Monday, March 30, 2009

A few weeks ago I added plants to my garden that are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. This morning I checked on my garden (needs water!), and spotted two striped caterpillars on the milkweed . . . that look just like this monarch butterfly caterpillar. I should have a couple cocoons soon, and then . . . butterflies! I'm thrilled.

My goals for today are simple - try to get the magic marker off my belly where the doctor put his initials to insure he cut into the correct side of my body.

Goal for the week - finish my Gathered Knot pullover.

Ah, the simple things . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Surgery went really well, and I'm now home and recuperating. Every body has been so kind and helpful and I'm grateful to have such a great group of friends and family!

I'm off work this week, so plenty of time to recuperate, read, knit and be insanely bored.

Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts and deeds!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My new cheery slippers for the hospital.

So, tomorrow is the big day. Check in at 5:30 am, surgery at 7:30 am. Today is clear liquids only, so I'm trying to look at the weight loss aspect of surgery as a real positive.

Work is more or less wrapped up to withstand my absence for a few days, and I am trying not to FREAK OUT. Everybody has been more than kind and helpful, offering to do anything they can to make this easier for me.

I should be discharged Saturday or Sunday - I'm shooting for Saturday.

So, wish me luck and keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today is the four year anniversary of Samantha Jane Noodles coming to live with Hanna and me. She was being thrown out on her ear by my (evil) ex-sister in law, who had also kicked my brother out of the house - albeit for good reason. He was in re-hab, and she decided to rid herself of a house full of pets. I thought I'd find a new home for Sam, but she and Hanna ended up as friends, so we kept her.

It took her awhile to come out of her shell, and get used to meeting new people and dogs, and spending time in loud places. Poor thing also used to get car sick. Once she got more confident around Hanna, she'd torment her whenever opportunity knocked, and Hanna good naturedly ignored her. I could tell when Hanna wasn't feeling well, because during those times, Noodles would leave her be.

I wasn't sure how she'd react to Hanna's passing, but she has really blossomed as an only dog. She's a good walking buddy, tolerates riding in the bike basket, puts up with being dragged to bars and restaurants, and keeps me toasty at night.

Glad to have met you, Sammy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tomorrow is St. Paddy's day. I'll be searching for something green that is also appropriate for court. Yep, a scarf it likely will be. If I get out in time, I might head over to the OC Fairgrounds to see if I can get tickets for Obama's town hall on Wednesday. Given the chance, I'll express my deep disappointment with his Interior Secretary's rubber stamping of Bush's 11th hour de-listing of wolves as a protected species. In reality, if they call on me I'll likely respond like I did in 1983 when I met Billy Idol and basically mumble and drool on myself.*

Watched Dancing with the Stars for the first time in awhile. Shawn the 17 year old gymnast is cute as a bug's ear. Denise Richards might be the least likable contestant they've ever had. Belinda Carlisle has plastic surgery'd herself into Priscilla Presley territory. This is what happens when you go from being a punk princess to a Republican housewife.

I'm in two NCAA pools - one with Auburn Kat and another with the Hater Nation. Every year, I swear I'll watch at least one game before the tourney, but another year has passed.

The jasmine on my deck smells divine, and almost offsets the great mouse war taking place there every morning betwen 4 and 6 am. My own version of mouse west side story - the jets vs. the sharks/gray mouse vs. black mouse. If they break out in song, I'll try to get a video.

Books -

The Instance of the Fingerpost - historical fiction set in the 1600s in Oxford

Every Last Drop - the most recent Joe Pitt vampire tale. Joe survives a year in exile in the Bronx to head back to Manhattan

Dating Dead Men - another Wollie tale from Harley Jane Kozak - good natured fun

Exit Music - a John Rebus mystery set in Edinburgh. When they mention pubs that my friends and I frequented in 1982, I positively squeal with delight

Through the Woods - an Inspector Morse tale. I've seen all the tv shows over and over, and have read a couple of the books.

Boys will be Boys - the glory days and party nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty - a sports tale is not my regular reading, but Jeff Pearlman writes well and the characters are colorful. Any book that starts out with Michael Irvin stabbing a team mate in the neck has potential to entertain

I've mentioned before that given my natural inclinations, and if there were no such thing as social pressure and the danger of being sent away for my own good, I'd dress like the love child of a parrot on acid and Carmen Miranda. I mostly keep it under control, but here is the yarn for my Color on Color scarf. Yes, there are 47 different colors of yarn there.

Hopefully, I can transform this bag of yarn into this -
Wish me luck!

*(In my defense, Billy Idol in 1983 was the most spectacularly beautiful person I've ever seen - prettier by far than Morgan Fairchild and Sandra Bullock, who are also amazing in person. He had skin and cheek bones that any woman would kill for).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another day, another bird pooping in my front room.
Finished listening to John Grisham's The Associate. I admit I liked it, but that is kind of like admitting to liking Velveeta cheese. Grisham can write a good, tense novel, but there was no meat on this story's bones. No real danger, no real action, no real intrigue.
I'm on my third Joe Pitt vampire story - Half the Blood in Brooklyn. So far in this book, we've been re-introduced to Sela, the pre-op tranny vampire, and met Stretch, the midget carnival performer vampire, and Chaim, the leader of the Jewish vampires of Brooklyn. This is my sixth book by Charlie Huston in about a month. I do enjoy his dark humor . . .
Spent 25 minutes on hold with B of A trying to find out how much interest I earned on an account last year . . . only to learn it was less than 5 bucks, and need not be declared on my tax returns.
Appointment with my CPA tomorrow morning, and other than that, it's almost . . . TGIF the 13th!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Per the request of flix and sage - -

Zucchini Cakes with Parmesan Cheese and Diavolo Sauce

Makes 2 Servings

Diavolo Sauce (make first)
1/4 cup each diced onion and red bell pepper
1 ½ tsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp tomato paste
1 tsp minced garlic
½ dry white wine
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Saute onion and pepper in oil in sauce pan for 3 mins. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in wine, tomatoes, vinegar and pepper flakes. Simmer for five minutes. Keep sauce warm until ready to serve.

Zucchini Cakes

2 cups shredded zucchini
1/4 cup shredded onion
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp olive oil

shredded parmesan cheese

Shred zucchini using the large wholes of a box grater. Shred down each side until you reach the seeds, then turn. Spin shredded zucchini and onion in a salad spinner to remove excess liquid.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl; stir in panko bread crumbs. Whisk egg, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl; stir into zucchini mixture.

Heat oil in nonstick pan over medium heat. When oil is hot drop mounds of batter into skillet using a 1/3 cup measure. Fry cakes until golden, about 4 minutes per side.

To serve, divide diavolo sauce onto two plates, top with cakes, and garnish with parmesan cheese.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Daylight Savings Time has me all out of sorts - don't know if I'm coming or going. I think its effects are worse since they've moved it up from late April to early March. Even so, we prepared for the time change by sleeping in on Saturday morning.

A better sign of spring is that my garden is starting to recover. It looks like I'll have a bumper crop of gladiolas, and I have my first hibiscus flower of the season.

Friday night I hooked up with LA and my neighbor to attend a wine tasting and show and tell at our local yarn shop. After that, dinner at a great fish place and a bit more wine.

Thanks to the hot tip from LA, I dvr'd Letterman all last week because U2 was on every night. I don't get to see Letterman too often, but I did enjoy it, although the dvr would cut off in the middle of U2's song every night. . . . sigh . . . not sure if I'm sold on their new album yet.

I found a new, gritty vampire series - the Joe Pitt Vampire books by Charlie Huston. The story is that Pitt caught the virus from a strange man in the bathroom at CBGBs in NYC in the '70s, and has been part of the vampire sub-culture since then. In the books, Manhattan is divided into various vampire territories, controlled by rival vampire gangs/groups. Pitt is an independent walking the line trying to keep on the right side of the rival groups, while keeping himself "alive."

Found a new favorite recipe - zucchini cakes with parmesan chees and diavolo sauce - yummy!

Not much else going on . . . how was your weekend?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

It was a lovely weekend here in Mayberry by the Sea. Having worked out the details of a big deal on Friday, I left work a bit early, and Sam and I headed over to our favorite outdoor cafe on the waterfront.

One advantage of sharing coconut shrimp with Sam is that the tails don't go to waste.

Saturday we took off and ran some errands.

We went to Petco for a new tank for Splish, (now 12), a bead store for some strings of pearls to use in jewelry making, and the grocery store.

Having been lazy yesterday, today we headed out early for a five mile walk, and since it was in the high '70s today, we stopped a couple of times to rest in the shade.

When we got home from our walk, I pumped up the bike tires, loaded Sam (for the first time), into the basket on the Jessica Fletcher, and we went for a bike ride.It was a tad awkward loading her in and out of the basket, but Sam did great! I lined it with a towel, and she didn't stress and was a brave buckaroo, kicking back and checking out everyone heading down to the beach for the day. Maybe next week we'll ride down to dog beach.

Took it easy this afternoon, and did a bit of shopping online. I love all the handmade things you can get on - today I bought 2 hand dyed scarves for 10 dollars each from an artist in Australia. Shipping will be 5 dollars for both, but it's still a helluva deal.

How was your weekend?