Thursday, September 30, 2010

He's resting

Tim is sick with the same cruddy cold that I had.

I gave it to him.

He staggered downstairs this morning for breakfast and then went back to sleep on the couch for about two hours.  By that time I was at my desk, working (catching up from being sick!).  Suddenly I hear him go back upstairs and then out the door. 

Within about a half hour, the whine of the table saw is heard in the land.

I make him medicinal chicken soup for lunch (with onions and garlic).  Then I ask him if he's planning to rest.

Shocked, he looks at me as though I have three heads (this happens a lot in our family).

"I AM resting," he asserts.

"You're working on the deck," I protest.

"No, I am resting," he states again. "I'm working slowly."

I give up.

- Catherine

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I am on the mend.  I worked all day and didn't collapse on the couch for the afternoon.  I've hardly coughed or sneezed, and my head is clear.

Unfortunately, Tim came home this afternoon feeling as though he is definitely coming down with something.

Sharing isn't always a good thing.

- Catherine

Monday, September 27, 2010

In which I am STILL sick

Every day since Thursday I have presented different symptoms of the same virus. On Friday my muscles hurt and I actually strained one from coughing so hard due to the post-nasal drip.

God gave me a reprieve on Saturday for our church's Women's Retreat (at which I was worship leader). I coughed some, but I felt well all day.

He continued giving me a voice for Sunday morning (where, again, I was worship leader). I felt really unwell and actually had very little speaking voice, but I could sing.

And then, since yesterday afternoon, I've just been unwell.  Today I have a speaking voice again, but my head is filled up and . . . after HOW many days? . . . I now have a sore throat.


Medicinal homemade chicken-onion soup -- made with Chipotle Chili Pepper -- is on today's menu (as it was for last night), along with more Vitamin C and some herbal preparations.

This had better be over soon {she said darkly}.

- Catherine

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In which I am sick

Ever since the swine flu epidemic of 2009, I've assiduously washed my hands whenever I come home from being out. Hence, I haven't had a cold in over a year (handwashing really does work!).

I have one now.  I don't know where I got it.

My ears are tight, my muscles hurt, I'm sneezing and I'm wooly-headed (there's no other way to describe it -- you know the feeling).

Tea and homemade chicken broth are on the menu for my lunch.

And then a movie while I sit on the couch. I know they say you should stay active if you can, but my brain has definitely checked out and I think I'd be a danger to myself if I tried to do anything.

I remember my mother once calling me when she was in the throes of a major head/bronchial cold, leaving a message on my answering machine (this was in the days before voice mail).  "This is your mother," she intoned. "I've been forced to drink the brandy and now I'm going to bed." Click. I have laughed about this message ever since because it was obvious that she'd miscalculated the amount of brandy she would be needing to quiet her cough and had had a wee bit too much.

Since my church's Women's Retreat is coming up this Saturday and I am supposed to be leading worship, I sincerely hope I'm not forced to drink the brandy.

- Catherine

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nothing random about today

Don and his wife, Balin

One last look and goodbye.

Falling in, shortly before the order for "Attention!" As they marched off to the plane, many turned to wave at the top of the loading stairs.
Meet Number 2, my stepson Donald.

We'll be praying every day for the next 365 days for his safe return from Iraq.

- Catherine

Sunday, September 19, 2010

She always knows

I don't blog much about my stepchildren, mostly because I don't want to invade their privacy.

Four (Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5) are grown and married, with children of their own.

Number 6 isn't home much.

Number 7 remains fair game for blog posts, though -- because he still lives at home.  He's okay with that.

Today's blog is about Number 3 -- my inherited daughter, Jen.

When Tim and I first began our long-distance relationship, Jen was about 16 years old and something of a wild child. After Tim and I had been married for a couple of years, I accepted a job-related move to Salt Lake City, and Jen moved in with me so that she could attend Massage Therapy School in SLC. She distinguished herself in her course work -- and she is still my favorite massage therapist.

She saved me from total depression that year she spent with me, because after moving across the country, I really needed someone to look after and be with.  I was and am very grateful for her company that year.

Subsequent years were rocky at times while Jen found her way in the world. She is a very empathic person and sometimes that has resulted in a lot of hurt for her.

That empathy, though, is a gift of grace with which she has ministered to me on many occasions. She always seems to sense when I need a connection, and she always comes through.

For example, despite being married to Tim for 10 years now, I can still get a feeling of disorientation in large family gatherings -- where I feel like the outsider from the East Coast, as though I don't have an "official" place in the family. Jen always knows. She says it shows on my face but I don't know what that looks like. No one else seems to notice it.

But Jen does, and in love and grace, she will come over and simply hug me for a moment.  That connection restores me in a way that is truly a gift from God.

She knows

And I am so very grateful for that gift.

- Catherine

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The "before" pictures.

As promised, this is a post full of "before" pictures of our new home.  We have a lot of work to do, as you can see. 

I apologize for the dots on the pictures -- apparently there was something on my lens, which I have since (I hope) cleaned up.

Behold the family room with the 1970s red shag carpeting.  That black thing at the far end is a wet bar that is covered with black flocked material, tufted across the front. My friend has dubbed this space "The Las Vegas Room."

Family room and the fabled red shag carpet.

I need to tell you that I vacuumed this space twice over today -- with two different high-powered vacuum cleaners. 

And then I began the shampooing process. 

The dirt was truly disgusting. I'd get about a 3' x 4' patch done and then have to change out the water. 


And, as suspected, many fibers came up in the shampooing process. Number 6 (who is home for a few days between jobs) joked that there were enough fibers to weave a whole 'nother carpet.

Tomorrow I will go back over the family room carpet with the shampooer yet again, and I will shampoo the carpets in the two bedrooms off the family room.

Now, let me show you a space that I am very happy about.

This is my new kitchen.

The kitchen.

See that window over the sink?

This is the view:

The view of the backyard.

I look forward to many peaceful evenings.

- Catherine

Friday, September 17, 2010

And so, 'tis Friday

I don't feel like taking stock of the week (although I did make some great beef stock this week!).

I don't feel like identifying my favorite things. Although having an attitude of gratitude is a good thing.

I don't feel like revisiting the grief that has been weighing on me. I'm tired of feeling sad and trying to cope with crying jags.

No, I've decided that I'm going to clean. 

When the going gets tough, the tough start cleaning.  

I just made that up.

I'm going over to our new house to tackle the family room carpet with my industrial strength vacuum cleaner.

Wish me luck because I think that carpet (red shag from the 1970s) may have its own ecosystem living within its fibers.  Eek!

Hank Williams Jr., canine extraordinaire, will go with me, cowering at my feet because he's afraid I will leave him alone in the house. Clearly we have some adjusting to do in that quarter.

I promise to take "before pictures" this weekend and post them soon.

- Catherine

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

Okay, the parsley is missing, but the other three are there, ready for making stock!

It's time to resume making soups, stews, roasts, spaghetti sauces -- all the wonderful foods associated with the cooler months.  This is my favorite time of year for cooking, mostly because I enjoy the slow cooked comfort foods named above.

Yesterday I made Beef Stock, and this is a little poem I composed as I put the ingredients together:

All that is most wonderful about cooking, for me,
Is wrapped up in the fragrance of fresh rosemary.

A cook AND a poet! Ha!

The stock is simmering

If you'd care to share your favorite recipes, please do!

Wishing you all a season of good food as we head into hibernation mode!
- Catherine

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random Dozen - the Wednesday meme

1. Do you do garage sales? If so, tell me about one great find. If not, tell me why not.  I once bought a great futon sofa at a yard sale.  And I think that was the last time I went to one because I don't go now. (Just don't have time!)

2. Name the last thing you fixed. Ummmm ... I leave the fixing to my husband, I guess, because I can't think of a single thing that I've fixed lately.
3. Name your A) Favorite item of makeup OR B) Favorite tool  Favorite item of makeup is lip stain because even if you don't have eye makeup on, it brightens up your whole face in a jiffy. And it lasts all day!

4. Which room in your home needs organizing more than any other?  Always the kitchen because that is the dumping ground for everyone when they come in the house.

5. Which room could use re-decorating?  I'm about to move into a new house -- ALL the rooms need redecorating.
6. Share something unique about your town.  I've lived here less than 10 years, so I don't really know all the ins and outs of the place. But one thing that I find unique is the number of city parks dotted across this town. We are rich in wonderful city parks that are well kept -- about one per neighborhood, really.  Love all the green space within the city limits!

7. If you could send a one-sentence message to your great-grandchild, what would it be? Have faith and trust in the God who created you!

8. Do you Facebook? Yep -- a few times a day I log on to see what's going on with my friends and family. Plus I use it to message groups of friends.

9. Describe your favorite shoes.  My favorite shoes for comfort are a pair of European style clogs (flat sole, with a little lip at the heel).  My favorite shoes for looks are my cowboy boots.

10. Do you listen to more talk radio or more music radio? What kind of station is it?  I almost never listen to talk radio because I find all the talking heads to be very annoying.  I listen to Christian radio, country radio and classical radio stations, depending on my mood.  One thing I miss is being able to listen to Prairie Home Companion on Saturday nights -- I used to do that when I was a single mom. Now that I'm married and have gained a larger family, Saturday nights aren't usually free for just listening to the radio.

11. How far would you travel for a really good (favorite) meal?  Hmmmm . . . I might drive as much as 30 miles to a restaurant, depending on the route through traffic (I hate traffic, even when a good meal is at the end of the journey).  For a favorite meal made by a friend, there is probably no limit. For a favorite meal made by moi, I only have to travel as far as my kitchen. 

12. If you were totally honest with yourself (and us) what should you probably be doing right now instead of blogging.  Working. My work day starts at 8:00 a.m. and it's 8:07 a.m. as I write this.

Once again, thanks to Lid at 2nd Cup of Coffee for hosting the weekly meme!

- Catherine

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A season of grief

Unexpectedly, I am once again dealing with intense grief over my mother's passing. 

Possibly it is because the one-year mark is approaching (November 1).   At this time last year I was trying to determine when I would have to head East to spend her last days with her.

Possibly it is because we both enjoyed the Fall so much, and this is the first year I cannot share that pleasure with her.

I can't put my finger on the "why" of it, but it's taken me completely off guard.

And I don't like it.

I desperately miss the grounding and re-orienting that I gained just from hearing her voice. It reassured me, at some fundamental level, that I am still me.  That sounds silly, but you know what I mean. With that source of reassurance gone, I sometimes feel like I'm adrift far, far away from home.

Mom at 17
In the past two weeks I've cried just about as much as I did right after her passing. I so miss sharing life with her.

- Catherine

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to life

Okay, the NFL season has officially begun and I am a happy camper.  Sundays are happy days during football season since the whole family likes to hunker down and watch. Together. I like the "together" part especially well.

I did see one game today, but only one (this evening).  Today was the dreaded Sunday cleaning of the Fair booth, getting it ready for winter storage now that the Fair is over (it ended last night). 

Those fryers are disgusting, let me tell you. And the grease is so hard by the end of the week that it takes a razor blade to get it off. 

Totally gross.

Glad it's over.

The weather for the Fair didn't cooperate very well -- Wednesday was cold and cloudy, Thursday was cold and rainy.  Sales were down across the board anyway, due to the recession, but those two days were just pathetic.  That said, we had a record-breaking day at the very last, and so the week was salvaged somewhat.

And now, we return to our regularly scheduled life, and I am excited as all get out. 

Because organizing my life excites me and gets me going.  I'm a geek that way.

PLUS we've got a move coming up in the next month, so I've got carpets to clean and all kinds of things to do in that area. The reward will be a bigger house and a huge back yard. Wahoo!

PLUS I've decided that since my new home has ample storage shelves in the basement and a huge pantry closet on the main floor, I will resume canning next year.

"Resume" is a relative term since I haven't actually done any canning in about 25 years.  But that's okay. There is always the Internet for resources and information, and there is probably a "home canning for dummies" kind of book somewhere. 

Soooo -- tomorrow my life gets going on its regular schedule again.  Ye-es!

- Catherine

Friday, September 10, 2010

One more day to go

The Fair is almost over -- it closes tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m.

The final event of the week is a Demolition Derby.

A Demolition Derby is a most appropriate ending.

Because I am tired. 

I feel that my strength has been demolished.

And if I never again smell another piece of fried fish, it will be too soon.

That said, thanks to all who came to our booth and enjoyed our food! 

Same time next year?

- Catherine

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The update on Fair week

The State Fair is proceeding as usual. There are rodeos, tractor pulls, cotton candy, produce competitions, canning competitions, concerts, horse-racing, rides, 4H and FFA competitions, tons of show animals, and lots of people. 

It's a traditional State Fair in an agricultural state, and I must say that I really do love it.

Our fish and chips booth is doing well, although overall sales for all the vendors (including us) are down a little bit.  At last year's Fair the recession didn't seem to matter to anyone -- we actually did record-breaking business last year.  But this year, after 12 months of cutting back and pinching pennies, people are definitely purchasing less.  Can't say I blame them, really.  We're doing the same in our family.

But overall, we are happy with how it's going at the booth. We've had fun working together. We've joked about the grease (which is everywhere) and the tasks at hand. We've commiserated about the smell of our clothing when we get home and the overwhelming need for a shower as soon as you walk in your door after your shift. It's a good experience, whether sales are up or down.

The Fair isn't over yet, so there is more to come!

- Catherine

Friday, September 3, 2010

One more day and then it begins!

So, in the meantime, would you like to see the food we serve during Fair week?

Salmon and fries

Cod and fries

Shrimp and fries

Are you sensing a theme here?  That's right -- it's deep fried. We promise you delicious, but we don't promise you healthy.  Actually, as Fair food goes, our salmon might be one of the healthier choices, although "healthy" is not why people come to the Fair and eat the food.

Still, this is one of the abiding favorites of all:

Smoked salmon bagel
Pure salmon goodness nestled on our homemade cream cheese spread, supported by a toasted bagel.

I will spend the next week shouting like a carnival barker to the passing crowd: "Frrrreesh hot salmon and fries, cod and fries, shrimp and fries, sampler platters, smoked salmon-on-a-bagel!" 

If you're in Idaho, come join the fun!

- Catherine

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Fair is starting on Saturday

18 gallons of tartar sauce.

Tartar sauce is a huge mess because it can only be ladled in to the jar by the "glop-full."

20 gallons of fry sauce.

This is about 3.5 gallons of fry sauce (a mixture of ketchup, mayo, and horseradish)

12 tubs of cocktail sauce

My sister-in-law making yet another tub of cocktail sauce.

13 pounds of cream cheese spread.

I don't have a picture of that, but suffice it to say that it's as messy as anything else, and, ultimately, as delicious. The recipe comprises cream cheese, heavy cream, onion powder and dill weed.

The booth will be inspected today for health, electrical and I don't know what else.

And then we'll be up and running!

- Catherine