Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Swine flu, and our TV star

So listen, SGS has Swine Flu per his Pediatrician. We babysat him last night and today. At first we thought it was just his winter cold, then the fever started.
He starts Tamiflu today, missing a week of school, but his real concern is Halloween. He has his favorite costume: that horrible Freddy K. So sad for me, I used to always buy his costume, but when he got old enough to start liking the yucky-gory stuff, I told him I would not buy them. It did not work to sway his choice, but that is life.

Since SH is immune compromised, we were very careful to keep coughing germs from him, SGS had his own hand towel and kept all his used Kleenex in his Boogie Buddy Bag (a plastic store bag). Sometimes if you give things a funny name, they hold more importance~ Lots of antibacterial hand cleaner and many reminders to cover mouth when coughing and keep hands off his face.

321-+ Whoops, our Sdog just decided to jump on the laptop and typed a few very important symbols. I wonder if this was a request for a treat in doggie shorthand?

Back to the flu-SD is very concerned, especially because he usually has a healthy appetite, today he ate about 1/2 cup of Halloween shaped pasta and crackers. We pushed clear fluids, and rest-which meant he could watch TV-in the daytime-see being sick has it's perks.

Hopefully he will feel well enough to carve his pumpkins here tomorrow night when he comes back. He very sadly told me last night that I could carve them all, he does not feel well enough! Does that break your heart or what? It is so hard when kids are sick, you just want to make it all better right away.
Other news: SS is a TV commercial Star!

He works at a sheltered workshop for people with disabilities, and there is a public service announcement running here locally promoting the organization. The commercial in on between 5:30 and 6pm on WGRZ Ch 2. We had many phone calls from family and friends telling us they saw him-but we didn't! Finally SS's Dad narrowed down the time of when it was played, and YEAH, we saw it! Lots of hooting and hollering when we saw him tonight-he is the one at the very end with the big sweet smile and the Buffalo Bills 50th Anniversary red shirt. He is also sporting his annual SABRES season beard-a tradition he is carrying on from his paternal SGF.

He does not shave until the SABRES have played their last game. It gets a little nasty looking towards the end of the season, but luckily he allows me to trim it a smidge just to keep him from looking like skid row. (Skid row-that term used to be humorous, the same SGF used to use that word, it referred to someone down on their luck, but really, it is heartbreaking how that number has increased over the years, I will from now on, not use that term.)

That is all the news on this beautiful Indian Summer Day. (Is that politically incorrect and hurtful too? Should I have said Native American Summer Day?)

p.s., our Sdog looks very similar to the dog in the Samson painting-lower left area that was in a few entries prior.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fleece duster cloth

So listen, everyone who knows me knows I can not sew. It is not a genetic flaw because I have 2 sisters and an Aunt who sew like no tomorrow. It is just not one of my skills. I have sewn-when the kids were little-hated every minute of it, so now I do not even own a sewing machine-which of course I regret when it is time for repairs, or something like this little project.

Our SCwife, mentioned in Octoberfeast gave me one of these fleece dusting cloths that fits onto the Swifter floor duster. I tried it, I liked it, washed it and used as dusting cloth, it works so nicely. Here is her pattern-gee I didn't ask her if it is OK to put on Internet, wait, she said she found it on the Internet! That means once taken, can be shared. That is Internet etiquette rule #101.

Fleece Duster Cloth

-one piece of scrap fleece 9"x 10.5"

-three pieces of fleece each 1"x 10.5"

Lay three pieces along length of large piece, one in center and the other two about one inch away from the center. Sew to larger piece, using streeeeeeeeetch stitch, going down the center of the thin pieces.

Use scissors to cut into thin pieces about every 1/2 to 3/4 inch-these are the dust picker-uppers. They will curl when washed/dried.

Now there is no excuse...............

Samson Syndrome

So, listen, maybe someone on the Los Angeles Angels team never heard the Bible story about Samson losing his strength when his hair was cut? It was said during the YANKEES game last night that a few of the Angels had their hair cut between the last 2 games. One went from dreadlocks to a shaven pate!
I am not saying that my Yankees could not have won without their opponents messing with their hair, but hey, everything helps.
On to the World Series!
I wonder if they could have a seniors early bird special on a few games-these late nights are tough on us early birds.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Aida, Celeste Aida

Today SH and I attended a simulcast of an Opera from the Metropolitan Opera at the local Regal Cinema. It was Aida by Verdi. When I was thirteen, my homeroom teacher was brand spankin' new out of school-her name was Miss Mary Louise Nanna. We all loved her-boys and girls. She played the violin we knew, but the most important thing she ever did was to bring in her record player-small portable with a turn table-just like we all had in our homes then. And she played music during our homeroom period. Not just any music, but MUSIC, stuff like we never heard before. That is the first time I heard AIDA. I was so struck by the power of the Triumphal March-the horns caught you as soon as the first few blasts were heard. I have always claimed that as MY Opera. I have seen it in video form, and on TV and listened to certain selections and many versions of CELESTE AIDA. It means Heavenly Aida. Now, it is all on youtube! I tried to upload it here for you, but apparently it is not meant to be. Type in Placido Domingo Celeste Aida in youtube for a wonderful version. I followed Opera from afar for most of my life, never really pursuing it much-wrong time or wrong place. I always remembered my SGM loved Mario Lanza, and she would hum a bit to her shadow granddaughter while we were lucky to have her live with us for a few years. It must be in the blood right?
When SH and I were dating, we started talking about our mutual love of Opera-of course he actually knew something about this art form-I was mearly a wannabe. On our honeymoon (that word might seem silly to some since I was 48 when we married), we actually went to a real live Opera-at the Glimmerglass Opera House near Cooperstown NY. You can just be swallowed up in the music and the costumes and breathe with the performers. There is nothing more wonderful than to follow the mostly tragic love stories and have your pulse beat to the music. Comedies are nice, Gilbert and Sullivan really have so much to offer, but the love and usual death story is so intense. Especially when you are lucky enough to love someone else at that level.

This was a difficult summer for us, SH was very sick. It was a sad time to not be able to fix everything, so helpless. We had made reservations to see two performances at Glimmerglass, but that was one of the many things that became unimportant.

Then, around 3 weeks ago, SH started to return. Sleeping, eating, stronger if not yet strong. We talked about going to see Aida, he knows it is my favorite, but I tried not to jump up and down with excitement (like I could jump up and down???) in case it did not happen. But all worked out, today we drove (way too fast since it took longer to get organized), but no speeding tickets for me, no handicapped parking spots left-who cares, we flew with a big old wind at our back, and plucked down in the last handicapped spot for SH's chair and a sweet usher managed to find me a folding chair so we could sit together. A very few minutes later, it all began, and let me tell you, a happier 13 year old girl could not be found. The next 4 hours were so special. My heart and soul were filled, I was holding SH's hand, and my fanny was numb.

And what of Miss Mary Louise Nanna you ask? She was the first woman to conduct the Washington National Symphony Orchestra, and over thirty years ago she founded the Ars Nova Musicians Chamber Orchestra which she currently conducts-performing Vivaldi. I once went to a performance she was conducting of the Cheektowaga Community Orchestra. I think I very shyly said hello-but I might be imaging that I really did say something. What I should have done was very sincerely thanked her for exposing me to a wonderful world that eventually became an important part of who I am. We go to sleep listening to one of our zillion opera or classical music cds, and we have many from which to choose .
Thank you Miss Nanna, Celeste Mary Louise.

Nixon flashback

So listen, do you all remember the famous "V" that President Nixon used as his peace sign/greeting, etc? There are many photos showing him making a "V" gesture, sometimes double-handed. The most widely circulated version of this was of course his farewell to the presidency after his resignation. Well, when the Catholic Church began it's "Sign of Peace" portion of the Mass, many people used this "V" as their Peace gesture of choice, while others hugged, shook hands, kissed, nodded or looked straight down. We all have our own ways of approaching situations, and there should be room and acceptance for all under those vaulted roofs. I once belonged to a church that was very theatrical, so the Sign of Peace was a "leave your pews and strike up the traveling band music" format. If we ever had a substitute priest there, who was not forewarned about this, he never won if he tried to continue the mass without letting all the touchy-feely happenings go to the absolute last greeting. I was one of these revelers to a degree, but SS as a youth who always needed to be able to move around after a certain time period, went front to back greeting his church friends. SD went though that "would not be caught dead acknowledging family" stage, so she was either singing in the choir, being an alter server, or avoiding us at all costs. It was very hurtful for me at the time, but now, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, and for her this was just getting through those years-No hard feelings.
So, back to our poor Tricky-Dicky, when the Nixon peace sign was used in mass, it always made me laugh, I probably laughed smugly because I was just so much more evolved and could actually reach out and touch others. Then it became just a cute little thing that people did, and I always found it pleasant to see that sign suddenly flash. So, here is the point, finally, are you still with me or did you go get a cup of coffee? Was it pumpkin flavored? I love pumpkin flavored coffee. sorry
The Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo and Western New York announced yesterday that effective IMMEDIATELY, there would be no distribution of Holy Communion through the cup, and a nod or verbal greeting should replace a physical Sign of Peace greeting. Since I take meds that preclude any alcohol consumption, omitting the cup is not a problem for me, and honestly, when I was an active Eucharist Minister, distributing communion in both species, I was so paranoid about cleaning the cup between communicants that I was probably rubbing the dreaded germs right into the metal. It was such a production-we were taught to refresh the cloth after cleaning by refolding. How many times can you refold without being back to the beginning?
Now for the Sign of Peace, here's the deal, if we are going to abstain from physical contact-won't it be so right in these days of War to please use a sign of Peace that would mean more than just a greeting to a fellow parishioner, but in our hearts could we extend that greeting to our soldiers-Peace and God's protection to them everywhere. Just a suggestion.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Octoberfeast for sure.

Octoberfeast, a new word-feel free to make it your own. SM, SH, Scousin, Scousin's wife and Sme went to a German restaurant for lunch today. It is in Buffalo, and called Scharf's-(scharfsrest.com for menu, location and coupons). Small building, in a neighborhood that originally was mostly German settlers. German music pipped in, German flags on each table, and German decorations to enjoy. We were one of the first lunch customers, then it quickly filled with those who ordered quickly-surely they were the "regulars", and a few other interlopers like us, chatting, comparing "what are you going to have?" choices, dawdling I am sure the very efficient waitress was thinking. We just so enjoy each other's company that we all fell into way too many conversations and had to quickly decide what to order so we wouldn't lose our waitress' attention (the word "server" like so many announce themselves to be at chain restaurants when they greet you is definitely not the term for this lady-she was an "expediter"-take order, deliver it, see you later. She was also covering the entire lunch room herself-not an easy job, and doing a fine job thank you very much).

Do you know about real German food? Very Earthy-which of course means gravy, and great flavors. Four of us had Rouladen-which is similar to the Italian method of cooking beef rolled up with great STUFF inside-called braciole. Rouladen has seasoning and a dill pickle inside while baking-no kidding-it has the nicest, tender flavor, great gravy served with it and hand-made noodles-but of course we also ordered a dish of spatzle-what are they you say? Little oval nuggets of heaven-they make a noodle type of dough, then grated over boiling water to be cut right into the water to cook. Then they are lightly sauteed I guess, because they have a little crusty flavor to them. You can buy spatzle in the freezer section and for those who have never tasted the real thing-this will do nicely.
But wait, I skipped the lettuce salad-just regular lettuce in a little bowl-but then, they put on their own house dressing-which they sell, it has a sharp taste-can't tell you what flavor is the cause of that-but a small bowl turns out to be just the right size-even for someone like myself who loooves her salads.

So listen, Shusband ordered what this restaurant, which has been around for 40 years (do not go by the outdated label above) calls their WORLD FAMOUS POTATO PANCAKES. HE DID NOT OFFER ME A TASTE. No, I am not stuck in CAPS, I just wanted make a point. I of course would never ask for a taste-he was so sick this summer and lost weight from a frame that was already way too thin. But if he had offered, I would have maybe taken the most smallest, tiniest-ever-piece to make him happy (always trying to please him of course).
Scousin and Scousin's wife ordered the most beautiful glasses of beer I had ever seen. Tall, I think the style is Pilsner-it looked like this:

The color of the beer was golden, the bubbles were rising to the top, slight foam, it was just too beautiful to imagine drinking and spoiling the image. I don't drink, but it just looked so beautiful. I am pathetic, I know you need to find beauty everywhere, but a glass of beer? Time to tone it down maybe?

But, I digress, Scousin and SCousin's wife were celebrating their 50th anniversary this week-can you imagine what an accomplishment this is? 50 years with the same person, accepting all their gifts and faults, and having them do the same for you? What a blessing it is to make the right spouse choice the first time. Me, I needed to try twice, but I hit the jackpot with this smart, sweet and loving husband, jeeze, I am about to cry, and all this because of a story about lunch!
When all had finished with their meal-I was the only one taking some home-hard to do, but I wanted it that way-and SH can have it for leftovers tomorrow, so anyway, we had to order dessert-our waitress said she ONLY had coconut cream pie-ONLY? Has anyone ever met a cream pie they didn't like? We ordered three pieces to share, let's see: three pieces, 5 people, someone will need to eat the whole thing without sharing-yep, anyone who knows SH knows it had to be him. My guy loves his desserts, and now that his appetite is back, they are all on notice-their end is eminent.
I ordered a take-out of goulash for SS, no cooking for me tonight, and we were all set to go, but wait, one more quick story. Scousin's wife is such a fun, smart person to be around, I told her earlier this week when she had me laughing like I had not in months that she was such a bonus relative-and I love being with her. Scousin and SH could have been brothers-they look alike and when put together they hunker down into their bro love cocoon-a major event could be going on, but they are talking so intently to each other that it would go unnoticed. SM looked lovely-hair done yesterday-dressed up, loving to get out. then SCousin's wife and I noticed a man who looked so totally European, we debated whether he was Polish, German or Russian. He had a face that just reminded you of the way world leaders from Slavic Europe look-sharp, thin features, different style haircut. We had a whole story worked up about him and the people he was with. One man we could see was "packing heat", could he be a body guard? What was the real reason he was in this small restaurant? Secret meeting? We were really having fun. Scousin speaks a few languages, so we were trying to convince him to walk by the table and start saying the Russian alphabet or say something in German-he would not cooperate with our insanity. My only fault with our European theory was that when he left the table-he had khaki pants on. What the heck? Do they even sell khaki pants in Europe? But of course Scousin's wife had an explanation-he spilled something on his regular pants, so had to get these instead!
A few minutes later, I was standing in another part of the restaurant, and Mr. Europe was standing next to me and said something in ........perfect English, with a local accent. Oh no! I started laughing, and had to tell him our bizarre tale. He got a kick out of it and at my request, he said hello to Scousin's wife by name as he walked back to his table. She giggled like a schoolgirl, and so did I. Life comes at you in the cutest ways sometimes. Next time you are looking around this great country, make up a story about one of your fellow travelers, it could lead to a giggle.
Thanks for sharing lunch with me today!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Bok Choy Soup

So listen, if you don't cook veggies like Bok Choy, you might want to try. It is one of those double bonus vegs, dark green on top and sharp white flavor on the bottom. Now you can buy it all year too. Just wash well, blot dry, slice white stems like you would celery 1 inch pieces, slice green tops into 2 inch wide pieces. Heat 2 tbsp canola oil and 2 tbsp. smart balance margarine in heavy pan on med-hi, add about 1 tbsp. dried basil, 1 tbsp. oregano, coarse pepper and salt to taste into oil and cook for about 1 minute to give the oil flavor. Stir, do not let scorch. Add veggie and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, do not let it scorch, then add about 1 cup vegetable stock (chicken ok too, keep an open box in your fridge so you can just pour what you need), after bok choy starts to caramelize a bit, cover, lower heat, add more stock if needed and cook on low for another 10 minutes. Serve for supper, then the next day add one cup of pure canned pumpkin and another cup of stock to your leftover bok choy, heat gently. No additional seasoning is needed because you already did the work-now you have great, healthy soup in a flash, that you would pay a big buck for in a new trendy restaurant! I wish there could be a scratch and sniff website feature for you to smell what is left in the pan above.

Family, Games, Refreshments, and the Yankees=The best ever family night.

So listen, SS#1 and her Shusband told me about a new game that they played at their friend's house called TOSS UP. You can only order it online at patchproducts.com. It was very reasonable, I think I paid $6.99 or so plus s/h.
Sooo much fun, for all ages. It is based on stoplight colors: red means stop, yellow means you may proceed, green is a point earned. You throw the dice, one point for every green that shows, you then can either stop your turn and keep your points, or roll all the non-green dice to try for more points. If at anytime, your rolled dice colors do not contain a green-you lose all your points accumulated on that turn so far. As seen in the picture, all green are showing, I actually threw that-yes baby, of course I went on to lose that game, but hey, no one else in our group has done that magical roll! SGS said I am famous-love that kid!

Sounds like an easy game right? No brain numbing chores like in pinochle or hearts, but oh my, can it get exciting. When a player reaches 100 points, his turn ends usually (you can go on for more, put why?), then each remaining player gets one more turn to "beat the champ" (that was also the name of a local bowling show when I was a kid-flashback to more simple times, sorry). This game has become a ritual for us, SH, SS, SGS and Sme get it going and so many playing styles emerge. For instance last night I did not have one recorded score on the entire game! How is this possible you might ask, well, I was really pushing it after losing my few rounds of small points each time, when my score finally did get high, I kept pushing, wanted to get a big number, and then, BOOM, I threw only reds, and flush the toilet Tessie, my score went down to nothing for that round! SS was trying to hurry up the game so he could end it before the Buffalo Sabres game started (they lost 6-3), so he was pretty fast and furious, finally left before game ended with a score of 80. SH got 103, so the pressure was on for SGS to come through, yep, he managed to get 108 on one series of rolls without a red, and while talking non-stop through the game! SH was figuring out in his head the mathematical probability when I threw 3 reds out of three dice-he is such a brainiac.

I made a few pots of tea for us while we were playing: 2 bags of Morocco Orange Spice, one bag of India Spice to the pot (SB#1 taught me that you need to preheat the tea pot with very hot tap water before you make the tea-this keeps the tea warmer longer). Also, I made heart shaped shortbread cookies last week and saved them (as in hid from SS) so we could have them for Sweetest Day (Happy Belated Sweetest Day to you Sreader). SH bought me a heart-shaped shortbread dish for our anniversary this year (online at cookieartexchange.com), and the original shortbread idea came from fellow blogger Pattie Lockwood at morningramble@blogspot.com. She has a few other recipes that I made, very nice blogspot-try it you'll like it! ( are all my phrases from tv?????)
Anyway, back to the evening, fun, fun, we played and sipped and munched our cookie.
When the game was over, SGS said he wanted to also make us a special fall surprise, so he made: Pumpkin Fall Surprise.

I had some Pumpkin Bread (recipe taken from another fellow blogger Beth at bethsblog43812@blogspot.com . The original recipe was for cupcakes, I changed it to mini muffins with my favorite little muffin pan that makes 24 muffins at a pop, and I made another batch, this time making 2 loaf breads-bake at same temp, but for 45-50 mins. Then pop into freezer-well wrapped).
SGS loves to make many steps concoctions, so we softened chocolate chips, spread them on the bread,

nuked for 30 seconds, then sprinkled on Heath Bar chips and fall leaf sprinkles.

Bribed SS to come downstairs and watch Yankee game with us to eat it-food always works for him.

Thanks SGS for making a nice Fall Surprise for the family.

So, then the Yankees Game, did any of you stay awake for the entire 13 inning game? (I wish I would have made caffeine laden tea). SH said he was going to bed at 10:15 because he could not sit upright any longer, then at 11pm he really did, but not to sleep-oh no, the game was still going, so he watched in the bedroom, SS fell asleep in his room watching game, I finally made SGS go to bed when the 12th inning started-I can't tell you what time, you will call Child Welfare on me and he would never be able to stay overnight again! I trudged to bed, pulled covers up to stay warm and half-listened to the game fully intending to hear the rest. And the next thing I know, SH is kissing me goodnight and saying "The Yankees WON!" That was the end of a wonderful family night, thank you family. Thank you Yankees! Thank you spellcheck!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How many Colors?

This is our view from the front window. How many colors can you count? Don't miss the subtle reds hiding behind the trees on the left, and each color on a leaf gets counted also. Can you see why we would never sell this land? This is our buffer zone, sometimes we watch as birds come and grab a seed from our feeder and then fly across the street to crack and eat. They fly back and forth, it seems for hours, but they could be different birds of the same species, just like running a relay: they hand-off the baton to the next one, and the race continues.
In the spring, a good assortment of wild plants and flowers pop up to share their beauty with us. We are blessed.
One time, when our SGS was about 5, we sat looking out that window for a very long time, talking about what animals could make that wooded area their home. He of course mentioned bugs and snakes and then went on to explain the process of snake hunting their prey. I knew then that if I was to be a good grandma, I would have many "boy" conversations. Since then the topics have changed, the electronic wave has jumped into our world and he taught me to text (which I almost never do), how to play Super Mario on Wii, how to appreciate a movie on his PSP, all about ecology, the important info Karate students need to know about sparring with a weapon (are you kidding me? my only grandchild sparring with a weapon, deep breath, OK, I am better now) and every topic in between. I hope you have grandchildren, if not, please get involved with some kind of youth program at your church, school, library. We belong to the Kiwanis Organization, so we also have involvement with children in our community. Sometimes as you get older, you look at things differently than children do, we get bogged down in all the things that make up our world. This can really put a brake on enjoying life, we all need a little "youth infusion" to keep us balanced and smiling. Who knows, you might find out that Wii really promotes WE.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Matriach Moments and a great Recipe

So listen, this is the annual "Birthday Week". My SM has her 86th. birthday this week, so my SS(#2) flew in from out-of-state, and the party started! Sweet sister#2 is 2nd oldest daughter, you will also see references to SS#1-oldest sister, SB#1, oldest brother, etc, we have the following kids in my family: girl, boy, girl, boy, girl-me. SS#2 is great fun girl-loved to seeher looking happy and healthy!
SS(#1) is a great organizer amongst many other abilities, so she had lots of ideas lined up: of places to go and people to see. So far we've done them all, and loved every minute. We had supper that SS#1 made, breakfast at Bob Evan's with SA(sweet aunt) and SC (sweet cousin),

went to a makeup store-sales clerk/owner was not in a professional mood-we were not pleased, but when she realized the 4 of us were going to spend money-oh how the mood changed; went to our annual market visit near Lockport, great produce (we were all going into withdrawal because blue concord grapes seemed to be late this year, but we found them on Thursday to tide us over), went to Tim Hortons for soup, we all had hair appts this week so we looked fab, dinner with spouses, etc at Salvatores Italian Gardens Restaurant (very opulent place, but SM's favorite) food and company were the best-one of the best times which we have had there. Here she is with my two SB's.

And on the 7th day we rested (sounds sacrilegious to say it that way doesn't it?)

Tomorrow, we go to Hobby Lobby (a craft and decorating massive store which is new to our area, then to Dave's a newer grocery store to look for different things that local chain stores night not have. The SS#2 returns home on Tuesday, and we celebrate SM's real birthday on Wednesday! What is left to do?
I hope you are able to celebrate your SM's birthday, if not, say a little prayer for her.
Today we need to buy SH a new TV, the thing is only 5 years old, and shot, we will be avoiding this major brand for today's purchase.
I wanted to share SS#1 recipe with you that is the best chicken ever:

Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken

place 1 bottle of Barbecue Sauce in crock Pot-try to find one that does not have high fructose corn syrup.

Add 3.5 lbs of boneless-skinless, trimmed chicken breasts-left whole. ( I stir lightly to coat here).

Cook on low 7 hours, -after 6 hours, use 2 forks to separate into shreds, cover again and cook for final hour.

Serve on hearty rolls with a salad-the best! Thank you SS#1.
My SD makes this recipe with a bottle of chicken wing sauce and then serves with a little blue cheese stirred in at the end for Buffalo Chicken Wing Barbecue.