Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lordy, Lordy...who ME Forty?

It's true. On Friday I crossed that invisible line into Middle Age. I've been fretting about this Birthday for a long time...since college really. My college friends and I would randomly blurt out "I'm gonna be 40...some day!" (quoting "When Harry Met Sally"). The truth is, I don't feel middle aged. Yes, the college students that I work with regularly seem awfully young, and I often wonder how various celebrities got so old. I have to admit occasionally that I can't do some things that I used to, but otherwise aging hasn't been all that bad. (Except that my Jr. Prom gown can't zip by about 3 inches and I just might need to wear it some time!)

My wonderful friends got together and threw me a crazy 40th Birthday Party on Saturday. I spent 3 or 4 hours over the past 2 days to create my first movie of the experience...it's only about 2 minutes long.



Some memorable quotes:

J, while lighting candles on my cake - "Wow! It's getting really light in here!"

T, while discussing old age - "I want to die of a massive stroke. I don't want to linger."

L, talking about how old I am - "Now you gonna get white hair!"

Out of the blue, the weather went from 50* and raining yesterday afternoon to 30* and snowing by bedtime. The dog, who is now taller than us when we sit on the couch, is anxious to go out. And to top it off, I am in no mood for school today. Truancy laws reign supreme, however, so off we go.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Have stick, will travel

We are nearing the doldrums of winter...that grey and cold time in January and February where winter seems to crush the breath out of me. I am trying to get outside and walk with the dog every morning. We go out, the two of us, one aging and sleepy, the other young and vibrant, to start our day. Kali can hardly contain her joy of life. The whole of her wiggles and vibrates to see me each morning, and she gleefully gallops in circles to welcome the day. It is quiet and still dim when we go out. I've found that finding a good stick is necessary in order to prevent her from consuming of all sorts of nasty things. Kali will happily lead the way on our walk, stick in mouth, for the entire time.

Surviving the doldrums involves copious fresh air, and many other tricks. Usually I get myself really busy in a project, and don't notice the time slip by as fast. At this point, I feel so far behind in my scrapbooking (the thing I really need to work on) that I can't make myself start. Thus my tricks so far are evasive. I'm watching movies, reading books, or listening to audiobooks on my iPod. (I'm slightly tech-challenged...just this month got my iPod, which I received for Mother's Day last year, to the point that it's usable.)

This evening, I watched "Angels & Demons" with my folks. With the exception of the BBC's "Pride & Prejudice", I always enjoy the book more than the movie, and this followed suit. I might have been a bit lost had I not read the book by Dan Brown previously.

JP and I managed to slip out 2 weeks ago to see "Avatar" in 3D. That was 3 hours well spent! It was right up there with some of my best movie experiences: "Contact", "Matrix", and the LOTR trilogy.

I am listening to "Marley & Me" by John Grogan, on my iPod. We watched the movie with the girls last winter, and all of us shed a few tears. Of course, we watched it just a couple of months after losing our own little dog. As expected, I am enjoying the book more than I did the movie.

I have several books lined up on my bedside table, some partially read: "Parenting the Strong Willed Child" - Rex Forehand & Nicholas Long (that's for dealing with L), "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" - Barbara Kingsolver, "Eaters of the Dead" - Michael Crichton, "The Secret Between Us" - Barbara Delinsky (the last 2 donated by Dad, who already finished reading them), and "Emily of New Moon" - L. M. Montgomery (never read it, but LOVE the Anne books...L's middle name is Anne - with an "E" in honor), I'm also on the list at the library to get "Lovely Bones" - Alice Sebold, when it becomes available. Whew...that in itself should keep me busy for awhile!

Of course, I'm also way behind in my CME (that's continuing medical education), and need to get about 100 hours logged by August. It's possible to do...if I just WOULD! All that other reading is infinitely more interesting! It is important, however, to keep my license, especially since I am looking to increase my work hours a bit come Fall.

Ho hum. Another way to beat the doldrums is to sleep through them. I have been finding myself needing much more sleep as of late, and blogging at 11:30 PM is not conducive to a long night of sleep. It's time to take Kali out in the hush under the moon and call it a day.

Good night, sleep tight, which good book did YOU read tonight?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Diamonds

You really must click on these photos to enlarge them...it's worth it!



An amazing phenomenon occurred up on the hill last Sunday. Overnight, all of the trees were stealthily crowned with diamonds!



The temperature reached 4 degrees overnight, and apparently the conditions were just right to form frost on the trees and weeds up on the hill (those down below didn't get this gift).



There seams to be a heat wave on the way, but we have had the opportunity for plenty of winter already! When the kids get crazy, I just lock them up!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter on the Hill

Winter is here for sure, yes siree. It has been snowing non-stop since Sunday night, and the wind has been whipping it all around. I have no idea how much we have actually accumulated, but every time I look outside, all of the door mats are buried again. I shovelled 2 inches off the driveway on 3 separate occasions in 24 hours, and yet there are places where grass is showing.



These incredible looking "wind sculptures" actually look more impressive in real life than in photos, but this gives you an idea of how much it is blowing up here!



J and I look for animal tracks when we go walking, and we have seen a number of different ones. Most disturbingly, I have seen minute rodent tracks on the back porch, ending somewhere on or behind the grill. I have pulled everything out several times to be sure that there are no nests developing anywhere, and I haven't seen anything yet. This afternoon, while letting Kali out, I saw it! The little bugger was sitting right in the middle of the porch, staring at me! I have become quite an expert on rodent murder in the past 6 months, so I ran at it to trap it behind a box. Wouldn't you know it? It scampered straight up the wall and ran back and forth at the very top, taunting me. I took off one of my shoes and threw it, trying to knock the little beastie off...must have looked amusing, as I was hopping on one foot to avoid the snow that had once again blown on to the porch! I'm not a great aim any time, but with the adrenaline pumping and hopping on one foot to boot, it took me at least a half dozen tries to knock it down. The rest is history...and let it be a lesson for the rest of you varmints!

JP was out again last night with the plow. The girls and I decided to risk descending from the hill, and went out for allergy shots, groceries and to the library. We made it down, and back up again without any problems. (I held my breath the whole way up...was bluish near the top...but was afraid I'd repeat the 180* spin and rapid sideways descent down the hill as last time.)

Not too many city dwellers who could blog about similar stimulating happenings!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tamales Caliente

It is COLD today, so I'll post about something HOT...the tamales we made for our New Year's celebration.

I have to start the pork cooking in the crock pot the night prior to Tamale Day, along with a bunch of onions, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, coriander and oregano. The next morning, the meat must be shredded and seasoned. The dough is made of Masa Harina (corn flour), lard and broth from the pork. Finally, dough is pressed on to corn husks, filled with pork, rolled, and tucked.



Here is the bunch we made all ready to steam for a couple of hours.



Tamales for the Holidays has been a tradition in JP's family for a very long time. Part of the tradition is to gather around the table to stuff them as a group. It ends up being a great time for catching up with family while we work together. Of course, we always enjoy EATING them together too!

What are your Holiday traditions?

(For a chuckle, watch this video by The Kelly Family!)