Friday, October 30, 2009

Cheers to Halloween

Happy Halloween tomorrow!  I never was a huge halloween fan, but I enjoy it a little more in my Grandma years.  I love to see the little goblins come to the door in the cute and creative costumes.  I'll make chocolate cupcakes with orange icing and halloween decorations just for my grandchildren and family that stop over.  My little Fergie dog and I wear matching cat ears.  I try to encourage trick or treaters to our house by having purple lights around the door and all the outside lights on and candles in the windows.  I'm always a little disappointed because we don't get that many visitors due to the main road we live on.
I just saw this little drinkie recipe in our newspaper last Sunday and bought the ingredients yesterday.  We are not big drinkers, contrary to my last post, but this sounded so good.  I can just picture myself in my black ruffled skirt and orange cat ears, carrying this orange candy corn martini in my hand as I answer the door to welcome my little goblins.  I don't know why that picture in my head appeals to me.  But I won't analyze that!
Anyway, I wanted to share the recipe in case any of you have that same fantasy picture in your head.
Candy Corn Martini
1/2 cup candy corn, plus extra for garnish
1-1/2 cups vodka
2 oz. orange liqueur
juice of 1/2 lemon
l large egg white

In a jar with an airtight lid, combine the 1/2 cup of candy corn and the vodka.  Cover and set aside for at least 3 hours.  When ready, strain out and discard the solids.  (I did this last night and my candy corn vodka is now in the freezer, ready to go)
To prepare the drinks, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of the candy corn vodka, the orange liqueur, lemon juice and egg white  Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds, then strain into 2 chilled martini glasses.  Garnish with candy corn.

I might have to taste test this tonight.  I sure hope my acid reflux  is good with this.  I'll let you know.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oktoberfest in Cincinnati

Oktoberfest party in Cincinnati, two weeks ago.  Sorry I'm so late in reporting! I think I've got too much going on, by my own doing, that I'm having trouble staying caught up.   The weekend of October 16-19 was a busy, fun and productive one.
My brother and his wife had invited us to their big Oktoberfest Party and we had been wanting to make a trip to Cincinnati (6 - 6-1/2 hours away) for a while now, so this was the perfect time. 
I lived in Cincinnati, with my family, back in the 70's during my high school and college years.  My two brothers still live in that same area.  My husband is also from Cincinnati and his family is still there.  We try to get back at least once a year. 
This particular trip included My Bob and I, my parents, my son Austin, and my little toy poodle, Fergie.  My parents, Fergie, and I left on Thursday.  No particular reason why the three of us wanted to go a day earlier than Bob and Austin other than to have more time with my brother, Chuck,  and his wife, Jill.  I drove the whole way with Mom in the front so we could talk and Dad sat with Fergie in the back so he could spend six hours on his new little wireless computer.
When we arrived, we noticed the huge enclosed tent that had just been delivered and set up in Chuck and Jill's large back yard.  Complete with plastic windows, a heater, and tables and chairs for 75 people.

Chuck and Jill have a beautiful home on a large lot and throw great parties.  They requested on the invitation that everyone bring a 6 pack of German beer.  We're not beer drinkers, so we brought German wine.  They also had two kegs of beer being brought in and we found out when we got there that Jill was making most of the food herself.  So Mom and I contributed to the preparations as best we could.  There was cabbage boiling for two days for braised cabbage, and I think 30 pounds of potatoes being peeled for German potato salad.
Now back home, Bob rented a small U-Haul.  His sister had gifted to us an antique Larkin Victorian fainting couch that she had and no longer had a place for.  She knew I had a perfect place for it and she wanted us to have it.  She had it re-upholstered and it's beautiful.  We had to have a way to get it back to Pennsylvania. 

This is it all set up in my piano/tea room once we got it back home.   I am now on the search for an antique little coffee table to replace this white iron table.  It just doesn't go with this.  The back and sides of the couch fold down, which I will probably never fool with.  Isn't it pretty?  This is the little bench that used to be here, and it really never belonged.

 This is where the white bench is now.  In my dining room in the bay window.  It gets a lot of use here.

The reason for getting the U-Haul round trip was because I had been cleaning and had quite a pile sitting in the basement for Goodwill.  So did my mother.  My sisters-in-law, five of them, asked to please not take everything to Goodwill.  They all love Goodwill stuff and wanted it all.  And I'm always impressed at the knack they have for fixing up and arranging their "finds" in their homes.  So Bob and Austin loaded the U-Haul and arrived in Cincinnati Friday night.
The other major reason for the Cincinnati trip was to see my mother-in-law.  This is why Austin decided to arrange to make the trip with us.  DIL Melissa stayed home with their boys.  Bob's mother is very ill with pancreatic cancer and is getting weaker.  So Friday night I met Bob and Austin at his sister's house and his mother was there, along with several other family members.  Debbie had very good food and wine for us and we had a very nice time with family.  At the same time it was sad.  Mother Millie does not look well and she cries when you talk to her.  I would, too.  On a good note, we got to see our niece's new baby boy.

He's about 1-1/2 weeks old here and is beautiful.  This is Roxanne's fifth child.  She's a good mother.
Now, back to the Main Event.  Saturday  is Oktoberfest Day.  The signs and posters got hung, the port-a-potty was delivered (Jill didn't want all those drunks messing up her beautiful home and I don't blame her), the kegs were delivered and the cooking continued.

  Jill's sister also brought deep fried goetta balls and deep fried pickles.  Oh my gosh, were they delicious!  I don't know if everyone knows what goetta is.  I only ever see it in Cincinnati.  It's a sausage mixture and it is so good.  By 6:00 at night the German music was going in the tent and the people started pouring in.  My brother swears that he had the 3rd largest Oktoberfest Party in Ohio.  I believe it.  Fun was had by all and some had way too much beer.  It was fun to see some of my brothers old friends that I hadn's seen since they were little kids.  Sunday morning was clean-up day.
Bob and Austin headed back home with U-Haul in two on Sunday morning.  Mom, Dad and I stayed one more day.  My nephew and girlfriend also had a new 1-1/2 week old baby girl, Natale, and we got to visit with them on Sunday afternoon.

This is me with my new little niece.

We had a great trip.  Very busy, fun, a little sad, a lot happy, and productive.  A lot crammed into a weekend. 
Monday morning started the 6-1/2 hour drive home.  This always includes a stop at Cracker Barrel at lunch time. 
It took me about a week to recover.
I need to shorten these posts up a little bit, but so much happens all at once.  I should divide our events up in chapters, I guess. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Do I Stop the Fire?

This wasn't going to be my topic today.  I wanted to tell you about the trip we took last weekend to Cincinnati to visit family and all the activities.  That will have to wait.   I have to tell you about my night last night because it was one of the worst I ever had.  No, my house didn't burn down.  I know that's what you're thinking.  It was much worse!  I had a bout of acid reflux, or GERD, that was so bad I was awake until 5:00 this morning and then got about 2-1/2 hours of sleep.
 I'm talking about this fire in my throat that I felt was burning through the roof of my mouth and into my sinuses.  I've never felt anything like that before.  OMG!  I could hardly swallow and my jaws and temples even hurt.  Raise your hands -- who all has had this before and understand what I'm talking about?
Now I've always had a very sensitive stomach and my stomach hurts after I eat very often, and I "gurgle" a lot, as I call it.  I just never associated any of this with acid reflux.  But since I was in so much pain, the thought came to me.  My mother has this and is on medication and so is my cousin. 
In thinking back through the day, I know what didn't help today.  I went to lunch with a girlfriend and had a meat and cheese panini.  It was very good but it was grilled in a lot of butter.  This came with potato chips, which I ate.  And to drink I had a fairly large frozen cappucino with caramel and whipped cream.  It was delicious, but I had already had 3 cups of coffee that morning.  Then I didn't move for three hours.  We sat and talked until 3 in the afternoon.  Doesn't sound like any big deal, but for me it was suicide.  But I hate doctors and medication so now I'm on a mission.  I never want to experience last night again.  Since I couldn't sleep, I spent from 3 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. researching on the computer.  I found several good sites that were very helpful.  The best one was: -
Another good one was  This one gave a whole list of foods that need to be avoided and which ones are good.  And the six steps to follow are:  1) eat 5-6 small meals a day  2)avoid caffeine, this includes chocolate (Oh No!!)
3) avoid acidic fruits  4) avoid fatty foods  5) avoid alcohol  6) eat an early supper - at least 2 hours before bed.   #'s 2, 4, & 5 are going to be hard for me.
 I love my coffee in the morning.  But this morning I made a pot of decaf. green tea and it was actually very good.

 And I love to have a glass of wine in the evening while I prepare dinner.

 I'm not sure what I'm going to substitue there yet.  Another tip I read was to drink 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/2 glass of water with your last meal.  Mmm! Sounds so good. I guess that will become my new "wine".  Fatty foods I can easily avoid, its just that I like them a lot.  These are basically good healthy eating habits anyway and certainly can only be good for you no matter what. 
The articles also say you should exercise to get everything moving in the right direction.  Gravity is a good thing.  Sitting at this computer as much as I am is not the best.  I need to get back to my walking on good days and yoga every morning at 8:30.  (I just got back from a 1/2 hour walk with the dogs).
The final major natural remedy is to avoid stress.  Well, I don't believe you can avoid it, but it can certainly be handled and managed.
So there, I'm motivated by not ever wanting to feel like that again and not wanting to end up in the hospital or on medication.  And you know, my Bob and I are really very healthy people and have always enjoyed good eating and physical fitness.  I have to admit, though, and now I've been hit over the head about it, I have strayed lately.  So it's back to a healthier lifestyle for me.  As an added bonus, I should probably have no trouble losing that extra five pounds I've wanted to get rid of. 
The menu for dinner is: lean steak, rice and mixed vegetables.  All on my good list of foods.
I hope none of you experience any of these problems, but if you do I hope my experience and research helps a little.
Here's To Your Health!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life is a Series of Ups and Downs

Life is just so fickle, isn't it?  One day can be so good, and the next day, not so much.  I remember when I was a little girl, I used to keep a daily diary.  Each day I would start off the entry with, "Today was a good day", or "Today was a terrible day".  I guess the good thing that tells is that if you're having a bad day, don't get too down about it, because it will change.  Well, that's how the past three days have been for me.
Sunday was a great day.  It was a beautiful autumn day.

 The colors outside were so pretty and the temperature was cool, which made it feel even warmer and cozier inside.  I got up early to start preparing lunch for the whole family:  Austin, Melissa and the boys, Dee and Riley, and Mom and Dad.  Austin and his family had not had a chance to see their new little niece and cousin  (Riley) since she's been in town.  I was so happy making two pans of lasagna, homemade pear crisp from  pears off the tree in the front yard, salad, garlic bread and apple cider.  Everyone showed up between 12:30 and 1:00, after church.  I would have gone to church, but I needed the time to cook.
We had a wonderful afternoon.  Everyone taking turns holding Riley.  She is such a sweet baby doll.

Mom and Dad with Riley

Dad with his 3 great-grandchildren

The boys are so funny.  They come up with the darndest things.  Logan wanted to know if Riley would turn into a little boy when she got older so he could play with him.  Oh my gosh!  That was so cute!

Melissa and Dee (DIL's)

Dee and Riley then left for Pittsburgh to her parents house for a few days.  Now she's back in town for two days until we leave for Cincinnati to my brother's house for a big Oktoberfest Party that he and his wife are having.  It will be fun.  More on that later.

It was a great family Sunday.  And I'll hold onto that, because Monday was not so pleasant. 
It was a good news/bad news thing.  The bad news far outweighing the good. 
Our accountant called and told us that because our income was up we have to come up with a lot (I mean a lot) more money that we owe in taxes.  My Bob is just in the worst mood now.  He's ranting and raving about taxes, the IRS, the crooks in Washington, and on and on.  He'll get this out of his system and will eventually be fine, but right now he's a bear to be around.  I don't blame him and I feel his stress.  We live a nice life, but in no way an extravagant one.  Being self employed just comes with it's own issues.  He works so hard and then he almost feels punished for all his hard work.  He's rambling now that he's just going to go live out in the woods in a tent and not have to deal with this stuff.  OH My Gosh!  He'll calm down, but I almost wish he would go into the woods for a few days.  I feel like I need to help somehow, but how?  I'm trying to offer any help in the way of support.  Then I feel like I should go out and find a "real" job.  But I work now for our business, so that would suffer if I wasn't here doing it.  I just don't get a pay check or any money that you can actually see. 
Today My Bob is busy with work and then decided to go downstairs to lift weights.  I hope that helps just a little.  But as I said earlier, things will change and I know we'll go back to being the happy family of a few days ago. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Reading and Modeling Past Age 50

I just finished reading a very good book last night.  For those that know me, I don't sit and just read during the day.  I have too many other things going on and I'm not real good at just sitting.  I read every night, though.  As I've aged, I don't fall asleep easily. I took a Tylenol PM every night for a couple of years, but I  quit taking it about six months ago because I thought it was making me too drowsy the next morning, so I have taken up reading in bed before I go to sleep.  A book sits right next to my bed with my little reading light attached and I read until my eyes just won't stay open.  The book I just finished last night was "Lost In The Forest" by Sue Miller.

I thought it was very well written.  The story was good, but almost secondary to the writing style and the way Sue Miller has of putting words together.  She's an excellent story teller.  The story is about a young teenage girl whose parents are divorced and her stepfather whom she was very close to was just killed.  The struggles then that she goes through in her teen years as she searches for a father figure and falls prey to an older, married man.  She eventually falls back into a father/daughter relationship with her real, biological father. 

The book I'm starting tonight is "Me & Emma" by Elizabeth Flock.  I believe it came out in 2006, but it was recommended to me recently by a good friend.

Now an update on the fashion show last night.  The turnout was good, but I've clearly decided that I'm not going to model for it anymore.  It just was not fun and exciting like it used to be.  The clothes were nice and I suffered through doing my hair and make-up, which I just don't like fussing over any more, and I looked good enough, but I'm just done with it.  Been There, Done That.  As my cousin said to me today, "If it's not fun anymore, it's time to move on and quit doing it.  Life is too short".  I agree with that thinking totally.  I'll find some other way to support and contribute to the good cause.  In this case it was for our local Free Health Clinic. 
At age 50, two years ago, I started saying "no" to a lot of things that I used to say "yes" to out of a feeling of obligation, guilt, not wanting to hurt someone's feelings, what have you.  I have thankfully learned that I don't have to do anything I don't want to do.  Don't get me wrong, if it's something I need to do for any of my family or a loved one, and somebody really needs my help, I will do whatever I can.  But these charity, volunteer things, I can pick and choose to do, or not do, whatever I want.
I love being 52, I truly do!  Such a liberation.  For any woman under 50 and dreading the thought of aging, DON'T.  Stay healthy and age gracefully.  Life gets better.  We should be proud of each and every wrinkle, sag and bag, not ashamed of them.  We've earned them. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grandchildren, Grandma, and Great Great Grandparents

I'll start with an update:  Logan is home from the hospital and doing well.  He seems to be back to his normal, active self.  We're so glad for that. 
Melissa is done working.  She'll be staying home with the boys now.  They both go to pre-school mornings only, so that will give her a little break each day.  I remember when my two boys were little and I always thought it was easier going to work than staying home.  But my boys loved for me to be home.  Even once they were in school all day, they liked when I was home when they got off the bus.   I do remember that it was a very busy time in our lives.  I was fortunate that we had our own business, so my schedule was very flexible. I hope she does well.
Yesterday, Dee, Baby Riley, Dee's grandmother, and I went to the Nursing Home to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  They were so excited to see Riley.  Grandpa is doing great.  He loved holding Riley and talking to her.  He is her great-great grandpa, but he gets confused and kept referring to himself as her Uncle.  I would correct and remind him, but then five minutes later he would forget again.  Grandpa will be 94 on October 28.

Now Grandma is another story.  She was sleeping when we got there.  As soon as she woke up and saw we were there with the baby her face lit up and she wanted to get up into her chair.  She's not strong enough to hold Riley, so I sat next to her with Riley on my lap so that she could touch her.  Grandma can't see, and just recently she has lost her voice completely.  She also keeps losing weight and now weighs only 63 pounds.  But her mind is good.  She wants to say things and can't.  It must feel like she's living in hell.  It makes me so sad and I feel so sorry for her.  She kept wanting to tell me something and there was no way I knew what it was.  I know it was something about Riley or Dee or maybe a question about Brandon (Riley's dad, my son).  So I tried to explain everything to her as complete as I could with the hope that I was answering her un-asked question.

So here I am with my grandmother and my granddaughter.  Pretty amazing when you think about it.  The Circle of Life in extreme.  The one end of the circle is so sad and the other so joyous. 
I won't be seeing Riley today.  She and Dee are staying at Dee's grandmother's  and tonight Dee goes to the wedding rehearsal dinner.  I'm also in a fashion show tonight and I  wish I wasn't.  It's a benefit for the local Free Clinic and is a very good cause.  They ask me every year to model and I've done it for probably six years in a row.  But I'm honestly just not into it any more.  The clothes are nice and it's fun once I get there.  I just don't feel like doing all the hair and makeup.  I'm thinking right now that I will decline this little job next year.  I'd rather be home with grandchildren, or husband, or knitting and sewing.  I guess I'm getting old --- and loving it!  I just don't want to get as old as Grandma (93) if that's the condition I would be in.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grandkids R Us

I have to make this quick because it's getting past my allotted blogging time and besides, I'm tired.  I'll give a real quick overview, mostly for my own benefit, so I don't forget what's been going on all week in my life.  Then I'll get back with more in depth coverage and details when I have more time.
Saturday - had a great day.  My Bob and I went to the last flea market of the season.  Got tea cups  for making my pin cushions.  See my other blog for details on this that I'll be posting hopefully tomorrow.
Sunday, Austin and the boys came over for lunch.  Sunday night, Logan started with a bad cough at home, was up all night, which meant the whole house was up all night, and Melissa took him to the emergency room Monday morning because he couldn't seem to catch his breath. 
Monday morning at 7:00, Austin called and woke us up to ask if I could come and pick up Landen after explaining about Logan.  Austin had to get to work.  Of course I ran (drove)right in (5 miles away) and Landen stayed with us until Tuesday morning when Bob took him to pre-school.  We didn't take him to school yesterday.  He's only 3, no harm done.
Logan seems to be having some asthma problems and his oxygen levels won't stay up.  He finally went home this afternoon with an antibiotic, breathing treatment equipment and a steroid prescription.  My son, Brandon, had these same issues when he was a little boy.
Then today at 2:00, Dee, other DIL, and Baby Riley finally got into town from Spokane.  Dee came back home for a wedding that she's in.  They'll be in town for a week and a half, but she has so many people to see and places to go that I'm afraid I won't see Riley very much.  I could just hold her and stare at her non-stop.  She's so cute, and so chubby.  She looks so different and it's only been two months since they moved and since I've seen her.  Still no hair, but the peach fuzz is strawberry blond and her eyes are still bright blue.  I'll get pictures up tomorrow, hopefully. 
I'm sure there's more that went on this week, but I can't think right now .  I'm going to go upstairs and either make a pincushion or knit.  Check my other site and Etsy for updates on this.
I also want to thank everyone for comments that you've left me.  I've been so busy I haven't had time to check my comments or read other blogs.  I apologize.  I hope to catch up soon. 


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