Saturday, September 24, 2011

Comfort Food

Every time my family gets together and I bring something that tastes good, my mother (bless her heart!) will undoubtedly turn to me and say "who would have thought you'd be able to cook???" or something similarly uplifting. Praise never was her... gift. But the truth is, I've been surrounded by some REALLY good cooks for a long time, and it wasn't until I got married and had my own captive audience that I really got a chance to develop my... chops. (yuk yuk!)
But now I have a pretty good repertoire and what's more, I really like to cook. Tonight I overestimated the Fall-ness of this Fall, and baked a chicken for dinner. When I roast a chicken or turkey, I chop up mushrooms, onions and a clove of garlic and drop them in the pan under the bird. I usually put a few in the cavity too, just for fun. When the bird is done I can make gravy right in the pan (tonight it worked beautifully- oh so yummy- just added some cream and a few sprinkles of flour). I love the chunks of vegetable in the gravy.
I also made an apple pie today- a honey apple pie. It's an easy recipe, none of that tedious mixing of the apples with sugar. Just pile the slices in the crust, pour honey over the top and sprinkle with vanilla, cinammon and dot with butta. I don't know what the butter's for, but when someone tells me to add butter to something, I just do it, no questions asked. Here's the link to the recipe, and here's a pic of mine:
Can't you just see the deliciousness squiggling up in the air, out of those steam vents? YUM.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Anna and Our Staff

I've been not posting, because I have so much reading to do. It's not that I'm actually doing the reading, but if I have reading to do and I'm not doing that, then I shouldn't be hanging around blogging... when I should be reading...
But we just got home from a friend's wake, and I'm so tired and sad but also so proud and grateful. Our friend Anna was our office manager at the parish, and she died this week from gastric (and other kinds, eventually) cancer. Anna was an average Jane, just working hard and cooking for her family and loving her granddaughters, and she was diagnosed in March and worked right up to August. Through working together, we know her family; we all went to her daughter's wedding and her granddaughters were baptized with us, and we were there for her beloved mother's funeral. Anna was a big part of our staff lunches, keeping us posted on good town gossip and happy stories of her family. She would gather us all together to celebrate anything that came up, at her home or out at restaurants.
Tonight was the wake for our friend and the staff understood that we would be there for it, for the family and to help out. After a while, we all found each other and stood at the sacristy door watching the wake unfold- the largest wake I've ever seen. Soon, we all moved into the rectory to find some food and have a drink in Anna's honor- we sat around and told stories and ate together and I realized that that was exactly what Anna would have encouraged us to do, and would have been the first one up the stairs to pour everyone a drink.
Back to the wake and we stuck together still, our staff, hanging on to each other, taking care of each other. We were the last ones there, helping the funeral home staff move flowers and vacuum up for the morning. I'm so thankful for Anna's legacy with our staff, which has become a funny, loving, quirky family, and I'm fiercely proud of the work we do and the way we hang in together when things are good and when they are bad. I'm so thankful God brought me to this parish.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Just strolled out to my garden after what seems like forever and may have been weeks. I had spied some red tomatoes out there and wanted to see what time had produced. What I found, my friends, was a MASSIVE cucumber. It's so big, I don't even know if it will taste good... it's bigger than our remote control, longer than Scott's head. That onion in there with it? It's a vidalia- so there's some contrast for ya. Looks like tonight we'll be having cucumber soup with a side of sauteed cucumbers, and cucumber ice cream for dessert.
No, we won't have any of that, really. But we may have some cucumbers, cut with some salt sprinkled on. What else is necessary?

By the way, that's our first carrot, in the corner near the onion. We continue with our tradition of producing non-carrot-shaped carrots. Ah well, I'm sure it'll taste just fine... with a side of cucumber.

Friday, September 16, 2011


With all this September stress, I'm trying to keep things in perspective. While I'm stressing about getting all my reading done, I know that people are experiencing real stress and real suffering. I'm trying to find places that I can give myself breaks. This week I met with my advisor at school and she agreed to let me put off my thesis work until next semester. I felt like I could stand straighter the moment I asked to make the change. On the way home from my appointment with her, I had a window open in my car, and the vibration of the air coming in that window was making my head throb. I cracked open a back window and felt instant relief, and knew that this is what had just happened with my advisor, too. Just taking the pressure off in one place means that I can relax more across the board.
Tomorrow we have our only day off and I'll spend it reading. My new (and LAST) professor is assigning more reading than it feels possible to achieve in a week, but I'm trying to remember that sitting on my porch in the sun, at my comfy home, with two cats and a wonderful husband inside, is a darn sight better than what others are having to do on Saturday. I can do it.
Don't forget to breathe!!

Monday, September 05, 2011


There is a lot going on. We moved my parents to their new apartment at "The Home" and are trying to clean out their house to be sold. Want to buy a house? My brother is getting married this weekend and Scott is recovering from an appendectomy. Want to buy an appendix? (Note: You can't buy an appendix, even on ebay. And why would you? You don't even need the one you already have!) Add this to some work stress and I can feel my shoulder muscles seizing up just from typing about it.
The fact that today is Labor Day and that therefore labor is strictly prohibited is actually an added stress. There are some work things that it would have been great to have dealt with TODAY, and my parents need to see a doctor, but can't. (The nurse line said "that is urgent, but not critical" which I think means "oh that's bad all right but this is a HOLIDAY WEEKEND.")
But I guess I should just chill out and enjoy the forced relaxation. As soon as the wedding's over, classes start, and GOF starts at the parish, and the whole year takes off like a malfunctioning merry-go-round. Which is to say, still a fun ride, but faster than one would expect.
It's a stressful, busy time of year, so I bet you're starting to feel stressed too, so I will pray for you, if you'll pray for me. For patience, for endurance, for grace. For trust that we'll get to it all, and get it all done, and won't ruin the world with our missteps. For moments of peace and contentment and joy. Ahhhh, okay everyone, let's get back out there!
photo credit