Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bacon, bitchez


Um, so this post may offend, if only for the name of the dish pictured above. They are called "Bacon Bitches". No, I don't know why. I think I might be tempted to rename them just so I can serve them in polite company. But they are good enough to make you swear.

You take a slice of bacon. Put a generous teaspoon of curry laden cream cheese at one end, top with a slice of jalapeno pepper (we used pickled, I think fresh wouldn't be as tasty) then roll up and bake.

OMG these are amazing. I made them for a gaming get together a few weeks ago and they are super easy and surprisingly delish.

Here's a link to the recipe. To season my cream cheese I used some Indian Garlic Relish and Garam Masala paste, both of which I got from my local food jobber.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The funeral




I took some pictures (although I neglected to take one of the finished grave) during our funeral for Maddie.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The new day

It's been really strange since Maddie died. She took up a lot of room in our family - everyone loved her and she loved everyone. Her relationship with each of us (including bf and my friend Ted) was special and not filtered through another person. Maybe that's part of what makes animal companions/pets so important.

We had the funeral yesterday afternoon. Thanks to global warming the ground hasn't frozen and the digging was easy (at least bf made it look pretty effortless - when I tried my hand at it the earth was pliant and soft). We took some time to say goodbye to her lifeless form in the darkness of my mother's garage - an inauspicious, but peaceful place.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to pet her, but seeing her soft fur, I had to touch it again. She had the best, soft and fluffy fur. Silky and wonderful. She was cold to the touch though, and flat somehow, as if she'd been deflated.

Because she was wrapped up in the blanket we'd taken her to the vet in (and it was a highly non-biodegradable material), I took her out of the blanket. Lifting her body I was dismayed to feel give - she wasn't entirely rigid as I'd expected. When she was out of the blanket I cried just a bit. She looked so much as though she were sleeping. And her ears were up - I kept expecting her to twitch them. The boys and I talked a bit and pet her a bit more. Bf came in with the box top he'd been using to ensure the grave was the right size, and I gave her fur one last stroke before putting the top on.

Her body had retained heat from where we'd been petting her, which was very eerie.

My 11 year-old put the box in the ground and we said some words about her. The 7 year old and bf declined to say anything, my mother and 11 year old had lots to say, and I just said one short thing.

We threw/shovelled dirt on to the box and in a few minutes she was buried.

Even though her food and water dishes are up from their usual place on the kitchen floor, I still look towards the spot to see if they need filling. When I come in I resist the urge to say "Hi Maddie, I'm home", which I did so many times.

I'm struggling with a lot of guilt, wishing I had been there for her in some other way, been able to see how sick she was before, understood how quickly she would go. I've read enough about grief to understand this is normal, but I don't know how to properly mourn.

My friend H had a kitten who died from FIP this year and she has given me lots of advice which has proven helpful. So I'm letting this grief happen and looking forward to the day when it doesn't make me so sad to think of her.

Friday, November 24, 2006

In Memoriam

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Maddie "Cutie-Pie" H.-T.

September 1, 2005 - November 23, 2006

Loving friend, playmate and confidant.

We will miss you.


(update: she had FIP, the 'non-effusive' variety - the only treatment is palliative, so I fed her as much cream as she wanted to drink and we cuddled her - Thursday morning she had lost control of her voluntary motor functions from bowels to blinking, so it was time - she was such a sweetheart.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Banana Muffins with Granola



I took my favourite banana bread recipe and added 3/4 Cup of homemade granola. I baked them in mini muffin tins (for 15 minutes) and got 3 doz mini muffins out of one recipe. I don't have that many now, but if you didn't eat any, you could have that many.

Sprinkling granola on top was an aesthetically pleasing and tasty touch. Using 3/4 Cup of granola added a stronger taste as well. I was happy to find that my homemade granola had stayed so fresh since I used it last - it does need to be used up, however, so I'm thinking of things I can do with it. Oh, as a crust for apple dessert, or a topping for apple crisp! Yum. The flavours of toasted almond, coconut and honey really mingle well with age.

After I popped the muffins into the oven I had a bowl of granola with milk. Yum.

Bertha's Big Bourbon Bundt Cake

My first bundt cake with a filling in the middle (I remember these being big when I was a kid), Bertha's Big Bourbon Bundt Cake has just a bit of Bourbon in it, and it's all cooked, so the alcohol is for flavour only. I'm going to cut it this afternoon, so I'll update with a picture of a slice when I do...

I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com, which is not a bad resource (I really like how the recipes look, the printing options, and my favourite, the ingredient search). They have a whole bunch of bundt cake recipes as well...




One hair

My youngest son and I were talking this morning as he got ready for school. I was combing his hair and he said to me "How do you get your hair so poofy? I wish mine would be poofy like that!"

He has verly slightly wavy medium brown fine hair to my extremely wavy kinky curly thick dark brown. As I told him that his hair was probably never going to be as poofy as mine, I spotted, growing from his head, one extremely wavy kinky curly thick hair. Dark brown.

"Do you want me to pull it out and show you?" I asked him. Yes, he said, so I did.

We looked at it laying on my palm. A hair absolutely identical to mine (sans dye) next to one of his medium brown, slightly wavy, and fine strands of hair. If I hadn't pulled it from his head, I wouldn't believe it came from him.

It was a wonderful moment for both of us. We just smiled at each other with the excitement of the discovery, the proof that our bodies work in mysterious ways and that yes, indeed, there was a bit of me in him.

I grew up not looking like my parents (especially my mother), and that could be hard at times. I feels important to me sometimes, to be able to see myself in my children.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cloudy

My hope is that doing things I know I'll enjoy will get me out of this funk.
Indian food helped, definitely!


Still, I'm feeling cloudy.
Sigh.

Cooking!

To celebrate a successful anthropology exam, and making it to Friday, I'm cooking up an Indian dinner tonight (okay, a few of the things I'm simply heating up out of a packet, but I'm actually cooking others). I'll take pics and get a post up this weekend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

14 days later

It's been two weeks since Halloween? Already? Wow. Time flies.





Sunday, November 12, 2006

Timing is everything, maybe?

Has it ever occurred to you that some important event in your life is likely due to being in the right place at the right time (or being in the right mood while you are in the right place at the right time)?

Recent amazing and life changing events seem clearly to have sprung from a few others during the past few years.

Is it simply listening when the universe (or your subconscious, or friends, or whatever) gives you a hint? Is it having an open mind or heart? Is it actively giving up on the idea of control? Who knows.

Today I found myself shaken nearly to the core with the understanding that my life has taken on a new direction. Unless I turn my back on it (and that's not happening), I've got many new challenges ahead.

I am elated, but sobered by the scope of it all.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Let's talk about socks, baby...



Okay, it hasn't all been bad lately. I got three lovely pair of socks from Sock Dreams, and I'm happy with all three. Sock Dreams sells legwear of all kinds, but I've only picked up some OTK (over the knee) socks. I got a pair two years ago which I've worn so much one heel has a big hole. This time I picked up a pair of tube socks in bright blue (which I'm wearing) a thinner pair in light blue, and a pair of very long stripey socks. The stripey ones go up so high on my leg they look like tights. I wore them over tights on Monday and my legs were nice and toasty. They don't have a lot (if any, I should check the tag) elastic in the leg and after a second wearing were quite baggy. I liked the effect, it was like leg-long legwarmers!



If I could, I would buy 10-15 pair of socks from Sock Dreams and get rid of all of my other not so warm and not so well fitting socks. I've been much harder to heat the past few years, even being cold when it's hot out (oh, wait, that might have been at the height of my anemia this summer). Long socks are perfect because they cover up what is actually cold. These are dreamy, indeed.

And they shall know me by the river of blood...

Sometimes I get really angry. I was thinking it was a combination of stressors at this time of year that does it, but now I'm looking into screwed up Circadian rhythms.

Although the national elections and statewide referenda didn't hurt.

Today's challenge: stay awake, do fun stuff, finish school work! I began a "to do" list which got me feeling overwhelmed, so I need to start over and write a "to do today" list, which is much less comprehensive.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happiness is a warm bun

I've been thinking about making a batch of cinnamon rolls lately. I don't need a bun, much less a batch of them, but man, the smell of cinnamon laden rolls slathered with cream cheese frosting? Delish.

Today is voting day, and I'm really bummed about it. Really, really, really.
And yet, I'll go vote and hope for the best.

Worse comes to worse, I'll drown my sorrows with a batch of cinnamon rolls.

Ooh, I need to blog about the Fresh Banana Cake I made this weekend. It was very tasty.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Brussells Sprout and Birthday Pie

What 11 year old requests Cod Liver Oil for a gift and Brussells sprout as part of his birthday dinner? My kid, apparently.

We had Thanksgiving dinner tonight because we are not going to be together at Thanksgiving... we also celebrated my oldest's 11th b'day.


The fresh-off-the-stalks sprouts



The birthday pumpkin pie


The birthday/thanksgiving dinner in all of it's glory: Turkey, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Brussells Sprout, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Applesauce.


The non birthday boy with a cracker box on his head. Your guess is as good as mine.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I heart The Simpsons

Wow. Tonight's Simpsons ends on a view of a completely destroyed Springfield, representing Iraq after the American invasion and occupation. It ends and holds on the burning city.

Amazing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Horpy Hollerween!

Six years of Halloween from the gang at Homestar Runner. I LOVE the Halloween costumes this year (and every year they are great, I particularly like Coach Z). See how many of them you can guess, they tell you who everyone is supposed to be at the end.

2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000

When you are all done with that, check out Strong Bad email.

Oh, and if you have a punkin left to carve, you've got to take a look at their punkin stencils! I used one of these two years ago, I think. You can size them now, which will be convenient if I decide to try carving my tiny pumpkins...

It sounds like heaven to me

Man, I am in podcast heaven these days. Podiobooks.com has some great fiction and following the author's links for Brave Men Run (a wonderful story so far and a must listen for anyone who was 15 or so in 1985. The musical and political references alone are worth it.) by Matthew Wayne Selznick, I found his interesting blog and will be following his work.

Patrick McLean's How to Succeed in Evil is another fabulous find from Podiobooks.com, and highly recommended. These are both books that I look forward to owning as paper books and have delighted listening to as audio books. I've just started Brave Men Run (I'll be listening to chapter three this evening), and I've finished what's been published so far of How to Succeed in Evil.

I noticed recently links on Podiobooks saying "Parsec Nominee" or "Parsec Winner", and found out that "How to Succeed in Evil" one best long fiction and "Brave Men Run" was one of the other nominees in the category, and that is cool. The Nominees/Winners page is very cool as well, and has given me many things to put in my listening queue.

I cannot rec Podiobooks.com enough. Go check them out, subscribe to a few things, drop some money in the hat... My othejavascript:void(0)r podcast loves are Escape Pod ("The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine"), Pseudo Pod ("the sound of horror") and when I remember to listen, Sonic Society's Firefly stories. They take Joss Whedon's characters from the Firefly series and write new stories for them. A lot of the voice acting is good and reminds me of the series (no mean feat, really). They have "making of" interviews or round tables at the end of each episode, which I have found to be uniformly annoying, but they do give some interesting peeks at how these things are put together. I'm only listening to their "Old Wounds" story at the moment, but plan to catch up with others as well.

Honestly, I can't imagine listening to as much music as I do podcasts these days. I love having stories to fill my head with. I find that reading books is a bit difficult for me these days (including all of the reading I am doing for class), but listening to them is definitely something I can do. Check a podcast or two out and let me know how you liked (or didn't like) them!

Inbetween days

Our cat Maddie is sick. It's been a strange week, and yesterday I hit a wall. I'm getting the odd cold/flu thing that has been going around. So far it's a vague "ugh" feeling" accompanied by a sore throat and stuffy ears.

Wednesday I took Maddie to the vet because she's become a bit bony. After far too many blood tests, we've discovered that she doesn't have FIV or the Feline Leukemia virus, nor does she have hyper thyroidism. She doesn't appear to have cancer or diabetes, either. One more test for Toxoplasmosis is being run now.

I'm always torn about getting lots of tests done for my pets because usually I can't afford them and if it were something which needed agressive treatment I wouldn't be able to provide the treatment anyway. But if it is Toxoplasmosis it is something we can treat and be done with it. If it's not, we have to figure out what's next.

Luckily she is in a good mood, soaking up the attention we are giving her, and eating and drinking well.

As for me, I'm trying to shake off this very sad mood and just be okay with the "fineness" of this moment. I can sleep in tomorrow and hopefully will feel a bit more cheerful.

UPDATE: I gave her the first of 14 doses of antibiotic and am not looking forward to the next 13. The medicine has absolutely no masking or texture agents. It's simply the antibiotic in an alcohol and water solution. It tastes like BLECH mixed with everclear (yes, I tasted it). Yuck. Poor kitty!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Great Divider

From the NYT today. I saw this on a blog this morning and thought, eh, why not?
It's pretty clear on stuff that is too rarely pointed out. It's kind of strange how the NYT can go along with so much and then kind of freak out when bushco. just pushes it too far!


The Great Divider

Published: November 2, 2006

As President Bush throws himself into the final days of a particularly nasty campaign season, he’s settled into a familiar pattern of ugly behavior. Since he can’t defend the real world created by his policies and his decisions, Mr. Bush is inventing a fantasy world in which to campaign on phony issues against fake enemies.

In Mr. Bush’s world, America is making real progress in Iraq. In the real world, as Michael Gordon reported in yesterday’s Times, the index that generals use to track developments shows an inexorable slide toward chaos. In Mr. Bush’s world, his administration is marching arm in arm with Iraqi officials committed to democracy and to staving off civil war. In the real world, the prime minister of Iraq orders the removal of American checkpoints in Baghdad and abets the sectarian militias that are slicing and dicing their country.

In Mr. Bush’s world, there are only two kinds of Americans: those who are against terrorism, and those who somehow are all right with it. Some Americans want to win in Iraq and some don’t. There are Americans who support the troops and Americans who don’t support the troops. And at the root of it all is the hideously damaging fantasy that there is a gulf between Americans who love their country and those who question his leadership.

Mr. Bush has been pushing these divisive themes all over the nation, offering up the ludicrous notion the other day that if Democrats manage to control even one house of Congress, America will lose and the terrorists will win. But he hit a particularly creepy low when he decided to distort a lame joke lamely delivered by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry warned college students that the punishment for not learning your lessons was to “get stuck in Iraq.” In context, it was obviously an attempt to disparage Mr. Bush’s intelligence. That’s impolitic and impolite, but it’s not as bad as Mr. Bush’s response. Knowing full well what Mr. Kerry meant, the president and his team cried out that the senator was disparaging the troops. It was a depressing replay of the way the Bush campaign Swift-boated Americans in 2004 into believing that Mr. Kerry, who went to war, was a coward and Mr. Bush, who stayed home, was a hero.

It’s not the least bit surprising or objectionable that Mr. Bush would hit the trail hard at this point, trying to salvage his party’s control of Congress and, by extension, his last two years in office. And we’re not na├»ve enough to believe that either party has been running a positive campaign that focuses on the issues.

But when candidates for lower office make their opponents out to be friends of Osama bin Laden, or try to turn a minor gaffe into a near felony, that’s just depressing. When the president of the United States gleefully bathes in the muck to divide Americans into those who love their country and those who don’t, it is destructive to the fabric of the nation he is supposed to be leading.

This is hardly the first time that Mr. Bush has played the politics of fear, anger and division; if he’s ever missed a chance to wave the bloody flag of 9/11, we can’t think of when. But Mr. Bush’s latest outbursts go way beyond that. They leave us wondering whether this president will ever be willing or able to make room for bipartisanship, compromise and statesmanship in the two years he has left in office.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You are not going to believe this!



I made a CANDY BAR CAKE this evening. I've always had a slighty self-destructive bent, which these days seem to manifest as a penchant for creating and eating highly caloric treats.

The Candy Bar Cake is basically a pound cake, with chopped up candy bars in it. Mine included a mixture of mini Almond Joy, Snickers, Milky Way and Take 5 bars.

It's buttery, not too sweet (if you can believe that) with a faint almond flavour. Not bad. And I've got to get rid of it, stat!

Yum!!!

I want to make this: Cranberry upside-down cake!