Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hand update

I am back at work this week, and trying to adjust to using my hand so much more. Even nearly a month post-op, it's been a little difficult. I do fine until about mid-afternoon, when it really starts bothering me. I'm keeping it wrapped part of the time, just for the extra support. And putting ice packs on it at night sometimes. I think the incisions are healing beautifully, though. Here are a couple of update photos.
More later --

Saturday, April 21, 2012


So, today dawned cool and rainy and I was in the mood for comfort food. I made chicken and rice.
Then, because I knew we needed something healthy to balance out all those carbs, I made some sauteed kale with garlic.
Finally, just to add some additional texture and flavor, I roasted some broccoli in the oven.
And with that, dinner was served.
What's been on your menu lately?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My babies

Here's a secret: Chance and Hobbes are my babies. Big surprise, right? I guess since we never had kids, our fur babies mean that much more to us. And, like any mom, I want to show off my kids. So, here are a few pictures of our babies.

More later --

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baked bacon

Bacon is, surely, one of God's gifts to us all. I love bacon in all forms -- fried, crumbled into salad, as a garnish on soups, in a sandwich with crisp lettuce and juicy tomato, wrapped around a filet of beef (are you sensing a little ode to Bubba in Forrest Gump here? "there's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp...") But I digress. My point is, I've never met a slice of bacon I didn't love.

That said, I am a little particular about the perfect slice of bacon. It has to be crisp, with just a bit of chew to it. Not so brittle it shatters when you chew it, but not at all limp. Just right. To achieve this perfection while frying bacon is a near-impossible task, at least for me. There is a nanosecond when the bacon is perfect, absolutely perfect. Take it out at that moment to drain on a paper towel, and it's heaven on earth. But...leave it in for just a moment longer, out of uncertainty or busyness with some other dish, and it rewards you with the overdone, overly brittle, texture of bacon that says too bad, buddy ... you had your shot at perfection and you missed it. (Yes, I think about bacon way too much.)

Anyway, enter baked bacon. It is such an exquisitely easy way to achieve perfect bacon without standing over a skillet dodging popping grease. You can easily bake it to the level of crispness you prefer. I bake mine at 275 degrees, a lower temperature than a lot of recipes call for, for a longer time. This pan of bacon was baked for almost an hour at that temperature, but this is a much thicker center-cut, so it takes a fair bit longer than thinner slices. You should probably start checking it after 20-30 minutes. And the clean-up is so much easier, especially if you use aluminum foil on your baking tray as I do.

If you have not tried baked bacon, I urge you to give it a try. It has a texture that is so much better (to me, anyway) than fried. The bacon does not curl up, stays nice and flat and beautiful, and it just tastes so much better, so much more bacon-y.

This pan of bacon is slated for BLTs and salads this week for Steve and me. I know we'll enjoy it. Let me know if you bake your bacon, and how you like it, okay?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hobbes and the sisal mouse

Hobbes has a favorite toy. It's a sisal mouse on a string, with a handle I can use to flick it here and there. He holds the mouse in his mouth and drags it all over the house. In fact, when I'm not paying him enough attention and he wants me to play with him, he'll drag it to my feet and drop it. I've never had a cat who did this dog-like type of behavior, and it never fails to crack me up.

Friday, April 13, 2012

What I've been reading lately

One advantage of being off work is that I've had more time to read. So I thought I'd share what I've been reading lately.

Soul Catcher by Michael C. White -- this book takes place in the mid-1800s, not long before the Civil War. It's about a slave catcher named Cain and his metamorphosis during the capture and return of an amazing slave woman named Rosetta. My sister gave me this book during a recent visit, and I really enjoyed it. The author takes his time in developing the characters, and I was able to get a real sense of who they were. It's really worth your time to read.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -- my friend Craig recommended that I see the movie but first read the book, and I'm glad I did. It's definitely young adult fiction, but I think a part of me is still 15 years old, and I really enjoyed it. I generally like books in a post-apocalyptic setting, because they really feed my imagination, and I find myself wondering about the characters and situations even after I finish the books. I had this same sort of reaction when I read The Road. Anyway, I'm definitely going to read books 2 and 3, since I want to know how this intriguing story ends.

Fast Times in Palestine by Pamela Olsen -- this book really challenged my limited point of view of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I know there are two sides to every story, and it was eye-opening and really interesting to read this book. If you want a book that will make you think, this is a good one.

A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz -- one of those books that just makes you feel good, this is the true story of the Koontzes' beloved dog, Trixie. It made me laugh and cry -- which is always a mark of a good book in my humble opinion. Another wonderful "dog book" I highly recommend -- completely different, but evoking a similar reaction from me -- is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Oh. My... Such a good book.

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard -- this is the true story of Jaycee's long ordeal of being kidnapped as a child and then being raised (and I use that term loosely) by her kidnappers. This is a story of triumph over evil and, at long last, deliverance. I could not put this book down.

Speaking of another book I truly could not put down, The Long Walk by Slawomir Rawicz, is probably one of the top three books I've ever read. This reads like a masterful piece of fiction, yet it is true. It's the true story of the WWII escape of prisoners from a Siberian gulog, and their 4,000+ mile walk (WALK!) to freedom. This is an incredible story of survival.

There are oh, so many more, but I'll stop with these. Tell me ... what have YOU been reading lately?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The irises deserve their own post

My spring flowers

I love wisteria. It's an old-fashioned plant and can be downright ugly when not in bloom. But when it blooms, watch out! This vine blooms over our back fence every Spring, lucky me.

This red rose bush sits on one end of our house. It gets hours of sun every day, and is so loaded down with blooms, it's barely standing upright. I love it.

On the opposite end of our house we have this bush, with coral-colored roses. It doesn't get nearly as much sun as the other one, so fewer blooms. But the ones I have are huge. And beautiful!

This is one of several azalea bushes we have, and it's just starting to bloom out.

You know, it's hard to beat April in Memphis.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


So, we have an orange kitty named Hobbes. We got him when he was about three months old. He turns a year old this month and is still a kitten in many ways. However, he just keeps growing and growing, and he no longer looks like a baby...which is a little sad.

He loves to sit in my lap in between me and the laptop, like this:

I love this one, with his paw curled around his nose to keep it warm.

He's a sweet boy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wrist surgery update

Okay, so I've decided to fire up my little blog again...just for the fun of it. My latest news is that I had surgery on my wrist last week - for DeQuervain's tendonitis release and carpal tunnel release. That means I have not one, but two lovely incisions. Ouch.

I have this really bad habit of minimizing upcoming events (like surgery) in my mind and telling myself, oh, this is no big deal ... I'll sail through it and be fine. Then, inevitably, it ends up being a much bigger deal than I was prepared for it to be. When will I learn?

Anyway, there's been a fair amount of pain and swelling, and a lot of tenderness. But, it is definitely getting better. Meanwhile, I am out of work for a couple weeks anyway, which is a big (make that HUGE) change for me.

Hope you're not squeamish. Here are a couple pictures of my wrist.