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27 December 2009

A Meaty Perfection

We've been sick, on and off, with winter colds for a couple of months. The weather hasn't helped out much either, varying from cold and rainy to windy and f*#$ing cold. I always like to remedy winter ailments with slow cooked hot meals.

Having absolute fond childhood memories of pot roast and potatoes, I decided I would attempt this feat. It seemed scary at first. I grasped the idea of cooking the root vegetables but how was I going to find a pot roast? Is that what it's even called at the grocery store? I did some searching through my cook books and found that all I had to do was go to the meat counter and ask for a boneless beef roast. So for this huge round slab of de-boned meat, I decided I should go all out. I bought a 4 lb fully organic free-range sirloin roast (I know, I know.).

Within 10 minutes I had all the ingredients assembled and loaded into the crock pot. I turned it on high and left it to do its thing (now that is the type of cooking I like to do!). In the interim, I dyed my hair, took a 2 hour nap, watched football and talked on the phone. The house started to smell like an accomplished chef. Every inch of air smelled like cooking meat and made the dogs, as well as us drool. At the 6 hour mark I took the string off the roast and it magically fell apart. Apparently that is a good sign. After a quick call to my mother for a refresher on how to make gravy, the meal was ready.

I scooped out the steaming hot juicy pieces of meat, potatoes and carrots steamed to perfection and topped it all off with a creamy peppery gravy. I poured a glass of wine and we started chowing down. Oh me oh my, every bite was delectable, not to mention, the lovely comments coming from my husband who was enjoying what he was calling the best man meal he's ever had since he was a kid.

So I did it and that's why I'm writing all this. I cooked a successful meal, a meal my husband loved and I didn't mess it up - not even a little bit. I'd like to say I could do it again, but the statistics prove that is unlikely. So for now, I'm just going to revel in my status as a good cook, even if it is just for today.

16 December 2009

Butter Me Up

I can live for two months on a good compliment. ~Mark Twain

Learning to genuinely accept a compliment - takes some training. Usually when I'm complimented I debunk myself. Compliment: Wow this is great homemade soup! Me: Thanks, I should have put more salt in it. Compliment: I like that shirt! Me: Thanks, it helps to cover my ass. There's really no reason to put myself down. I've got learn to accept these accolades with gratitude.

One thing I can say though, is when someone praises or flatters me, it does make me feel good inside, boosts my self-esteem up a notch for the day and lasts on through the night and into the next day. Usually I float on the words until something brings me back down from my buttered-up high. These lauds to my self-esteem come in all different ways. The spoken words, kind smiles and bear hugs are saved in a special compartment of my heart. The written emails or notes are filed under a folder called 'cheers'. On down days, I access these files to remind myself that I am groovy, my actions do make a difference in people's day to day lives. Compassion, heart-felt goodwill and putting in my all into everything, no matter what, always feels satisfying. And when that is sensed by others, and relayed back in a compliment of sorts, it just encourages me to love myself and to keep on keepin on.

10 December 2009

Rise and Shine

Though the circular round-and-round of routine be the bulk of life's affairs, make an occasional jutting diversion - of fun, love, or something that will outlast you - so the shape and motion of your life shall resemble the round lifegiving sun with bright rays shining forth from all directions. ~Destin Figuier

There is no hope for a civilization which starts each day to the sound of an alarm clock.
~Author Unknown

If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters.
~Author unknown, attributed to Jim Davis

If you follow my blog, if you know me well, you know that I am definitely not a morning person. It is rude and unnatural to disturb a peaceful slumber. That is why for the last 6 years my morning routine has rarely varied. It has to be the same because I do not function well when my body has been thrown off of it's natural rythm by an alarm clock. One thing I always loved about my mornings was that I could get ready for work by myself becauseWarren was off to work at the butt crack of dawn. I'd muddle around the house with my eyes half open, cursing the gods of morning and wishing I could be more like my black lab who rises with ease as the sun pokes it's head above the horizon. He wiggles and shakes in his happiness to have woken up again. It's a brand new day, he says, every god damn single morning. It was a blessing that Warren wasn't here to see me in all my glory. He knows what's good for himself! I could be frustrated all by myself and I was perfectly fine with that.

Then one day, Warren got a new job and his schedule changed. He was now going to work the exact same hours as me,. Which meant of course that he was going to be here in the mornings getting ready with me. Now hear me when I say this - I really want to stay married, but with the way I work in the mornings, or should I say don't work, our love would soon grow stale, if not sour very fast. He would tire of my tragic morning mood and I would be more than ready to vent my pre-dawn frustrations. But I didn't have time to ponder because his new job was starting the next day. I couldn't let him start a new job by waking up to a miserable sourpuss. I held my breath as my alarm went off, sparking and waking up angry nerves in my body. I forced myself to smile but my lips were frozen in a scowl. I had to smile, it was the only thing that was going to get me through this. I kept trying but nothing was happening on my face. Finally, I used both hands to pull my lips into a smile and held it there. Eventually, my cheeks stopped fighting and my heart gave in and I was smiling. God dammit I was smiling at 6am. What the hell. Somehow I made it through the morning in an awkwardly cheerful mood. It became easier every morning. My smile was less forced and I actually looked forward to waking up. It's cool to get ready in the morning with Warren, the morning person. Where before I would have been bitter at any hint of happiness, I am now relishing in it. Without any planning, we naturally worked out a routine where we each get a few minutes of alone time. Time to drink our coffee and space out. It's cool and I really like it.

There have been setbacks. I've slept in a few times, pissed off at the alarm clock and forgetting to put my smile on. But they are fewer and farther apart. Could things be turning a new leaf for me? No, I will never like to be roused from my dreams but I have come to really cherish the time I get to spend with Warren and the dogs in the mornings. Plus it forces me to get up on time because if I don't then everyone is going to be running late. I don't think I have made it out of the house on time in 6 years, until now. So, a change of routine is good now and then, especially when it's unexpected. I'm learning to make friends with mornings although I'd like them better if they started later. It's a slow and sometimes painful process but I'm thinking that maybe we'll be good friends one day.

Absence Makes the Blog Grow Fonder

Pardon my somewhat long absence from the blogosphere but things have been a bit hectic around here. I'll fill you in so put on a pot of brandy, sit downand and let's get started. My writing inefficiencies are due to three main issues that have come knockin at our door - mind you, we did not invite them.

First comes Thanksgiving. We are hanging at my sister's house drinking wine and catching up. We end up waiting a little extra longer than usual for the turkey to finish cooking (yes, it was defrosted the night before). By the time the turkey is done, we are buzzed and hungry. My sister sold her dining room table and turned her dining room into an office/library so we huddle in close together at her tiny kitchen table with the kids at a miniature table next to us. We pass the food around quickly and soon all is quiet as we start shoveling food into our mouths. There's no need to speak we are so hungry. Not a word is said. Ok, well some words were muttered here and there - pass the butter and more potatoes please. Soon we realize that our eyes were bigger than our stomaches and we start to moan. We tell the kids to go play while we recline in silence, holding our bellies, subtly unbuttoning our pants. Eventually we get the table cleared and the dishes washed. A child mentions we forgot to have dessert. No, honey, we didn't forget. We aren't having dessert. Mommy is going to be sick. Warren and I drive home in a semi food induced coma. Once in the confines of my home, I rush to slip out of my nice clothes and into my sweats. I sit on the couch drinking water and sucking on tums. The next morning I punish myself with an hour and a half walk. I take the dogs up to the mountain where we walk and walk and walk until I feel I have walked off every calorie. I'm feeling better as we drive over to Warren's aunt's house for our second thanksgiving dinner. I've already mentally prepared myself for tonight. Just a little of everything and stop before I'm full. I'm proud of myself as we drive home, I didn't overdo it. I spend the rest of the holiday weekend working out.

Second comes Sports. It's a busy time of year, you remember - basketball and football are in full swing. This year has brought our teams some seriously messed up karma. Our beloved Favre who is having his best year ever, throws 3 interceptions and has the worst game of his career. The Steelers lose their 4th game in a row in very lackluster performances and the Blazers lose key players Oden, Rudy and Outlaw to injuries for the rest of the season. These sports crisis are overwhelming and painful. We discuss them at length with family, friends and eachother - analyzing and strategizing with what's left of our teams and morning our losses.

Third and finally, two essential household items decide they no longer wish to live - our furnace and our computer. Our computer perished first. It caught a nasty winter virus that it could not fight. I decided to humanely put it down until my brother-n-law Daryl sent me a new operating system which flushed out the germs and now, as you can see, is as good as new. Then, on a wintry 21 degree night, we arrive home from work to find our heater blowing cold air. We called every oil furnace repair shop near and far but all their service men were already booked overnight, fixing those furnaces who called first for help. So we borrowed space heaters from our neighbor, put on our long underwear and hats, covered all the pipes and set all the faucets on drip. The 3 space heaters kept us from freezing although we blew a fuse every couple of hours. We had a 3 dog night and actually ended up staying pretty warm.

Needless to say, I've been a little distracted. I haven't forgotten about blogging, in fact, I've written more than a dozen in my head over the last couple of weeks. However, I've either been preocupied with winter sports woes, too full, too cold or lacking technology to write. So, I'm back. Put on another pot of brandy because the stories are about to begin.