Tag Archives: family

Seasons Change

24 Aug

The first day of school is technically Wednesday for most kids, but I’m pretty sure that Fall arrived yesterday – Monday – because the weather is already downright chilly! It’s so freakin’ cool outside that I’ve had to dive into my closet for a jacket to wear.

It’s supposed to get nicer, starting tomorrow through Labor Day, but I have a hard time buying it as the weather forecasters never seem to get anything right around here. Maybe they’re trying to give to the city a surprise and make us feel better about the clear skies above when they do happen – before the gloom of Fall and Winter – but I’d rather have a better track record. Along with school starting, it’s also the beginning of one of the longest, drawn out sports seasons (only bested by hockey) FOOTBALL. Which is great because I haven’t had a team to cheer for since hockey ended. Thanks Pirates.

My point was that, with the summer disappearing act happening so quickly, I’m noticing the need and desire to cook more cold weather foods. (I could really stop that sentence at “cook” since I tend to do none of it in the summer months, but I’m not in the mood to split hairs.) Last weekend I played sous chef, originally not by choice, at a family birthday gathering and now I have a new recipe in my cold weather arsenal. And … drum roll … it’s a Vegetarian delight!

Here are two pictures of the ratatouille in progress:

The ingredients, Julia Child-style, please:

  • Butter and Olive Oil (to keep everything cooking but not burning)
  • 1/2 of an Onion
  • Garlic (it depends on how much you’re making, but I used about 4 tsp worth/3 cloves)
  • Zucchini (2 or 3 or more, depending on how big your skillet is and how many you want to serve)
  • Thyme, Italian seasoning, Salt, Red Pepper flakes
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes (you can use fresh, ripe tomatoes, but you’ll need a little bit of tomato sauce, maybe 8 oz.)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

Brown the Garlic in the Butter and Olive Oil, then add the onions til they’re just shy of clear, then add the zucchini. Keep stirring and cover occasionally – you want to boil off some of the water from the zucchini. Once that happens, add the Thyme, Italian seasoning and S&P. My Baba sprinkled these into the skillet, more Thyme and Italian seasoning than S&RPf, but you can add to taste – especially the Red Pepper flakes if you’re not into spicy.

Add the tomatoes and stir, tasting/seasoning as it cooks. Then comes the fun … Adding cheese. No joke: Add as much cheese as you like – it will turn the ratatouille a nice orange color. Very pretty.

You can serve it over pasta or rice or you can eat it as is; Very, very tasty! I may try to add some sausage next time, but for a quick, vegetarian meal this was quite filling by itself.

Bon appetit!


Nursing my options

20 Jan

This past week has been interesting. I’d say boring or stressful or tiring or odd, but interesting is more encompassing.

Every once and a while, my mother succumbs to the pressure of late night work (or temptation, rather) and has a bit of coffee or chocolate – something with a small amount of caffeine in it to keep her awake – and if all other conditions are right, will send her heart into an irregular sinus rhythm. ‘All other conditions’ meaning low potassium and/or magnesium and her personal heart history being prone to a-fib among other factors.

Long story short, she found herself dozing at work last Thursday and had a half cup of coffee. (enter Hallelujah chorus: MISSSS-TAAAAAKE!) Saturday morning – 30 hours later – she was ill with a migraine and, according to A.K., yellow. No good.

Why it took her body 30 hours to figure out it needed to reject something I don’t know, but it comforts me that her doctor – top class cardiologist – didn’t have the foggiest either.

She’s been in the hospital since Saturday and, with the impending threat of getting a TEE and paddles, her heart converted back to a normal rhythm at 4 a.m. yesterday during her sleep. Yahoo! Which only meant an additional 48 hours of monitoring. Ugh.

I’ve spent almost every waking hour either at work or at Presby and I’m dead tired, but I’m also liking walking around in the hospital. I wanted to be a doctor when I started out in college but was talked out of it due to the blood and my ability to faint; after watching all the things the nurses have done for my mom this past week, including the blood draws, I’m finding out I’m not as squeamish as I once was.

Getting my masters sounds great, but as I fill out all the applications I can’t help but wonder if I’ll still be interested – or even challenged – in another 6 years.

Happy Thanksgiving

26 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving!

Baba tried on my new hat – which is a hit with all the women in my family – and looks pretty darn good! She said she can’t wear hats like this. Riiiiiiight.

Baba asked if hats are coming back in style – did they go out? – I’m wearing it anyway.

Just Batty

25 Aug

If you’re going through hell, keep going. -Winston Churchill

Things have been a roller coaster ride lately. Up then down. Then back up. Then one of those downs that you have to let go of the roller coaster and try and get rid of the fear and enjoy the “look ma, no hands” moment.

Since last Wednesday – the 19th – I have been trying to get it together and write a post but I’ve had too much going on to even begin to think about turning on my home computer – it was a record that ended last night at a whopping 18 days.

Wednesday morning – back to the 19th – while I was getting ready to leave for work I set my hair straightener down on the bathroom sink and somehow hit the cord just right to send the iron flying through the air. My bathroom has barely 3 feet between the plug and the sink – situated on opposing walls – so I’ve knocked the iron off before and survived – but somehow, in a death defying leap I landed with the hair straightener around my foot, top and bottom. I have no idea how I didn’t burn the bottom of my foot, but that’s where saving grace ended. I got a whopping 1 inch by 3 inch burn on the top of my foot.

I went to workout as normal that evening and the pain was pretty minimal. I had already made an appointment for Thursday morning with the dermatologist to tell me how bad it was, but I was feeling pretty good and needed to clean up. So I decided to take a bath.

*chorus sings* MIS-TAAAAAAKE!!!!!

I put my right foot in and I screamed out loud. I jumped out and turned myself around. And – Oh hot damn did that hurt, and the water was barely even tepid. Lesson No. 1: Do not submerge a burn in water with a temperature above freezing.

After my dermatologist diagnosed my now swollen foot with a 2nd degree burn, he said I would need to keep it under wraps for a while. Past the point of blistering and even if the skin turns black. Wait. What?? My skin is going to turn black? (At that point I didn’t believe him, but a week later I consider a genuine possibility.)

After a bit of self-medication (only in moderation. I swear.) that evening, I started to doze on the couch. I have a nice couch. It’s big. It’s white. It’s an L-shape. It’s even a sleeper sofa. And I love it. I also had a candle burning. Needless to say dozing turned into 26 winks and I woke up to realize the tv and all the lights were still on, not to mention the candle. I turned everything off and blew out the candle and went to bed. The next morning I woke up to find that my reflection looked a bit different in the mirror than usual and that’s when I realized that, having fallen asleep while a candle with a lead wick burned black, my nostrils had taken some of the soot. Yuck.

And that’s when I started thinking. If my nose was black from the candle, what else was? And the answer was two white couch cushions, the base of the white couch cover, a white throw and a purple silk sweater. Damn. After a lot of washing, almost everything is back to normal. But that’s Lesson No. 2: Do not burn candles while self-medicating. Do not fall asleep while burning candles with untrimmed wicks.

Saturday was a fairly good day and I really felt like I was on the up and up. Joe and I got to shoot another lovely wedding at the Green Oaks Country Club. The photos turned out ridiculously well because – well, Joe is a pro, so of course they did – but the overlook portion of the golf club, over the Allegheny is In. Cre. Di. Ble.

After an evening of dancing and drinking – erm – photographing all that – I left Joe to head to my moms place. Armed with the directions and a full tank of gas, I missed the first lousy turn and ended up in New Kensington – she lives in Plum, total opposite direction – and then somewhere out near the Beaver Run Reservoir. Over an hour and a half of faulty driving only to learn that, at one point – after New Kensington but before Beaver Run Reservoir dueling banjo extravaganza – I was just two measily miles from where I was supposed to be. But the roads aren’t labeled well and it’s Pennsylvania. Lesson No. 3: No driving new routes after dark. E-V-E-R.

I was so frustrated by the time I got to my Mom’s place that pizza and M*A*S*H took longer to work than normal. I finally said screw it and got into a good mood. But then I woke up Sunday with a huge swollen foot. I could barely get my flip flop on. Yikes! The rest of sunday was fun but relatively normal – cupcake fiasco later – and Monday seemed like it was going to go off without a hitch.


Late in the evening, clearly past my bedtime, I was laying on my freshly cleaned couch trying to get drowsy by watching some late night show when out of the corner of my eye I saw something. Fly. Of course I freaked out until I realized it was a bat and then I just freaked out more.

I ran into the kitchen to grab a colander, which I now recognize as totally ridiculous, but when you see this:


doing figure eight death swoops in your living room late at night, you’ll grab just about anything that you can think of as a possibly sane implement to take the bugger down. I opened all the windows and hoped like hell that he flew out one while I wasn’t looking – and waiting for my rescuer! – but I stayed up til 4, completely expecting another death swoop. Lesson No. 4: When you’re going through hell, keep going.

So now, it’s Tuesday. And I’m really hoping that when I get home, I have no visitors. I’d like to sit and fold laundry. Maybe even put it away. I dunno. I don’t wanna do anything too crazy. Who knows, though. All these crazy things happening might just mean something good is on its’ way to me. Crossed fingers.

They say our love won’t pay the rent

20 Jul

So pay the bills before you accrue debt … groundhog day

Repeating things in life begins to feel like the ultimate deja vu – groundhog day. And then there is repeating things multiple times within a short time span making it feel even more so.

Joe and I had another wedding this weekend and I think the thing that kept it from feeling like all the rest was the devotion that the bride’s father put into their wedding favors. He’s an avid wine connoisseur and made bottles of wine for each guest to take home with them. I didn’t get a chance to try it – yet – because it’s a little difficult to hold a flash steady when you’re not.

But some of the repetitiveness of weddings is getting to me a bit and I’m starting to notice only those parts of the day which set them apart from other weddings – the things on which they’ve spent thoughtful time – not money they didn’t have. Each one is nice in it’s own right, but I’ve come to realize that, at a wedding, guests care about very few things: Food, booze and music. Oh, and Cake.

Yes, it’s your family and friends there to support you on one of the biggest days of your life, but really, it’s more about the two of you and the commitment you’re making than the money you spend or anyone else in attendance – how else do explain some guests skipping the ceremony and heading straight for the reception venue?

Being on a plastic fast – which is still going very well by the way, more in a minute – is making me notice the things you should and shouldn’t spend money on – even for a once in a lifetime event such as a wedding. My mother went to my cousins wedding almost 8 years ago and to this day, the only thing she can remember – and raves about – was how fantastic the food was.

It’s the parts of the wedding that people participate in that they remember most.

I guess what I’m saying is don’t buy the expensive dress, no one will really notice, but go for the prime rib carving station – guests will cheer. And throw your bouquet. Not a similar, smaller “tossing” bouquet. What else are you going to do with it? Dry it out and let it collect dust for 15 years while it slowly breaks apart and you have to throw it away anyway?

These are the kinds of things I think about while waiting in line to pay for items in retail stores anyway. And yesterday I actually thought so long and hard about what I was waiting – forever – to pay for, that I actually talked myself out of everything because, even though the items were a good deal, $40 towards the fast vs. two gorgeous leather belts just sounded even better! I did buy a shirt, but that was because a staple item – such as the white button up in question – can very rarely be bought for $6.99 on sale.

A girl has to have at least something to wear to the wedding …

I’m making slow but steady process on the debt and have paid off roughly $1500 since I started this in March, which is pretty good considering I haven’t really cut down on eating in restaurants or nights out. It’s simply cash only.

If I don’t have the cash to pay for it, I don’t buy it – but the key to method is remembering to pay all the bills first so I don’t suddenly think I have cash. And then have no cell phone service.


16 Jul

The Informant

The Informant!

Julie & Julia is getting closer but my Mom just showed me this preview for Matt Damon’s newest, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Looks pretty funny. Now I’m wanting to read the book written about the real FBI informant – Whitaker.

My library list is getting pretty long these days. A drastic change from last summer, which was all biographies, this summer is turning out to be more fiction driven page turners, though they are all still loosely based on real events. Julie & Julia ended up being pretty good. I still can’t believe some of the dishes she tried – every time I think about poaching eggs in wine I start to cringe – why would you ruin wine like that?! … … … … … … … … … … p.s. I hate eggs.

But I am going to try a bit of my own recipe book cook-off – non-alcoholic party beverages to be served at a couple of baby showers i’m either throwing or attending this summer. I’m sure the guy in my library is going to laugh when he sees this next batch of books I’ve got to pick up!

Busy weekend ahead – concert on Friday and another wedding on Saturday with Joe the Photographer – can’t wait! Should be a fun time!


30 Jun

targetWhy is Target so cool? I ask you!

I went to Target last night with the intent of making it a quick trip. Target is never a quick trip, unless you run in at quarter til closing time, and then, by default, you have a quick trip. For me, though, I have yet to get in and out of Target in under an hour.

Even though Target was out of the thing I went in specifically to purchase – rubbermaid tubs! – I found myself wandering the aisles two hours later, looking at and seriously considering things I had never really thought about before. Don’t even get me started on the sale racks at the end of some of the aisles. I wasted a precious 15 minutes last night looking at the discounted party and paper rack, deliberating if Jenny might think a photo album emblazoned with 2009 would be a little late?!

Target isn’t so much a shop or a store or a mart as it is an addiction. Someone says “Hey. I’m going to Target …” and finishes that sentence with either “wanna go with?” or “need anything?” and your answer will inevitably be “Yea!” because – hey – It’s Target!

I always feel as if pushing their red carts might – at some point – cast me in one of their commercials. Yea. Right. But the coolest thing about Target is their registries. Ever done one? They give you a scanner gun and let you register for all the things you want people to buy for your shower, party, upcoming or whatever. It’s great. Now I know that Giant Eagle has the same thing in their stores, but it doesn’t feel the same. The rush at Target is much more satisfying.


I look forward to Target visits as I look forward to Swensons. I know that comparison doesn’t make much sense to some people, but to those who have been to the NE Ohio drive-in chain for a galley boy, you might have a little insight – forbidden fruit treat kind of insight.

And this kid is getting a Galley Boy, Peanut Butter Cup and Onion Ring fest come Friday. I cannot wait. Mom and I are going up to Akron for a big family birthday party this weekend and I intend to imbibe.

Everytime we go up to Akron/Stow we stop in and, after checking their website I’m now anticipating an even better trip than usual. $1.00 Swensons pint glasses with the purchase of each milkshake! I’m thinking I could have a set of 4 or 6 by the time our trip is done, and we’re not even supposed to be in town more than 24 hours – uh-oh!

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