Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Teens and Smoking

The other day my son announced to my husband and I that he is not longer going to smoke cigarettes. I didn't believe him, but I was hopeful none the less. I don't understand how he can do it any way even after we have tried over and over to tell him how bad it is for him. I thought he was smarter than that. Even after he saw my stepfather, a man who was very important in my son's life, died of lung cancer because of smoking, you would think he might think it was not a good thing to do.

So I waited a little. Turned out I didn't have to wait all that long because within a few days he was back to smoking again. He even bought cigarettes for his friends for Christmas. I called them his "presents of death" and made fun of him while he was giving them out. I guess since all his friends smoke he isn't going to quit until they do. I remember it was hard for me to quit when my friends smoked.

Even the other day I got into his car and it reeked so I had to drive with the windows open. Here it is 20 degree weather and I am riding around with the windows rolled all the way down. I went back in to the house when I got back and put on a rough sounding voice to exaggerate how much it bothered my asthma. It really wasn't that bad, but I wanted to make a big deal about it none the less. It didn't really phase him.

I am just hoping and praying that he gets the message soon that smoking is NOT cool and he should quit.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Layered Tortilla Stack

The other night I made another throw together concoction that my husband raved about. He insisted I even take a picture of it and write the recipe up and post it on my FaceBook. I can't believe what a fuss me made about the dish, but he used his favorite phrases, "killer" and "gut bomb" when describing it licking his lips the whole time.
I had remembered a recipe some time back where you used tortillas in the place of lasagna noodles and there was some mixture close to taco seasoning for ground beef. While we are trying to stay away from beef as much as possible I started with a chopped yellow onion and then browned a pound of ground turkey. I went to the cupboard to find out what else I could throw in there and I found a jar of black beans, a can of chopped jalapenos, and a can of enchilada sauce. In the 'fridge I found some shredded cheese and tortillas and started cooking away.

I tried to spice the turkey with seasonings that were similar to tacos so of course chili powder and cumin were a must. I added those spices to taste.  To that I added garlic powder, ancho power, and cayenne pepper. I added a little cinnamon too as I have used that in chili recipe in the past. I dumped in the beans after rinsing them, enchilada sauce and the chopped jalapenos.  After cooking it and adjusting for the spices, I layered it with cheese between medium tortillas in a casserole dish. On went aluminium foil and popped it into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese melted. Since we were on the taco idea here, I chopped up some lettuce and put sour cream and salsa on the top when served.

It's always a relief when something turns out well.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I don't know why, but I am all excited for Christmas. I usually don't get this way, but for some reason I am as giddy as a three year old. It isn't as if I am expecting much; my teenaged boy has been sullen for the last few days and he has told me that he doesn't believe in Christmas and didn't want us to get a tree. But I got him gifts anyway and I hope he likes them. I never know what to get my husband, because he takes back most everything I get, but I did get a few things for him and everything is wrapped and under the tree.

The biggest present that I am giving are two miniature rooms to my parents. Both are pianists and I made music studios for them which are electrified and decorated. I can't wait until they open them. My mother is not going to see hers until Boxing Day as that is when we typically celebrate as a extended family. Every year for the past few years, we have been doing the day after Christmas and having a Mexican feast. We started that tradition because my brother and his wife are musicians and typically have gigs on Christmas which made it hard to get together. I guess I am excited because I am anticipating her reaction to her roombox. I am also anxious to see how my sister-in-law is going to take it as we have this little contest to see who can get my mother the best gift. She doesn't know its a contest, but I feel very competitive about it.

I don't know when I am going to see my dad, but I think it might be next week sometime (they have been divorced for many years and he lives over an hour away). He has not been well, and it's a crap shoot as to how he is feeling every day. A few weeks ago he didn't even think he was going to make Christmas, so we are all thankful he is doing well - at least for now.

So Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope that 2010 is everything you want it to be.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree...

Well I went out and I did buy a small Christmas tree. It was at a local shop and I went in and told the man I wanted the smallest tree possible. He had one that was about 4 feet high and cut it down a little and charged me less than it was going for. I rushed home and got a tree stand and put it on the table in the dining room where we usually put our big tree. I just got finished decorating it and the phone rang. It was my husband who cooed into the phone that he had a surprise for me! My heart sank just knowing that he got a tree.

A few hours later and my husband came home with his "surprise". It was a small tree that he had gotten from his boss for free - well as a partial payment for the plowing that he was doing. We both had a laugh when he saw the tree that I had up and decorated. Since the tree he brought was nicer and a little bigger, we took the other one down and put the new one up, but this time we had to use the other tree stand that we normally use. He said that he just couldn't come home after seeing my puppy-dog eyes after telling me that it was not going to be possible to get a Christmas tree this year.
After a little time we decided to put the other tree back in the small tree stand and put it out on our front porch. So now we have two!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Blues

So now I am officially bummed. I took a look at Marths Stewart's blog and she was showcasing her home Christmas decorations. Well I am about as far from Martha Stewart as a polar bear is from Africa. But I try to have a nice Christmas docrated house every year. This year, though, things are different. First of all we haven't gotten our tree yet. I said yet but it is a real possiblity that it will be not at all. I don't have the car to get a large tree, and my husband has been plowing snow after we got hit with about 15 inches of the white stuff in our area. So he is busy, and today when I suggested we get the tree, he balked.

My son doesn't like all the hubbub of the holiday so he is not going to help. So I did my Nativity Scene and my angels and today while my son is at school and my husband is at work (I have vacation until the beginning of 2010) I am going to get a tree on my own. A little one and it will be all decorated when they come home.

So I best get going.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I have some interesting stuff, well to me at least, on my iPod. One recording artist I came across is Kirsty MacColl. I am not sure where I first heard her stuff, but if you have not heard her you really should. Her songs are a little different that what’s out there. She talks about some weird stuff and has great melodies. The bad thing is that she died in 2000 in a tragic boating accident.

On the last album she made, Tropical Brainstorm, she has a song named, “In These Shoes?”. It’s a wacky song about a girl who is asked out by several men but refuses to go anywhere with them because of the shoes she is wearing. For anyone has ever worn silly, strappy, totally impractical shoes, you can definitely get that song. It came on my iPod the other day and it got me to thinking about shoes – not that I need to think about them as I totally love them.

But I mean, who ever invented the high heel? When you sit down and think about them, they really are the silliest thing ever. Despite the fact that when I wear them I feel glamorous, sexy, and powerful, they are badly designed and terrible for your feet. I did a Google search and found a site where they have a timeline showing the evolution of the high heel. Apparently, the high heel may have been invented by Leonardo da Vinci when in 1533 short-statured Italian bride Catherine d'Medici wore them to exaggerate her height. Later, shoes with high heels were worn by both sexes to aid those who were “vertically challenged”. From a practical standpoint the raised heels are sometimes claimed to have been a response to the problem of the rider's foot slipping forward in stirrups while riding in the 1500s, and I guess it kind of emerged from there. Fast forward to 1904 and the English “pump” comes to America followed by tall "stiletto" heels for women's shoes, invented in Italy, in about 1955 and become a fashion rage then. There is also a Wikipedia page (of course) that lists many historical facts of the high heel.

High heels do give the illusion of longer, slenderer and toned legs, so in the name of vanity they are worn to attract the eye of the male in the complicated courting game we all go through. But they are a nightmare for podiatrists everywhere because they cause such bad things to your feet. As I said, I love wearing them despite the fact I can barely walk in them and can’t have them on for very long. I envy those women who wear them all day long and claim they have no problems with their feet or walking. Maybe really good, expensive shoes are move comfortable, but I have always had problems with heels higher than 3 inches and tend to stick to ones slightly lower, and as I get older I wonder about the sanity of wearing such dangerous garb. I mean, really, who am I trying to impress?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Food Blogging

There are a number of people that I follow on Twitter, one of them being everydayfood. Today, there was a tweet that said there is a food blog as part of the site. It reminded me of the move Julie & Julia, which I saw over the weekend and loved, and I wondered if maybe I should blog about the meals that I often spontaneously create when I am feeling particularity adventurous. So anyway, here it goes.

Last week the dinner I made was a last minute kind of thing. I had half a pork loin marinated in Portobello seasoning which was frozen and my son had requested tortellini, as that is one of his favorite foods. My husband and I had started a little late on the exercise treadmill and so I didn’t have a lot of time. So I defrosted the pork loin in the microwave, sliced it into medallions and melted some EVO and about 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan and began to sauté it. I realized it was quite naked looking so I sliced up a yellow onion and opened a can of sliced mushroom to add to the meat. While that was cooking, I made the tortellini and steamed some broccoli florets. In about 20 minutes the medallions were nicely browned and I served it up. I thought it might be nice to put some gravy on the meat as it was a little dry, but having no canned gravy or even an appropriate soup to use, served it as is. I was right, it was a little dry and my son even commented on it.

Note to self: get some canned or bottled gravy to use in a pinch.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Different Planet

My son finally landed a part-time job after quite a bit of searching, although not as hard as I would have liked him to. When speaking to his boss the other day I was relieved to hear that my son is working very hard and seems to be very conscientious. Wait a minute, I thought, are we talking about my son?

I remember when my son was quite little and I would leave him at a friend’s house for a play date. When coming back to get him the mother of that friend would often remark that my son was so polite and well behaved, and I would have the same reaction. My son? What boy where? What have you done with my son, and can I keep him? What is it about kids where they are little angels at someone else’s house and the devil incarnate at your own?

At any rate, now that my son has joined the workforce maybe he won’t be quite as irresponsible at the house…or not. Oh well, if so maybe I have flown to a different planet. Don’t worry; I like it here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Terrible Cold

I have had a cold since Thanksgiving. It’s not been any cold, no…it’s been the Mama of all colds. It started with a sore throat and then progressed to a bad cough and a stuffy head, and now it’s just a stuffy head. My doctor announced that I was suffering from a dysfunctional Eustachian tube. Just another thing about me that is dysfunctional, but I digress. So now I have to find an otolaryngologist. What a name. I have learned that the word otolaryngology means the study of the ear, nose and throat diseases from the Greek oto = genitive for ear, laryngo = genitive for larynx/throat, logy = study.

Anyway, I remember that my son saw one near our home when he had his nose broken in a fight and was suffering from spontaneous nose bleeds, so I went to Google and looked for, and found, the doctor and made an appointment. While I was on the Internet, I searched for various remedies for a blocked ear and found several items all saying pretty much the same thing. When you have a blocked ear, you need to yawn to clear it rather than close your nose off and blow. Apparently that can cause harm to your ear drum. I did the later and got the biggest head rush of my life. I was driving at the time and actually had to pull over because I became so lightheaded I could not drive in a straight line…scary. I also found that a strong decongestant, coupled with a nose spray and ibuprofen to reduce the swelling helps. Ah, some relief. I still haven’t removed the stuffiness, but it has lessened a bit, albeit a small bit.

I have a real empathy for deaf people from this experience. I used to think that of all the senses I won’t miss my hearing as much. But now, with the drastic reduction of my hearing I realize that the hearing sense is just as important as anything.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Teenaged Communication or The Lack Therof

One of the struggles with having a teenaged son, I think, is basic communication. Maybe it’s just my son who is so stubborn. Maybe it’s just my son who thinks that he knows it all at the tender age of 18. No, I think it’s teenagers in general. I do remember thinking my mother was stupid when I was that age, and that there was no way she could ever understand my reasoning, but I don’t remember being so blatantly rude to her.

Take swearing for example. My son seems to think that the F-word is acceptable in any situation. I can’t seem to make him understand that the word is not only unacceptable but when used in everyday conversation connotes a person of low class. I thought I brought him up better than that, but apparently at a certain age all the pearls of wisdom that I have thrown his way have been discarded. I have now taken to merely hanging up on him when he begins to use that language on the phone, or walking out of the room when he goes on his tirade. Trouble is that it is a little hard to push him out of a moving vehicle especially when he is driving! I told him in no uncertain terms that I am highly offended by that word; doesn’t seem to matter.

There are other things that he does that simply drive me up the wall, but I go on for pages and pages. Suffice it to say that I can’t wait until all the neurons in is brain find their connection when he is 24 – at least that is what studies say. Then maybe I have a decent conversation with him and he might just begin to think that I have lived a long enough life to have gained a little bit of intelligence to reply in a civilized manner.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Mother's Prayer

Here's a poem I wrote recently:

A Mother’s Prayer

What happened to that little boy who used to hold my hand?
What happened to that little boy with face so suntanned?
What happed to that delightful child?
Who laughed and sang and played so wild?

These past few months have been so hard
With the fighting, crying, the doors barred.
Gone are the day with laughing and smiling
Gone are the “I Love You’s” with face beguiling.

These teenaged years are fraught with worry,
And crying eyes, with vision blurry.
Some days it seems I can’t go on
Is the end in sight or is it gone?

I long for calmer days when my son
Was joking around and just plain fun.
It used to be that way, I swear
But now my day is filled with prayer.

They say this time is short; will end
But daily I feel the pain, my friend.
I go to work and come home weary
From worry; my eyes most always teary.

Please God, make him safe and keep him from harm,
Bring back the days full of charm.
Bring back that child I knew, dear Lord,
Older, wiser, impulsiveness ignored.

Take the Devil from out his soul
Provide him the tools to take control.
Allow his youthful eyes to see
The satisfaction of mature responsibility.