Friday, November 29, 2013

Not Part of the Plan

Thanksgiving with my parents went off without a hitch. My dad was positive he could make it up the stairs... and I wasn't so sure... but he did it! The Stern German had built a ramp that he was ready to pull out of the garage, but he didn't have to get it.

The meal was delicious. No one fell. No pants were shat. But, I realize, looking back, that a comment I made on Stephanie's blog yesterday... was ill-timed... or prophetic?

I wrote: My Thanksgiving is shaping up to be fine. Pretty sure there'll be some arse wiping... but as long as there's no one falling or dying... it's all good.

Well, no one fell... but...

The Stern German and I took my dad back to my parents' place while the Angsty Teen hung out with my mom at our house. Then we came back for my mom. The Stern German helped me get my mom home and then he went home... just as the Angsty Teen was coming over to bring me home. (I had told her to give me 15-20 minutes because I was going to help my mom change their sheets. The Angsty Teen didn't actually hear me say how long she should wait... so she came a little early... which was good.)

On her way out of the garage door, the Angsty Teen stopped to pet the dog... her beloved dog... that we've had since she was a preschooler. He was having a tough day... he has had those lately... but he always rebounds and is fine the next day.

Well, between the time the Angsty Teen left the garage and the time that the Stern German drove into the garage... a time span of ten minutes at the most... our dog took his last breath.
It's been a pretty sad evening around here. The Stern German and the Angsty Teen loved that dog tremendously.

I liked him a little... okay, probably way more than a little...

But, on a positive note, he went pretty quickly. He didn't suffer. He died quite peacefully. We didn't have to make any decisions about putting him down.

He was a great pet for the Angsty Teen. He loved her unconditionally.

He was the Stern German's best buddy. That dog loved the Stern German whole-heartedly.

Now, who will jump for joy and bark in enthusiasm when the Stern German drives into the garage after work?

I'd better step up my game.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's the night before Thanksgiving...

  • the wild rice dressing is made... 
  • the green bean casserole (for the Angsty Teen) is ready to bake... 
  • the jellied cranberries and whole cranberry sauce from the cans are ready to serve... 
  • the Reindeer Relish (it's a combination of fresh cranberries, apples, and oranges) and a savory cranberry chutney is ready to go...
  • The Stern German's wild turkey (not to be confused with the bourbon of the same name) is ready for the oven...
  • a regular-Joe turkey is also ready (because leftover turkey is the best!)
  • the pumpkin pies are cooling
  • the wine is chilling... 
  • and so am I!
We are bringing my parents to our home for Thanksgiving. My dad hasn't been here since his stroke nearly two years ago. And, it's been quite while since my mom has been here. She is excited to see my house and any changes we've made to the furnishings.

The Stern German built a ramp for the front steps... although my diabetic, geriatric, bariatric blind guy of a dad insists he can walk up the 4-5 steps even though he's hasn't done that many steps in two years and he refused to practice going up any steps this week...

The Angsty Teen is ready to be engaging and charming for her grandparents.

Kati will be missed. Actually, she is already. But, I'm sure her Thanksgiving will be nice, too.

In advance, I'm thankful that...
  • no one will have shat their pants by day's end...
  • no one will have fallen getting in or out of the car... (A couple of years ago my mother fell walking past the car and kind of fell under it. It was tricky business to extricate her from the side quarter panel without running over her.)
  • conversation will have flowed as sweet and plentiful as the box of wine I have stashed in the basement fridge will have flowed into my hidden goblet in the kitchen.
Sometimes I don't like my life very much... but I do have a lot to be thankful for.... or for which to be thankful... sometimes it's easy to miss the forest for the trees... whatever that means.

Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkeys, Baby!

When my kids and stepkids were little we used to make turkeys each year out of fudge striped cookies, chocolate cream drops, candy corn and frosting. They looked a little bit like turkeys... and they rarely stood up... and yet everyone loved them.

I had the great idea to make them this week with the residents at the place where my parents live. Thought I should probably do a practice run.

So, last night with The Grand Boys this is what we made:
Not a perfect head... maybe someone nibbled on it?

I replaced the chocolate candy.... thought of using a mini-Reese's, but thought it might not work... with Rice Krispie-type treats. I made a batch of rice cereal bars and scooped them onto parchment paper with a medium sized (vey well sprayed with non-stick spray!) scoop.

I also put a little brown food coloring into the marshmallow mixture.

Then the boys got to work with the frosting and candies...

Okay, well... the youngest one just got busy eating his cookies...

Now I'm off to make them with the geriatric group. 

Pretty sure the diabetic, geriatric, bariatric, bind guy will just eat his cookies, too.

Friday, November 22, 2013

High Five for Friday

As I sit here writing about the five highlights of my week... I'm not so sure that all of these were high points... maybe some of them were... but some of them were just entertaining!

1. The Stern German survived his colonoscopy.
It's all behind him now... okay... I guess it was all along... butt... The best line of the day? When I gave him hand gel before he ate his snack in his little recovery room. I looked at the nurse and unwittingly stated, "I'm a little anal about germs."


2. The Angsty Teen survived a super-sized sneeze that brought her to her knees.
I heard the sneeze and a loud crashing sound... Thankfully she wasn't injured... but I did look longingly at that Corona box behind her. It has denote-able items it in. Dang.

3. The Grand Boys survived a painting adventure.
The Stern German was just as determined to keep the paint brush out of the youngest boy's mouth as the boy was to put it in his mouth. Who do you think won?
The bottom pic is a bit blurry... but, look... we made brown!
4. I survived my week of hauling people to various clinics and hospitals.
What did that entail? My geriatric mother's four doctor appointments, the morning-long procedure for the Stern German, and several trips with the diabetic, geriatric, bariatric blind guy to work out and to Walmart.
My reward!
5. I baked/made about 12 dozen Christmas treats in two hours! 

For my stepdaughter's photography mini-sessions this weekend, I made:

  • Sugar cookies with colorful sugared tops
  • Pretzels dipped in almond bark and sprinkled with colored sugar
  • Frosted mint brownie bites
  • Peanut butter fudge with marshmallows

I might have to try this closer to Christmas time for myself. I never do much Christmas baking... but... when I put my mind to it... I can git 'er done... apparently!

I seem to have survived another week. Hope you survived yours as well.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Big Day

The Angsty Teen showed me this stupid video several months ago. But I thought of it as I wrote this post...

Today is a big day. Well, not for me, thank you, Jesus. But it's a big day for the Stern German.

He is having his very first... drum roll please... colonoscopy! Woohoo!

I convinced him to change doctors... he's never really had a doctor until last year (probably a good idea to get one before you are 60!!!) and while I think his cardiologist from Mayo in Rochester is top notch... the regular doctor he ended up with in the neighboring town seemed to be a dud.

Excuse me? The patient's wife had to (finally) call to ask when you were ordering blood work that was supposed to have be done several months earlier? Not great.

So the Stern German went to see the nurse practitioner that the bariatric, geriatric, diabetic blind guy sees... Okay, yeah... he doesn't "see" him... but it's his care provider. Better? He seems quite thorough and capable to me... no, not the bariatric, geriatric, diabetic blind guy... the doctor!

Now we are here... It's the big day. Yesterday and again early this morning the Stern German drank as much as he could of the product called "Go Lightly" before he was gaggin'.

The Angsty Teen happened to walk by the bathroom while he was in there for the twelfth time last night.... and the Stern German let out a disgusting burp-y, barf-y noise.

The Angsty Teen hollered in to him, "Wrong end." That was helpful, to be sure.

Anyway, "Go Lightly" appears to a product on the market that is completely misnamed.

Other options? Well, let's see... Crap Constantly? Poop Persistently? Pooping in Perpetuum?  Voiding Veraciously? Rip 'em Repeatedly? Emptying Endlessly? Boweling for Dollars? Devotedly Dunging It? Earnest Excretions? Steadfast Stools? Crappin' 'til the Cows Come Home?

Well... there we go... any other ideas?

The good news? After all this is done the Stern German needs to have someone at home with him for the rest of the day. So I get to stay home!!

Except for my mom's appointment in the afternoon to get a cortisone shot... but that hardly counts.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Life

Yesterday is over.
That's good news. It was a day filled with stuff I needed to do for my parents including several medical appointments for my mom.

The day with my parents started with me running over to warm up their car then get my mother to the clinic for some lab work.

My parents don't live far from the clinic... Hey, this is Smalltown, USA... we all live close to everything.

I sat in the waiting area... well, ah... waiting... for my hard-of-hearing mother to get done with her lab work.

When my mom came out of the lab... she told me... well, she announced to me... and to anyone and everyone within earshot of the entire waiting room how it went... and since she used to be a nurse... she only uses correct verbiage for any and all medical situations...


I nodded my head and made soft, sympathetic noises (which I now realize she couldn't hear). I was grateful that we had gotten through this loud, grand announcement quite quickly.

But she wasn't done...


Yep, not done. And not one to give up... she loudly continued...


In my head I just kept thinking, "Please be done. Please be done. Please be done." Nope, still not done.


Oh, Beverly...

"BUT WHEN I STOOD UP THERE WAS A LOT OF URINE!!!" she finished happily.

This is why I drink.

Friday, November 15, 2013

High Five for Friday

It has been another crazy, crazy week. I'd like to think that next week will be a little better... but you know the definition of insanity... don't you? It's attributed to Albert Einstein.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.   
Well, I guess that pretty much sums up my life and my outlook... dang... that's unfortunate.
Anyway... here are the five high lights of my week:
1. Kati's Jeopardy! Teachers Edition episode aired.
The Angsty Teen and I watched the show in the breakfast room where my parents live.
My dad couldn't see her... but he loved listening to her!
2. The Angsty Teen passed her driver's test. 
She has a license... to kill... or to get around town. (I've heard it both ways.)
No... none of these are her actual license pic.
3. In the past week I've made/cooked:
  • 12 dozen cupcakes for the Angsty Teen's birthday
  • 4 dozen more cupcakes for a brassline party
  • a 12 pound turkey
  • 4 dozen pork and/or bean and corn tamales (That was a lot of work... but so much fun!)
  • Risotto at the assisted living place where my parents live for a cooking class
  • Mummy hotdogs with The Grand Boys (hotdogs wrapped in crescent roll dough)
  • Carrot soup (Tasted great with Tandoori seasoning added to it!)
  • 4 ingredient g-free Peanut Butter Cookies with the middle of The Grand Boys
  • Wild rice soup (The Angsty Teen's fave.)
  • Pork roast 
  • Two angel food cakes from scratch
  • and probably a few more things I don't remember!
4. The Stern German was out of town for a few days... but now he's home.... 
At least when the dog barks at 4:30 a.m. (the Stern German's normal wake-up time) I don't have to deal with him! (The dog... or the Stern German! Woohoo!)

5. I'm going to get the he** out of Dodge for the weekend!
Gonna go visit one of my best friends who lives five hours away... I'm so excited!

Today I will have the middle of The Grand Boys for the morning... and then I'm heading out.

Let the weekend begin! Hope your weekend is as relaxing and fun as I think mine will be.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jeopardy! Today!

It's here... the day when Kati's on Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament! Woohoo!

See her? In the back? Standing next to ALEX TREBEK? Looking totally adorable?? That's her!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sweet 16 Recap

Thanks to those of you who wished the Angsty Teen "Happy Sweet 16!" yesterday. She hasn't actually read that post yet... but she will...& maybe I'll let her thank you on the blog... then again? Maybe not.
So many red velvet and white cupcakes....
Here's a brief recap of that girl's big birthday weekend...

Thursday: Indoor Marching Band Concert
She had to be at school around 5:00 pm and left with me for home around 10:00 pm.

Friday: Indoor matinee and evening show
She was at school around 6:30 am.The band performed most of the Indoor show for the elementary/middle school students in our town in the morning.

The Angsty Teen had a full day of school... then she had to be back by 4:45 pm to get ready for the evening show. There was an "after" party and got she home around 1:00 am on Saturday.

Saturday: This was another full day.
The Angsty Teen slept in a little bit... but had to be at the high school for Science Olympiad by 9:00 am. She thinks she is a science fiend.. Don't you have to be a detail-oriented person to be good at that sort of thing???

Anyway... she was able to rest a bit Saturday afternoon... and she had to be back at school by 4:45 pm to prep for the last show.

After the show there was a party at the school for the whole band. I had baked more than ten dozen cupcakes for this event!
And a few frosting shots for those that can't have gluten...
After the party the Angsty Teen went to a nearby town with people from her section to eat at Perkin's.

She arrived home around 2:30 am Sunday morning. She slept in. I picked up the cake my mom had wanted me to order... and then we all had Sunday dinner with my parents. We do that most weeks.

My mom was soooo excited about the Angsty Teen's birthday... that she stood up... gave a little speech and led the entire dining room of over 25 people in singing Happy Birthday to the Angsty Teen.
The Stern German and my geriatric, bariatric, diabetic father aren't listening at all.
The Angsty Teen was looking gorgeous and being particularly sweet. The Stern German was being antagonistic toward the girl... a little bit...
And I was busy taking care of all of the details of the weekend for that girl.

Did she have a geat birthday weekend? Yes, I believe she did.

Sweet 16

Yesterday was a big day in the life of the Angsty Teen.
She turned 16! Sweet 16 and never been... kissed? Missed? Hmmm....

She says it's "Never been kissed." It's her story... she can tell it however she wants.

In honor of her joyful spirit and crazy personality, here is a small photo tribute to my baby... and, to quote Dr. Seuss:

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” 

Good luck on your driver's license test on Wednesday, Angsty Teen! I love you tremendously.

Friday, November 8, 2013

High Five for Friday

These are the top five things I survived this week...

I survived:

1. Having The Grand Boys here Monday...
This guy was a little out of sorts after being at daycare for most of the day and then with us for four hours... It was just too long of a day. And, yes, that is pizza sauce on his head.

2. Writing a letter of recommendation for this girl for the National Honor Society...
Her dad is an English teacher at the high school... probably my girls' favorite teacher... but knowing that he would read the letter made writing it a little stressful! (And, btw, he thought it was great! Woohoo!)

3. A week with the Angsty Teen and the Stern German...
 Sometimes that takes a lot of work...

4. My first attempt at making a Bahn Mi sandwich...
It was pretty tasty.
5.  The first night of Indoor... which is a larger than life indoor marching band show we do each year.
This is the brassline feature with lights in the horns... pretty sweet.
That means it was a late night... and now I'm going to bed. Friday I have the middle of The Grand Boys for the morning...  Gotta get my rest if I'm going to keep up with him!

Hope you had a good week!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hearing Fail

Yesterday I went to my parents' place to get my dad. I was going to take him to work out at the PT department at the hospital and then take him to Walmart. (All the while hoping upon hope that The Kit wouldn't be needed.)

I got there just as my mom was sitting down in the breakfast room getting ready to begin the chair aerobics dvd that someone was trying to get started on the dvd player. (She does this 2-3 times per week. Good for her!)

I went in and chatted with my mom for a few minutes. (And by "chatted" I mean I talked really, really loudly to her... and she answered me... really, really loudly.)

One of the ladies who was working on the tv/dvd player turned to my mom... who was way in the back of the room... and asked her if the video was loud enough for her. (At first my mom didn't hear her... so I told my mom that Wilma- what a great name- was asking if the dvd was loud enough for her.)

My mom said, "Yes, I can see it fine." (Um... mom? That's not what she asked you.)

The lady once more asked my mom about the volume... This time she asked, "Can you hear the video?" (My mom saw the lady was talking to her.. and so she answered...)

My mom replied, "No, you're not in my way." (Okay... you were really close that time, mom.)

As I chatted with my mom I commented on her sitting in the far back of the room. I knew in the sumer she sat back there under the air conditioner vent so it would cool her off. (My mom is hot...)

I said, "You are sitting awfully far back." My mom said, "I can't stand for the exercises that require standing." (What?? That doesn't have anything to do with what we're talking about... Well, that doesn't have anything to do with what I was talking about!)

I (You've heard the definition of insanity, right?) tried again... "Mom, there's no need to sit back under the vent... there's no cool air coming out of it this time of year."

She responded, "Oh, I don't mind cool air. The cooler the better."

This is why I drink...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Today I was going through a bag of stuff I had stashed in a corner before I went on to California with the Angsty Teen and, after she left, Kati. And, I found a present.

I got to open a present!

Woohoo! I do like presents.

Well, I like presents that people put thought into choosing for me.

My girls do well with giving me gifts. The Stern German? Well, let's just say there is a bit of room for improvement.

So imagine my surprise when I found something in with my stuff that was rolled up in white packing paper and taped shut.

It wasn't beautifully wrapped...

But it was in my stuff... so I figured I could open it up:

What could it be?
I slowly unrolled it...
 What did I find?

Something I'd been wanting for a long, long time! 

Ceramic Asian spoons! Great colors too.
I burst out laughing because as soon as I saw them I vaguely remembered buying them at Pier1 a couple of days before my trip.

Monday, November 4, 2013

No Extra Sleep for Me

Saturday was the start of Daylight Savings Time. "Fall back" and "Spring forward" are the phrases I use to remember which way you set your clocks.
The Stern German can nap anytime... anywhere. It's a gift.
So imagine how excited I was that I was going to get an extra hour of sleep! Woo hoo! I love sleep.

The Angsty Teen had a sleepover with the other mellophone players. She hasn't done a sleepover in months and months because of her headaches, her meds, and her need for tons of sleep.

(READ: She is always at home.... always... Did I say, "always"? Because, I really meant... ALWAYS!)

She was excited about the sleepover... and so was I. I would have a quiet house in the evening, the Stern German would go to bed pretty early, and I could get to bed early myself... and because of DST I would be in bed a whole hour before I thought I was in bed.

At midnight (or really 11:00 pm) I was finally crawling into bed... face washed, moisturizers applied (Remember, I'm aging at a rapidly alarming rate... been 50 for nearly a year!), teeth brushed and flossed, pillows arranged perfectly... and then I quickly checked my phone before I laid down.

There was a missed call from the Angsty Teen... and a text message.

She wanted to come and get her tennies. What? At midnight? NOW you need your tennis? Nothing good ever happens after midnight when you have a group of teens... that's what I've heard.

I called her back. She was already at the door... waiting for me to come and let her in the house.

I opened the door... and five teenage girls spill into my darkened living room... And that room stayed darkened since I didn't know there would be anyone but my own teen at the door and I answered the door in my jammies... with no bra on... Nobody wants to see that business. (Well, okay, somebody does... but he was asleep.)

The girls had been out chalking cars... and a police car had been following them around town for a while... so they drove to our house. Such a good idea to lead the cops here...

Apparently the girl who was driving had too many passengers... so the girls were nervous about getting pulled over...

Anyway, the girls pulled up into our alley and the police car waited for them at the end of the alley. In other words, the po' po' were in the 'hood. (I'm pretty ghetto...)

So, (I'd say "to make a long story short" but it's already too late for that...) I drove some of the girls in the Angsty Teen's car back to the house where they were staying.

Then, I was back home getting ready to get into bed... and the Angsty Teen sent me another message. One of the girls couldn't find her phone. Could I go check by the front door?

There was no phone by the front door. So I decided I would go back outside and check the Angsty Teen's car. No phone.

I called the Angsty Teen to tell her I couldn't find the phone... and as I'm talking to her... I look down and see a glimmer of a white iPhone in the leaves next to the car.
This is what it looked like in the light of day.
That girl is lucky I didn't run over the phone when I pulled in or out of the parking spot a few minutes earlier.

I took the phone out to the girl.

So by the time I got to sleep... it was already after 1:00 am... so... no extra sleep for me. Dang.

But I did get mentioned in a tweet which was favorited by several of the Angsty Teen's friends:

I think the Angsty Teen and I need to have a chat about a few things...

Friday, November 1, 2013

High Five for Friday

It's been a busy week...  amusing at times... well, depending on whom you ask...
Here are the five highlights of my week:

1. We survived the first choir concert of the year!
These things are really long... and this one was rescheduled to a SUNDAY night.
Look how happy the Angsty Teen is without the Stern German in the picture:
Show choir outfits...
2. The youngest of The Grand Boys didn't get this shiner on our watch... so that's good.
Rumor has it a brother accidentally dropped a firetruck on his face...
3. I joined a new fitness club in town called Brick House Fitness.
That's apropos since I'm actually built like one...
4. Halloween was fine.
The Grand Boys always go Trick or Treating at the assisted living place where my parents live... so in order to save them an extra stop... we just go over there to see them.
Impossible to get a good picture of everyone... or anyone!
5. I survived a week with nine visits to various medical facilities.
No one's been sick... but... still... there's always plenty of stuff going on!

So that's my week in a nutshell. Hope you had a good week.