Thursday, February 26, 2009


I just can't take it anymore.

I can't bear to watch the news. I've prided myself on being an aware person. I've always enjoyed the routine of the daily newscast. Since moving to Wyoming, I've awakened to the NPR broadcast each morning. As I rolled around town, I'd listen for the top of the hour id. That routine provided a dual purpose that stemmed from my college radio station days; I could tell the time and catch the latest news from around the U.S. I'd turn on the national broadcast and could often catch both CBS and NBC broadcast due to a half hour stagger on the schedule. I would often be up until the 10 pm local broadcast from the big city across the border to the north and would marvel at the rotating door of just-out-of-college broadcast journalism newbies that would be honing their newly graduated skills. I would often flip the channel to the PBS station and catch the BBC broadcast if the local news wasn't exciting enough. Over the last eight years I would steel myself in preparation for the language gaffe that was regularly broadcast by the last Chief Executive. I know those days are over and I'm grateful. But...

But I just can't watch the news right now. I find myself going through my daily online routine..., The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, SF Gate and I just have to stop. Much like the Rocky Mountain News, which ceases publication after this Friday, I'm out of business. I just can't do it right now. I'm depressed and the news is even more depressing than I am. I don't have a mutual fund, a 401K, or anything beyond a pile of bills and an inconsistent work situation. I do have a corner lot with a little house that has family in it, a college education, some volition... but now I'm wondering if that is enough.

And, according to the news... it's not. So, I'm clicking off for a while. Call me an ostrich, that's fine. I would say "bawk... bawk" but I'm not sure what sound a ostrich even makes. I still have faith. I still have hope. But I just need a little distance.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blindfolded Cookery

I don't know what it is about being tired and cold and hungry, but it makes for some interesting lunch.

On today's menu... mystery soup. It was kind of like cooking with a blindfold on, reaching into the 'fridge and turning on the gas.

A couple of days ago I browned a package of sirloin tips with garlic, diced red pepper and a little olive oil. I would have added some onion, but I couldn't remember where I last saw the onion that I bought last week. I put the nice smelling mixture in the crock pot with a cup of turkey stock I'd made and froze a couple of weeks ago and a cup of cooked barley. I found about a cup of browned Italian sausage from Sunday's pizza making and tossed that it as well. I set the whole concoction on low for a few hours and put it in the 'fridge overnight. And then I forgot it.

So, this morning, I was up at 5 to teach and, instead of being hungry at noon, I started feel a might peckish. It's not quite lunch time now but my feet are frozen and I'm even hungrier. Back to the 'fridge I went, grabbing the barley-beef-pepper soup, some beef stock, a can of tomato sauce, a can of Ro*Tel tomatoes and peppers, and what is left of the chicken chimichanga with rice from my birthday dinner last Monday. In the soup pot it has all went and now it is simmering on the stove, awaiting a topping of shredded cheese and crunched tortilla chips.

I'm not sure what exactly to call it because "Unfreeze My Feet Soup" just doesn't roll off the tongue. But, it is quite good and I have enough for company...

Monday, February 16, 2009


As I was trying to take a nap yesterday afternoon I was lamenting that I had no plans for dinner. I guess the wheels in my brain started turning because while listening to BeauSoleil on Prairie Home Companion, I came up with the following recipe.

BeauSoleil Stuffed Prairie Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 sour cream
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh spinach, julienned
1 glass white wine
1/2 thinly sliced onion
1/2 large sweet potato, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil

Using a meat tenderizer, pound boneless breasts flat as the prairie. Mix next five ingredients. Spread a thin coating of the cream cheese mixture on the chicken breast, roll up breast and place in a baking pan that has been buttered. Lay rolls of chicken breasts side by side in pan. Pour glass of white wine. Pour half over chicken breasts. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Reserve other half of wine for sipping while chicken bakes. Toss onions and sweet potatoes with olive oil. Top chicken with onion & potato mixture. Cover dish and bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes or until chicken is firm and juices run clear. Remove chicken from oven and allow to sit 5-10 minutes. Lift each rolled & stuffed breast onto the plate and slice to reveal a beautiful sunrise...

Sunday, February 15, 2009


So, that day has finally arrived. I knew it would get here. I've tried to decide if I should prepare myself for it, or if I should just ignore it. Normally, I'd give myself plenty of opportunities to fixate, to mull, to obsess. Lately, though, it's been too hectic in my world; children in school, birthday cakes to bake, laundry to fold, and the general day and night routines. I continued to think I would have plenty of time to prepare, to focus my thoughts and get my over-stimulated brain in the right place. But it didn't happen and here came the day with no noticeable preparation.

I'm now 40.

What? When? Well, officially on February 16. How did this happen? I just don't know.

There was a time, and there shouldn't be offense taken by anyone reading this, when I was little that 40 was, well, OLD. It was even older than "grown up" or "mature". I'm not sure where that notion came from, but it may have to do with my family. My father was an "older" father. In reality he was 45 when I was born in 1969. On each of his birthdays, from the time I knew to ask, I'd say "Dad, how old are you now?" His reply would always be "thirty-nine" and I always believed him. I never figured he was a fibber or that his age wasn't what he said it was. Thirty-nine seemed like a reasonable number to me and, though it was older than most of my classmates' fathers, it was just fine by me.

But now, here I am. I am exiting the age that my dad always claimed to be and embarking on a new decade. I'm dragging along my small children and husband along for the ride.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What I've Learned From THIS Four Year Old

Today, my little Charlie is four.

He was lifted into the world during a record-breaking delivery day in Billings, Montana, during a snowstorm. No one could come to see him in the hospital except for his grandmother, father and mother, due to a Whooping Cough, Influenza and RSV outbreak.

He was nearly three times the size of his sister, being born at 6 pounds, 10 ounces.

He has the names of Scott's father (Charles, though only known as Buzz) and my father's middle name, Ragnvald. We should have immediately started calling him "Rags" or stuck with "Buster". When I ask him if he's still my baby he says "No, I'm CHARLIE".

Since he's had hair, it's been shocking, Billy-Idol-white. Why do boys always get this do when I have to pay for that color?

His Nemo swim trunks are size 12 months. This is the fourth year he's been wearing them.

He now hollers at the barking Psychopoodle "Awwwwww, SHUTH UPpppp" in a perfection imitation of Sylvester.

His patron saints are Goofy, Mickey, and Donald.

He loves his strider bike. He looks for all the bumps to bump da bump de bump.

He had his first visit to the dentist last Wednesday and attempted to abscond with all the equipment. He especially liked the water spouter-thingy.

His willfulness is astounding. I haven't heard him say "my way or the highway" yet, but I know he's thinking it.

He calls his sister "Ta-Ta". She calls him "CharrrrReeee".

He's not a vegetarian. He might be considered a green beantarian, a peanut buttertarian, a sausagetarian, frutarian or a fromagatarian. He also love pistachios.

He can hear the train coming 5 minutes before anyone else can. He also turns down the music when his dad turns it up. I am waiting to see if he can predict earthquakes like his grandfather Jon Justad. I think we may have a sound engineer in our future.

He now can operate his own "geee-mote".

He loves the cats in our house. He seems to be without opinion about the dog when it's not barking.

He wears custom-knitted delights from his grandmother and his friend Zipper.

He has names for all his pants, including Diego, Mickey, Bob the Bilker, Mater and Apple pants.

He used to call his grandmother "PeePaw" but now calls her "Gramma".

He can operate a mouse.

He has made our family complete.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


A friend asked me for a recipe today and so I took it as an opportunity to try something new. I put together a recipe card, with a photo of a batch of the toffee that I made this afternoon. I turned the InDesign file into a PDF and then lobbed it back to being a Jpeg so that I could post it here and on Facebook. I then reworked it and just exported it as a Jpeg for upload directly to the blog. All for a dinky little candy recipe...

I'm feeling a little too geeky right now, so I guess I'll go fold some laundry...