Thursday, January 26, 2012


Did you know that when you lose hearing (temporarily) in one of your ears that the other ear becomes the Arnold Schwarzenegger of ears?

I'll be headed to the doctor in a little while to hopefully get my hearing back, and we won't discuss the reason for the hearing loss because ear stuff is just gross to talk about.

But seriously, I am hearing ambient noises I never noticed before.  I can hear the rythym of the clothes dryer on the other side of the house.  And these phantom dings or beeps that make me think I'm getting texts.  And the TV seems louder than normal, although harder to understand.

It seems a little coincidental to me that the first week I start working with my ESL student, a young woman from Venezuela who has a hearing impairment in one ear, that I would experience nearly total hearing loss on one side.  Hmmmm...

But tomorrow I'll be on a plane to Houston (Naomi's baby shower!) and really need everything with my defective ear to be resolved before reaching 30,000 feet.  Ouch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I love my buddy, Duke.  I love him despite the muddy paw prints every day, the dog hair, the constant need for exercise and dog park trips, and the occasional misbehaving.  I just read on Facebook that someone is having to put their Lab down in the morning due to a brain tumor.  It gave me pause to appreciate that Duke is healthy and silly, but has a limited time with us.  I think everyone needs a four-legged friend in their lives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sausage, Beans and Rice

I thought I'd share an easy one-pot recipe that I got from my mom years ago.  This is one of those meals where very little prep is required, and you just wait for everything to heat through.  It's also pretty inexpensive.

Sausage, Beans, and Rice

1 lb smoked sausage, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
2 27-oz cans Pinto Beans (NOT pork-n-beans)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 bell pepper chopped
1/2 large onion chopped or 1 whole medium onion
2 cups rice (I use Minute Rice) cooked
worcestershire sauce
liquid smoke
salt and pepper

Throw everything except the rice in a large pot to heat for 20-30 minutes or until the veggies have softened some, and serve over a bowl of rice. (If I'm especially lazy, I'll skip the rice.)  Although it can be ready quickly, I like to cook it for a while to make sure the flavors have time to meld together.  For the worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke, just toss in several shakes each.  I'm convinced liquid smoke is an underused flavoring in the kitchen.  Speaking of flavor, you could also add Tobasco or Louisiana hot sauce, cilantro, jalapenos, etc.

You don't have to use two big cans of beans like I do, but at least use 2 15-oz cans.  I used to make this by first spending several hours cooking a pot of red beans from scratch, until DeeBee convinced me that canned beans worked just as well.  She was right, and I can now throw this together much faster. 

Still, every Southern girl should learn how to cook red beans from scratch.  I've said that before, but it stands repeating.


Monday, January 09, 2012

Thoughts that count

I know I should have Christmas behind me by now, and I do have most everything put away except for some greenery.  But I wanted to share a couple of my favorite gifts.  I'm always impressed when people come up with creative and MADE-FOR-ME kind of gifts.  I wish I could be as thoughtful.

First, these measuring cups from DeeBee.  They combine two things I enjoy - cooking and collecting owls.  Cute, huh?

When Karl and Ashley and the kids were visiting in November, I mentioned not being able to find good salsa here and how much I missed Julio's salsa from Texas.  A couple weeks later, a big box of jars and jars of salsa arrives, ordered directly from Julio's in San Angelo.  These are (sadly) the only two jars we have left!

Then there's this personalized address stamp from Jo and Doug.  I can honestly say I've never had an address stamp but always thought they were cool.  Such a creative gift!

And lastly, my favorite.  When the girls were much younger, part of the bedtime ritual of goodnight hugs and tucking in was to say "I love you all the way to..." and they'd fill in whatever was the farthest or silliest.  Often it would start with the moon and end up with Pluto.  So when I opened this from Addison, well, it was all I could do to not have one of those cheesy crying mom moments.  I love it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


These trees are beautiful.  But boy do they provide a lot of labor in the fall and winter.  I took this picture back in early November, and I'm still raking bags and bags of leaves that are still dropping.  But I do love them.

Besides raking leaves, I've been getting through Christmas, having wonderful visits with family, have taken two day trips to Kansas, have gone to the doctor a couple times, and have been helping Addison pick up the pieces after a difficult and unexpected break-up.

Oh life.

I've also received a really good job lead, but was expecting a call by now.  Kind of a dream job without dream pay.  But we'll see.

And tonight I'm going out to dinner with my neighbor.  She's probably 15-20 years my senior, and I love that.  I like having "mother figures" in my life.  I have a friend like that in Midland that I really miss.  How dumb that I haven't picked up the phone and called her.  I think I'll add that to my week.

So I don't make resolutions or expect big changes for the new year.  I find that life tends to  slap me around a little when I do that, so when changes come I just try to be ready.  I am (sort of, half-heartedly) training for a half marathon.  Three couples in Alan's family have COMMITTED to meeting up March 18th in Memphis for a race.  I will absolutely not be capable of running the whole thing, but am determined to finish it regardless of whether or not my hips are still attached at the end.  Send some good vibes my way.

I am happy to be starting my year in Tulsa.  There are still times when it's hard to be away from the girls.  I stepped out of the room a couple times at Christmas when I felt tears in my eyes because Bailey wasn't here.  Or wished I could have taken her chicken soup and meds and gotten her a cold damp wash cloth when she was sick over the weekend.  And I've wanted so badly to run over to Addison's and give her a big hug and hang out for a while to fill some empty moments.

But I can only do what I can from a distance, and in a way I think that's good for them.

And now I'm off to my shopping and dinner with my neighbor, which is good for me.  Hope you do things that are good for you, too, in the coming year.  Cheers!