Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Potpourri

Well, it's been almost a week since I last posted and it's amazing how many things can happen in a week.

First off, I was sick.  Sick as a dog sick.  I don't know if it was the flu, a cold or some other random virus but it knocked me down for the count.  I was completely miserable and pretty much housebound so ya, that was fun for my family.  Thankfully I started feeling remarkably better yesterday and today I feel pretty much good as new.  Phew!

During my sick days some happy things happened.  Paige brought home what she described as a "pretty good" report card and it turned out that it was an AWESOME report card.  She got onto both honor rolls, a feat that cost us an extra $10 in report card money.  Once again though, the part I love best about her report cards are the actual teacher reports stating what a hard worker she is and what a pleasure she is.  Sure, I love to see those A's and B's (or in the case of Biology 12 a C) but it always makes my heart swell with pride to hear what a wonderful girl she is.

On Monday she had her grad photos taken.  I got up early in spite of feeling wretched and spent 40 minutes curling her hair for the occasion.  All part of the mom duties.  And here's another special thing about Paige...she's so thoughtful.  Her cousin Aaron was having his photo appointment right before hers so she came up with the idea of them getting a couple of photos together to give to Gary's parents.  How neat is that?  They've never been terribly close in spite of growing up together but I love that they came together on this.  I can't wait to see how the pictures turn out!

In non-Paige news, on Sunday the four of us went to the woods to find a Christmas tree.  It was a gorgeous day for it and in spite of Paige and I not feeling well that day we all had a good time.  Before we hit the woods we hit the Starbucks.  My sweet Mom sent us a Christmas card in the mail that also contained a Starbucks gift card specifically for the four of us to use.  So hot beverages in hand, we drove to one of our favorite hunting spots.  Only this time we were on the lookout for trees.  Although Gary did bring his gun along and told us to keep an eye out for deer as well.  Here's something we learned about wild trees...they aren't very uniform and they look way smaller in their natural habitat than when you get them home.  Have you seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?  Ya, it went something like that.  We now have an enormous tree on our deck and can't decide whether we should try to trim it up or just go buy a tree as usual.  I'm leaning towards purchasing one. :)

On Tuesday Gary started his new 10-hour shifts.  Boy, was that weird for me when he didn't come home at 3 o'clock.  (It was also weird for me when he was home all day on Monday.)  I don't like change very much but I think that once I get used to this new schedule it will be the bees knees.

Yesterday, if you're on Facebook, you'll know that I had a baking disaster.  I found this super neat cake recipe on Pinterest called Zebra Cake.  (If you google Zebra Cake you'll probably find all sorts of photos of what they're supposed to look like.)  Long story short, my chocolate batter was thicker than my vanilla batter, both batters refused to cooperate in the pan and do what they were supposed to do and then the final insult was that the vanilla batter refused to bake all the way through.  When I thought the cake was done I stuck a toothpick in the middle and sure enough it came out clean.  Hours later when I went to serve it up for dessert, I discovered that huge portions of it definitely were NOT cooked so I stuck it back in the oven for 30 minutes.  Even with that extra time in the oven it refused to cook so I gave up.  I cut out all the uncooked parts and we sampled the rest which was quite delicious, I must say.  This will not be the end though.  I will conquer this cake.  I will not let a Zebra Cake get the best of me!

And that's basically the story of the last 7 days.  A potpourri of happenings, both good & bad.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Good Day!

Today has been fantastic.  And the day's not even over yet!

I woke up this morning feeling remarkably better.  I took mega doses of vitamins yesterday so I'm not sure if that's what turned the virus around or if it was the completely amazing barbecue chicken pizza that Hannah brought for family dinner last night (the pizza was from Papa John's and might be my new fave pizza) or all the people praying for me or a combination of things.  Whatever did it, I'm grateful.  The only fly in the ointment is my neck and shoulders.  They are still hurting a lot in spite of getting a massage every day, hot packs, cold packs, stretches and pain killers.  I finally got myself into the chiropractor this morning but he had a hard time working his magic since all my muscles were so tight.  He did manage to adjust my spine somewhat but I have to go back tomorrow so he can try again.

When I got home from the chiropractor I had a good news message on my phone from Gary.  He starts his new shift of four 10's next week which means he has a 3-day weekend coming up.  I am beyond excited about this!  Gary has been longing to have this shift for years and now it's finally happening.  Now, every other weekend will be a 4-day weekend for him.  Oh, the endless possibilities of how we'll be able to fill those days off together.

THEN, when I went online to do the banking I discovered that Gary had received his final government grant for his apprenticeship yesterday.  Yes!  That will be a nice chunk to pay down our line of credit.

And, now this may be a small-ish thing, but Gary is going out for dinner with his work crew tonight which means that only Paige and I will be home (Cam's working) so I don't really have to cook.  Woot!

Such a good day! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hitchcock Marathon

I love movies.  That's no secret.  But I like a wide variety of movies.  Thankfully, so does my husband.  This past weekend we decided to watch some Alfred Hitchcock movies.  Now contrary to popular belief, most Hitchcock movies are not scary.  They are more along the lines of mystery movies.  And even the supposedly scary ones ("Psycho", "The Birds") aren't scary either because the special effects are so lame that they end up being more like comedies.

We started our marathon with "To Catch A Thief".  I highly recommend this one.  It stars Cary Grant (he's SO dreamy!) and Grace Kelly (she's SO beautiful...and I want her wardrobe).  It's set in the French Riviera so the scenery is spectacular.  The story in a nutshell is about a retired jewel thief who is accused of a string of robberies and goes after the real thief to clear his name.

The next movie we watched was "Dial M For Murder".  This one also stars Grace Kelly (again with an enviable wardrobe) and Ray Milland.  The basic plot is about a man who hires someone to kill his wife and finds himself in a predicament when things don't go according to plan.  I also recommend this one.

Third on the playlist was "Psycho".  Paige recently had to watch this one for her film class and recommended it to me.  I watched it one day last week and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  So Gary and I watched it together on Friday night.  This one stars Janet Leigh who is murdered while in a motel shower in what is probably one of the most famous movie scenes ever.  There are a couple of scenes that will make you jump but nothing too terribly scary.  And the ending may surprise you!

On Saturday afternoon I watched one by myself, "Marnie".  It stars Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren.  The movie starts out as a caper movie with a female thief but ends up being more about the psychological trauma she endured as a child that made her the way she is.  It was interesting and definitely held my attention but was also quite dark as the secrets of her childhood came to light.

For our fifth choice we decided to try a "newer" Hitchcock film and went with "Frenzy".  I don't know about Gary, but I didn't really like it.  Aside from the bad 70's styles, the main character was just really slimy and creeped me out.  The story is about a serial rapist/murderer whose close friend gets blamed for his crimes and the friend's fight to have his name cleared and to have the real culprit brought to justice.

To wrap up our marathon we picked a tried and true classic, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day.  (You just can't go wrong with these two actors.)  The story is about an American doctor and his family who get caught up in an assassination plot while vacationing in Morocco.  I highly recommend this one for it's interesting story, the great acting and Doris' singing.  (She has a beautiful voice!  She also has a fabulous wardrobe.)  (Clearly I'm in love with 50's clothing!)

Other Hitchcock movies that I've seen many times and recommend are "North By Northwest" and "Rear Window". Oh, and if you decide to check any of these out, be sure to try and spot Alfred Hitchcock.  He makes uncredited cameos in his movies and it's great fun to try to find him as you're watching.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pain In The Neck

Literally...I've had a pain in my neck since I woke up this morning.  Ugh.  I hate when that happens.  Although I tried every pain killer in my cupboard (not all at once!), a heating pad, multiple stretching exercises and even a massage from Gary the pain hasn't budged all day. 

In spite of it though I had such a good day.  Especially this morning.  Gary and I went into the woods to accomplish two things; hunting and cutting some greenery for decorating our deck railing.  We didn't get very far with the hunting because the roads were so slick that Gary couldn't get the truck up any of the hills.  But we did have fun trekking through the snow looking for nice branches to cut.

We then headed home, got changed out of old hunting clothes into proper clothes and went to town to do our weekly grocery shopping.  After shopping Gary took me out for lunch to a tool store.  Ok, that sounds funny.  But here's the story...a couple from our church barbecues hotdogs outside of a local tool store every Saturday and sells them by donation.  All the money goes to a local mission.  So we decided to check it out today.  I was not disappointed (being a lover of hotdogs!) although it was pretty chilly standing outside in the wind eating my lunch.

After lunch we decided to go to my favorite nursery, Art Knapp, where other church friends of ours were singing for the open house that was happening today.  The place was packed so it was a bit difficult to peruse all of the beautiful Christmas decorations that were for sale.  But I still enjoyed myself.

The rest of the day was spent trying to deal with the pain in my neck.  Seeing as I got nowhere with it I was unable to go to church this evening.  Paige stayed home with me as Gary was going to a friend's house right after church to watch UFC.  The two of us girls watched a couple of Christmas movies while munching on popcorn.  It did take my mind off my pain for a little bit.  But now I'm going to take a couple of Tylenol 3 and hit the hay.  Hopefully my neck will be back to normal tomorrow as I've got another full day of fun planned!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Surprise Snowfall

Yesterday the weather forecast was calling for a chance of flurries with no more than a 1cm accumulation.  Well, the powers that be got it wrong.  It started snowing around 7pm, right as Paige was driving herself to a friend's house, and didn't stop until sometime in the middle of the night leaving us with more like 5cm of snow.

I was fairly worried because Paige had never driven alone in snow before and Cam, who was at work from 3-11, hasn't driven in snow for over a year.  Paige got home safe and sound at 10:30 and said that it hadn't been too bad.  Turns out, her definition of "not too bad" is my definition of "pretty bad".  Cam left work at 11:30 with instructions from me to take it slow.  About 20 minutes later I got a text from her which turned into me actually calling her.  She had slid through an intersection which completely freaked her out and caused her to have a panic attack.  So Paige and I got out of our pjs, got dressed and drove clear across town to rescue Cam.

The conditions on the highway were awful.  The snow was falling like mad and the roads had not been plowed.  I had to drive at 60km/h the entire way.  It felt like we would never get to Cam.  But eventually, about 30 minutes later, we found her parked on the side of the road trying to calm herself down.  We quickly did a driver switcharoo with me driving Cam's car and Paige driving mine.  I tell ya, that was a long drive home.  I found out that Cam's new all-weather tires are definitely not as good as my snow tires.  I was sliding quite a bit so I understood why she had freaked out.  Paige was driving behind me (confident as all get-out...just like her dad!) but I was going pretty slow so that I wouldn't lose sight of her in my rear view mirror.  Once again we never got above 60km/h so it felt like the longest drive home ever.


By 1am we were home again safe and sound.  Cam was ever so grateful that we had come to rescue her and I was deeply relieved that our adventure was over.

The scene this morning (after some of the snow had already started melting)...

 I think it may be time for me to put my lounge chair away for the winter.
The patio furniture can stay though because it's in such bad shape that it will have to be replaced next year anyway.

True Love

Today is my parents' 46th wedding anniversary.  By today's standards that's like a bazillion years.  What a testimony to commitment they are.  They have weathered my mom's many physical illnesses, my dad's severe depression, job losses, raising two children, financial hardships, loss of loved ones over the years and all the ups and downs that one experiences during a lifetime together.  But through it all they've stood by each other and stayed true to their wedding vows.  Their love has grown and strengthened and deepened.  It's truly inspirational.

Here they are on their wedding day.  I've always thought that my mom is one of the most beautiful brides I've ever seen.  And my dad was pretty darn handsome.  They were so young and innocent with no clue as to what the future would hold.  But then, that's all of us, isn't it?  Just taking it one day at a time.  Trusting, hoping, loving, believing.  Holding on to each other; never letting go.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Yummy Recipe

Sunday has become my baking day when I make sure the cookie container is filled for the week.  I was going to make chocolate cookies but couldn't find my recipe anywhere.  So I took to the internet for help.  I found an AWESOME recipe that is even better than the one I had.  These cookies are so good that they are dangerous.  Dangerous to my waistline, that is.  To ensure that I'm not the only one packing on the cold-weather pounds, I'm going to share the recipe with you.  I know, I'm nice like that.

Soft Chocolate Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and sugars together.  Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla.  Blend together dry ingredients.  Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until just incorporated.  Drop spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges of cookies are firm.

Supposedly yields 3 dozen.  I adjusted the recipe to make 4 dozen and actually got 5 dozen out of it.

These cookies are very chocolaty and brownie-like.  (Now you know why I love them!!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hard Stuff

The last couple of weeks have seen a lot of hard things happen almost all at once.  A friend was diagnosed with cancer, another girl who's a friend of a friend just had unsuccessful cancer surgery, my best friend's grandma died quite unexpectedly and my sister is back on chemo and basically cannot leave her house at this time for fear that she could catch one of the many viruses going around right now.

So many hard things.

BUT, I know that God has a plan in all of these things and that all we need is faith & trust.  He's answered so many of my prayers over the years and I don't think He's about to stop answering them now.  I will keep my eyes on Him knowing that He's in control of everything.