(and with the lame internet service available here in Anchorage, far too often I can't get even a couple photos to upload. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate computers?)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
(and with the lame internet service available here in Anchorage, far too often I can't get even a couple photos to upload. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate computers?)
Marilyn and I were driving back from San Diego to Tucson after a girls' weekend with our cousins, and saw this weird little chunk of rainbow close to the ground. I took the photo while driving down the highway because that's what I do. Stopping is for weenies.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I hate shopping in crowds, but the Target here has only been open for a month or so and is always busy. And Target had a couple of really good deals. We got two DVDs that Tess wants for Christmas for $12. New movies, $12.
We haven't been buying a lot of DVDs lately, since now we can watch movies on XBox Live with our Netflix account. Yesterday we watched most of the first season of Dead Like Me, a comedy about a girl who is killed by a toilet seat from the Russian space station and becomes a grim reaper. It's really funny and smart, so of course it was canceled after two short seasons.
A really handy part about having a teenage son is that you do not have to figure out how to sync the XBox to your Netflix account, because he will figure it out long before you even know it's possible.
Thanksgiving was interesting...I kinda forgot about getting up early and getting the turkey started...so when I finally got around to getting the turkey out of the fridge, the fact that it was still frozen in the middle was a big bummer. Ridiculous, since the turkey had been in the fridge since Monday, but the stupid fridge works really extremely well at keeping things very very cold. I guess I shouldn't have worried about leaving the turkey in the fridge for four days.
And since it was a 17 pound turkey, the extra hour of thawing time meant we didn't eat until 7 pm. Oops.
I also forgot about making the pumpkin pie until the turkey was already in the oven...but since it had to cook for six hours, I had plenty of time to whip up a couple of pies. What I didn't have was evaporated milk. I was at the grocery store two or three times in the last week, and never once thought about whether or not I had everything for the pie. I had half and half and heavy whipping cream, so I dumped that in instead.
In the end, the turkey, the roasted potatoes, the corn, the cranberry orange relish and the biscuits were great, and the stuffing with sausage and mushrooms was fabulous. We love stuffing at our house. Love stuffing at our house. I made a huge batch of it, and there is maybe one serving left after supper tonight. Dang.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I attempt to cough up a lung, several feet of intestines and apparently my toenail cuticles, almost wet my pants, sneeze, blow my nose, wipe away tears, and repeat.
All night long. All day long.
(The tears are not me crying, but that my eyes water from coughing so hard.)
My chest is kinda burning from the coughing. I can't use the CPAP because of the coughing, I wake up every hour or so to cough up another vital organ, so by 4:30 in the afternoon, when the sun is setting, I feel like it is bedtime.
On the plus side, it's like a free AbMaster.
I can do 100 crunches with much less pain and struggle lately.
And I know my family loves me (or is at least concerned they will have to do their own laundry and cook their own suppers) because they ask me, very worried, if I am okay after each explosive coughing fit.
Yes, I am thinking about going back to the doctor...one of the side effects of a new med I am taking is coughing, but I had a cold that morphed into sinusitis and coughing, so I am wishing that this is the last gasps of that cold/cough, instead of a new side effect.
I haven't gone to the hospital or clinic in two weeks. I knew it was too good to last.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
soft soft peppermints
trader joe's in a round tin
but far from me now
tess won an IPod
but won no earphones alas
my red ones now hers
my red red headphones
shiny shine red puffy white
i miss you always
zip drive with once huge
now laughably small
cameras lens caps
lenses memory cards plus
candy wrappers and
kleenex napkin bottle caps
kids can't find trash can
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Boil some pasta. I use rotini because we like the little corkscrew ones. I boiled it for the time listed on the box for al dente pasta. While the pasta is cooking, brown some sausage with diced onion and bell pepper and crushed fresh garlic. Drain the sausage and add a big can of diced tomatoes (drain the can) and two cans of tomato sauce. I used extra thick and zesty this time, because it's extra thick. And Zesty. Who doesn't love Zesty? Add Italian seasoning, maybe some basil, til it tastes like spaghetti sauce. Or lasagne. If I happened to have some fresh basil or thyme or parsley, I would chop that up and add it to the meat sauce too. But I didn't, so I didn't this time. Or thyme.
Next I put a layer of pasta in the bottom of a casserole, spread some ricotta cheese on top, sort of. (When you put the hot sausage sauce on top of this, the ricotta cheese becomes more spreadable.) Next I add a layer of the sausage sauce, spread it and the ricotta cheese around a little, then add some shredded cheese. I used monterey jack this time because it's what I had. Usually I use mozzarella, but didn't have any. The Monterey jack tasted great.
Then I dumped the other half of the pasta on top (I forgot to mention up there that I used half the pasta and half the ricotta cheese for the bottom layer. Two layers. Tastes great, lots less work.)
So the other half of the pasta, the rest of the ricotta cheese, dump the sausage sauce on top, spread it around, toss some shredded cheese on top, bake at 350 until it's bubbly around the edges, probably half hour or forty minutes or so. Let it stand a couple minutes before serving.
I rinsed the pasta in cold water when it finished cooking, because I wasn't done with the meat sauce, because the sausage was frozen when I started cooking. Yes, I have a microwave, and yes, I was incredibly lazy to not defrost the sausage ahead of time. I get sick of doing all that stuff, and the meat thaws as you cook it. So the pasta was cold, the cheese was cold, the sausage sauce was hot. It worked great, except I forgot to tell you I put spices in the meat sauce. ( I will go back up and add them now, so when you read this, the italian seasoning and stuff is there. But when I am writing this, it's not there. )
I also used meat sauce and sausage sauce interchangeably. Because up there somewhere I said "hot meat sauce" and that sounds just wrong. Pornographic and wrong. Not fake lasagne recipe language at all. But then I got sick of typing sausage. Meat has three fewer letters. Again with the lazy, I know.
I hope I didn't leave anything out...what you read there is the way I cook, just boiling things and tossing them together and experimenting and stuff. It's really hard to screw up pasta unless you boil it too long or way too short a time, or if you forget the seasoning, or you use waaaay more pasta than tomato sauce, which I did. I didn't actually use two cans of tomato sauce, I only used one. Use two. Unless of course you don't use a pound and a half of pasta.
I just realized I didn't include any measurements except the cans of tomato products. I used a pound of sausage, a pound and a half of pasta, half an onion, half a pepper, seasoning to taste. But really, this "recipe" is really hard to screw up, I think. Don't boil the pasta to mush, and don't leave it in the oven for hours.
There. I am back on track with my nanoblomogojoetheplumber whatever ya call it.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I missed a couple days of Nablomogojoetheplumber or whatever it is (apparently I do not want to waste the four brain cells it would take to memorize the 10 letters that mean national blog every damn day even if you have a net negative things to say so you post a meme and then repost your first ever blog entry and then a photo of your tongue and then another meme and then a long discussion of your dog's last poo...this is a reflection of my blogging abilities, not yours, please take no offense!)
I missed it because of random malaise and stuff. The CPAP is good, except that I have this damnable cough, which means I wake up in the night and give up on the machine, because hacking cough + positive air flow up the nose and out the mouth + air leaks + discomfort because of sinusitis = NO SLEEP FOR JULIE.
On nights when I do not attempt to cough up a lung, two feet of intestine and a kidney, the CPAP is working good. Unfortunately I have approximately eight to ten years of too little sleep to catch up on, so once the cough is gone and I actually get to use the CPAP to sleep all night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will get caught up on all my sleep deprivation in like say...2020! Woo! Okay, that's a bit of a stretch...it will be 2017 at the latest.
The weather is cold cold cold. Which is fabulous, because I like cold so much better than hot hot hot. It was foggy again last night, so we have a thicker rime on everything. I took some more photos yesterday...
And I am hoping the clouds will burn off so I can take some more today, since the frost got even thicker overnight. Looks like it will, there is the slightest hint of a possibility of blue skies starting.
Today Tess and I went to see High School Musical Three. I had a stabbing headache off and on most of the day, so going to see this movie was not at the top of my reallyreallyreallyreallly fun things to do.
The movie was a little...scant, meaning they could have fleshed out some of the storyline a little, but the singing was good and the dancing was really fun. Not something I would watch again and again, but in the category of "movies I cannot believe I had to sit through for the sake of some random child", HSM3 pales in comparison to the Care Bears movie I took my niece to, and the Pokemon movies my kids HAD HAD HAD to see. I would watch HSM3 again. I would drive an unsharpened pencil two inches into my own thigh to avoid the Care Bears and Pokemon (I almost said four inches, but decided that was a bit much. BTW, Mica, you still owe me for taking you to that Care Bears movie. You ungrateful wretch.)
(Okay, I have posted every day but Sunday now, because Sunday was busy avoiding taking Tess to see High School Musical Three day and making Mark a fake lasagna hotdish for his birthday, which was actuallly on Friday, fake lasagna because I didn't have any lasagna noodles. It was really pretty good. Maybe tomorrow I will post the recipe on Sunday, so then I will still be caught up with the Nablahblahpomo. I am fully cognizant of the fact that much of this particular paragraph is not only grammatically challenged, but confusing and possibly nonsensical. You're welcome.)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
All the trees and power lines and stuff have a glazing of ice crystals.
This is the tree in my front yard, and the woods across the street where the bear killed the moose last summer.
(It's also a very gray day, so it's hard to get a non-gloomy photograph. Argh.)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Which you need to really get enough sleep and enough rest.
But sometime between 2 and 3 am, I think, I gave up and pulled the mask off. The area below my left eye could not handle the mask pressing against it, even though it barely rests against it. The mask has a plasticky smell, and I have a really hard time with chemical smells, which may have contributed to the problem.
But also yesterday my coughing, which had subsided somewhat, ramped up again, and the sinus below my left eye has been uncomfortable all day, so I think the sinusitis I had has moved form the right side to the left. I hate my sinuses.
So today, the day I have been looking forward to forever, the day after the night when I get a really good night's sleep, didn't materialize.
Instead I have been eating and laying around watching house flipping shows on A&E. Maybe tonight will be the first night of a long string of good nights' sleep...
Friday, November 14, 2008
Overload of cuteness right here.
Even just watching them twitch in their sleep is very cute.
And a gratuitous photo of Alaska...
Snow on my neighbor's fence. And sunshine! See the pretty pretty sunshine?
That pretty pretty sunshine is what is stopping me from taking an axe to something or someone. Today the sky is a uniform gray and I have lights on all over the house, because OUTSIDE IS GLOOM AND AWFUL. It's snowing, but teeny little tiny flakes that I can only see if I lean way over and look at the nearest telephone pole. Looking out the other windows, looking other places, no snow. Against the pole I can see the teeny little tiny stupid flakes -- they are not even worthy of the name flakes, they are fla. They are starting to accumulate, though. I guess if it snows for hours and hours and hours and hours we might get an inch of new powder. Wee.
This morning when I went out to get the paper I noticed that someone had pulled into my driveway to turn around...which is normally no deal big or otherwise, but.
I had shoveled only my side of the driveway. We park both the Suburban and the Jeep in the garage, and since Mark has been gone I didn't shovel behind his Jeep. I meant to have the kids do it, and I figured there was not much point to doing a lot of shoveling, it was likely to snow again before he gets home, I was feeling lazy, my ears were getting cold...
And now the snow is packed down where that idiot pulled into my driveway, and I will have to do some scraping to get rid of it so we don't have icy patches. That idiot could have been considerate and pulled into the other, shoveled half of the driveway, but apparently consideration is not part of their functioning brain.
Now I have to go shovel the other half of the driveway, because Mark is coming home this afternoon! Woot!
Jientje -- surprisingly so far this winter we have had more sunshine than we did when we lived in Geleen, NL (which is near Maastricht). I think it's a lot like the weather there, lots of cloudy days with a little sunshine now and then, enough to keep one sane. Except that it's lots colder, so we get lots of snow instead of rain. At the moment, I prefer the snow...sooner or later, though, I will be be so very very ready for the damn stuff to melt already.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Just before sunset, most of the sky was covered with clouds, but off to the west, it was clear. So we had another fairly decent sunset. And we had sunshine in the house for a couple minutes, although the dogs could not sleep in it, unless they jumped up on the kitchen counters and slept standing up.
Our days are now about 7 1/2 hours of light. Because we are northwest of the Chugach Mountains, we don't see the sun currently until about 10:30 in the morning (it's light out around 9-ish, but actual sun shining down on us, not til 10:30).
It's very gray and gloomy a lot of the time. Like the Pacific Northwest, but dry and cold and snowy. And unlike the Pacific Northwest, we get occasional glimpses of the sun. I can dea lwith the cold and the gray and the short days, as long as I have hope of those occasional glimpses...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Oh, yeah, and seeds and nuts -- specifically walnuts and pistachios -- in small quantities.
Because eating small meals spread out and avoiding carbs and meat helps prevent the midafternoon nausea thing that was the trigger for the radioactive egg sandwich and the head CT and the abdominal ultrasound.
So this morning breakfast is apple slices with strawberry jam and a small handful of sunflower seeds and pistachios and walnuts.
Not the good strawberry/blackberry jam I made last summer. Thor ate all that, the little rat. I am gonna have to make some more -- luckily I froze some strawberries and blackberries mixed together, which is the basis of the jam. I think I will use some sort of opaque container for the jam and label it broccoli or something to protect it from Thor.
Lunch lately has been spinach with the nuts and seeds, carrots, maybe some grapes, grape tomatoes, more apple. Not a great variety...
Which is why I don't know how long I can continue this. Buying produce in Alaska in the winter is very problematic. Everything has to be shipped in, and the quality is often not so great. I am going to have to branch out into cooked veggies I guess, because how many damn apples can a person eat?
Thank God for Costco -- Costco has great apples from Washington. Really good apples, individually packed in those weird little clear plastic suitcases (which sucks, because they are not recyclable. I am thinking I am gonna have to figure out some crafty thing to do with them, because I hate throwing plastic away. Got any ideas?)
The dogs like my lunches, because I always toss them a couple baby carrots. Abe has always eaten carrots, he loves them. Moj used to mouth them and then leave them laying around for Abe to eat. Back when we had guinea pigs, Abe and Weego and Roy (poor dead coyote chow Roy. No, not like that. He died and we buried him in the desert. I am sure some coyote smelled him -- he was really freaking ripe -- and dug him up.)...
Abe and Weego and Roy used to all get carrots for treats and Mojo was left out. I don't know why he wouldn't eat the carrots. He eats cardboard and bits of vinyl toy and chunks of plastic water bottle, so why would carrots ergh him out? Freaky dog.
And I don't know what tripped in his little brain that he likes them now. Moj is a mystery for sure.
The apple/strawberry/nut thing is good, but we have Parmesan bagels from Costco in the drawer. Costco has awesome bagels. Awesome. Delicious. Fabulous yummy bagels, with crusty Parmasan cheese on them. One of my favorite breakfasts, but no. I am reduced to my daily apple. Woo.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Mostly a teacher would come and unlock the gate for us, but a couple times we had to hop the chain link fence...I am not the most athletic and graceful person, but I should be able to handle hopping a four foot fence, right?
The way over, no problem. In fact, I gave Zach's pal, Michael, a really hard time for getting stuck halfway over.
Then, a minute later, I got stuck in the same spot. Really stuck. A bent up wire on the fence hooked in the seam in the crotch of my pants. It was painful.
Zach and Michael found this very humorous. They would, the wretches.
Unfortunately that was not the only bit of humor I caused that day...Abe had had surgery on his back leg and was confined to the cage (Abe is the dog, remember? I don't lock my kids up in a cage. Usually.) We had to walk him in the backyard, because he wasn't allowed to run and tear around.
So as we are getting ready to go paint, I asked Zach and Michael if they had taken Tess out to pee. They just looked at me and said no, they had not. I said they had to do that before we could leave...
Zach said he had not taken Tess out to pee, but they had taken Abe out.
You know, sometimes you call you kid (or dog) by the wrong name and it's not such a big deal. Other times it could almost trigger a call from CPS.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Mojo and Abe tearing around the back yard. Mojo is very big and very strong, and when he runs flat out, Abe wants to play, but has learned through hard experience that when Moj is running like this, he smacks HARD into anyone who gets in his way. Zach has also found this out the hard way...Mojo was running through the house, cut a corner too sharply and clipped Zach behind the knees. Both Moj and Zach went down hard. We laughed.
This is Abe diving out of the way. Mostly he stands in the middle of the yard and runs in circles when Mojo is going crazy. It's pretty dang humorous.
They are listening for the UPS truck. They love to go bananas when the UPS and FEDEX trucks go by.
It's getting cold. The dogs like to curl up together.
First snowplow of the season. Not the last snowplow of the season.
Sunrise over the Chugach mountains.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I got nothing. Thor and Tess and I went to Penney's to pick up Mark's new suit, lusted after various video games at Game Stop, went to Costco -- the children were much distressed to have to go to Costco, although they enjoyed all the samples available today, and Thor scored a variety pack of muffins with SIX poppy seed muffins instead of the standard four poppy seed muffins -- Thor loves poppy seed muffins -- and they HAD EGG NOG. Thor loves egg nog. He is very sad every January when he drinks the last of the egg nog he makes me stockpile (egg nog does have a shelf life, unfortunately, or I would have to buy a refrigerator just for Thor to have a year's supply.)
Then we went to the PROMISED LAND -- (insert trumpets blowing and angels appearing here) Target. We love Target. Not only is there now a Target in Anchorage, it's just minutes from our house. We got wrapping paper and penguin salt and pepper shakers, Christmas presents, Thor got a new pair of Converse One Star chocolate suede tennies, and a new fingernail clipper because even though we have at least six sets of clippers somewhere in this house, my nails currently look like hell, raggedy and pathetic and sad and awful because all the clippers are vanished. Always.
Oh, yeah. The stump. It's just a stump, but I thought it turned out to be a pretty good photo. There was a out-of-focus branch with a couple dead leaves in the foreground, but Photoshop Elements 6 and the bandaid shaped tool icon helped me vanish them.
Friday, November 07, 2008
edited to add...I had a new and weird google search hit.
eucalyptus humidifier rats
I don't have any idea at all what they were looking for.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
All were normal. Excellent news. Even better, I don't have another appointment with the doc. I just get to go get my Remicade infusion every other month (which is doing a great job of controlling my Crohn's disease. I love modern medicine.). The doc stops by to say hi when I am getting the infusion, and that's all I need for now. Well, that plus blood tests three or four times a year (my old gastroenterologist had me getting those blood tests every other month, so this is better too.).
I may actually go back to going to the hospital/clinic only for Remicade, instead of going every week or two. It will be strange to not be having various tests and appointments and stuff.
I think I will get used to it though...
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I asked if there was somebody around who could help him push his car out of the intersection just as some kind guy came up and asked him if he needed help pushing his car out of the intersection. Whew.
Zach called me back when he was no longer a traffic jam, and I found out that the auto repair shop we always used has another shop not too far from where Zach's car was stalled. Thank God for teh internets. I gave Zach the number, he called and arranged for them to tow it and fix it, and then he called me back and chatted as he sweated his way to the nearest Starbucks (he got lots of money on Starbucks cards for his high school graduation. We have awesome friends who know Zach really well.). We have snow, and it is still hot in Tucson. It was 85 degrees there this afternoon.
His girlfriend picked him up, and they went off to phone bank for Gabrielle Giffords, the Democratic Representative up for re-election in Tucson. ("Hi, I'm Zachary, and I am calling for the Arizona Democratic Party to remind you that tomorrow is Election Day! Don't forget to vote!" )
Yesterday he was at the Victory celebration for Rep. Giffords, and we called him when Obama was declared the victor, and it was very loud and happy there. Giffords won, too, which is a good thing. She is very knowledgeable and a good Representative.
Zach called me a while ago. The car is fixed -- $179 including the tow and an oil and filter change. Ventana Automotive in Tucson, a really excellent business. They "cleaned up the throttle body and reset the computer" or something like that. Zach said the throttle is different, and the car is a lot more responsive now. I am not sure that is a really good thing...
This is Zachary this past summer, at the Portage Glacier, which is kinda near Anchorage. He's holding a chunk of ice off the glacier, and that look on Zach's face is him telling me to take the damn picture, because his hands are freezing.
(I think it's the Portage Glacier. I have a terrible memory for names.)
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
However, I know they would have watched it for a while and then wanted to play Fallout 3, the video game they got yesterday...
Zach and his roommates had a Halloween party this weekend. They told everybody no alcohol (they are 18 and 19 year olds), but they assumed that somebody would bring some any way.
But nobody did. The party was inadvertently dry, because everybody thought somebody else was going to bring the beer. One guy left, but everybody else stayed, played video games and Twister, and had a great time.
Just goes to show that not all college students are preoccupied with drinking.
Oh, yeah, Go OBAMA!!!
Monday, November 03, 2008
The fourth photo in the fourth album is one of my sons and my nephew on the beach. I love this photo. It's one I have done lots of experimenting with, which is why it's in black and white, and why I have an older photo in my more recent folders.
That's the Pacific Ocean, the coast of Washington state. We went to the beaches as much as possible when we lived on Fort Lewis. The kids loved it, especially when their cousins were along. It's cold, the ocean off of Washington, so we didn't swim, but we did lots of wading and playing chicken with the waves.
It's a gloomy day, because it's fall in western Washington state, which we didn't like at the time, but it did make a great photo.
This is closer to the original...
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Squirrel. I know it's just a squirrel. But we didn't have squirrels in our neighborhood in The Neitherlands or in Tucson, so we missed them. We don't see squirrels around our house in Anchorage either, actually, since there are no trees that are not saplings anywhere near my house. We saw this little guy at the Alaska Zoo.
Or maybe we don't have squirrels near our house because we have foxes. The dumb dogs did not even notice when this guy ran past our house.
We found a great beach on the northwest side of Anchorage, along the bluffs.
You know what else is on the northwest side of Anchorage? The airport. Airplanes come roaring over the bluff about every five minutes. (Anchorage isn't a hugely busy airport, thank goodness.)
Earlier this year, we saw this momma and baby walking up Ship Creek. This week I saw a momma and baby not far away from here, and the baby was much bigger. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me. I still get excited every time we see a moose.
Our fall colors, last month.
I really did not mean to make a six-boobed alien creature birthday cake for my son Thor's 16th birthday...(follow the link for the full story of one of my really not shiny happy mom moments. )
And finally, your moment of Zen.
This one is Mark's (my husband) photo.