Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Eighth Week of Joys

Wow, can you believe it has been 8 weeks since the new year began. Time is so fleeting. As I have been doing this year, I am trying to record the joyous thing (or things) that happen each day. At the end of the year I want to reread all of these joys to remind myself that something good and joyful happens every single day. Though I must admit some days the hunt is on for the joy!

Feb. 19  The morning started with a mad hunt for my keys. I was up, dressed for the day and ready to go to mom's house for my morning visit/duty. Every possible place I could have put them was searched more than once. I was about to get the garbage from outside and search through it, but decided to call TheHub to see if he knew where they were. There was an outside possibility I had left them in the doorknob when I came in the house the night before. If I had done that I figured he would have seen them earlier in the morning when he left for work, removed them and put them somewhere. He told me he had not seen them, then laughed and told me he did not take them to work by mistake like he did in January. Then he felt his pocket where my keys were.
I had to call the overnight sitter, who leaves Moms house to go to another sitting job. I was horrified to ask her if staying until the daytime sitter could get there would complicate her day too much.  It turns out her client had passed away during the night and she had just gotten a call about it, so she could stay the extra time. I guess my weird joy was that things worked out, but this time instead of being a good sport and staying in for the day, I insisted the guilty party bring me my keys during his lunch break.
And on a sad note we lost a dear friend. George was a true gentleman, and will be missed.

Feb. 20  I am pretty sure I am developing gills instead of lungs. In spite of the deluge today I was able to buy hot kolaches to take to our friends house this morning, without them getting wet. She has been swarmed by family and friends who are going by to see what they can do to help or just offer their support, and I thought  they might welcome a self contained breakfast either for the family or to share with others who dropped by.

Feb. 21  Mom had an appointment with one of her doctors. Just about 8 months ago I could drop her off at the door and she could either walk down the hall to his office or wait for me to park and I would walk in with her.  About 6 months ago I dropped her off at a different doctor and asked her to wait on a bench in front of the professional office building while I ran the car to the valet parking. My sister and I had already decided my days of parking in the deck took too much time, and it would be better for me to do the valet thing anytime one was available. In the approximately 5 minutes it took to drop my car, get the receipt and walk across  the parking lo in front of the hospital,, Mom had disappeared. After running to her docs office and not seeing her there, I contacted security and went looking for her. I found her in the 5th floor in her former neurologist's office instead of the second floor where her pulmonary doc practices.  After that episode I only made appointments when her daytime caregiver could help.
Because she was ill, I had to reschedule her last appointment and the only time they had open was the time T. gets off on Friday. My joy this day was  My Beloved Sister taking a half a day off work to help with  Mom.
It was late when we got her home and settled and TheHub could not reach me by phone . (I had turned the ringer off when Mom was at the doctor and had forgotten to turn it back on) As I was pulling out of her driveway he pulled up in front of her house. Obviously there was no meal cooked or even thought about. Instead we headed to Homewood for BBQ then went shopping. Nothing beats a Friday night date at Trader Joe's.

 Feb. 22  As I have mentioned before my computer was very sick and we decided it was time to bite the bullet. Now by forking over more money than it cost our zero pregnancy insurance, married college student selves to pay for Son1, I am the owner of a MacBook Air.  I am beyond thrilled to no longer have to post from my phone nor respond to blogs via the Kindle. Overjoyed actually, except for the paying for it part.
That was not a part of my financial plan for the month.

Feb. 23  Our friend, George, was also a member of our Sunday school class at church. We went into  class and every single person was there. Even on Easter at least a few folks can't make it. Through shared sadness we celebrated knowing him. After church TheHub and I went by his house, took some food and visited with his family.
Later that evening we rented The Good Liar and watched it. It dragged a bit in the set up, but then took a turn and was a delightful movie.

Feb. 24  This was the day of our friends funeral. It was a true celebration of life. Afterward we went to their house and visited with approximately 100 others who knew and loved him. We left at about a quarter till 4 and TheHub and I were talking about how imperative it is for us to start doing all the things we just talk about doing, and about the old adage about where you spend your time is where you spend your life. Even though I fully expected TheHub to go back to the office for at least a couple of hours he decided he would not. Neither of us had eaten anything all do so we ran the movie back to Redbox and planned to go grab a quick bite of anything. While we were in the car I checked my phone (it had naturally been on silent) to see if there were any messages about Mom. There were none but there was one from my SIL. She and TheHub's youngest brother had made an unexpected trip to Birmingham and wanted to know if we could meet them for a very early (5 o'clock) dinner  Of course we said yes, drove back to our house, changed clothes and headed to meet them. If we had not been to a funeral and spent time with the family we never would have been available to meet them. We decided this was one last gift from George to us.

Feb.25  I guess my joyous gift for Tuesday was the  gift of laughter. Mom was on a tear all day, telling her daytime caregiver that she was going to be fired since Mom could no longer go to the club. She also called me to tell me that my BIL had left her on the golf course and she did not appreciate it at all. Later in the day she was hosting a huge party and had cooked all day and organized it, but no one came. She was pretty angry that they had all responded to the invitations but were no shows. My Beloved sister and I talked off and on about how incredible the human brain is and how reality can become so skewed. It is sad and hard for her, but we can laugh or cry so we will always choose laughter.

And that wraps up the joys for the week and now I begin a new one. I am sure I will find lots of things to add to the list for next week. Until them look for joy, because it is always out there.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Seventh Week of Joys

Feb.12  This was a difficult day with/for Mom. I start every morning with her and honestly her bad mornings affect my entire day. Today was no exception but the fact that she called me the night before and cussed me out for not going to her house to take her to her house probably exacerbated my reactions.  I know this is the disease and not her, but I am often the target her frustrations and confusion lands on. So I am claiming my guilty pleasure as my joy for the day. Survivor began tonight and I taped it so I could speed watch it later.

Feb. 13 I found 3 free Kindle books that look promising. Since I have been binge reading lately I am thrilled to discover them.  I also had a surprise mid day FaceTime call from Pip.  She was home because she spent all night barfing but felt much better and needed to talk to someone. I was not at school like her friends and became her default contact. She does call me every morning on her way to school so I am used talking to her, but the FT call was a treat.

Feb. 14  Obviously Valentine's Day has its own joys.  I have a vase filled with blush roses on the table and I have a box of baby bites from Pastry Arts in the dining room .   I was at the store a quarter before 10 and had to wait in line for about 15 minutes . I guess everyone wanted delicious mini cakes for Valentine's Day. I did not go to Cookie Fix though. By a little after 10 the line to get into the shop was halfway down the block and it did not even open until 10:30. They are delicious, but I can wait. There will be another non keto day in March and I will get some then maybe.
While I was in the car Pip called via FaceTime again. I was driving and could not see her though I could hear her as she pulled out everything I sent in her Valentine box. The sloth blanket and the 10 button pink satin little girls  gloves were the huge hits, but the chocolate was a close third. I love being a grandmother. It is the best job in the world.
The last joy involved a change of plans. We had decided to go see Parasite. Things are blooming here now and my eyes have been really itchy. I felt like trying to read subtitles through itchy teary eyes was not a great idea so we decided to rent Harriet. The nearest Redbox is between our home and a nearby bluff. After grabbing the DVD we drove there, parked and watched a gorgeous sunset.

Feb. 15 Two of our favorite people and favorite pooch came over for a post Valentines dinner.

Feb. 16  TheHub and I went to see Richard Jewel. I remember the bombing well and remember all the following chaos. It was a well done movie.

Feb. 17 The day included remembering my MIL If she were still living she would have been 99.

Feb. 18 Book club night! Continuing the theme meal  honoring an author’s birthday month. We ate at The Red Pearl. Delicious Chinese food. Thank you Amy Tan.

I got busy and did not keep a food diary this week. Just as well, since I fell off the keto wagon  Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I decided to fast Monday and now am back to keto  eating. It is not nearly as much fun!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

2020 Week 6 Joys

Each week I am keeping a list of the joy I find every day Even the worst day has at least one joyful thing in it. My goal is to sit down on New Years Eve  and reread these. So here is my list of joys for week six.

Feb 5 The weather was supposed to be very bad with storms and flooding. It was very warm out and the only rain jacket I own is fleece lined but I wore it anyway and also had an umbrella in the car. I have a theory that if I am prepared for rain it doesn’t happen. I was able to see about Mom, go to the grocery store, get everything unloaded and then run a couple of other errands while remaining dry ( hot but dry). Later in the afternoon my favorite Girl Scout brought 6 boxes of cookies. In addition to cookies I had a nice visit with  her folks and her sister. They are my favorite neighbors.

Feb 6. I know this sounds like a very strange joy but I found a series of YouTube videos which led me to a Facebook group focusing on dealing  with dementia. It is like watching Mom, but it helps me realize this is the norm for dementia patients. If interested, the YouTube user name is Joe Joe and the Facebook group is Molly’s Movement.

Feb 7  I went to Mom’s dearest friend’s funeral this morning. There is some joy that her ordeal is over, plus I enjoyed seeing her son and daughter.  I have no memory of not knowing the two of them and if I look at photos old old birthdays, there they are.

Feb 8 We made a difficult decision to sell the lake place. Even though she has care givers around the clock on weekends mom is scared when we  leave town ( I literally live 2 minutes from her house)  As a result we spent a total of 3 nights there in 2019. Realistically the dementia is progressing rapidly, but my grandmother (her mom)  lived to be 102. I certainly don't see that in Mom's future, but she could live several more years. We decided we were not getting the enjoyment from owning it, and only go down on Saturdays or Sundays for a couple of hours to work. So there is a bittersweet joy in just making a decision

Feb. 9 We had a daytime date to see Little Women, then watched the Academy Awards.

Feb 10 We were having intense rain and flooding. Though Moms house did not get flooded the creek in her backyard was extremely high. It left a huge (about 1/2 the size of a telephone pole) log in her backyard  Free firewood for anyone who wants to cut it! Conversely the badminton poles that she has been trying to rehome for years were washed away. These were poles cemented into tractor tires, huge heavy things and now they are gone. And that is joyous, because I never have to think about them again
Feb. 11 I had to think hard about what was joyful because it was a difficult day for Mom. And if her day is hard, mine has to be also. I did watch the Westminster dog shop. I am not a poodle fan but that dog was a true pageant princess, even “ bowing” to the judges. So I count watching lovely dogs as my joy for the day.

I am also keeping a food diary which is really just for my benefit, to keep me honest
 Keto diary
Feb 5: Breakfast: coffee. Lunch: leftover salad, salami slices, Dinner: BBQ pulled pork sandwich on keto bread, caulitato salad Snack: cheese slice and a handful of pecan
Feb 6: Breakfast: coffee Lunch: bacon, cucumber slices Dinner: crack chicken in lettuce wraps, brussels sprouts Snack: pork skins, dip, keto cup
Feb 7: Breakfast: coffee, Lunch: sausage, sliced keto bread, cucumber slices Dinner: hamburger patty, mushrooms, broccoli  Snack: keto cup, pecans
Feb 8: Breakfast: coffee Lunch: BLT salad Dinner: rotisserie chicken, coleslaw Snack: coffee with cream, 3 sunbutter keto cookies
Feb. 9: Breakfast: bacon, keto toast, coffee Dinner: basil chicken over coleslaw ( had no cauliflower to rice) Snack; cheese and blueberries
Feb 10: Breakfast: coffee. Lunch: bits and pieces of leftover whatever ( literally a bite or two of several things) Dinner: pulled pork, collards, keto cornbread  Snack:
Feb.11: Breakfast: coffee, Lunch leftover pulled pork and brussels  sprouts Dinner: hamburger patty, caulimash, coleslaw  Snack: strawberries and macadamia nuts

Do not be alarmed when you see the week 7 meals. I am going off keto for Valentined Day and headed to Pastry Arts as soon as my morning with Mom is over. Who knows, I may even swing by Cookie Fix also!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Grub for the Week

 Weekly I make a meal plan that is really just a suggestion. It is never in any given order, but is an idea based on what I have in the kitchen, or whatever the food ads have that will be a bargain. Even rarer, I will have an intense hankering for something specific, but that is the exception rather than the rule. This weeks plan features things I have on hand, so it is nothing spectacular but it should still be tasty. Keep in mind that these plans are suggestions only with nothing written in stone.

What was planned:
1. Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed  salad
2. Crack chicken in lettuce wrap ,brussels  sprouts, tater tots ( or  not)
3. Chicken in basil cream sauce over rice or caulirice, green beans
4. Bbq pork sandwiches, cole slaw, caulitato salad
5. Soup and grilled cheese
6. Leftovers
7. Out to eat

What really happened
1. Crack chicken in lettuce wrap ,brussels  sprouts, tater tots ( or not)
2. Chicken in basil cream sauce over rice or caulirice, green beans
3. BBQ pork sandwiches,caulitato salad
4. Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed salad
5. Out to eat
6. Rotisserie chicken, tossed salad
7. Take out basil chicken over rice or coleslaw

And now for what’s up for this week:9
1.Moroccan chicken stew over rice, green salad
2. Leftover pulled pork, collards, tater tots or not, keto cornbread
3. Blue cheese stuffed burger patties, mashed potatoes or caulimash cole slaw
4. Gumbo over rice or caulirice
5. Surf and turf meal, steamed asparagus tossed salad
6. Chili, coleslaw, keto cornbread
7. Leftovers or out to eat

What I need to make in addition to meals:
Keto cornbread
Keto rolls
Keto cookies ( Don’t pity TheHub. He has several boxes of Girl Scout cookies)

Hope you all have a great week and good eats!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Week 5

 This week, as for the past few weeks I am keeping my “journal” of joyful things that happen each day. Even horrible days have something fabulous, but some days I really have to look hard to find it. My aim is to look back on New Years Eve and be able to see that every single day had something wonderful.
I am also keeping a food diary, but that will not be for the year  it is just for right now as I transition to a strict keto way of eating. I am tracking what is successful and what needs tweaking. Right now it is my head that needs the adjustment because I really do want some real bread and real cookies.

The Joys :
Jan 29. For the first time since Christmas I was able to go back to my weekly class. Mom has had dr. appointments every Wednesday morning. It was wonderful to get back into my usual Wednesday routine. Also started binge watching/listening to Messiah (Netflix original)
Jan 30. Finished watching Messiah. I really did enjoy it. Also I listened to a podcast DIL1 turned me on to. I love turning it up loud as I move through the house. You might enjoy listening to Date with Dateline also.
Jan 31. I looked out the window in the morning and saw my redbud tree was filled with purple finches. I enjoyed watching them until they flew. (Otherwise it was kind of a crappy day)
Feb 1. TheHub and I had plans to go to a formal benefit. We were both dressed to the nines, went, had a glass of wine, talked to a few people and left. This event has always been a sit down dinner, auction, and dance. This time it was a protracted cocktail party with artwork for the auction, followed by the dance.  We are older and neither of us relished standing for 5 hours trying to balance a wine glass and a 4 inch plate filled with mostly cocktail food. ( A possible exception might have been the bowl of shrimp and grits some woman standing at the bar dropped creating a food  explosion. It went everywhere, including all over TheHub's tux. Another reason to leave)  We bailed (fortunately we had some wipes in the car to remove the food splatter ) and went out to eat in full formal attire. I was glad to leave and even happier I had only invested a small amount for the skirt. Maybe I can wear it to another event. There is always the possibility of a Halloween party or another Edgar Allen Poe birthday party where a long black skirt will be appropriate.
Feb 2. Firstly, Phil saw his shadow so spring is imminent. I really did not have to hear it from Phil though. I can look out my window and see daffodils, knock out roses and dandelions as well as courting birds scavenging for nesting materials.  Secondly, this was our week to volunteer at The Church of The Reconciler. Periodically our Sunday School class takes and serves lunch there. It is an inner city church with special missions catering to the homeless and the displaced. I get great joy from serving there, and it reminds me that having to type on a cell phone is not a real issue. It is just a minor inconvenience. And lastly, KC won the SuperBowl.
Feb 3. I got a lot of food cooked by early afternoon which will make a lot of meals for the week eazy peazy. Then I had a wonderful surprise visit from the lovely  DIL2 . Always wonderful! I am so lucky to have the 3 best daughters in love!
Feb 4. I had a great phone visit with my cousin. She and I are the same age and we grew up staying with each other on weekends. She was even named for my mom and I was named for hers I guess since our mothers were sisters. She was my best friend too. When we grew up and our children were younger we were not as close since we were both busy with them, but as our boys grew and more time was free, we resumed our frequent contact. We know the best and the worst of each other and we still love each other in spite ( or maybe because) of it.

The Food:
Jan 29 Breakfast: coffee. Lunch: broccoli salad, keto bread  Dinner: vegetable  soup, cheese toast. Snack: chocolate almond milk 3 keto cookies
Jan 30 Breakfast: coffee. Lunch: sausage, steamed cabbage. Dinner  Orange ginger chicken, broccoli, cauliflower. Snack: cucumber slices with dip
Jan 31 Breakfast: coffee. Lunch; leftover meatloaf,  salad greens with blue cheese pecan halves ( too many). Dinner: gyro salad, keto cookie
Feb 1 Breakfast: coffee  Lunch: veggie soup, pork skins, Snack: antipasto  Dinner: BLT salad, mushrooms in port  Snack: coffee, 3 keto cookies
Feb 2 Breakfast: coffee Lunch: grilled fish, brussels sprouts, broccoli. Dinner: bun-less hot dog, kraut, cucumber slices with veggie dip. Snack: sliced strawberries with pecan pieces.
Feb 3. Breakfas: coffee 3 slices bacon. Lunch: coffee and water. Dinner: chicken with mushrooms, onions and a balsamic cream sauce over caulirice, green beans Snack: Keto peanut butter cup
Feb 4. Breakfast: coffee  Lunch: The innerds of a  1/2 of BLT TheHub brought home from his lunch the day before. Spaghetti sauce ( with ground beef) over zoodles, tossed salad. Snack: Keto peanut butter cup

And now on to the sixth week of the year!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Meal Plan or Not

I started the week with no computer and I am still without one. Doing this on my phone is still difficult for me, so my sentences will mostly be short and to the point. The past week came and went and I used the meal plan as inspiration some days and totally ignored it other days.

This is what I had planned for dinners last week:

1. Pan seared scallops, broccoli, baked potato ( or none) dinner or keto roll.
2. Meat loaf, caulimash or mashed potatoes, green beans
3. Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed salad
4. Chicken with mushroom balsamic sauce over rice or caulirice, mixed green salad
5. Soup, cornbread, coleslaw
6. Sandwiches, either grilled cheese or blt and SuperBowl snacks
7. Out to eat

What really happened:

Monday: Seared scallops, broccoli, baked potato or not, keto or regular roll
Tuesday : Meat loaf  green beans, corn and tater tots Or caulimash
Wednesday:Veggie soup with pork, cheese toast
Thursday: Orange ginger chicken with onions and mushrooms, broccoli cauliflower
Friday: Gyro salad
Saturday: Out to eat
Sunday: Hot dogs w/wo buns, cucumber slices, dip

And now for what may or may not happen this week, in no particular order:
 (Truth: Right now I am in the process of cooking in advance so at least 3 of the meals will be served.)
1. Spaghetti or zoodles with meat sauce, tossed salad
2. Crack chicken in lettuce wrap ,brussels  sprouts, tater tots ( or not)
3. Chicken in basil cream sauce over rice or caulirice, green beans
4. Bbq pork sandwiches, cole slaw, caulitato salad
5. Soup and grilled cheese
6. Leftovers
7. Out to eat

What I need to make
Keto buns
Keto cookies or some keto dessert

Hopefully this can be accomplished with little to no grocery shopping this week. And hopefully the repairs to the computer will work and I will be back in business.