Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The storm before the calm

This is what our house looks like right now:

IMG_4778IMG_4779IMG_4780 A

Where’s the furniture, you ask? 

Right here, in the living room:



And here, in the family room (where we’re sleeping):IMG_4783

The bathroom is nearing completion, but still needs lighting, plumbing (as in, a toilet and faucets), a mirror (on order), a frameless glass tub surround (on order), trim, shelving in the linen closet, and a whole host of other tidbits.


My fear is that we’ll get this far, finish the must-haves, and then put all the finishes on hold.  That damn 85% rule!  (Many projects around here get 85% finished and then someone moves on to something new…)

When my life is topsy-turvy like this – home in disarray, career in the air, and no baths!! -- my mind can’t function well.  I can’t think clearly without an orderly physical environment.  Does that make me shallow?  (Or just German…?)

And just to cap it all off, there’s a RAT loose in the house --  one that Boo and Bailey seem to just be ignoring!  He must have been hanging out in the duct system and when those heater vents came off, he made himself at home, even helping himself to the fruit in our fruit bowl, which was the first clue of his presence.  The second being his brush by my leg as he ran by.  I thought it was a cat, until I saw him scamper away.  Eeeewwww!

Please, can we just get some ORDER around here?!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

A good reason to blog regularly again

I just got back from a four-day trip to Southern California to visit my aging mother-in-law.  It was an emotionally exhausting trip that included a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. 


The official diagnosis came as no real surprise to us, as Nana has shown signs of declining cognitive function for years.  In some ways, having a name for what’s happening even makes it easier, but there’s really nothing easy about a parent (or parent-in-law) “vanishing” in front of one’s eyes.

As I sat with Nana for hours on end, immersed in exactly the same three-minute conversation loop over and over and over again, I found myself wishing that we had access to a permanent and cogent narrative of her memories, her thoughts, and her wishes.  (I was also reading a biographical narrative at the time, so surely that influenced my thoughts.)  Nana has always been a very private person, so there’s no way that would happen for her… but I’ve kept a journal for as long as I could write a sentence and I realize now that this day-to-day, year-to-year collection of my thoughts and experiences is really the most important thing I can leave to my kids and grandkids.

And years of Facebook posts really don’t cut it for this purpose.

So expect to see more of me around here in the future.  I will make this happen!

During my trip to Southern California, the undeniable passage of time was most evident when we drove past the house in Oceanside where my happiest years were spent.  We moved into this brand new house in 1988 when Elisabeth was four, Peter was 18 months, and the twins were still starlight.


In the front yard of each new house was a newly planted tree. 

Oside house 1988 

This is what greeted me last weekend:

Oside 2012

There’s no denying it: we, too, are headed toward old age (but hopefully not toward Alzheimer’s – though we are newly committed to testing for any signs of early onset!).  As I said often to Nana last week when she acknowledged that her memory isn’t what it used to be and that getting old is no fun, it does “beat the alternative.”

I gravitated repeatedly to scenes like this last week…


…partly because there’s just something so beautiful about a sunset on the horizon. 

But I’ve also come to understand and appreciate (and, yes, fear) a sunset of another sort that is, I hope, many years away.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Artichoke & Jalapeno Chicken Dinner

Whenever Tom shops at Costco he brings home a tub of this:


It’s not exactly diet food or even remotely healthy, so I generally stay away from it. 

But yesterday I was looking for something quick and easy to make for dinner and when I opened the fridge, the tub of artichoke & jalapeno dip was staring was staring back at me and I had an idea.

I sautéed some onions (you can never go wrong with sautéed onions, right?) and added some bite-size chicken tenderloins.


Then I very slowly added another ingredient that you can’t really go wrong with…


I added some dip…


…and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

I’d gotten the rice cooker started when I first decided to experiment with the dip, because how could brown rice not go with a dinner like this?


And voila – dinner is served!


I wish I had a photo of Kat’s face when she tasted this!  I knew that she doesn’t like artichokes, but I wasn’t aware that she detests them. (And she also doesn’t like green beans, so I definitely struck out with her!) 

But I loved this and probably had more than I should have.  As far as I know, Tom liked it too, but he’s been so exhausted from both work and the bathroom remodel that he’s in zombie-land… so who knows how he felt about it.  (He did have two helpings.)

I left the empty chicken bag on the counter and turned around to see this.  Weird cat.

Boo in a Bag

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