Archives for the month of: December, 2012

On August 30, I turned forty. Shortly thereafter, something happened: I got old. I don’t know how this happened, but it did.

If family genes are any indicator, I’m not even at the mid-life point yet. That will come in the next 3 years or so.

I can’t argue with reality, though. What’s up? Well, let’s see… where to start?

1) I have some aches and pains. Today, I filled out a four-page questionnaire that I needed to complete to see a chiropractor tomorrow. My left leg has been in pain for three weeks, and I don’t mean it kinda hurts. I mean, I am moving like an 80-year-old who has lost her walker. I frequently gasp in agony when I zig where I should have zagged. I had a pain in my back for about a week five weeks ago, but it went away after seven days or so. This has hung around for THREE FULL WEEKS. I have to ease into my car, and I still wince. If I sit for “too long,” it takes me a good couple of minutes to stand all the way up. It’s ridiculous.

2) I don’t understand the music that’s popular today. I mean, I get that we had some questionable lyrics in our day and in every other day, but catchy ditties about killing people in fancy trainers or tying an attempted ex to a bed and setting the house on fire? That goes so far beyond raunchy sex stuff! And that music is bad enough. It’s one thing to hear a veiled dirty song about a candy store, but it’s so much worse when a “lady” talks about what she’d do if she were male-ly endowed. Does no one younger than 30 experience cognitive dissonance with the lyrics “And no, you don’t wanna mess with us. Got Jesus on my necklace; I’ve got that glitter on my eyes, stockings ripped all up the side, looking sick and sexy-fied, so let’s go.” Then there’s the laziness of “Don’t wake me up up up up up up. Don’t wake me up up up up up up. Don’t wake me up up up up up up. Don’t wake me. Don’t wake me. Don’t wake me uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup.” Repeat. Ad infinitum. (Yes, I remember “I Got My Mind Set On You.” It blew, as well.)

3) I’ve always been a fan of having my picture made. I mean, come on. Have you seen my hair? But lately, every picture of me I see, I think, “What the heck happened?! Why do I look so tired/puffy/negative adjective of choice?” I have always been fine with people posting photos of me without permission, but any more, I cringe. Yeesh. Who is that person?

4) Along similar lines… About this time last year (maybe a little earlier), I decided to get serious about dropping the few pounds I’d gained over the former yearish. I significantly limited my diet and I worked out at least five times a week. As little as five years ago, I would have dropped 7-10 pounds in the first two weeks and have been able to get rid of 20ish in three months, no problem. I lost nothing. Not a darn thing, People at the gym told me I looked fitter, but my clothes didn’t fit any differently and I was grumpy and overtired and never had any free time because I was at the gym every second I had when Daphne was away. Then last summer I read this and just decided that I was not going to waste my time shunting Daphne away so I could work out separately. I get exercise with her, either riding bikes or walking places or making her stretch and stuff with me. Unlike I have been at times in the past, I am no longer willing to revolve my day around making sure my appearance is at a level that someone else told me I should achieve. And that might be sour grapes, sure. But I can’t both worry about it and not be able to do anything about it without devoting my life’s energy to it. So letting go of my 25-year-old’s ideal is the only way I’m going to make this thing.

5) I cry at everything. I mean, I’ve kind of always been a sap about some movies, music, and television shows. In my life, I’ve likely shed more tears over fictional characters than real people. But I am ready to bawl at the drop of the hat (awwww, poor hat) and I feel like an old fool. My sister and I used to watch my mom’s face during touching parts of shows because we knew she was gonna lose it. Now my kid does this to me. So I sucker punch her every time.

6) I think there’s too much graphic sex in movies billed as “romantic comedies.”

What’s funny about this is that I’d never seen a “James Bond” movie until this most recent one, and when I mentioned to James how fairly classy the sex scenes were, he indicated that they were always tame about that throughout the franchise. Based on my experiences with “light-hearted romps,” I was expecting some serious sweaty grinding and it was just not there. I’ve seen worse in cologne ads.

7) I want people to start calling me Miss Molly Maple and I want to wear a taffeta hat.

That’s it for now. I was going to write more, but I can’t remember any of it. Now you kids get off of my lawn or I’m going to turn on the sprinklers.

**UPDATE: 8) I make noise when I breathe. Just sitting here, right now, I’m not… but usually, if I’m lying down, especially, there will be whistles, wheezes, and even *gasp* snoring. It’s like I’m this water buffalo running uphill, and it’s disgusting!

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When I was trying to think about what to make this week while James is here (and before I remembered that I have a bunch of eMeals menus saved up in my archives), I asked him what he wanted, and he mentioned broccoli pot pie. It sounded delicious, so I found this recipe here.

Of course, I modified it just a bit. First of all, I used an entire head of broccoli, because as far as I am concerned, the more veggies, the better (we had chocolate sundae cake for dessert, if it makes you feel better). Also, I didn’t have any dry mustard (I hadn’t bought any because I erroneously thought that we did), so I used curry powder and regular mustard. Daphne hated the mustard flavor; I thought it was awesome.

As always, if it calls for 1/2 to 1 cup of cheese, I’m going for the full cup. I also used store-bought pie crusts. I could have done this with just one crust, but I didn’t know it at the time, so our pie was quite crusty. You can roll it out and just use one, unless you really really really like crust (I do!).

Actually, for the rolling, I realized pretty early in that it wasn’t going to work like that and that the best way to do this was to lay the crust over the top of the pot and slowly push down on it to stretch it out, then also fold it together along the sides of the crock pot so that it would “stand up.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before the crust application, I sprayed the crock pot with Mantova garlic olive oil. Then I did the thing I just talked about with the crust stretching. Be patient. It’ll hold together.

As I used two crusts, I first laid the crock pot lid down on one of the dough rounds and pressed a circle shape, which I saved; I used the scraps for the bottom crust.

Once the dough was in place, I just tore the broccoli heads off and dropped them into the dough-lined pot.

Broccoli Pot Pie 002

Once again, I’m getting ahead of myself. The thing you should do ABSOLUTELY firstly is to make the cheese sauce. It’s so easy, and so very tasty. It sat for about twenty minutes whilst I cared for the crust and broccoli and it didn’t separate much at all.

Broccoli Pot Pie 003

I poured the cheese sauce over the broccoli, laid the disc of crust on top of it, then pulled down the edges of the dough. As you can see, I could have just used the dough pull-down as the top crust.

Broccoli Pot Pie 004

After I took this picture, I put an egg wash on top, which is a challenge when one doesn’t have a pastry brush (who knows where it went). I had to get all eggy and do it with my hands.

This cooked for three hours before the crust started to yellow/brown. I let it cook another hour, on low, before opening the lid to take a look.

Broccoli Pot Pie 005

Beautiful!

And tasty…Broccoli Pot Pie 006

My friend and pharmacist (not mine; she belongs to the world) Shelly told me a couple of months ago about Asthmaferin. I have a prescription for an Albuterol inhaler called Ventolin; before I got the official diagnosis of asthma, I’d always purchased Primatene Mist, which was discontinued because of its massive effect on the environment (eye roll).

When Primatene was taken off of the market, I had to get myself to a doctor to get a prescription. When Asthmaferin came out, Shelley pointed it out to me. I just ran out of Ventolin and thought I’d see about this over-the-counter stuff.

The starter kit is $55ish, which comes to just under $60 with tax here in Austin. This is what you get:

Cat hack and Asthmaferin 004

As you might notice, this is 10 doses. The refill is closer to $35, so this parses out to about $3.50 a dose, making this not at all how it bills itself, which is an alternative to Primatene Mist. The only way it compares is that you don’t need a prescription. This isn’t to say that I’m not pleased or that I don’t recommend it, I just object to its being sold as an alternative since it’s a completely different animal.

Actually, what is is more similar to is a nebulizer treatment.

You take the dose, drop it into the atomizer, turn the machine on, and breathe it in for the thirty seconds or so before the medicine is gone. The effect is immediate and overwhelming. It made me cough at first, then I could feel my chest relaxing. I also started shaking and my legs got kind of funny feeling and numbish. I drink a lot of caffeine and am pretty immune to the jitters there.

This made me woozy, but I was really comfortable for the first time in a few weeks.

So I got all excited and decided to write this review.

Then half an hour passed, and the “extremely comfortable, wide-open chest” feeling went the way of the shakes and now I’m back to breathing better than I was, but it’s still slightly labored.

In the final analysis, I’m going to keep this on hand for those times that my rescue inhaler just isn’t enough. It’s good for that.

But I’m going to have to refill my Ventolin tomorrow. For this reason, Asthmaferin is in no way a replacement, functionally. It is an effective, cheaper, and more compact alternative to a nebulizer, though. For that reason, it’s worth having on hand.

120302_Aus-koozie-and-mugWe’ve been here nearly four months, and Daphne and I absolutely love Austin. There are so many opportunities to do interesting things, and everything is so close by, and we felt at home within the first couple of weeks. It’s been amazing.

The one thing I am having to learn, and re-learn, and am really trying to re-calibrate for myself, is expectations for start times.

Having visited and really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere of the Caribbean, where time signatures are merely a suggestion, I am finding that culture in real life less charming than when on vacation, especially in a month that is full of activity.

There have been a couple of times Daphne and I have volunteered for various service projects, been given a window of time during which the work would happen, have shown up, and fifteen minutes after the posted start time, people have just started showing up, with their own breakfast or lunch, and sit down to eat and socialize. That sounds lovely and if we’d had that expectation, that’d be one thing. But when I show up, fully fed and ready to work, when a thing is supposed to begin, but work doesn’t really start until an hour after that, then I’m ready to leave at the posted end-time, but things aren’t finished, I feel like I jerk when I take off. But, seriously, if we say “9-12,” why not work 9-12? Or say “Bring breakfast and hang out 9-10, then we’ll work from 11-1.” I can’t be the only person who has about three things a day in December.

When we went to Pedaling for Safer Roads, the event was supposed to start at 6:00 PM. Because of my personality, we were in town at 5:15ish. I parked way off site so I wouldn’t have to pay. Then we rode our bikes downtown, got some sushi for dinner, and were at the site by 5:40 so we’d be ready to take off with the masses at 6. At 6:05, someone got on a PA and thanked us all for coming out, then announced that we’d be leaving around 7:00. Daphne and I rode around, hung out, and wished we hadn’t gotten there so stinking early.  At 7:15, they asked us to give them just a “few more minutes.” We ended up taking off at 7:20, and the ride took less than 15 minutes, because it was only a mile. Even going really slow with about a thousand people and a police escort, it just wasn’t very lengthy. If they’d said, “The event lasts from 6-8; we’ll be doing interviews and hanging out until 7,” I’d have not been annoyed at all by waiting twenty minutes to take off. An hour and twenty minutes was somewhat frustrating.

But that’s just me. If you tell me that something starts at 10:00, I’m going to be out front at 9:58, because I do not like to be late. We’ve showed up at small group late before, when the time had been changed on us without our knowing, and I felt like we were a little late but found out later we were an hour late. It didn’t seem like we were *that* tardy. The next week, when I showed up on time, we were the only people there for twenty minutes.

We got a little taste of this with the homeschool community in Sherman. When we’d have a birthday party for Daphne, we’d be a full fifteen minutes into it before people would start showing up. Daphne’s dad stopped asking, after about the third time, “Did you tell people the right time?” because he’d figured it out.

I don’t know. I understand being laid back and not legalistic, and having grace about other people’s lateness, but does it show any disrespect for someone else’s time, especially when they’re volunteering to do something, that you ask them to be there at a given time but, like a doctor, you make them wait until you’re ready to deal with them?

Maybe I should drink more?

Because I’ve considered showing up later, but I’d really rather be part of the solution to what I view as a problem than just dealing with it. Is it just me? Is timeliness not important to anyone else?

Yes, please.

Today, I was feeling pretty emotionally vulnerable. When I was looking on Google Maps for a promising place to park for the Zilker Christmas “tree” lighting, I realized that this little food trailer was right down the street from the park, and that there was on-street parking across from the food truck lot.

As an aside, it breaks my heart a little bit how close this is to Pecan Grove, the RV park where I desperately wanted to live when we moved to Austin. Daphne insists that she likes where we live better. It is nicer, more residential, and we have a beautiful pool. Plus, Daphne learned to ride her bike on our roads, and the streets in Pecan Grove are all gravel, then the exit leads to Barton Springs, right at the end of a bike lane, unless you’re headed into town. But I digress.

When I read “Inner Warrior,” I knew that I needed that. So we headed over.

Brain Power and Thieves.

We also got two truffles, which are $1 each. Not too shabby! The square one is “Brain Power,” which has blue-green algae in it. The round one is “Thieves,” which is like a chai tea.

Inside. The orb one was like chai tea; the other had blue-green algae in it.

Very smooth, very dark, and Daphne said “bitter.” Really, you can taste the chocolate; it’s not over-sweetened. The rich flavor of chocolate shines through. This isn’t kids’ stuff; go to Big Top for that, I suppose.

D's thick Inner Child chocolate.

Daphne got “Inner Child.” It has their chocolate base with coconut milk and honey. Daphne liked it okay, but, again, being 11, came home and sweetened it with more honey in order to make it taste more like she expects chocolate to taste.

My Inner Warrior. See the rainbow bubbles?

This is mine. I love the rainbow bubbles! It had the chocolate base, coconut milk, hemp seeds, Chia seed gel, maca (a root), cordyceps (a fungus that grows on caterpillars!), and honey. It was very hearty, not very sweet, and extremely filling. It gave me a lot of energy, and I loved drinking it even though it was 80 degrees and I’d ordered it hot.

The trailer.

We’ll be back again… after I save up some more money. The drinks range in price here from $4.50 to $10, and they have chocolate that can be served hot, cold, or vegan. They also have coffee and tea. They have add-ins like banana flake and deer antler, but we just ordered straight.

Also in this park are Honky Tonk Hot Dogs, Gypsy Kit (eclectic food), Mister Fruit Cup (which is what it sounds like, but fancier), and a couple of other trailers. Just down the street is Flip Happy Crepes. There is limited on-street parking, and this is easy walking distance to Zilker, if you’re trying to get to a busy event or don’t want to pay $5 parking on the weekends (but *are* willing to pay that much for some drinking chocolate!).