A Very, Merry, Un-Birthday to Me…

September 8, 2016 at 12:02 am | Posted in Birthdays, Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap | Leave a comment
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Judging by the number of candles, this was my 5th Birthday cake – my Mom always added 1 extra for ‘good luck’

I miss my Dad.

I lost him a year ago, on my last Birthday.  That’s why I’ve decided not to ‘celebrate’ my Birthday this year – it’s too painful.  Not that I’ve ever really celebrated my Birthday in my Adult life.  I’ve never liked it, but was never sure why.  I think now that it may have been foreshadowing.

I had so many things I wanted to write about him.  I can’t see the point right now.  He’s gone and it still hurts, nothing will change that.  I’ve felt so lost this past year, not really knowing what I was doing – everything was just automatic.  It’s been very difficult getting over the grief.

My Dad and my Brother on his 2nd Birthday

My Dad and my Brother on his 2nd Birthday

I have so many good memories of him. From the many camping trips we took when I was a kid – my brother and I lying down in the back of our Zephyr Stationwagon – seatbelts were not mandatory in those days.  We drove through Hurricanes to reach the East Coast, only making it as far as Prince Edward Island.

My Dad's homework when he was first learning English

My Dad’s homework when he was first learning English – my favourite line “dont say ‘vicious’ when you mean ‘wishes’…”

Back in the early 1990s, my Dad took my Mom and I home to his native Denmark to reunite with family that he hadn’t seen since he moved to Canada in the 1950s.  I have such fond memories of that trip – Denmark is a beautiful country.  It was fascinating seeing the Viking Longships, meeting relatives made infamous in my Dad’s many stories and just taking in the breathtaking countryside.  I learned a lot about my Viking heritage during that trip and my Dad was so proud to show me his country.  He was a lousy translator though.  Apart from the fact that the Danish language had evolved in the 40 years since he had left, and he didn’t know a lot of the new words – his siblings found his old fashioned way of speaking charming – and amusing.  Dad would get so excited to tell me something one of my Uncles had said – they being of a generation that didn’t learn English in school (if they made it through school in the first place). He would repeat what they said in Danish back to me.  “Engelsk Dad, Engelsk” (English Dad, English) I would have to remind him.  Even funnier was when he would repeat what I said to my relatives in English instead of Danish – the looks they gave him because they didn’t understand what he said was priceless.

My command of the Danish language was less impressive than his.  I remember asking one of my Uncles if he wanted, what I thought was another beer – I held up a beer bottle and said to my Uncle “mere Ost?” (more cheese?) – No wonder he was confused.

In the Stocks again, Me at some place in Denmark that's hundreds of years old

In the Stocks again, Me at some place in Denmark that’s hundreds of years old

So tonight I think I will raise a glass of Tuborg in his honour and drink a toast to his memory.  Skål Dad, I miss you.

Thank You, Gord…

August 22, 2016 at 7:51 am | Posted in Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Twitter/Tragically Hip

(c) Twitter/Tragically Hip

I’m not a Tragically Hip Fan.  That is, I didn’t used to be.  I could never get past Gord Downie’s voice – just like Mr. Neil Young, you either loved them or hated them.  I was somewhere in between.  I could appreciate the music, the lyrics spoke to you – and there was always a song or two that you could completely relate to.

Like the rest of the nation, I watched the Tragically Hip’s Farewell concert on CBC on Saturday night – without hyperbole, it was a moving experience.  The humanity of it cannot be put into words, Gord’s the poet – so we let him do it.  Through the TV screen you could feel the magic.  You could feel the love.  You could feel the raw emotion as more than 25,000 people (6,000 of which were packed into the K-Rock Centre) came to bid farewell to a Canadian legend, to see Gord and the boys play one last time.

I am converted.

(c) Trudeau/Twitter

(c) Trudeau/Twitter

I read somewhere in Twitterverse that Gord Downie isn’t dying, he’s living. When he has every right to stop performing and just hang with his family and friends – he chose to give his fans a chance to say goodbye.

If there’s one thing to take away from all of this, if there is one message to convey – show the people you care about that you love them.

Thank you, Gord.

 

Time Marches By Too Quickly…

July 12, 2016 at 12:17 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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I’ve had a lot of difficulty composing this post, after all it isn’t every day that your biggest-little one turns 13.  I’ve had a lot of things in my mind that I want to say to her.  She’s heard them all before a million times – yet one can never hear that they are loved too many times.

I’m not sure where to start. My beautiful daughter has far exceeded my expectations. Her sweet smile is all I need at the end of a tough day.  Lexy is so bright and intelligent and charming – she has a soft spot for babies and animals and they naturally gravitate to her.

I am so unprepared for her to grow up – I’ve said this every year. I wanted her to stay three, because when she was three, she was goofy, and cuddly and wanted nothing more than to be with her Mom.  Now she’s a teenager (EEK!), who’s still just as goofy, cuddles on occasion and wants nothing more than to be with her iPod… sometimes it feels like she no longer needs me.

I’ve tried to teach her the best I can about the things I know. How important family is, especially Sisters.  When you have a good family like ours, they will stick by you, no matter what.  I’ve tried to teach her to be respectful of others, to be kind, and have empathy for those less fortunate than yourself and to be a good person.

Happy Birthday Doodle – I love you more than yesterday and almost as much as tomorrow… Love, Mom xo

More Cheesecake…

July 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Family Ties, Food, Recipes, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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It seems like I bake a lot more than I do.  I created this blog originally to capture the crazy antics my kids were doing.  My blog evolved over time to include family recipes – so that my girls would always have them for when the are older.  Hopefully some day they’ll make some of my recipes for their kids…

Ingredients (Crust):

  • 1½ Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (half a stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Shredded Coconut

Ingredients (Cake):

  • 3 Packages (8 Ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Package less 1 cup (reserve for the Ganache topping) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (PC Decadent Brand if you can find them, otherwise Nestle Tollhouse will do)

Ingredients (Ganache Topping):

  • 3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 6 Squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 cup reserved Chocolate Chips
  • Scant 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon

Let all ingredients come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place a cake pan filled with warm water on the bottom rack, just below the rack where you will put your cheesecake. This will create a humid environment and can prevent cracking.

IMG_1673Method (Crust):

In a separated 9” Springform pan, place a piece of non-stick foil over the bottom plate before putting the two pieces of the pan together.  Crumple any excess foil up over the edge.

Spray the entire inside of the pan with non-stick vegetable spray.

Place Graham Cracker Crumbs into the prepared pan

Melt Butter and add to Graham Cracker crumbs.

Add Cinnamon, Sugar and Coconut.

Mix by hand for best results.

This mixture should feel like damp sand and should hold a shape if you were to press it in your palm.

Press into the bottom the Springform pan using your hand or the bottom of a metal measuring cup.  There should be enough crumbs to go up the sides of the pan by about a ¼”.

Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.

IMG_1672Method (Cake):

In a mixing bowl, beat Cream Cheese, Sugar and Vanilla together on medium speed until combined.

Add Eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition – careful to not over beat.

By hand, gently stir in Chocolate Chips.

Pour batter into the pan and tap several times on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.

 

Bake for 50 minutes, turning after the first 30 minutes.

At the end of baking, turn the oven off, but keep the Cheesecake in the oven for another 1/2 hour – don’t open the door! Don’t even peak! Just let it be…

When the 30 minutes are up, take the cake out of the oven and allow the cake to cool for an hour on the stove top or counter.

At the end of the hour, run a knife around the edge of the cake, but don’t take the ring off.

Place the cake, uncovered, in the fridge to cool for two hours.

Remove the cake and cover with either foil or plastic wrap.

Chill at least eight hours or overnight keeping the ring attached.

IMG_1677Method (Topping):

Remove the cake from the fridge but don’t take off the ring.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in Cinnamon.

Add the baking squares and reserved chocolate chips and continue to stir slowly until incorporated (this takes a minute or two).

 

The sauce should be very thick when all of the chocolate has completely melted.

Pour over the top of the Cheesecake.

Chill at least 2 hours for best results, run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake.

When you’re ready to unmold the cake for serving, remove the Springform ring and place a piece of paper towel on the top of the cake, invert the cake in your hand and remove the bottom Springform plate.

While the cake is still upside down, place a cake plate or serving platter on the bottom of the cake and invert carefully.

To serve, use a hot, dry knife to slice each piece.

Sometimes, depending on my mood, before the ganache sets, I’ll sprinkle the top with roasted, slivered almonds.  Or mini chocolate chips.  Or toasted, chopped hazelnuts … or … fresh, ripe raspberries!

For an extra treat, serve with some fresh Whipped Cream and sliced Strawberries.  Yum Yum!

So Hungry…

May 31, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Posted in Family Ties, Food, Recipes, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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What does one do with a pound of yummy leftover pulled pork?  Leftover Pulled Pork

We’ve already had Tacos.  Don’t feel like sandwiches.  That leaves no alternative, I think tonight’s menu will have to be Empanadas …🙂 I’ve made them before and quite liked the a basic Empanada recipe I found, so I thought I’d give it another go.

Ingredients for the Dough:

  • 3¾ Cup All Purpose Flour, plus some for dusting
  • 2 Scant Teaspoons Kosher or Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1¼ Cups Ice Water
  • 2 Cups Leftover Pulled Pork
  • ½ Cup Shredded ‘Mexican Inspired Cheeses’ (Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, Cheddar mix)
  • A dash of your favourite Barbeque Sauce if the Meat isn’t moist enough
  • 1 Egg, Beaten with a Teaspoon of Water

Get the Pulled Pork Recipe here (you’ll need to prepare this the day before).

Empanada Dough BallIn a food processor, combine Flour, Sugar, and Salt for about 10 seconds.  Add the Butter cubes, spreading them out as much as possible.  Pulse about 20 times until the Butter has broken down to pieces approximately the size of a pea and started to incorporate into the butter.

Transfer the Flour/Butter mixture to a large bowl.  Crumble the mixture through your fingers to break down any remaining large pieces of butter, but be careful not to do this too long or the butter will become too soft.

Add 1/4 cup of Ice Water and mix with a spatula.  Repeat four more times until the Dough looks ragged and there isn’t any remaining Flour in the bowl.  You may not need all the water or you may need more – it will depend on how hot it is in your Kitchen and what the Humidity level is.

Cutting the CirclesTurn the Dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball.  Cut the ball into two pieces.  Flatten each piece into a 6″ circle.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the Fridge for 1-2 hours to firm.

After the Dough has chilled, remove one circle from the Fridge.  Roll the first circle on a lightly Floured surface until it’s approximately 1/8″ thick.  Using a 3″ Biscuit Cutter, cut as many circles out of the dough as you are able.  You can throw the scraps away.  I re-mashed them and re-rolled to get another couple of circles.  This is a major no-no in the baking world because now the Butter has melted and the Gluten has activated – it’s possible a couple of your Empanadas will be tougher because of this.  Doesn’t matter, I’m still hungry😉

Repeat the process with the second disc.

Empanada Dough CirclesPlace all of the discs on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.  See all the butter specks in the pastry?  <— That’s what makes a flaky pastry🙂

For the Filling:

Add the Barbeque sauce (if using) and Cheese mixture to the Pulled Pork, mix well.

Assembly:

Crack the Egg in a bowl and add the Water.  Whisk well with a Fork to make the Egg Wash.

Take a circle and moisten the rim with a bit of Egg Wash.

IMG_1481Put a spoonful of the Pulled Pork mixture into the centre of the circle and fold the Dough over onto itself, creating a half-moon.  Use a fork to seal the edges and set aside.  Once all of the Empanadas have been made, place them in the freezer for 15 minutes or the Fridge for 30-45 to chill again.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Take the Empanadas out and line two baking sheets with Parchment Paper or Non-Stick Foil.  Lay the Empanadas on the baking sheets, brushing them with a bit of egg wash from the beaten Egg. Bake until golden brown, approximate 20 minutes, spinning the rack after 10 minutes.  When the pastry is golden, the Empanadas are done.  Let cool for five minutes before eating.  Enjoy🙂

Makes approximately 20-24 Empanadas.  Serve with a Barbeque-based dipping sauce combined with your favourite Salsa.  Enjoy, I know I will🙂

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You Know You’ve Lost a Pet When …

March 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Posted in CKD, Depression, Family Ties, Food, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap | Leave a comment
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Damn this is hitting me hard …😦

Before and After 5

See my post about Charlie’s quirks – https://doodlesmom.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/cats/

 

Another Goodbye…

February 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Posted in CKD, Depression, Family Ties, Kidney Disease, Miscellaneous Crap | 1 Comment
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The house is so empty now.

I notice it especially after the girls have gone to bed.  There’s no one pestering me for a cuddle-on-demand, or hoping to benefit from my nightly Cheesies snack.

For those of you who are not cat, or pet-person, stop reading now.

IMG-20141115-00850We had to put our Male cat, Maverick (Mavvy) down on Saturday. He was battling end-stage Kidney Failure.  Our Vet told me, during one of our many talks about his declining health, that if he were Human, he would have been on Dialysis.  We are very familiar with Kidney Disease in our family, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  In December or January, the Vet told me that any measures we took at that point would only to be to prolong his life, not ‘fix’ it.  He was trying to be kind, knowing what Mavvy meant to me, to us – yet he had to drive home the message:  enjoy the time you have left with him.

We had 15 good years with our Cats. Mavvy was pre-deceased by his Sister Charlie in November.  Charlie had Cancer.  She had a large tumour in her abdomen, the size of a man’s fist.

We didn’t know, until it was too late.

With Charlie, it was obvious that it was her time to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

My Bobcat

My Bobcat

She loved us unconditionally.

Well, as much as a female cat can love anyone. She was unique. She was beautiful.  She was snarky.  She was my Bobcat.  If you entered the same room as her, she would let you know you were on her property.  She would make a sound, a trill, her version of ‘hey I’m here’.  She wanted affection on her own terms, she’d walk over for a pat on the head and scratch under the chin and after a few minutes, would go back to one of her favourite spots.

Alex would say, typical female – she would leave after she got what she wanted.

There was no question that it was Charlie’s time. She lost so much weight, didn’t want to eat and could hardly walk.  The option of Euthanasia wasn’t up for debate.  She was running out of time and we wanted to spare her a painful death.  She deserved that.

Mavvy though, was my boy through and through. I fell in love with him the minute I saw him.  He was all ears and paws and had the most mischievous look about him – I knew he was going to be trouble. We were only looking to get one cat, a female, but then they showed me her Brother and that was it for me.

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(L-R) Mavvy and Charlie about 8 weeks old

The two kittens spent the first few weeks sleeping on my neck or chest. Charlie gave this up after a while, I guess when she got too big or Mavvy claimed me all for himself.  The two of them were inseparable.  They would sleep together, play and groom each other.  They were crazy cats.

(L-R) Charlie and Mavvy. He knew he was caught...

(L-R) Charlie and Mavvy. He knew he was caught…

The first Christmas we had them, they were about 3 months old.  They thought the Christmas Tree made a great jungle gym.  They nearly knocked the tree down one day in their excited obsession playing with the ornaments.  It was years before I could place ornaments lower than three feet off the ground – first because of the cats, second because of my young girls.

The first time we had my Father-in-Law over for dinner, I remember being in the kitchen, fixing whatever it was we were having for dinner.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my FIL’s hand reach out and grab Charlie by the scruff of the neck.  She jumped up on the table and helped herself to the butter.

They were little stinkers.

Every night for 15 years, up until last Friday, Mavvy would try to lie on my chest. Most times he succeeded and I’d have to put the iPad aside because he wanted my attention.  Now.  He would rub his head against the side of my face in greeting as if to say “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii” – even if he just saw me a few minutes ago.  He would ‘bark’ to let us know he was absolutely starving and we had to feed him.  Both of those things he also liked to do at 4:30 in the morning.  He was such a pest.  His affection knew no bounds.  His soft purrs were always so comforting.

After we lost Charlie, we were afraid he would go into mourning for her. He seemed for the most part, to be fine.  We could tell he would call for her sometimes.  When he was in the basement he would make a cry that sounded like he was saying ‘Hel-lo’.  I think at first, he was calling her.  We noticed his coat was looking scruffy.  I thought it was because he wasn’t grooming himself – Charlie used to make sure he had a daily bath, and she was no longer there.

Just before Christmas, Mavvy got very sick – he couldn’t hold his head up on his own and other things. We thought that would be it for him, but we changed his diet and gave him vitamin supplements and he seemed to perk up and be his old self again.  His coat was soft and silky again, like it used to be.  It was encouraging.  We (I) thought his problems were in the past and he could have a few more years with us.

Shortly after that it seemed that he was becoming Diabetic again because he was suddenly ravenous, all the time. Even after we fed him, he wanted more food.  He was also drinking and peeing a lot.

Last week he started lying on the kitchen floor a lot. The floor is cool and both he and Charlie did this near the end.

Thursday night he refused his vitamins and didn’t want his canned food. He ate a bit of Kibble only.  He also spent a lot of time in the basement, sitting in the chair next to Alex’s computer that he and Charlie used to share at night.  He wouldn’t come when he was called.  He stopped pestering me for food.  He would lie in front of his water dish, even if he wasn’t drinking.  He just lay there. I was actually worried he would drown if he fell asleep.

Friday night when the girls and I came home, he wasn’t there to greet us. Normally he would be on the steps, waiting for us to get home.  Lexy found him in the chair in the basement.  The hiding instinct had begun.  His breathing was rapid.  He couldn’t get comfortable.  I didn’t know it at the time, but we had our last evening cuddle.

The next morning Lexy and I went to see my Mom. She surprisingly remembered Mavvy and asked how he was doing.  When we got home, his breathing was worse – fast but shallow and laboured.  He looked worn out.

We took Mavvy to the Vet (our regular Vet was closed so we had to go to the emergency Vet). She told us it was suspected he had fluid around his lungs which was causing him to have great difficulty breathing. The only way to know for sure was to have x-rays taken and tests run.  She said he may not survive the x-ray.  We made the decision to let him be with his Sister.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  I feel guilty.  I hope it was the right decision.  I hope he knows how much he was loved.

Most times it was hard to find where one cat ended, and the other began

Most times it was hard to find where one cat ended, and the other began

Comfort Food 101…

February 20, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Posted in Family Ties, Food, Recipes, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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It’s nearly the end of February and it’s 11°C.  Did I mention that I live in Canada?? It’s been a really weird Winter so far, and although I’m loving the effects of El Niño – I still hate Winter.  Last year at this time we were in the middle of an Arctic Freeze. The temperatures were in the -30°C for what seemed like forever and we had snow everywhere.  This year, the flowers and grass are growing at the front of my house.  Sometimes though, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like, we all need comfort food.

I had a craving for Ham and Scalloped Potatoes, so that’s what’s on the menu tonight.  The ham was simply prepared – take a small, smoked 1/4 Ham, put it in an oven proof dish and cover it with Pineapple Juice about half-way up the ham.  Stick it in the oven for a couple of hours at 325°F – remember to baste it every 40 minutes or so and that’s it.  The Pineapple Juice draws some of the salt out of the Ham, and makes it more delicious.  Discard the juice when you’re ready to slice the Ham.

For the Scalloped Potatoes, it was a bit more complicated.  I researched a couple of recipes on the internet and also used a few of my Mom’s tricks and damn if it didn’t turn out delicious.

Ingredients:

    • ~3 Pounds New, Yukon Gold or Red Skinned Potatoes
    • ½ Pound Bacon Lardons
    • 1 ½ Medium Yellow Onion
    • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
    • 1 Cup Shredded Medium Cheddar
    • 1 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack
    • 1 ½ Cup Whipping Cream
    • 1 ½ Cup Half and Half Cream
    • ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
    • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
    • 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
    • ½ Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper, plus several rounds of Pepper for each layer
    • Dash or two of Salt
    • Several dabs of Butter
    • Non-Stick Vegetable Spray

Wash, peel and thinly slice Potatoes, set aside in a bowl of water until you’re ready to assemble.  The Potatoes may turn brown from oxidation but it doesn’t affect the taste. It’s recommended to use a Mandolin to slice the Potatoes and Onion if you have one.  You’ll need slices approximately 1/8” thick.

Thinly slice the half Onion crossways to get onion rings, set aside.

Grate, then combine both cheeses and set aside.

Combine both Creams in a microwaveable dish and heat for 1 minute. Add the dried Thyme, Oregano and Black Pepper.  Add the Flour and whisk to combine.  Set aside.

Fry the bacon until nearly crisp. Dice one onion and add to the Bacon, and continue to fry until the Onions are translucent (about 5 minutes), add the minced Garlic and fry the mixture until the bacon has completely crisped.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Scalloped Potatoes 3

Bacon, Onions and Garlic, oh my!

 

Spray your covered baking dish liberally with the Non-Stick Spray. Add a couple of dabs of butter on the bottom of the pan.  Place 1/3 of the potatoes, overlapping the slices slightly in the dish.  Add a few rounds of Ground Pepper, 1/3 of the Bacon mixture, scatter ½ of the onion rings, 1/3 of the Cheese mixture and top with 1/3 of the cream mixture (whisk again before you add it to distribute the ingredients).  Repeat 2 more times.  On the second layer I sprinkled some salt – the Cheese and Bacon adds a lot of Salt on their own, so you don’t really need much. Add a couple of dabs of butter to the top before you put the dish, covered, in the oven.

Scalloped Potatoes 2

One of the Layers Before the Cheese and Cream Mixture Were Added

 

Bake in a 375°F Oven until the Potatoes are fork tender – approximately 1½ hours. I rotate the pan every ½ hour to help even the baking – I don’t have a fancy convection oven … yet.  Uncover the dish the last 20 minutes of baking to get a golden brown yummy crust.

Almost Finished

Almost Finished – It Looks Like a Lot of Liquid, But The Cream Will Get Absorbed by the Potatoes and Will Thicken and Create a Gorgeous Sauce

 

Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Leftover Scalloped Potatoes are even more tasty – you can pan fry them in a little Butter or reheat in the Microwave. Enjoy!  I know I will🙂

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The Finished Product

…And a Pinch to Grow an Inch!

February 6, 2016 at 7:38 am | Posted in Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut | Leave a comment
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It’s amazing how quickly time goes by.  Today is my littlest little-one’s 9th Birthday and it’s the last one of the single digits.  A lot happened this past year and she was always there with a hug and a smile for me.

You’ve become a remarkable young lady my Donut and I couldn’t be more proud of you.  I love you and hope you have a great Birthday full of monkeys, sprinkles and glitter… just not all at the same time 😉 💕

Happy Birthday, love Mama

2015, My Annus Horribilis…

December 31, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Birthdays, Christmas, Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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To paraphrase Queen Elizabeth II, 2015 is not a year on which I shall look back fondly. In other words, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’, a horrible year.  I am very much looking forward to its conclusion.

There is an old superstition that you must take down your Christmas Tree before the last bell tolls on New Year’s Eve. Otherwise you will be dragging all your baggage and bad luck from this year into the new year.  I’m not taking any chances, my tree and all the trimmings are already down.

This has been the worst year of my life.  I’m not exaggerating.  It really sucked and seemed to be never-ending.  If it wasn’t for the love and support of my family, I’m not sure what I would do, I probably would have lost my mind by now.

In January, I lost a very dear friend of mine to Cancer.  Randy was also a work colleague and his presence in the office is sorrily missed.

Photo by Aurélien Muller (http://www.maclupus.net)

Randy Moreau – Photo by Aurélien Muller (http://www.maclupus.net)

It took longer than I expected to get over Randy’s passing, especially when there were so many reminders everywhere.  There were mementos on my desk and on my wall; passing his many offices within our work walls; having to look up something in old files that we worked on years ago – all brought back strong memories of him.  French Macaroons and expensive Italian Cologne still make me smile.

On the heels of Randy’s passing, I had to deal with my Parents’ transition from their last home to an Old Age Home.  My Father was very sick with Cancer and my Sister kept the details from my Brother and I, and it seemed that he had more time than he did.  The last few months of his life, he had no discernible quality of life.  He was unable to self-ambulate, he couldn’t get out of bed without assistance and was getting to the point where feeding himself was difficult.  His pain increased nearly daily and we watched as the cancer raced through him, eating him from the inside out.  He was so skinny at the end, mostly blind and mostly deaf.  When he was in Palliative care, unable to eat or drink, he still knew when we were there – I’d call his name and he’d reach out his hand to hold mine, and try to talk.  I know he had things to tell me.  I knew he was dying.  I told him several times not to worry, we would look after Mom.  That was our job now.  He could rest in peace.  He passed away in early September, on an incredibly warm day – and on my Birthday.

I have not been able to get over his passing, as much as I try.  He was too important to me.  He was my everything, he was my Daddy.  I miss him, terribly.   I had an emotional breakdown during our family Christmas Dinner and couldn’t stop crying and had to leave.  I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s good time – I felt like a fool.  The emotions were still so raw. My Mother-in-Law told me something that a friend sent her after her Mother passed. She said: your Mother teaches you everything, except how to live without her.  Truer words were never spoken.

Dad 1923-2015

Dad 1923-2015

My Mom has Dementia which is continuously worsening.  We can no longer have a conversation with her other than a few sentences which are repeated over and over again.  She’s alone in her Old Age Home and it’s far from where we live.  It’s like I’ve lost her too…

The next wave came in November, my female cat, Charlie was looking very skinny.  She was still eating and drinking, but it was harder for her to jump up on the furniture and she wasn’t as social.  She would still bark at us any time we would pass by close to her, and loved to be petted.  She had the loudest purr I’d ever heard.  She started walking less and taking more frequent breaks.  She would let me cuddle her for quite a while (she was not a cuddler, but she was too weak to jump down).  I made an appointment at the vet, fearing the worst.  That day when I came home, she was lying down by her water dish, unable to get up any longer.  It was her time.  I miss my little girl, my Bobcat with the tufts on her ears.

Charlie (2000-2015)

Charlie (2000-2015)

Charlie’s brother, Maverick didn’t mourn her loss as we expected.  He searched for her for quite a while and on occasion we could hear him calling her, probably wondering why she wasn’t answering.  He had become more cuddly with the rest of us – he was always my cat – he sleeps with me every night and more often than not, requires play time or food around 2 a.m.  He hasn’t learned that I’m not supposed to be awake then.

Last weekend Mavvy started acting funny.  His head was down and he couldn’t hold it up on his own.  His pupils were wide and he and trouble walking.  His head even tilted on a 90º angle for a bit.  When he’d walk, it was like he was on crutches, his front legs stiff and straight out, his head tucked into his chest.  He couldn’t go up or down stairs, he’d bump into walls.

We took him to the vet, who suspected a Stroke.  He’s currently on a decreasing course of low-dose steroids and he’s almost back to his old self.  He’s not ready to go yet.  I’m not ready for him to leave.

So after all that, to say that I’m more than ready to see the tail end of 2015 tonight and ring in 2016 is an understatement.  I’ve always believed, silly or not that bad luck happens in odd years and good in even.  I’m so ready for my luck to change … Happy New Year everyone, may it be a good one…

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