Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh NO, Spring is Rapidly Approachng

Oh, no, Spring is rapidly approaching.

.by Margaret North on Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 16:00.That is by no stretch my imagination. It is coming and I'm not ready. Ready to plant? Ready to peruse the gardening catalogs and order? Nope, none of the above. IT IS CLASS REUNION TIME!

Anyone that knows me, or of me or has made some wild guesses about me knows I don't like these kinds of occasions. I have been under a rock low these many years and my school search engin has not been able to find me. That was perfectly fine with me.

Until this winter....I received a card from miles away from an old aquaintance reminding me that our reunion would be this April. And went on and on just how much fun it will be to see all of us we think we could still fit into our uniforms? I'm sorry Mary Jane I tossed that long, long ago. I do not wax nostalgic for the dull gray and blue outfits that were mandatory untill graduation. Along with the sadle shoes.

Why is it that I havn't given these people a second thought for more than a decade?I went my way....out West. Wide open spaces and fewer rules to break. My memories are really foggy, and names generally escape me. I just got a death notice from a classmate whom I had no clue who she was.

I would much rather remember what little I can and leave it at that. The search engin must have been working overtime to catch me so unawares. But now that they have found me I seem to be getting some little tid bit of un newsworthy mentiones on a monthly basis. Who is that? Did I know them? Probably not.

I was just as reclusive then as I am now. I hung with the boarders and generally ignored the day students...and that is how it was, no quirk of mine. I thought about it for a second or two and discovered....I would not regognize any of my classmates if we were to bump into one another on a street.

Isn't that awful? Not the time I did have certain friends and hung mainly with them for years. But I havn't received a Christmas card from them either....they as well as I may as well fallen off the face of the earth.

Oddly enough, I remember the instructors. I remember being chased down a hallway by a bat in the attic....after curfew. I remember the horrid lamb dinners on Sunday's, I only ate the mint jelly. But weekends were special when we had fried apples....what a treat. One of the house mothers had a rather severe drinking problem....I relied on that to do my nightly rounds of visitations. The next year... my housemother was so old I could antagonize her just by being able to walk faster than she.

Sure I remember these and other things...after all I'm not brain dead yet. But are these few and far between memories enough to get all worked up over? And go to mandatory teas, sherries, walking tours and a gala dinner?? Nope I think not.

I will take a pass on this event....which in all reality may be my last chance to participate in something quite like this. I want to remember things as I thought they were. I do not want to revisit my past, not now not ever. A shame really but that's me....usually taking the low road and remaining invisible. I know my dad wouldn't approve of my decision but I know he would have given me an alternative event to this one with one of his own....I know for a fact that as long as it didn't involve a dentist I would grab at his suggestion.

See you in the here and now. RD I dare you to display your high school picture as your avatar....I will.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three things can't be hidden: coughing, poverty, and love." - Yiddish proverb

This proverb struck me as being right on the money.  You simply can't hide this stuff.  I've been coughing here in Virginia for twelve years.

Like clockwork ...  come October and it starts, and doesn't abate until May.  I've been prescribed all types of meds and until NOW haven't had any positive lasting results.  No, I have no clue what causes this but I do have some rather obvious guesses.... mold being one.

Poverty is difficult but not impossible to hide.  You can smile, dress in several seasons ago clothes and look like everything is hunkey dorrie.  That gets old fast.  It is a battle every day to maintain some kind of normalcy.  I have reached my limit of being funny, thoughtful, and generally being nice. It can be done but the anger is just beneath the surface and just jumps out at very inopportune times. 

Forget for a moment you cannot cook as you once used to.  That a trip to the store has become a hate filled experience.  Sure, I read all I can lay my hands on for more budget friendly recipes.  I shop the perimeter of stores where the good for you food is available.  I've even joined some groups and web sites of "good and cheap".  It too can be done, but there are times when something sweet, unhealthy and wildly extravagant  gnaws at your psyche and you cannot get it out of your mind.

Love.....hmmmm, really difficult to do.  I cannot help but think that things could be hugely different had Robert listened to me twelve years ago. This was a no brainer....this is a poverty pocket and from what I've heard and read always was one.  Six months into this move I saw the handwriting on the walls, sidewalks, people's faces....whew, not for me. 

I always adhered to the fact that you must not blame....that is past behavior, instead look for the solutions.  I think I found several that were doable including a move to Panama which was desperation  calling.  But Robert cannot, could not be budged.  He was going to conquer the Eastern Shore.  That made him unlovable to me. 

Stubbornness is not attractive, it wears on you , in fact you dream about solutions, finally you your tracks.....and give up. Forget the perimeter shopping, forget the plans you had like a consignment shop, the chronicling of events and submitting them to the local paper and then....creativity goes down the drain like everything else.  You wonder to yourself   just what did I have in mind for that desk or chest of drawers.  It doesn't move, it taunts you day in and day out...."paint me"  "do something".  Then it dawns on you....'oh, I was supposed to buy several more colors of paint'  then the project could be completed...nope, can't do, gotta feed the cats and dogs.

My daughter had a solution....she is the all time wunderkind of peanut butter pie.  I can't recall just how many she baked or simply gave away to give the citizens of the Eastern Shore a taste of delicious tasting  heaven.  Well, that too, went by the wayside....who can afford the gourmet ingredients  when there are meat and potatoes to eek out of little or no money.

I'm wondering what will become of us.  Yes, I'm bitching  I just can't think straight anymore.   The likelihood of the sheriff coming to the door  and posting an auction sign is not out of the realm of possibilities.  Do I think that this problem is unique to read about folks just like us every day.  What do they do?  I have no idea.  I know that they try to make things right, they get one or more jobs, perhaps they approach social services.  Again....don't forget this is a poverty pocket...what services are available are slim to none,,I've checked it out.

What is the next step?  RD

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not Out Of The Woods

Today, January 5, 2011 at approximately 1:30 p.m. I witnessed my daughter have a stroke.  She was quietly attempting to activate Robert's new phone. 

I was especially watching her because she had been feeling "strange".  She was released from the hospital the day before.  At that admittance she was suffering from complications of asthma and flu - like symptoms.  She was by no means ready to be released.  She became ill yesterday, vomiting and complaining of her five year headache.

She began to lean to her right, not able to speak, flailing her arms telling me....I don't need help.  I didn't listen.  Within five minutes a rescue squad arrived.  Same that took her to the hospital the other day.  They were so professional, and quick to aid her. 

Robert spent the remainder of the day in the hospital waiting room.  When Nikki arrived the neurologist and ER doc were waiting and ready to take over.

At long last she got her MRI and dozens of blood tests and x-rays.  Why the anxiety over the MRI?  She and I have been asking her primary  for years to do one.  She needed to find out once and for all what was causing this headache,  That is not to say we know now....but it needed this?  to get some answers?

Low and 7p.m she called me from her intensive care room.  She did slur her words a bit but she felt fine otherwise.  She improved as the evening went on. 

Her last visit from her Doc....he jumped up and down  that she responded so well to their aggressive measures upon entering the ER.  I guess I'm jumping up and down myself...a little cautiously however.  I've been on the phone constantly with her sister who happenchance is temporarily living with her inlaws.

Her mother-in-law is a veritible encyclopedia of health issues.  She has survived 6 heart attacks and I don't know how many strokes. So talking with her made it easier for me to comprehend what was happening.  In fact Elaine spoke with Nikki at the hospital and quizzed her as she was quizzed after her stroke.  She feels that Nikki is doing fine but to be cautious.

That is all I know for today.  I needed to vent this with you and hope that tomorrow will bring some sunshine. Keep yourselves safe...RD

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year Soup Recipe

New Year Noodle SoupIf you don't have beans that have already been cooked you can use canned ones. Or you can soak the garbanzo & borlotti overnight, and add them after the broth comes to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, then stir in the yellow split peas/lentils. This way the beans/lentils should be done cooking around the same time. The original recipe calls for fresh borlotti beans, which aren't in season. I used dried borlotti that I cooked a couple weeks back, then froze until now. And, on the noodle front, I couldn't help but add more than what the original recipe called for. You can actually use more/less noodles - even when it seemed like too much, they always manage to get slurped up in a soup like this.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 long red chili OR green serrano, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 1/2 cups / 2 liters good-tasting vegetable stock/broth

100g / 3.5 oz yellow split peas or brown lentils

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if using canned

2 cups / 350g cooked borlotti beans

fine grain sea salt

120 g thin egg noodles, fresh or dried

3 1/2 oz / 100g fresh spinach leaves, finely shredded

1/2 cup finely shredded cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

juice of one lime


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large onion, thinly sliced

100 ml sour cream or creme fraiche

50g / scant 2 ounces of toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat the oil in a large, thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the chile and cook until they soften, a few minutes. Add the spices and cook for another thirty seconds, just long enough for them to toast a bit, then stir in the stock. Bring to a boil and add the split peas/lentils to the pot. Cook until they are just tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and borlotti beans. Once the beans have heated throughout, season with salt to taste.

In the meantime, you can prepare the toppings. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat along with a couple big pinches of salt. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 8 - 10+ minutes. Set aside.

Just before you're ready to eat, add the noodles to the simmering soup and cook until al dente. Stir in the spinach, and cilantro and dill. Add a big squeeze of lime to the pot or serve wedges along with each bowl of soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Serve right away, each bowl topped with a big spoonful of caramelized onions, some creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of walnuts.

Serves about 4.

Adapted slightly from the Ash-e Reshteh / New Year Noodle Soup recipe in Saraban, by Greg & Lucy Malouf

Prep time: 20 min - Cook time: 40 min

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Related EntryHealthy One Pan Recipes

My favorite healthy, one-pan recipes. The type of things that you can pull together any night of the week without too much fuss or fanfare. I love big-flavored, colorful stir-fries, and hearty chunky soups, so I included a lot of those types of recipes on the list.

I didn't want to start the new year out by copy and paste, but that particular wish was not written in stone and I was so intrigued with this recipe I needed to spread the good news around. 

We are all sick on the Wits End Ranch.  In fact my daughter is in hospital right now with severe asthma and some kind of infection.  I stayed up all nite doing breathing treatments just to stay out of the ER on New Years Eve. and Bob is sneezing and coughing to beat the band. So what is better than a comfort soup?

I'm a bit over chicken noodle,  the first go at it during the early winter months its a treat, but then I get to thinking "what is that dead chicken smell?"

Perhaps tomorrow I will give you the scoop on the new blog name.  No big secret just don't have the time at this late hour. 

I wish you all a healthy week ahead, and I will be trying out this soup recipe.  Take care. RD