My grandfather is 98 years old.

My father is 70 years old.

My grandfather is stubborn and short tempered and mean, as he’s always been. Slower, skinnier, no longer living at home, declining, but still kicking.

My father is losing his memory.

My father tells stories about his father – all of which sound pretty far out there – grandaddy punched a nun, stole a bike, lost vision in one eye, married a saint – and I collect bits of stories about my father inside them.

My father now needs directions repeated multiple times while driving. Even when we’ve driven the same way four times and will be taking the same turns. He loses words, or uses the wrong one, calls me the wrong daughter’s name and doesn’t notice.

I feel like a hoarder, squirreling away bits of stories about my family. The ones about my grandfather are outrageous – I did mention he punched a nun – but my father is a quieter man. More reserved.

So I hold onto the story of my dad carrying my mom over his shoulder back to their hotel on their honeymoon after she’d had too much to drink. I hold onto the sound of him winding the grandfather clock when I was a child, and how I couldn’t go to sleep until I’d heard it. I hold onto the memory of how the dogs would come running when they heard him get the M&Ms because they knew he’d share.

And I look at my kid, and wonder how I’m going to be able to tell those stories of my father. And what stories my kid will tell of me.

Posted in *poke* | Tagged , | 5 Comments

How to Follow a Recipe

For dinner tonight, I made this delicious Chicken and Rice Casserole, which I was excited to try because I love the Campbell’s Chicken and Rice bakes but I never have the Cream of Anything soups because I find them visually gross and off putting.

So this was perfect!

Only, of course, what I ended up making was in no way a Chicken and Rice Casserole.

For fun, I always read the comments on recipe posts, and they are usually variations on these themes:
1. Followed the recipe exactly! I loved it!
2. Followed the recipe exactly! It was awful!
3. I changed the asparagus to peas, heated it to 450, and burnt it to a crisp – perfect!
4. I added milk instead of water, cooked it in a waffle iron, and covered it in ketchup – worst chocolate cake ever!

I usually try to stick with theme 1. Tonight? Well…

My method to make Chicken and Rice Casserole (without Cream of Soup)
Step 1: Melt butter. I hate onions, so skip those. Add twice the amount of garlic called for.

Step 2: I can’t find the much is 4 TBSPs? Maybe about 1/4 a cup? Works for me. 1/4 cup flour!

Step 3: I add dried milk because Voldemort drank the last of the fresh, a block and a half of chicken bullion because that’s all I have, and stop at 6 cups of water, because 7 just looks like it’s going to over flow the pan.

Step 4: Turn heat to high. Wait for bubbles. Swear at self after realizing the turkey is still in the freezer.

Step 5: Defrost turkey halfway. Forget about it and leave it in the microwave.

Step 6: Bubbles! Rice? No, I have Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain mix, which is DELICIOUS, so I shall be using that.

Step 7: Realize the amount of liquid in the recipe was because rice needs more water. Eyeball the harvest grains, shrug, and dump most of it in.

Step 8: Realize the timing of the boiling was for rice, which takes longer to cook. Decide to start with 10 minutes instead of 20.

Step 9: I have 2 unopened sleeves of Ritz crackers that I would rather eat as crackers. But I do have one sleeve with 4 crackers in it and half a package of stale pita chips, which is just going to have to work.

Step 10: Crush crackers. Frown when confronted with the fact that this does not add up to a sleeve of crushed Ritz. Add oat bran and wheat germ to bulk it up a little.

Step 11: Timer dings. Look for the turkey. Remember it’s still in the microwave. Chop and stir into sauce.

Step 12: Add frozen broccoli while I’m at it, because why not. We need a veggie.

Step 13: Dump whole mess into 9×13 pain. Add random cheeses because that last handful of motz needs to be used up before it gets gross. Top with crumbs of whatever.

Step 14: Bake until bubbly.

Step 15: Watch Voldemort lick spoon once and request an apple instead.

Step 16: Richly enjoy the deliciousness that is not Chicken and Rice Casserole.

I hope that this information was helpful in teaching you how to correctly follow a recipe! Remember, read all the directions and check your list of ingredients before beginning. You should listen to me – I’m a professional!

Posted in bad ideas | Tagged , | 1 Comment

February Blue

I don’t know what it is about February.

It’s such a short month, but there is something about it that makes it so much harder and longer than other months.

I’m so tired of February.

It’s the slow dark slide down into depression every year.

I’m ok. I’ll be ok. I’ll pull myself back up and make sure the kid gets to school and makes it to activities and skypes with the co-parent, and during the day, I can handle it.

But night is hard.

The kid is asleep, and the house is quiet. And I’m tired but I don’t want to go to bed, because when you go to bed, the next day comes.

And I’ve cleaned and I’ve baked and that held it back for a while, but now here it is. Hovering over me again.

I know that going to work keeps me distracted – I don’t have much time to start the twin wheels of anxiety and depression that sit in my head when I’m dealing with ridiculous teacher drama – but the very idea of going to work makes me want to hide in my bed and sleep.

It’s just depression, and depression lies.

I just have to keep going.

March will be here soon.

Posted in anxiety, depression | 1 Comment

Needed for Sandwiches: Decent Bread Dough

Lately, I have been attempting bread baking.

Partially because I keep forgetting to buy bread at the store, and partially because I really love homemade bread.

A variety of disasters have occurred, naturally.

I have over-risen dough- leaving to the yeast up, I guess. The top of the loaf looked all kinds of odd. Tasted ok, but the texture wasn’t great.

I have under-risen dough – leading to a very dense brick of something that sort of looked like bread. I ended up crumbling this loaf up and using it in tiny bits in soup.

I have done perfectly fine with the dough and then over or undercooked it.

I have spent way too long swearing at bread that stuck to my bread pan, because I CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO NOT HAVE IT STICK. Butter the pan? Sticks. Olive oil? Sticks. Pam spray? STICKS.

So, when I saw that King Arthur Flour had a bread making class up on Craftsy, I got a little excited.

King Arthur Flour Bread Essentials
King Arthur Flour – Essentials of Bread Baking

Yes, that’s an affiliate link, but to be absolutely honest, King Arthur Flour emailed me about the class before I figured out it was on Craftsy.

I’m hoping I can end up figuring out how to turn a decent loaf of bread out of my oven by taking this.

…now I just need to figure out how to stop eating all the homemade bread in the first two days.

Posted in ads, craftsy, she who bakes | 3 Comments

What I Will Do Tomorrow

I have big plans for tomorrow, to be carried out after dropping Voldemort at school.

They include!
-rummaging through the lost and found at the Dark Lordling’s school, as a jacket was lost. I don’t particularly care about the jacket as it was a back up jacket, BUT THE KID’S GLASSES ARE IN A JACKET POCKET.
-going to the post office and mailing off a plethora of things, including an amazon return and a small package for my BFF that was originally mis-addressed, as I don’t know the different between morning and evening.
-going to Costco to buy needed things. Like toilet paper and nutella. Peanut butter. The important things.
-if/when glasses are not found, picking kid up a little early to go to eye doc to replace glasses

What I will probably actually do:
-get overwhelmed by the lost and found bin
-fall in
-find self in Narnia. Maybe Wonderland.

Posted in *poke* | 2 Comments