Friday, October 29, 2010

Smells I Don't Like and My Medical Staff

I've been mulling this over for a while now. There are just some smells I cannot tolerate. One of them is the smell of fermenting garbage.

Back home, years ago [name that reference!], I was the backdoor receiver for a major grocery store chain. I loved that job. It had great hours for a single girl in her 20's. I was responsible for overseeing and checking in vendor deliveries at the backdoor during delivery hours and then managing the in-company deliveries making sure we weren't double charged, etc., for those. So you could say (and my boss also believed) that I was somewhat responsible for most of the inventory in the store. One thing I did not like about that job was the self-contained trash compactor located right outside my "office". Lots of times, the gaskets holding all the funk inside would start to deteriorate and the nasty would just drip right out onto the concrete penetrating all the vicinity air. *Blech* I mean, really. Gag.

Same thing with garbage trucks. Too much foulness just churning and leaking out and leaving a horrible gut-wrenching, trail of nauseating grossness. One time, when we were living in Stephenville, the garbage truck had to stop in front of our house in order to smash the load. And they left a big putrid mess right by the driveway. I ran into the house gagging, ordering Brian to do something about the smell and threatening to call the mayor and complain. It's just nasty.

Another thing: old food smells. Like cafeterias, lunch boxes, dining rooms of nursing homes(!), and break rooms that see lots of use. I can't explain it. I just don't like it. And this from a person who worked in a nursing home kitchen as a college student. I did not really care for that job, to be honest. It was gross on many different levels.

Moving on.

Next week brings us to Ear Tube Insertion #2 for Joshua. He just had the first set installed back in March. Already one tube is blocked and the other is on its way out. I wonder if we will get to go back and have this done every 6 months. I wonder about the cost of it all. Should I try to get a job at the hospital? Is there some employee discount, direct deposit thing I could work out? Which got me to thinking about our medical staff. We have a lot of doctors on our payroll. With the economy being what it is, I'd like to lay a few off.

Brian and I have a GP in Stephenville that we still go to, even though it's 45 minutes away. My OB/Gyn, which I only use for Gyn is also in Stephenville.

But it's the kids who employ the greatest number of physicians. We have the general pediatrician that we see at least 3-4x per month. When we're really sick, that may be 3-4x per week. Reagan and Joshua have a pulmonologist that works for us in Fort Worth. We only see him in the office every 6 months, but we see him regularly in the hospital during the fall and winter seasons. Reagan has a kind, but very busy opthamologist who just deals with little people and their eyes. Joshua has an ENT who inspects his ears and does us the favor of inserting tubes every 6 months. And then there's Darcy who has an allergist. A guy I can't even remember his name, but who spent a tremendous amount of time explaining how allergens affect the body and informing me of the futility of allergy testing my child.

It really seems like a lot, all these doctor's appointments and medical professionals. Oh, and the bills. They seem like a lot, too. I feel confident that as they get older they will outgrow some of this. I know they will outgrow a lot of this as they get older and their systems mature. Lily did. In the short term, I am grateful that Brian's insurance is good and that we can get our kids taken care of by good doctors. I'm also glad that none of them look like Patrick Dempsey or I would never hear a word they said...

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's been a while since I posted and not because I haven't had plenty to say. I have just been busy. Busy to my eyeballs. To the top of my head. Busy. A brief recap:

1. Bubba finally got into preschool. After being placed on the waiting list last April for his class and being denied entry in August because of his inability to walk, he is now walking well enough (holding a hand) that he can go to school. What this means: Mama gets 2 days to herself per week. Alone. With no children. Not even a teeny, tiny baby. One day, I was going to take a nap, but it got interrupted by a call about my nursing home.

2. Speaking of nursing home, I have completed my ombudsman internship and so the certification process is nearly complete. I started my training way back in May, and the end of September marked the completion of my 90 days of internship. Soon and very soon I will be receiving the official white badge instead of intern yellow. I love being an ombudsman. I volunteer, through the state, as an advocate for nursing home residents at a local nursing facility. I absolutely believe in informing the residents of their rights and insuring those rights are upheld by the facility. I believe it is vitally important for the ombudsman to know the law. I am always there on the side of the resident. I love being an ombudsman.

3. I ordered and received the boots. Yes, those boots. And they were straight from the pit of hell. I ordered the correct size, but apparently I have the foot of Drizella and not Cinderella. All the reviews said they ran large. But when I tried, I could not get those things on. They came on a Saturday and when I tried them on, they would.not.go.on. Period. And yes, I cried. I really, really did. And also pouted the rest of the day. A few days later, I decided I was going to try again to get those things on. After working mightily at it for about half an hour, they were on! In my mind, they just needed to be broken in. Unfortunately, I was the one who got broken in. After 3 hours of wearing, I had 2 massive blisters, that weren't just blisters, but open caverns where my heels used to be. Brian said to keep it up; the boots would fit before too long because they were going to make my feet smaller, one layer of skin at a time. Apparently, the best course of action is to send them back and use the money to finance my Thanksgiving trip to see Auntie Jo.

4. I actually completed the 2 lap quilts I had been working on for Christmas presents and hope to have them back in my possession in time for Christmas binding. My Christmas tree skirt is finished being quilted and is ready to be bound. My big queen-sized quilt that I started over 2 years ago, only has one more border to be put on before it will be ready to go to the quilter. And then I can start a new project with a clear conscience! Anyone need a quilt for a baby girl? Have a great kit ready to start but don't know who might want it? I get anxious when I do creative things for people other than my immediate family.
5. My scrapbooking business is taking off! August was my best month...ever. I had over $2600 in sales, #1 on my team. I even have a presence on Facebook. [Click on the Facebook link. I post my artwork and other happenin' things. Be a friend! Tell a friend!] November is going to be busy with 2 layout workshops, a gathering that I hope will turn into another monthly workshop and 2 Christmas card workshops....where I provide my lasagna as an incentive to attend (see previous post).

6. I've also been volunteering at church on Wednesday nights with....the youth. You know, teenagers. Junior high and high schoolers. I don't seem to serve a specific purpose, just a body. Taking up space. I have never felt more uncomfortable in my life. I thought kids' birthday parties represented the longest 2 hours of time. It's hard being in a room feeling like a complete and total outcast. With adults, when I feel like that, I act like I just don't care. Here, I'm supposed to care, even if they think I'm The Man. Maybe I should just stick to visiting the church's shut-ins. I don't think anyone but me wants to do that.

Okay, six things. You are ketch'd up.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

My Territory

Or, another character flaw brought to light.

Some people who have tried to get a recipe from me are well aware of my irrational need to be the keeper of my good recipes. I am extremely territorial about my recipes. It's a family trait and it's completely unattractive. My mother did exactly the same thing. In fact, there's a rumor I may have resorted to stealing recipes from her...

I do understand why I do it, although I'm ashamed to admit it. It's really pathetic. Say for instance, a person made an excellent lasagna. She might be known as the Most Excellent Lasagna Maker. And that might make her feel as though she received her value as a person from making lasagna. And feeling value as a person is a good thing. But what if someone had her recipe and could make it themselves? Would she still have value? Would she still be needed? Finding out the answer to that could be very painful...

I don't know if that was my mother's issue, but I know it's mine. So, at my therapist's insistence (me) in an effort to realize that my value as a person is not determined by my cooking (or my anything for that matter), I will be posting several of my favorite/most complimented recipes here, on the internet, for anyone in the world to have.

And supposedly, I'll still have value.

1# ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. basil
1-1/2 t. salt
2-6 oz. cans tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes
10 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked and rinsed (Cook 10 noodles from the box and that'll be exactly what you need.)
3 c. small curd cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
2 T. parsley flakes
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/2# grated Parmesan (I always double the cheeses, so I use a pound of both.)
1/2# Mozzarella cheese
Brown meat slowly; spoon off fat. Add the remaining sauce ingredients; simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, covered. Combine all filling ingredients, except the dry cheeses. Place half the lasagna noodles in a 13x9 baking pan. Spread half the filling over. Cover with 1/2 the Parmesan and 1/2 the Mozzarella. Pour half the sauce over contents of dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients to form 2nd layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 12. Freezes great!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

1 pound smoked beef sausage, split and cut into 2-inch pieces (I use more--like 2 pounds and I cut the sausage into circles.)

4 pounds of chicken thighs

1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup flour

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 medium green pepper, chopped

2 celery ribs, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups of water or broth from boiling chicken

4 cup of chicken broth

1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning

2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bunch green onions – tops and all, sliced

Hot cooked rice

File powder (about 1 t.)

  1. Put oil in Dutch kettle and brown sausage over medium heat. Remove sausage, reserving drippings in a pan. Set sausage aside.
  2. 2. Place chicken in a 5-6 quart Dutch kettle, cover with just enough water to cover. Cook chicken over medium to high heat until tender. Remove chicken set aside to cool. Save chicken broth if you are going to use instead of the water. Then de-bone chicken and cut into bite size pieces.
  3. Measure drippings, adding enough oil to measure ½ cup. Heat oil in Dutch kettle over medium to high heat until hot. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until roux is medium to dark colored
  4. Add the chopped onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and green onion and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Gradually stir in 4 cups of water or boiling broth, and 4 cups of broth; bring to a boil. Add chicken, Creole seasoning, Kitchen Bouquet and thyme; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add sausage and cook 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in file powder. Serve over a bowl of white rice, with French bread. Freezes great.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
2-8 oz. packages of cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 graham cracker crust
Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Add eggs, mix until blended. Stir in 1/2 c. of chips. Pour into crust. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. of chips. Bake at 350 degrees 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Fudgie Scotch Ring
1-6 oz. pkg. chocolate morsels
1-60z. pkg butterscotch morsels
1 can Eagle Brand Condensed milk
1 c. coarsely chopped nuts (I like pecans)
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. nut halves

Melt chocolate and butterscotch with Eagle Brand in top of double boiler over hot water. Stir occasionally until morsels melt and mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat; add nuts and vanilla. Blend well. Chill about 1 hour. Place 3/4 of nut halves in serving dish, forming a ring. Spoon mixture in small mounds on top of nuts to form ring. Decorate with remaining nuts. Chill in refrigerator.

English Muffin Breakfast Strata
1-16 oz. pkg ground pork sausage (I use mild)
1-12 oz. pkg English muffins, split and buttered (Don't be confused...12 oz of English muffins is 6 total muffins. I speak from experience.)
1-10 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese; shredded
1-8 oz. block mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 large eggs
1-1/2 c. sour cream
1-4 oz. can chopped green chilies; drained

Cook sausage in a skillet; stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Cut muffin halves into quarters and arrange in an even layer in a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Sprinkle half of sausage, cheddar and mozzarella cheese evenly over muffins. Whisk together eggs, sour cream and chilies in a large bowl; pour evenly over sausage and cheeses. Top with remaining sausage and cheeses. Cover and chill 8 hours. Uncover and bake at 350 fro 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Freezes great.