Monday, December 29, 2008

Orange Cake


Back when my husband was a boy, his mother made what she called an orange cake. It is a pound type cake with nuts and raisins and then a glaze made with sugar and orange juice is poured over the hot cake and allowed to soak in.

Unfortunately, according to my husband, it only turned out just right ONE time. If the syrup is cooked too long, it does not soak all the way into the cake, leaving much of the cake very dry and crumbly.

After an experiment using (shudder) BOXED pound cake mix by my sister-in-law over Thanksgiving, I decided that I was going to attempt this legendary cake. I started out by putting out a query on a cooking forum about cooking the syrup. I bought the best ingredients, said a little prayer, and set to work.

I am calling it a belated Christmas miracle! The syrup soaked all the way through the cake, leaving it moist and delicious.

I just hope this is not a one-time event for me too!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

He's BACK!

Apparently, there was quite an outcry from other distressed Pokey owners (besides me!) and we were given our original puppies back. At last count, 152 Pokey owners had written in to thank the creators for restoring our "babies."

I don't feel quite so daft now.

Just happy!

Smokey

Smokey was a chocolate lab puppy with the most adorable face. I fed, watered, petted, and played with him every day. He would turn over and let me rub his tummy wriggling with pleasure.

This week, Smokey changed. His face was no longer adorable. He wouldn't let me rub his tummy anymore. I was warned that if I did not feed and water him, he would be taken away from me.

Smokey was my Facebook "cyber-pet." Now known as a FooPet.

I know! It sounds ridiculous that I should get so attached to something that was not "real." But, since my husband refused to get another dog after my beloved Duffy died years ago, I just enjoyed playing with my Smokey.

I tried to get used to this new dog who claimed to be my Smokey. The one who liked to chew up shoes, especially high heels. The one I had had since March. But I just could not get used to this thing that was trying to take the place of MY puppy.

So, with a heavy heart, I went to my applications list, found the FooPets entry and clicked delete.

RIP Smokey. I miss you.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Stealing

A damper was put on Christmas Eve this year when I was warned to put my purse somewhere safe and out of sight before other guests arrived. I was told that one of the guests (a regular visitor to this home) had been suspected of stealing money from the hostess for some time, and had stolen a large amount from her earlier in the week.

So, we found ourselves in the position of having to watch our belongings and put our Christmas money out of sight during what should have been a carefree and enjoyable time. The entire color of the evening was changed, because of one person and her need to take what does not belong to her.

I don't understand stealing. I really don't. There is nothing I want bad enough to steal. I find no thrill in it. I don't think I am "entitled" to it. My conscience would bother me forever. But, some folks can steal without a second thought. They simply can't tell right from wrong. Or, they don't care.

Sad.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Moment of Sad

I thought that I might escape it this year. That day or so of melancholy that comes over me every year at Christmas. It is nothing serious, but it comes every year, just like clockwork.

I know that at the forefront of this is the fact that I still miss my mom. She will have been gone 18 years this Christmas, but I still miss her. I probably always will.

I know, also, not to have too many expectations for Christmas. My DH does not like the holiday and is not going to do something romantic or spontaneous. My dad is going to be a grump. My sister is going to be so tired that she gets snappish. But, every year, a tiny part of me wishes for the whole Norman Rockwell happy holiday bit, even though I know that this is a total myth!

But, I will go do the Christmas Eve thing tomorrow. I will be thankful that my family is alive and well this holiday. It will not be as bad as I fear. And then I will take off to St. Alban's Episcopal Church to sing for the Christmas Eve service. A lot of my Christmas Spirit will come then, singing in this beautiful church and hearing the Christmas Story read.

And Christmas Day is always lovely. My sister's mother-in-law will have everyone over for a potluck lunch. Everything is laid back and everyone feels equally welcome. This is the precious woman who decided with my mom long ago not to make the family have to choose between them every holiday. They would have everyone at Thanksgiving at one house and Christmas at the others house. It is a tradition that works well and has been a blessing.

Of course I have my list of Christmas miracle wishes. I wish for my brother to come back to family gatherings and learn to at least tolerate my sweet stepmom. I wish for my sister to stop and smell the roses a bit more. I wish for better years for my friends who had hard times this year.

I believe in Christmas.

I believe in miracles.

Who knows?





Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wardrobe

Holiday dressing is a challenge in Mississippi. I never know from one day to the next what type of clothing I will require. Yesterday, I went to get gas in my car in shorts and sandals. Today, I am in velveteen and still chilly. People talk about putting their summer clothes away, but in Mississippi, that is not really feasible.

Trying to figure out a party/event wardrobe can be especially difficult. Holiday clothing pretty much consists of sweaters, velvet, turtlenecks, etc. So what does one WEAR when 75 degree weather on the day of the party makes that cute sweater totally unwearable? Someone would make a fortune down here designing a line of clothing that looks Christmasy, but can be worn when it is just plain hot.

Maybe that is my future calling?


Friday, December 19, 2008

Catfish!

Today I got to expand my soft diet to include a bit of fish. Catfish, that is. It was like Heaven to my taste buds as I took teeny, tiny bites of my fillet and a lovely change of pace from Rice Crispies, mashed potatoes, and Jello.

To many Southerners, farm raised catfish is a direct gift from God. I count myself among this number. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, CATFISH is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

I'm happy.

:)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Diet

Today is week 2 of a mostly liquid diet. I am on it while my stomach heals from being wrapped around my esophagus. I have to admit, it is already getting old.

I am beginning to understand why so many of those commercial liquid diets fail. Yes, you get full, but there is just no satisfaction in the process. I am already looking forward to the day when I get to CHEW something again!

On the bright side, this is one holiday season that won't involve a weight gain!

:)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Amazed!

As I write this, I am three days post op. I have been out of the hospital since Wednesday and have done so well that I am still amazed.

In the past, most of my surgeries have had complications. Some of these were due to poor hospital care and some just due to anesthesia, luck of the draw, etc. This time, other than the usual difficulty getting my oxygen saturation to proper levels after surgery, I have done well.

I know that all the good thoughts and prayers going up for me have made the difference. As has the excellent care I received from Dr. Petro and the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center nursing staff.

Healing is going to take awhile. I am limited to liquids. I am tired and a bit sore.

But mostly...

Amazed.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Surgery

Tuesday, I am having fundoplication surgery. This is a fancy name for having the top of my stomach wrapped around my esophagus in order to cure my GERD.

I have to admit that I am a little nervous. I have not been put under to this extent since being diagnosed with MG. Myasthenics tend to have trouble breathing when sedated, so things can be a bit more complicated than they are for the average patient. However, I would not be doing this if I did not have faith in God and the doctor.

I am praying that this surgery will eliminate the chest pain, indigestion, and diet limitations that have been my constant companions for years. The thought of eating half a grapefruit without pain makes my mouth water in anticipation.

Wonder if I can wrangle a trip to Florida to get some?

Hmmmmmm.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Carols and Kisses

One of my favorite Christmas traditions each year is when I take a huge bag of Hershey's kisses over to my favorite nursing home, get on my scooter, and ride down the halls singing carols and passing out chocolate. Everyone who is able to eat it gets chocolate or a sugar free peppermint patty. Many residents can't peel their kisses, so I unwrap them and gently guide these tiny treasures to eager mouths. I love to see the look of enjoyment on the faces of those who can no longer express themselves in words. The smiles and the eyes say what their tongues can't. If the resident can no longer eat solid food, then he or she gets a "real" kiss.

As for the carols, I never cease to be amazed that even the Alzheimer's patients can sit and sing every word to Jingle Bells or Silent Night even when they no longer know their own names. And some residents will continue to sing, even when I have gone on to the next hall. I can't help but smile when they just keep on singing.

And when I leave, my heart is full of smiles and songs.

And maybe a kiss.

Or two.