meantime, I found a journal that my dad made during the last days of Granddaddy’s life. Granddaddy was relatively healthy until the end. He kept his mind, but the last few weeks were painful and slow. Grandmother had already lost her mind to Alzheimers. Granddaddy spent his last few weeks in a hospital bed placed in the living room of their home. She thought he was a newborn. Always needed to be touching, tucking or futzing with the “baby”. Granddaddy, when he had enough strength tells her to “sit down! I’m okay.” Dad took note of the general interactions with Granddaddy and he also chronicled a “conversation” with Grandmother…she was talking to herself, in another world. I hope it was a happy one. *sigh* Alzheimers sucks. As does cancer along with many, many other things…such as car accidents!
Granddaddy on his tractor, summer 1999, 91 years old. Off to help a fellow who was stuck in the pasture. I love that smile!
Grandmother, exact year unknown at the moment, with the Starr’s tree. Spring 1990 or 1991 as part of an Earth Day program the kids at Starr’s daycare received “trees”, we brought the sapling to the farm and planted it as a single twig and a few roots. To our surprise, it grew!!
The notebook was a sad read.
Granddaddy passed away August 2002, two days after my dad’s last journal entry. Grandmother passed less than a year later.
I miss them.
Mar 28, 2010
It’s been a while since I’ve tried something new. I have been busy adapting some of my old favorites into gluten free versions, with some success. So far the changes have been minimal…mostly looking at “almost” gluten free recipes and making the small changes necessary. Nothing really worth sharing…yet!
Last night Starr was here for dinner and I had a pork tenderloin in the fridge. I didn’t want to do our standby pork tenderloin recipe so I did a little searching at Epicurious.com for a recipe that she might like. What I found was this:
Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Pears and Pear-Brandy Cream Sauce
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
4 firm but ripe large Anjou pears, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chopped shallots (I bought a medium sized shallot which produced nearly 1/4 cup or a little less. I don’t know if I would add too much more than that.)
1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 cup pear eau-de-vie (clear pear brandy) or pear schnapps (I didn’t have pear brandy so I used about 1/2 regular brandy and 1/2 Grand Marnier)
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup pear nectar (I went to the store for this and found pear juice…it would have to do! And did.)
Place pork slices between plastic wrap. Using meat mallet, pound pork slices to 1/4-inch thickness.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pears and sugar; sauté until pears are tender and deep golden, about 8 minutes.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in another large nonstick skillet over high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add pork to skillet; sauté just until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Cover. Reduce heat to medium. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet. Add shallots and thyme; sauté 2 minutes. Add eau-de-vie; boil until reduced to glaze, scraping up any browned bits, about 2 minutes. Add cream and pear nectar; boil until thickened to sauce consistency, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Reheat pears if necessary. Spoon into center of platter. Arrange pork around pears. Pour sauce over pork.
I loved every bit of this recipe. The sauce made me a very happy girl. Starr seriously loved the pork and the pears…but wasn’t interested in the sauce at all.
Oh, well. Despite her aversion to sauce, this will be going into my “to make again” files!! Yum.
Side note: I loved using my freshly sharpened knives!! What a difference!
Mar 26, 2010
My knives were getting so dull it was becoming an issue. It’s been about 10 years since I purchased my knives…one at a time because they were expensive…and I only have three. I love them and am glad that I spent the money on them. I have honed them regularly, but have never had them professionally sharpened.
I considered going to Ace Hardware or something, but I didn’t want just anyone to sharpen them. I wanted someone who knew knives. I found the guy who sharpens knives for restaurants in Northern Colorado and met him in the ally behind a local Chinese place. At $3 a knife, I think it was a bargain.
They are sharper than they were when I first purchased them. In fact they scare me just a bit.
It’s funny, because I didn’t know how to transport them. At home I keep them on a magnetic strip, I use them, I wash them, I stick them to the wall. I don’t own a knife block or carrying case. I considered wrapping them in towels, but that seemed just as sketchy/dangerous as carrying them bare. I decided to make my own sheaths out of a cereal box. I traced the blades and cut a wide version of each knife then stapled around the edges. They looked really silly.
I set the knives on the table to take a picture of my handiwork and Sammy jumped up (as always) needing to be involved, so I took a picture of both!
The knife specialist didn’t give my homemade sheathes a second look. I am saving them to use next time.
Now that I know who-what-where I will be getting them done more often.
Mar 25, 2010
mp3: “The Last Time I Saw You” by Sam Reynolds
I know that I recently posted a Tuesday Mix, but I just heard this song and had to pass it along. It hit me in ways that made my breath catch. I don’t know Sam Reynolds, but I plan to!
You can listen to the whole album here on his website: Sam Reynolds
I was a little surprised to find that Sam is only 22 years old. I copied the below from his website:
sam reynolds is a 22 year old singer-songwriter from the new York state in America. he’s played in illustrious venues in London, irrelevant coffeehouses in New York, and any number of only-just-relevant bars and clubs in Charleston, South Carolina (among others). critical and popular acclaim has followed sam’s young career in abundance. we, the people at samreynoldsmusic.com both encourage and appreciate this.
recently, he recorded his first studio album, entitled “sam reynolds I,” in Los Angeles with the aid of one brian t. moore (producer/engineer/mixer) and one derek cournoyer, sam’s beloved french-canadian manager.
now residing in and around New York City, sam continues to write and record material, as well as play in reputable venues throughout these united states of America.
sam’s creative influences include primatology, astrophysics, elliott smith, the philosophy of the universe, biology of the planet earth, depression, anxiety, psychosis, larry levis, small villages, the color green, and the very strange matter of self-aware matter.
“the moment I saw you I was home” …*sigh*
Mar 24, 2010
We had been having such wonderful weather that we completely forgot the fact that we lived in Colorado and that snow could still be a part of our lives.
Last Friday we had about 6 inches of snow. I was frustrated. Sunday Starr and I sat outside on the deck while she worked on a crafting project. Monday was beautiful and nearly 70 degrees. Yesterday left us with this:
Looks like spring! The roads were terrible last night, but are passable and mostly just wet this morning…there will be no snow day for Starr. No matter how much she wished for it.
Mar 23, 2010
mp3: “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” – Frightened Rabbit
I am guilty of breaking my own rule about ignoring band names when it came to Frightened Rabbit, never really listening until just recently. This song proves to me that I need to listen first. Now I need to go back and see what I’ve been missing!
Album: The Winter of Mixed Drinks
mp3: “Song for Dreaming (Good Ol’ Wobbly Version)” - Judson Claiborne
I like it! It’s good and wobbly!
Album: Time and Temperature
mp3: “Below It” – Peter Broderick
The more I hear this song, the more I am drawn to it.
mp3: “Good to Get Out” – Devon Sproule
Spring is here! When it’s not snowing the weather has been beautiful, open the doors, drive with the window down, breeze on your face beautiful. I look forward to more and more days like today and it does feel really good to get out of the house!! I don’t know what this song is really about, but with these sunny Spring days, that is where it takes me.
Album: Don’t Hurry for Heaven!
Mar 22, 2010
We had snow and we were also able to spend time soaking up the sun. We had computer troubles, car troubles, time with friends, icy roads and time with each other.
It went by way too fast!!
Starr spent several days in the mountains with a sorority sister and they had tons of fun, despite the fact that her “new” car didn’t start reliably and she had to get it jumped more than once. Instead of spending most of her time at Breckenridge, which was her plan, she was taking her car to the auto mechanic. Good times! She did get one good day at the slopes, but sadly she didn’t take any pictures while jumping the car or sitting at the auto repair shop…shame.
Starr’s cell phone pic from her perch on the deck at Breckenridge.
V and Starr
I spent the week here at home!! Big surprise. My photographic evidence of the week is below:
No matter how many times I say “no”, Sammy loves spending time on the kitchen counter and island! It totally stresses me out! I am constantly switching out the kitchen towels and washcloths. I am obsessive about washing the counters before any cooking, wiping them afterwards isn’t good enough anymore. He is so sweet and always gives me the “what? You don’t WANT me up here??” look. It’s evil. I love him so much and he knows it.
Mar 19, 2010
- It’s snowing!! It was 68 degrees earlier this week and I was loving it. Today there is 6 inches of snow on the ground. Spring weather…*sigh*…at least I know that the snow won’t last!! The flowers will be showing up shortly. They will show up right?! I need Spring!
- Starr and a friend are up in the mountains, they have been there since Monday. I thought they were coming home yesterday, but they waited until today for reasons I will never understand. Now it’s snowing and I am seriously frustrated with them. I think the roads are mostly fine, but you can’t know that before the storm…they are headed down now.
- I have been Gluten Free for a month. I’ve been careful and it hasn’t really been difficult, the only thing I wish is that I had caved to my donut craving before starting down this path. Oh well.
- I have decided to call the cat Sammy. He responds well to it.
- Starr can call him what she wishes.
Mar 17, 2010
I know that I’ve mentioned it, but I try not to make my daily pain issues a focus of this blog. I live with a headache all day every day and have for many many years. Plus I have joint and muscle pain from Fibromyalgia.
I have also mentioned that Starr and I live in a small neighborhood of senior citizens. Several of them balked at our presence when we moved in nearly nine years ago. Despite our rocky start, I quickly become close to several of them and am friendly with most of the rest.
The other day one of my neighbors called. She often calls just to chat, or sometimes she needs help with something. I am happy to help. This time she wanted to share with me her idea. She was reading Time magazine when she ran across an article called Postcard From Denver about medical marijuana dispensaries popping up all over Denver. Even though she’s never tried it, she thought that I might find some (much needed) relief with marijuana.
She went on to describe the benefits of some of the different varieties described in the article and was positive that there would be one that would be a good fit for me! She suggested that I find someone to give me a prescription and apply for a state issued medical marijuana card right away!
I will have to look into that.
Mar 16, 2010
…that she is my favorite kid. And since she’s my only kid, I can totally say that out loud!!
She loves to smile and she isn’t afraid to be goofy!
See that ring she is wearing on her left hand? That is the ring I bought her for graduation. We picked it out together. It is a heart, in Sunny’s birthstone. She wears it every day.
Damn it, Sunny, we miss you!!