More baseball…

I have not blogged in awhile.   Work and medical stuff has stepped in and made it difficult to find free time (or quiet time) to blog.  But it has been a productive summer, especially in knocking out a few ball parks.   You may be pleased to know that I have successfully been swayed to enjoy baseball.

Over the 4th of July weekend, we made our trip to Illinois.   My SOMH was quite the trooper as he underwent a major surgical procedure only a few days before.   He was determined not to miss out on the trip.  My dad was an excellent host.

We took the first day of our trip and visited the city.   We visited the sky deck of the Sears Tower (can’t call it the Willis Tower) and walked along the Chicago river.   We walked more than six miles that day – a feat considering my surgery had been only a week before and my SOMH’s just three days old.  We walked along the lake and over to Navy Pier.   After much discussion, we all agreed to ride the Ferris wheel.   None of us like heights and if you don’t know, it is one of the tallest Ferris wheels.  We bought tickets.   We got in line.  The announcement was made that there was a mechanic on his way to fix a mechanical issue and we are welcome to wait or get a refund.   We all believed this to be a sign and scurried back to get a refund.   There was no discussion.  Another time…maybe.

The next day, July 3, the boys went to Wrigley Field to see the game.   There are photos…somewhere…on my husband’s camera.  I suspect they will stay there for 6-8 months before they are uploaded.   What is it they say?   If you want your husband to do something, there is no need to remind him every 6 months.   Something like that.

I can report that both said they were glad they went as Wrigley Field is a famous landmark, but they did not enjoy the park at all.   Not the set up, not the people and not the selection of concessions.

On July 4, we went to see the White Sox play the Orioles.   If I haven’t already said so, the O’s are our favorite team.   My SOMH’s favorite since he was old enough to enjoy baseball (i.e., since his eyes could focus on anything); my husband’s favorite team since the Padres became an embarrassment; and my favorite team because I like the color orange, but more importantly because if I value my life, I cheer for who the boys like.  (Speaking as a Seahawks fan in a Patriots fan household….wasn’t pretty this past Super Bowl.)

  U.S. Cellular field was very nice.   There was a special on hotdogs so concessions were a hit!   The only bad thing, despite having a large turnout of O’s fans in Chicago, was, well…they lost.   SOMH takes the losses personally.  I don’t like dealing with the frowny-face.

The next park we tackled was Philly.   It’s not too far from us but as luck would have it a “side-effect” of my surgery has been a set of debilitating migraines.  This trip was awful for me being the third week of the headaches.  We started off visiting the historical sites…it was too crowded with very rude tourists (they say we Americans are rude…sheesh).  My tolerance was below zero and when I’m grouchy I make everyone’s life miserable, mine included. 

We decided to take a bus trip to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary.   It is haunted and historic.  Pleasing to young, old and indifferent.

Since we were in Philly we had no choice but to make our way to the south side to stand in line for a cheesesteak from Tony Luke’s.  Worth the wait, even if the pain in my head told my stomach that was a big mistake.

We got to the game very early and figured we could just go sit in a restaurant and wait for the gates to open.  There was nothing around the stadium.  Well, other stadiums and parking lots, but not even someone selling water.   The lady at the ticket booth took pity on me as I looked ready to drop over and gave me a cup of water.
Once the gates opened and we took our seats, excitement set in.  There was a great breeze blowing, we were on the second deck, front row.   My SOMH had the “luck” of having a young girl eating cotton candy plop down next to him.  That was good for a laugh.   2nd time that has happened.  

Whew…that catches us up for the stadium tour to date.   We’ve made a trip back to Camden since then, but that was in support of the O’s and not just to check off a park.   We hope to make one more trip this summer to Toronto, but that is up in the air at this point.

The boys have mapped out the potential road trip for next summer already and I am happy to be a part of this with them.



A Food Blog

I am quite fond of collecting recipes and cooking/baking different dishes.   My husband is an old-school meat-n-potatoes kinda guy but, to his credit, he will try new things.  My stepson, the one who lives at home, will eat almost anything I make.  Ok…”eat” is a bit of an exaggeration, but he will TRY anything I make.   Now both of my girls are grown and living on their own.   My eldest is very experimental with cooking and quite the talented baker.  I think her meticulous attention to detail and presentation of her dishes are what impress me the most.

The focus of this blog is my younger daughter, a wife and mother.  She is unafraid to try cooking different dishes.  She will often call me though for “what can I do with…” and being the recipe collector that I am, I promptly send suggestions.   If the recipe calls for ingredients she doesn’t have, she is unafraid to substitute.   But last week was a challenge for both of us.  Her father-in-law brought her beef melt.   B-E-E-F M-E-L-T.   That is…spleen.  I get the text:  “Momma, baba brought us spleen.  I heard it can be stuffed so I have some feta cheese.   Can you find a recipe for it?”

I gagged.  I gagged again.   I searched for “stuffed spleen”.  Surprisingly, I found some-actually had a choice between lamb or beef.  I tried to read them.  I gagged.  (I’m not an organ meat person although I have made dishes with chicken hearts before.)  The recipes I found for her were very lengthy and after discussing the removal of a membrane (shudder), my daughter decided just to “simmer the hell out of it” with “about 10 beef bullion cubes”.  Needless to say it took quite some time to simmer and despite my plea NOT to provide me with step by step photos, she was kind enough to text me a play by play and ultimately a video where she tried to cut into it.  I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but a few lines from the Eagles’ Hotel California come to mind.

To be honest, it is not my nature to turn my nose up at any food.   It is a blessing to have food and I applaud my daughter for being ambitious, but I hope I never have to resort to making (or eating) spleen.

So on that lovely vision I shall away to MY kitchen where honey hot wings and homemade pizza are on the menu for my household tonight.

My Morning:  Routine, cats and cooking

It is funny that this blog was originally supposed to be about my adventures in cooking.  I love to cook.  I’m particularly fond of baking.  I like to try unique and ethnic dishes and pastries.  I rarely make the same dish twice, although I do have a cookbook I am writing that keeps the successful recipes in chapters created for the family member that loved the dish.  The plan is to eventually give the kids that book of dishes they liked.  But it seems that nothing exciting (or humorous) has happened in my world of cooking lately.  Oh there is the introduction of homemade ice cream to the husband and stepson, but their reaction was not too unusual…other than the backhanded compliment that it was “as good as store bought”; to which I replied “at least you can pronounce the ingredients in homemade ice cream”.

But today’s blog is about another cat story.  I suffer from anxiety to which my “mild” OCD behavior acts as a protection against.   Much of everything I do is routine because impulsiveness lends to anxiety.  Today, my normal routine was disrupted.   My early morning grocery shopping trip had to be delayed until the pharmacy opened.   So what to do.   I pace.   I cleaned a bit.  I stared at Facebook willing new and exciting statuses to appear.  I waited for my sister to play her scrabble turn.  I took a shower.

Ajax has issues with closed doors.   The fact that he has had to face closed doors in his 14(ish) years of life on a daily basis has not altered his hatred for them.   He whines…louder and louder…he lunges his body against the door…scratches at the door…and worst of all, he knows about a doorknob and will try over and over to open the door.   He has, on occasion, been successful.   Today, while I was in the shower he succeeded in coming into the forbidden zone (my bedroom).  I heard a very large slamming sound and assumed that Ajax had been loudly protesting outside my stepson’s bedroom door (also always closed) and he chased him away before slamming back into his room.  (He is 16 and it was 7 a.m….need I say more.).  Anyway, I finish the shower and walk out of the bathroom and who should greet me, but Ajax.   The look on his face was priceless.  He knew he was in the forbidden zone.   Big eyes, tail down.   Leo, the other cat, was sitting just outside the open door where I am sure he was telepathically telling his brother to GET OUT OF THERE.  In the few minutes between my shower and Ajax’s entry into the forbidden zone, he managed to make his way through the bedroom, through the bathroom and into the room over the garage where he promptly knocked over a very large mirror (the slamming sound).  It didn’t break fortunately and was stopped by the heavy winter comforter I had bagged up for the season and placed against the wall.

It’s all because my routine changed….I’m sure of it.

Snowy Hike

Last week we had a late winter snowstorm.   Although we were expecting 5-8 inches, previous predictions all fell short of the threatened accumulation so work opened on time and I drove in.   Within minutes of arriving in West Virginia the snow started to fall furiously and we closed the office.  I made the 45 mile drive home in just under 2 hours and pried my white knuckles off the steering wheel.  The schools had closed that day and the military base where my husband was working also closed early.  

We piled into the truck and headed to Fuller Lake for a beautiful snowy hike.   The snow was about a foot deep out in the mountains.  My stepson, my husband and I were the only ones out and about and it was so beautiful.  So quiet.   You could hear chipmunks in the distance and the creek trickling where not frozen over.

I quickly learned that trying to knock snow from the branches down your husband’s back only works when your husband is NOT your absolute soulmate.  We both lunged for the same tree at the same time and would have both got doused but we made eye contact and decided it would not be a good idea.  My husband took off at a run to race us back to the truck and his son quickly tried to catch up.  I think he thought it was a football match because he pushed passed his dad and in doing so sort of body slammed his dad face first into a foot or more of snow.   Being the good wife I strive so hard to be, I doubled over in hysterics and nearly peed my pants.

It was a beautiful afternoon.

Road Trip

As I posted previously, I have come home.   This journey took several days.  While it is a nice trip…just the two of us (plus two very angry cats)…it was ridiculously stressful.  We intended to share the drive, but I just could not wrap my head around towing my car while driving a 16′ truck on a two lane, pothole ridden Highway 40.  I would drive 30 miles per hour and white knuckle the whole way.   We would still be in Oklahoma.

Our journey was planned out, then revamped, then revamped again.  We managed to cover more distance than we expected so our final plan is a work in progress.  Prior to leaving we had to finish loading the truck.   This involved carrying the washer and dryer downstairs.   My engineer son and my electrician/plumber husband took the furniture dolly upstairs and after much clunking, managed to get the washer down.  It was on the dolly wrong and wouldn’t go out the door.   They take it off to turn it and I observed the “furniture” part of the dolly was not lowered.   Wow…that would have made things easier.  And it did for the dryer.

Then came the fridge.   My husband (the plumber/electrician) turned off the water and proceeded to unhook the hose.  Water sprayed everywhere.  My engineer son stood there, mouth agape.  I ran for a bucket.  Bucket one was dumped, bucket two…I climb over them with a wrench and clamp the hose so my husband can reattach it.  That solved the flooding house issue.  Unfortunately, as with many of the homes built at during the “boom” everything was cheaply done and the water could not be turned off there…it had to be done outside.  But that valve was also broken.  We’d have to do it at the street.   The cover was frozen over it…yes, in Arizona…and the tool broke.  We can laugh about that now.  Well, I can laugh about it now.   He’s still a tad sensitive.  

The trip was otherwise rather uneventful once my husband felt more comfortable, but the first day we tried to get gas (and find a Starbuck’s, a luxury that ended after the first “attempt” to maneuver a truck towing a car in icy conditions with cranky cats).  It was a quick lesson on what buttons I cannot push.   A very quick lesson.

But all is well that ends well.   My husband learned the power of coffee as I slept/whined/moaned and groaned for the majority of every morning after day one.  I learned that my husband has an amazing mind and an uncanny knowledge of anything sports.  I learned my cats do not like to travel.  

We arrived home a day earlier than we expected and we were greeted by a lovely, wet snowstorm.  

I started my new job the next week after settling in and am finally getting into my much needed routine.