The Countdown

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Google Reader, continued.

Two weeks and 3 days ago, I posted about being really behind on my daily blog-reading. The 289 that day seems like a far off wish as of today. Today I'm at 653. With everything that's happened the last couple of weeks I have not been keeping up with my normal routine. 

How am I tackling it? Instead of reading in order I'm reading by blog. And yes, I will read ever post that have missed. The blogs that I follow are there for a reason. They are supportive, informative, and/or funny. I need them. They give me mental and sometimes emotional fuel to keep going. 

Check out my blog list at the bottom of the page. Who knows, you might find just what you've been looking for...

Finer Things Friday: Memories

"Don't cry because it's over, be happy because it happened."

This is my new motto, for now at least. I found this last night and it fits my current situation perfectly. I am sad over the loss of my father, my mom, my grammy and my poppy; all of whom I have lost in the last 6 years. 

My grandmother was first, then my grandfather (both my mom's parents, but they were divorced). I spent most of my childhood at my grammy's house because both of my parents worked 40-60 hour weeks. I was very close to her and I have many, many wonderful memories. When she made me practice piano I would adjust the timer so I had less time, thinking that she wouldn't realize it; she never said anything. Now that I am a parent I laugh at and appreciate her humor in the situation. 

My poppy came and went during my childhood. He was a loner and traveled a lot. He never had much money, if any at all and at 2 points during my childhood came to live with us for about 2 years each time. He finally settled down in Idaho several years ago (we live in Oklahoma) and only called every month or so. Finally his landlord called my mom and told her that he was doing very badly so we convinced him to come "visit" and the plan was to just move him here. His landlord agreed to ship us his stuff after he got here. She was very nice. 

So what is my finer thing today? That I have a lot of wonderful memories of my parents and grandparents. That my children are old enough to have at least some memories of my parents but young enough to not remember how much it hurt when they were gone. That I have a wonderful, supportive family including all of JD's family. 

I made a vow on the day of my dad's funeral which was also my mom's birthday, to keep in touch with all of the family friends. I don't want the loss of my parents to be the reason that I don't see or talk with any of them for the next 5 years. There are friends of my dad's the he has known since elementary school. They all live here and they are all very supportive but until 3 weeks ago, I couldn't have remembered what name went with  what face if my life depended on it. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I have no idea what to title this post.

In July 2007 my dad had a massive seizure and it was discovered that there was a brain tumor the size of a softball. The benign tumor was successfully removed within the week. He had another seizure in July 2008, a possible side effect of the tumor and removal.

My mom passed away in December 2008 of breast cancer metastasizes. She had battled cancer for 12 years and the last few years were very hard on her physically. She had fallen and was taken to the ER. She had not broken any bones and didn't seem to have anything seriously wrong but she could not sit up, much less stand even with assistance; it was excruciating pain to her.

She spent the next month-and-a-half in the rehabilitation ward at the hospital working towards being able to go home. She would have several good days and then several bad days. The good days were not consistent enough to be able to release her so she was sent to a wonderful hospice facility. Numerous times they wanted to send her home as a inpatient hospice facility generally cares for patients that can not be cared for at home. Her caseworker asked for several extensions for her stay and we will be forever grateful to the staff at the hospice facility.

When my mom passed away, it was something that we were all expecting. We knew several weeks beforehand that it would be soon and we were able to be with her during her last moments. I had a lot of peace in my soul when it came.

Tuesday my dad passed away suddenly. The past year-and-a-half he has had several mental obstacles such as paranoia and olfactory hallucenations. On January 28, he attempted suicide but only because he had recently been hearing voices. He was seeing a new psychiatrist that had put him on different medication. Since the medication was new, he was taking the lowest dose. No one was contacted when he was taken to the hospital and the next day his apartment manager called to discuss the events of the previous night. That day was the first day of the "Winter Storm of 2010" for Oklahoma; no one was getting out unless they had to and my aunt was in California. Note: My aunt and grandmother have been handling my parents' affairs for about the last 3 years.

After the attempted suicide his doctor upped the medication and my dad seemed to be doing very well. He had moved into a new apartment on Halloween 2009 and had a hard time focusing on getting everything unpacked and put up/away the way he wanted it. He finally had accomplished this just last week.

Even though we live in the same city (well, metro area really) my kids, his only grandkids, had not seen him in almost 2 months. He was very involved at his church and attended at least 3-4 times per week. My kids go to their dad's 2 evenings, but not overnights, a week and every other weekend. KG also has dance once a week. So between both schedules trying to get together proved a little difficult. Any time we finally agreed on something, he would normally cancel because he had worn himself out that day.

It appears that he had a seizure on Tuesday afternoon while getting ready to go to a doctor's appointment at 4pm. My grandmother and my aunt normally talk to him numerous times throughout the day but my grandmother had been unable to reach him Tuesday afternoon. She tried again after he had enough time to get home from his appointment but was still unsuccessful; she figured that he had gone to his favorite restaurant for dinner.

By 7:30pm she had still not been able to reach him and decided that she would go to the apartment to see if he and/or the car was there. His car (it's really her car) was there so she let herself in to the apartment. The music was playing and the lights were all on so she went upstairs. She found him collapsed in the bathroom. It appeared that he was brushing his teeth when it happened. Everything after that was a whirlwind.

His service is tomorrow morning and I should really be getting to bed. I have not made my peace with this and will likely not until at least when we get the Medical Examiner's report which could take 3-4 months. I had just talked to him on Monday night about letting one of the kids stay the night with him. He was so excited to have everything ready for them to come over. I didn't tell him no but we tabled the discussion for later.

It is all still very surreal for me and I have just been going through the motions. It really hits me at night when it is quiet and my mind goes to racing. I know that some day I will make my peace but right now it all just seems so unfinished.

RIP Momma
March 13, 1947 - December 2, 2009

RIP Daddy
August 16, 1951 - March 9, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Google Reader

For anyone that has experience with Google Reader, good for you. For those of you that haven't, well, I think it's great and you should enjoy it too. :)

I haven't been keeping up on my reading daily like I usually do. Today, when I sat down to do a little catching up I knew that there would be a lot and I wouldn't get through all of it at once but oh my freaking lord! There were 289 unread posts for me to read.

Holy freaking shnizzle Batman! I'm going to be here for days....

Monday, March 8, 2010

OAMC Big Day Report

There’s always a first for everything!

I decided, last minute, to go ahead with the Once a Month Mom Cook-off! JD had to work which meant that I had all 3 kids to myself in the midst of trying to do all this cooking by myself. The smart person would have cut everything in half, but evidently I am not one of those people. The big event took place February 27 & 28, 2010.

I started out with grocery shopping on Saturday afternoon; The first trip home to unload was at around 3:30 p.m. This was the trip to Sam’s to buy in bulk. At that trip I was stopped on my way out and asked to answer a survey and in return I would receive a gift card. The gift card was only for $5 but I could use it at Sam’s or at Wal-Mart and since I was headed to Wal-Mart next I was plenty happy with that! Five dollars isn’t much, but it’s still money.

It only took me about an hour at Sam’s, not including the survey, but it took me almost 2 hours at Wal-Mart. I hate shopping on Saturdays, especially in the afternoon when everyone else is there too.

The damage? $661.86! That seems like a lot but for us, that’s pretty good for getting us through almost the whole month. I had plans of making 2 additional menu items but those plans have yet to come to fruition. I also bought other food that we will need this month outside of OAMC, as well as personal care and household items. I did buy a food processor for $35 but I’m not thrilled with it so I’ll be saving up my money for a better one down the road.

So for 53 “meals” (I counted the stuffed pancake cupcakes as 8 breakfasts because it made 32 of them; and I counted the granola as 6 breakfasts) I spent $313.96 with tax. I know some spent less, even up to half, but I am really excited about this! That comes out to $5.92 per meal and approximately $1.47 per serving. WOW! This was totally worth it for us. You can see how much I spent on what here. If there is no price listed that means I already had it.

On the other hand, I wish that I had checked the food stock instead of asking my husband to do it because I still bought stuff that we already had. Oh well, it just means that I won’t have to buy the stuff next month… See there’s always a silver lining.

I put everything that didn't have to be refrigerated or frozen on the kitchen table (which is where everything is still sitting).

At 11 p.m. I began. It was very late but I’m a night owl. I cooked 12 lbs of ground meat (I used 2 lbs of ground turkey that I already had). I’m really anal about things so I busted out the kitchen scale to measure out exactly the amount of meat I needed and cooked each recipe’s requirement out separately then bagged and labeled it to use the next day. I cut up all the onions and half of the carrots. I then cleaned up after myself and went to bed around 2:30 a.m. after starting 7 lbs of chicken in the Crock-Pot. My Crock-Pot has a timer and I put it on low for 8 hours but just in case, I put the digital thermometer in too.
Sunday morning, I got up about 9 a.m., showered, and got started about 9:45 a.m. JD had to go to the office and left around 11 a.m. I peeled, chopped, sautéed, cooked, cut, minced, smashed, browned, baked, and shredded until I could no longer stand, at 1:30 p.m. :D

Actually, I had to stop to feed the kids and myself some lunch. We ordered Domino’s pizza, which was FANTASTIC! *If you haven’t had their pizza since they stepped-up their game, you need to go to the phone right now and order some, NOW!* I have Celiac and am not supposed to be eating things that have gluten in them but my condition is very, very mild and I was dying to eat and it smelled soooo good; not to mention that I knew the kids would never eat it all…

After lunch, it was nap time for the kids. This was a huge relief for me because I was dying for a little peace and quiet. Thankfully JD had made a playlist for me that I had going all day which kept me a little saner than I would have been without it.

The rest of the afternoon flew by. Because I only had 1 Crock-Pot I just served the Hamburger Soup that I was making in it for dinner. I closed up shop about 10 p.m. and was exhausted. I threw out a lot of stuff from the deep freeze that was several years old so that I could get the new food in there. JD did help me clean up and then gave me a neck, back and foot massage afterwards.

All in all, I’m fairly satisfied with what I did and I’m looking forward to March 21 when I do it all over, but with a partner this time!

I couldn’t find any 8x8 aluminum pans so I bought caterer’s half-steam sizes, which are 10 x 12 or something.
In Crystal’s Lazy Granola I added ½ cup sunflower seeds and about 2 cups raisins.
I have not yet made the Banana Buttermilk Pancakes.
I did make the filling for the Beef Empanadas they have not been filled yet. I’m going to make a gluten-free version for the crust.
The Easy Taco Bake only made enough for 3 of my pans.
I haven’t made any pizza crust because I will make gluten-free crust when I need to. I added 2 or 3 cups of the chopped broccoli to the chicken mix for the pizza.
I burned the milk for the Tuna Noodle Casserole (alone with the kids; ‘nuf said) so that didn’t happen. JD was relieved as he H.A.T.E.S. fish.

I can’t wait for March’s big day!

More pictures from my big day:

Before the food... 
After the food!

My freezer was already really full and I hadn't even put anything in it yet! Where was it all supposed to go? 

That was a lot of onions. I hate onions. Yuck.

That was a lot of broccoli, too. I like how the food processor chopped it up though: little teensie-tiny bits almost like a seasoning.

The food processor mashed the carrots more than it sliced. I figured it probably didn't matter too much since they were just going into the soups.

Hamburger soup! Yummy!

The granola smelled so wonderful. It made a lot of granola. I'm glad that

I couldn't wait to eat some on my yogurt!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I've been a bad hostess

I've been a bad hostess the last week: no posts, updates, contact, nothing. Sorry. I was sick most of last week and the couple of days that I was not I spent playing catch-up at work. I did do my OAMC Day, alone, and I'll update tomorrow. I know that I will have missed my opportunity to participate in the contest but, oh well.

Until tomorrow...