Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thai One Pot, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, and my pals

Updated a few things on the ol' blog, like Elora's picture. She's nearly 2, so no more of that baby crap, she's a big girl now!

As many of you know, I live by a mantra: "Screw the holidays! Who needs 'em?! Not me, that's who!" Elora spent her Christmas with Gammy and Papa (Thad's parents) in Colstrip and had a ball playing with her cousin Sophia and Gammy's teacup poodle, Lacy. She got some cool presents, and loved being spoiled.

Mama, on the other hand, spent last week driving her little Elmo-lover to Colstrip on Tuesday, then buckled down and worked Christmas Eve through Boxing Day. It wasn't busy, thank goodness, and I used my idle time getting calls scored for my team, and missing my little munchkin. We spent Christmas Eve with some dear, good friends of ours, Jen and Rick, and Jen’s family. Jen’s family is big and hilarious. Rick entertained us in the kitchen where we grazed on a gigantic spread of desserts and giant crock pots of meatballs and spicy chili cheese dip (and a festive green, red and white version of ranch bread, which I brought), and we drank what I will now consider to be my only light beer of choice, the Silver Bullet. We have made a solemn vow to visit Jen and Rick in Portland in 2009, and now it’s in writing, Jen.

Christmas Day started early for me. I worked all day, and was very pleased that I had the sense to get a few items for dinner at the store the day before. So we had a glorious dinner of BLTs and some Pinot Noir, and tried not to look to forlornly at the tree, wishing for our little girl. I’ll admit that even though I am not a fan of Christmas, it was really hard not to have her home for a holiday I don’t even care for. I masochistically listened to Christmas music on the way to work Christmas Day and cried some tears of self-pity.

On Friday we had such a bad storm that Thad's brother-in-law didn't want to risk the roads to drive home that night, which left me in a total funk. A good example of how bad the roads were would be that I got stuck at the end of my street…. In the snow….. but I was able to wheel and deal my little car out of snow drifts as tall as my knees. But I got home, finally, and headed to Walmart with my husband. We got all the necessary ingredients to make what has now become one of my new favorite dishes: Thai One Pot. I won’t post the whole recipe here, but I will link it here. This recipe calls for radishes. I don’t really eat radishes, so I took the route suggested at the bottom of the recipe: bean sprouts. This recipe also doesn’t have fish sauce, but I like to cut the soy sauce by half and replace the other half with fish sauce. The broth from this combo is the stuff that dreams are made of. It’s awesome, and ridiculously easy, or else I wouldn’t make it.

Saturday morning started early. Cleaning! Staining! Madness! Thad and I worked hard to get surfaces cleaned, vacuumed, washed, and ready. Thad got some really nice old wooden dressers from his grandmother's apartment and had stripped one of them in the basement, so he finished staining that one a really gorgeous dark red mahogany. So I helped him lug it upstairs *flexes muscles* cause I am pretty strong. I did laundry, cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed, and got things smelling good. Thad did kitchen floor and brushed the dog real good, then vacuumed up all the dog hair in the basement. We had leftover T.O.P. for lunch (even better the next day), and before you know it SHE’S HERE, SHE’S HERE!

Monkey’s home!!!!! She’d just woken up from a nap in the car, and she was actually in a good mood! She saw her Elmo stocking, filled with Elmo and Ernie stuffed dolls, and giggled and giggled! She looooooves Elmo, it’s her favorite thing right now. So we thank everyone for bringing her home and snuggle the child until she’s sick of us (it only took a few minutes), and then we sneak her back into her bedroom so Thad can put the presents under the tree. The minute she sees them she knows what to do. A symphony of paper tearing ensues. She kept getting tape on her hands and watching her pulling it off would send me into fits of laughter because her face gets so serious when she’s trying to get sticky stuff off her fingers.

So she gets all her presents open, and we take them all out of the boxes, and the rest of the day is spent on our stomachs, drawing on her Elmo Aquadoodle, or playing with her new alphabet train set, or trying to make her new robotic Siberian tiger cub growl. I’ll skip through the rest of Saturday, since all it involved was Beef Stroganoff (which was very yum!), bread, and a giant chocolate chip cookie, and bed. The house didn’t feel so empty anymore.

Oooooh, Sunday morning was another early start, because I had to get dough going in the bread machine. Oh, what kind of dough, do you ask? Only dough for the most AWESOME CINNAMON ROLLS EVER! Thad had found a recipe online for a Clone of a Cinnabon, and we decided that this would be good breakfast fare for Jen and Rick’s bon voyage brunch, in addition to biscuits and sausage gravy. Sweet mother, that was one of the best breakfast spreads I’ve ever put out in my life. We stuffed ourselves completely, enjoyed a pitcher of mimosas, and enjoyed the last bit of time we would have before they head West again. Then Sunday night was spent making ravioli and mashed potatoes for a visit from another West Coast homie, Brian. Awww, Brian, I love that we’ve known each other as long as we have and that you take the time to come see Thad and I when you’re here. You may be an L.A. fella now, but you’ll always be the guy with the worst forehead sunburn imaginable to me.

Thad made us a giant amount of stir fry last night, after using my fabulous Christmas present (a real food processor, with suction cups to make it stick to the counter and a cord that can tuck around the base) to slice up a ton of veggies. This is possibly the longest blog I’ve ever written, so I better wind it down. But only after I mention that I’m going to lunch with some work peeps today, and I plan to have a load of laughs with this troop of characters. I typically almost crap my pants from laughter during daily work interactions with these people, so away from work, in the safety of a neighborhood eatery, bedlam may ensue!

I’ll be back with an update of the Make-Your-Own-Sushi party that we’ll be hitting up for New Years. I am so glad to be out of the “going out to bars for New Years” period of my life. I look forward now to being at home and possibly asleep when 2009 rolls in.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hot Chocolate and Getting Toasty

So, I've recently fallen in love with making homemade hot chocolate. It's so easy, and compared to a packet of cocoa the end product never feels "watered down". Here's the recipe, and if you have some peppermint schnapps USE IT, it's like a peppermint mocha cloud of heaven!

Homemade Hot Chocolate
(makes 1 serving, so multiply the numbers below by how many servings you want to make)

1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
1 cup milk
vanilla extract (optional)

Combine cocoa powder, sugar, and water in saucepan; whisk together. Heat until mixture begins to bubble (just a couple minutes, as soon as I see it releasing steam I know it's ready), add milk; whisk to stir. Continue to heat until warmed, serve.

Phew! See?! Easy!! And really, it's worth the time at the stove when you have the creamiest cup of hot chocolate in your life. Christ, add some half-and-half and go balls deep into decadence.

Be warned, if you use half-and-half and 101 proof peppermint schnapps you may end up dying a premature death from experiencing too much pleasure at once.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bah, humbug!

Man, I'm such a grinch. I have no holiday spirit, none. Not a drop. I don't want to decorate, I don't want to listen to Christmas songs, I don't want to be bombarded with Christmas at every turn. Where can someone go to escape this madness? I guess there are countries where Christmas is not observed, but do I have to go sooooo far? Shouldn't someone be ALLOWED the opportunity to live a Christmas free existance?

We had a great Thanksgiving. We went to Colstrip and spent a couple nights with Thad's parents. My mom and dad and little sister came into town to eat with us, and John was with us to and fro. Thad's grandmother (Schelle's mom) passed away last week, so I was in charge of the entire dinner, and I think I hit it out of the park. The bird was good, partly due to the brining that Thad's dad and Thad himself were in charge of. The stuffing was something I saw on Food Network, and it was so intriguing that I just had to try it (see link below for recipe). We also did sweet potatoes, mashed yukon gold potatoes, green bean casserole, and two kinds of pie. The chocolate truffle pie (recipe in previous blog) and Thad's mom made a pecan pie. All in all, a huge success.

Christmas might be trickier. I'll be working, Thad will be on call, so Elora will probably spend Christmas with grandparents this year. Nothing has been completely firmed up yet, but hopefully we'll get to celebrate the holiday a few days after the actual day.

My birthday is Wednesday. I'll be 28. Wow, should 28 feel like the train is about to derail? Just kidding, I really don't feel put out that I'll be getting another year older. It's just surreal to age and see everything changing quickly and know that another year has passed. I'm over thinking it, but I can't help but wonder if this feeling of loss will get any easier the older I get.

Well, I better get to work. Real quick, I'd like to tell Adrienne THANK YOU for the great blog, and for the birthday necklace she got for me. I love it, and you knew I would. Check out her blog here!


Oh, and don't forget, the stuffing recipe I used was this one!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Easiest dessert ever.... for reals.

So, I stumbled across this recipe in a Kraft Food and Family magazine (Holiday, 2007) last year and tried it. Nothing could be freaking easier, and the decadence of this cake is unparalleled. You will need a glass of milk for even the smallest slice.

Chocolate Truffle Pie
1-1/4 pkg. (10 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate*
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

*you can sub in different types of chocolate, such as Ghiradelli's

Make It

HEAT oven to 325°F. Microwave chocolate and cream in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir until completely melted. Cool.

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WHISK in eggs, sugar and flour. Pour into greased 9-inch pie plate.

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BAKE 35 min. or until edge of pie is puffed but center is still slightly soft; cool.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Music in my life

My zune is my favorite belonging. I can see why people become a little protective of their zunes and ipods. It's a place where I can maybe scroll through 50 songs (anyone that has driven with me knows that I don't listen to a lot of songs all the way through) and find the PERFECT song to listen to. It may take 50 songs to find it, but by God I'll scroll to find one that matches my mood at that precise moment.

I love how music plays such a huge roll in my life. There are so many bands, songs, melodies, etc. that accompany memories of different periods of my life, from childhood on through the "dark" ages (the period of time that I was drunk a LOT) up to becoming a mom and dancing in the living room.

Here are a few of the songs and memories that accompany them:

"Tired of Toein' the Line" by Rocky Burnette
It isn't likely that you will find this song on i-tunes, but I found the video below. My mom had this record when I was just a baby, and apparently I would walk along the side of the couch when I was just learning to walk, and bounce up and down to this song. When I came home from my first weekend at college my mom played this record and suffered an emotional breakdown on the couch. I heard it on the radio once and called my mom, got her answering machine, and left this song on the message. I called her back later and made her listen to the message and she cried again. It's kind of my mom's song to me.

"Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" by Mozart
One of the prevalent cars in my family's history was this blue Buick. I remember the smell of this car, and have a lot of fond memories of my family in it. I'll forever associate two things with this car: horeshound candy and Mozart. My dad was something of a renaissance man when it came to music. A lot of what my brother and sister and I like is based on things that we listened to growing up with my dad. I'm grateful for my dad's taste, and I hope that I can instill an appreciation for music in Elora the way he instilled it in me.

Pick-a-song by Sublime
Sublime is a hard band to really focus on for musical memories because they have been the soundtrack to a lot of the funnest times in my life. So many of them from the summers between my years in high school, and then later when I discovered 2 girls (and boys I didn't really know) that shared my love of Bradley and Lou Dog. Adrienne and Krystal had their own little apartment in Sheridan for a brief period of time, but the time spent their has left images like photographs in my mind. Through a haze of smoke we talked about plans for our big, bright futures and wasted many hours distracting ourselves from school and family and jobs. Lounging on secondhand furniture from the Salvation Army, cooking up feasts of meals as though we weren't all living on the barest of shoe string budgets. Trying to impress the boys we hung out with by being able to take a bong rip WITHOUT COUGHING.

Later, Sublime's surviving members formed Long Beach Dub Allstars, and this was just another chapter to our time together. We scraped together enough money for all 3 of us girls, and 3 guys, to go to Boulder, CO and see LBDAS in concert. Levi supplied the joints, and Scott decided to lead us to The Hill in Boulder (the notorious location of illicit drugs) to score some acid. We got to the concert and the Levie and Scott took a hit. It didn't appear to be working, so they thought it might be bunk, resulting in them TAKING THE WHOLE THING. Turns out that shit wasn't bunk, much to our amusement. Krystal and I were dancing when some douche tapped her on the shoulder and bitch-slapped her (I think we'd had to get nasty with him when he tried to push through us earlier). Krystal flew at him, long hair flowing behind her like a superhero's cape, and punched that sucka down. I almost flashed my boobs at Opie, but lost my nerve when he actually did a double take as I was putting my hands up to my tank top.

Here is a great Sublime song, and I dedicate to those crazy girls, and to Steel Magnolia, and Lethal Enforcer. "It's like banana flavored chocolate in pudding form!"

"Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds, "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson and "My Little Buttercup" by The Three Amigos
These are the three songs I sang to Elora regularly when she was a baby. I love the repetitiveness of "Little Boxes", and she loved it too. There were times that she'd be screaming and I would sing her that song and as long as I kept singing she would be quiet. "Banana Pancakes" was probably the first song I ever sang to her, and I loved it before I was pregnant because I knew I'd sing it to my baby when I had one. "My Little Buttercup" is one of the sweetest songs, and I love the line "Dear little buttercup, with your eyes so blue" because Elora's eyes are just the most gorgeous blue. Kind of an odd selection of songs, but they're all great.

Banana Pancakes

My Little Buttercup

Little Boxes

"Midnight Special" by CCR
Oh, Currey Currey Currey. How many memories do we have that carry the same soundtrack in our hearts. Whether it was when we wanted to marry Lou Diamond Phillips or playing Nintendo at the trailer we grew up in on Laredo Court. Eating Hamburger Helper at Dad's when our parents were sepereated, and dancing for a video camera with your dorky older sister. This song, among many others, stands out as being the song I'll always hold for you. I danced with you at your wedding to this song, and it makes me smile when I hear it.

That's all for now, but I could do this ALL DAY LONG. I think I've found a new mission in life!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You're like water for my soul when it gets thirsty

So, I'm back, and not 4 months later! Yippee! Actually, I wasn't able to take any pictures at Colstrip Days because my stupid camera reset itself and everytime I took a picture it filled my memory card. So I'm waiting on Adrienne to get her act together and post some of the pictures she took.

We had a good time, saw a lot of people we knew from high school. The memory is bittersweet now, as one of the many people there passed away this last weekend. Josh Davidson was only 26, and he passed away due to complications with diabetes. I worked with Josh since 2006, and I grew up across the street from him. It's really sad, and my prayers and thoughts are with his family right now.

I'm playing hookie from being a mom today. Elora is at daycare, and I'm supposed to be working on mid-year reviews for my peeps, and cleaning my shower. I have the living room picked up, the kitchen picked up, and the shower is fermenting in mildew remover. So once I've posted I head back to the grindstone.

Elora is doing wonderfully. She continues to get mouthier with her mom and dad, and God willing this is only a phase. I'll put pictures up soon, I SWEAR!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Don't call it a comeback!

Haha, the last post I put up was on St Patty's Day. I don't even have enough time in the 5 minutes I'm going to spend writing this to go over all the stuff that's happened in nearly 3 months, so here's a brief overview.

1) We went to Vegas in April for a wedding. It was a good time, as indicated in the picture below:

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2) We went to Colstrip for my brother's graduation in May, and that happened to fall on Memorial Day weekend, so we spent the weekend in Colstrip.

3) I saw a plastic surgeon about a breast reduction. I scheduled my surgery for 6/13 hoping that insurance would be taken care of by then. It wasn't, so I didn't have the surgery, but I'm scheduled now for 8/1, so hopefully the poop is in a group by then.

4) Adrienne came up on 5/30 and we went to SATC on opening night. We had a bunch of fun, lots of laughs, and (if you can believe this) only 1 drink and 1 and 1/2 beers. We finished the weekend by walking in the Central Heights Elementary Cougar Fun Run. We're totally "cougars".... RAWR!

Elora is gorgeous, but she's getting a smart little mouth on her, telling her mommy and daddy "NO" and accentuating her displeasure with a little slap. I'm trying to but the kabash to that, but she doesn't really grasp all of the intricacies of the English language yet, so we're doing the best we can.

She's telling me "NO" right here:
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And here is her face, covered in chocolate:
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Well, I feel like a weight has been lifted just by getting this updated. Be back soon with pictures of Colstrip Days!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Happy St Patty's Day, from our family to all of you! We both worked, and work tomorrow, so there will be no partying tonight. After staying home sick yesterday I'm not interested in making tonight as Irish as I did in the past. But Thad, Elora, and I each wore our respective holiday t-shirts today, so here is a picture of our fam:

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Hope everyone had a great day, and I hope your poop is green tomorrow.

Oh, and a shout out to my girl Danielle, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blogging is Power

I just read a banner on Perez Hilton that said "Blogging is Power". I seem to have misplaced my power lately, since Blogspot so lovingly told me that I haven't logged in or posted here since FEBRUARY 6TH! Geez, Mary Rose, what could be so important that you haven't updated your blog in over a month?

No excuses, I really didn't have any. I've been busy with work and home, trying to keep everything balanced, and the balance didn't really include blogging. The only reason I'm blogging right now is because I woke up at 3:30 with a stomach ache (gas, BLECH!) and I'm sitting in the bathroom trying to make myself feel better before I simply bite the bullet and get ready for work.

News? News? You clamor for news? Hear you go:

1) We're going to Vegas on 4/11 and seeing to of our good friends become forever forged together in matrimony. It was a very spur of the moment decision, and I'm glad I made it. We got a screaming deal ($860 for both our roundtrip flights and a two night stay in the Monte Carlo. We're extremely excited to be going!

2) I've been going to yoga at a place thisclose to my work, and I love it. Even right now, my shoulders are tight and sore and I can't wait to schedule my first massage at the same place, click here to check it out.

3) I finally made the leap and stopped at TLC on Friday to buy some new bras. Lo and behold, I'm now faced with a truth I can no longer deny...... I'm a G cup. As in, "GEE, those boobs are enormous".

4) We still haven't heard anything of interest from a single doctor in the Denver area. My radiation oncologist down there told me that the eye doctor may want me down there to have another look and see if there have been any changes. I'm pretty sure at this point that if they want to see it they'll have to get a good look at it from here because I'm not making one more non-informational trip to Denver. I'd rather go to Mayo at this point, at least there I don't think I'd be dicked around to such an obscene level. Don't get me wrong, I don't really blame the doctors, if this stuff in my eye/lung is rare then I can see where they would get stumped, but don't assume for a second that I'm willing to jet down at their leisure when they don't seem sure that they can figure anything out.

5) Thad is building a patio out back for the new hot tub he got for free from a buddy. I guess the guy was going to leave it at his old house because the pump was cracked, but Thad asked if he could take it during the move and now it languishes in the backyard.

6) My pal Adriennit (that's Adrienne in Cheyenne) will **fingers crossed** be coming up this week for a workshop and some MARY TIME! If you know me you know how much I a.d.o.r.e. this girl, and we always have a good time together. I'm going to force her to watch at least one movie, and as many episodes of Metalocalypse as she can physically take.

7) Last but not least....... Elora Monkey-girl. She is my radiant moonbeam of joy. She's also a pill. She's been going through the normal toddler stuff, fits, biting, all sorts of great fun. We got a new camera, but since I'm not near that one I will post some new pictures of her when I exit the commode.

Well, my stomach still hurts a little, and my neck and shoulders are really sore, so I'm going to go give myself a self-massage against the wall before I hop in the shower. Thanks for stopping by to read this! Hope it was semi-worth the wait.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Back in the saddle again

So, we're back in Denver. I only seem to have the energy to blog when I'm sitting at a computer in our friends home office.

We just ate at Dave & Busters (aka a glorified Chuck E Cheese's for adults). The food wasn't bad, but the games zapped me of all energy. I'm ready for bed.

Well, we see the doctor tomorrow about this damn tumor thing. More to come tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Saddened by the news

Heath Ledger had died. He was a year older than me. I absolutely adored him in "10 Things I Hate About You". The more I read on TMZ, the sadder the situation is. He left behind a baby girl, and she'll only really know her dad through watching his movies.

Well, I better get ready to head to work. With a heavy heart..... I shower.

Monday, January 21, 2008

New glasses!

Here are my new glasses. The angle of this picture is not flattering to either my glasses or myself, but it's more of a gist than anything.

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Elora turned 1!!

Over the weekend we celebrated a mini-version of Elora's 1st Birthday! On January 19th, 2007, we were blessed with this beautiful baby girl, and we've loved the bejesus out of her ever since.

I also found out that Elora shares a birthday with someone I hold great reverence for. She and Janis Joplin were born 64 years apart, and I just thought it was the coolest coincidence.

So here's a little picture of the birthday girl having her cupcake and eating it too.

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Denver trip postponed

Due to the lovely weather we're having, in addition to some other factors, we've decided to postpone our trip to Denver for a few weeks.

We're going to have a few tests done before we go so we have a much more accurate and clear picture of what we're dealing with.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Good morning

Wow, it's been a while. With getting home and being a lazy bum I haven't felt much desire to blog in a long time. And there has been so much to blog about, so I guess I better get on it now before there's too much to go over in the future.

So, lung stuff; we don't know what I've got growing in my lungs, but we know what it isn't. The biopsy has ruled out all the nasty things that we originally thought were the issue, which is great. Spike has encourage the smoking cessation, but also says that the intermittent cigarette won't kill me, so I'm going to play it safe. Quitting smoking completely is not really that hard, but it helps that I haven't been a hard core smoker for some time.

Now on to the new stuff; I have something in my left eye. I'm told it's a tumor, even more specifically, a lymphoma, and I will be making another trek to Denver this month to see a specialist. I don't know for sure how much stock I put in dime store diagnosis', because they told me about 50 different things my lung stuff could be, and it turns out not to be any of them. I see my oncologist here on Monday, and I'm going to request a PET scan. If this is cancer, more specifically lymphoma, it could be the result of another lymphoma growing inside me elsewhere. Since I've already had Hodgkin's lymphoma this is not great news, but hopefully we should get more info about all of it soon.

Elora is almost 1, she'll turn 1 on 1/19. I can't believe it's been a full year, but oh what a year! She's been walking since we got back in December, and that has been amazing to watch. What a little ham, dancing and running around. The dancing really kills me, she's been shaking her little booty, and now she's beginning to dip side to side, bending her little knees and shaking her butt. Daddy and Mommy make her laugh by tickling her and kissing her under her chin, which she will throw her body back for to give us extra access. We're waiting on some more teeth to make their way in, and the waiting is pretty painful as she is a cranky pants when she's cutting a tooth.

I returned to work on 1/5, and I have been plugging away trying to get a lot of stuff done before I have to leave for another Denver trek. Hopefully this trip to Denver will be just for a few days to meet the doctor and assemble a game plan for radiation treatment, so I shouldn't be there longer than a few day.

We appreciate everyone that has been praying for our family for the previous leg of this medical debacle, and hope everyone has some more thoughts and prayers ready for us for the next leg. We're keeping ourselves positive, and I know that this will all get worked out well.