Thursday, March 21, 2013

Readers wanted? Anyone? Bueller?

Every day this week, I've been jolted into reality as the doors open at my stop. I scramble to gather my things and exit the train without dropping anything, tripping on myself, or bumping into anyone. I'm in a fog, shaking my head a little to clear it.
I'm not on drugs. I haven't been sleeping on the way in, although god knows I could use it - I've been averaging six hours a night, and they haven't been quality. I've been reading. I've been so immersed in worlds other people created that I have not been present on the 45 minute train ride into the city. I haven't noticed who's gotten on or off the train, or if the lady across from me is still plucking her eyebrows and discarding them on the lap of the person next to her left. No, I'm not shitting you. That actually happened on Wednesday.

Getting lost in a book is such a wonderful feeling. It's almost like coming out of a deep sleep, which ideally is done slowly and not in the manner I mentioned above. I'm trying to dodge angry commuters in Suburban Station while in my mind I'm still sitting next to Anya on a cold bench in the winter garden.
If anyone knows of a job where I can just read all the live long day, let me know. I'm exceptionally qualified.

What have I been reading this week?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the follow up to Divergent. I am dying for the next one...which I just found out (thank you Google, as always) will not be out until October. WTF! Patience is not my virtue.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. I want to get to the end so I'll know if I still one to kick one of the main characters in the crotch or not.

Remember that you can always keep up with what I'm reading by clicking on the Let's Talk Books page on the navigation bar.

What are you reading?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The last lesson my grandmother taught me

This is the first year I didn't celebrate my birthday with my Grandmom, who was a St. Paddy's baby and loved her birthday as much as I did. I know, impossible, right?Last year we celebrated her 80th straight through June! She definitely had me beat.

This year felt really weird without her - no joint birthday dinner where she gloried in picking the meal or the place because of her elder status, no admonition to not get sick from too much rich restaurant food consumed around our birthdays, no phone call on my birthday that ended with her saying, "And you call me in two days for mine and we'll do it all again."

She passed away the week before Christmas 2012 from pancreatic cancer. I'm truly thankful that while the last year of her life was painful for her physically, it was good for her emotionally - some of the walls she kept up her whole life came down, enabling her to love and be loved more freely. Those walls kept a distance between her and a lot of people. You always knew that she loved you, but she was guarded. With her guard lowered, she was more willing to talk and connect. I made the most of the time I had left with her: we really got to know each other and explore our similarities and talk about things we never talked about before. I didn't leave anything unasked or unsaid. That wouldn't have happened otherwise. While that makes her not being here now harder than it would've been if we didn't connect like that, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Learn a lesson: take down your walls. Let people in. You won't always know when it's too late.

There's always a silver lining, even to terminal illness. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandmom. Cheers.

I'm dedicating this year's Relay For Life to you. I thought it was appropriate since Relay's goal is for there to be a world with more birthdays - less people dying from cancer = more birthdays. Let's do it.

Anyone local who would like to join my team, please click the link and sign up! We'd love to have you.

Happy St. Paddy's day to the rest of you. Don't drink and drive, you hear?

For us, it's Guinness roasted corned beef and cabbage round two. 

See you tomorrow for TWTW.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When Irish Eyes are Smiling, they're eating Guinness Roasted Corned Beef

If you don't like one pot corned beef where everything is boiled together, I urge you to try this version. It's delicious.

You need: 
  • 4 lb corned beef, flat cut
  • 12 oz Guinness stout or a can of coke
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Cabbage, red potatoes, and carrots to complete the meal
  • Salt, pepper, minced onion
  • Butter (optional)
Preheat your oven to 300. Get a roasting pan with a rack and spray with cooking spray. 

Open your corned beef, rinse it and pat it dry. Cut about two inches off and throw it into a pot. Do not discard the little seasonings packet. 

1. Rub brown sugar into the corned beef - on the bottom, top, sides. 
2. Pour the Guinness into the bottom of the roasting pan, then gently pour it over the corned beef.
3. Cover tightly with tin foil and cook for two and a half hours.

4. Add the little seasonings packet to the corned beef in the pot. Cut up carrots, quarter red potatoes and cabbage and add those as well. Season with salt and pepper and minced onions. Add a tablespoon of butter to the top if you wish.
5. Pour a little Guinness in there, just for some taste. Fill the rest with water. Bring to a boil and then turn it to low, and simmer for two hours.
6. If you don't like boiled cabbage (I don't), saute some in butter with salt, pepper, and minced onion until it just starts to brown.

When the corned beef is done, remove and let it rest for five minutes before slicing. 

I grew up eating corned beef and cabbage every March. I love the meal. We went to my Grandmom's the week of St. Patrick's Day and lapped it up like good little Irish-Americans.

When I started to make it in my own kitchen, I was frustrated. I couldn't replicate my Grandmom's version even though I followed her directions explicitly. So I took to the internets, and on I found Guinness Roasted Corned Beef. I've adopted it as my own and now do a hybrid corned beef meal.

Guinness roasted corned beef and light later into the evening after Daylight Saving. Just two more reasons March rocks.

Friday, March 1, 2013

F is for

1. Being so F'ing glad this week is over. It started like this...

2. Food kindness. Chicken pot pie from Judy, veggie noodle casserole from Michelle, chicken piccata and delicious apps from Pat and Lil. Being a nurse is easier when you don't have to be the cook as well. Thank you ladies! Half of everything is frozen for next week.

3. Family. Ours have been so helpful this week. I dug this one out of me and my brothers from 2003 when Stephen was a freshman at Appalachian State for throwback Thursday.

4. Florence Freaking Nightingale. Pinterest taught me how to make a gel ice pack.  Ice packs are an integral part of my Florence Focker caregiving duties. Two parts water to one part rubbing alcohol. Scientist in training, bitches! Those of you who know how non math/sciencey I am should be having a good laugh right now. Relax, enjoy.

5. Forums - new idea sharing pow wow site for all of you bloggers out there. Have you joined Blog Connect, formed by the lovely Helene from Helene in Between? Get your buttocks over and sign up and talk blogging. Word to your mother, too.

6. Forward. He's temporarily down, but he's not out. MFD has moved his office to his Invalid Lair (I may or may not have created a location on Instagram called "Invalid Lair") and is still open for business. If you're looking to buy a house, sell a house, or rent in PA or NJ, call me. I've got a guy. He's sitting on the couch in the basement.

7. Five o'clock freedom. After last weekend and this week, I really really really really really really REALLY need some MF'ing downtime. I have to recharge my batteries. I am tapped out, exhausted. I need to sleep. And clean up my reading room. And read a book. And watch TV. I am woefully behind on all shows. Speaking of, I'm annoyed with Hart of Dixie and I'm giving 90210 das boot.

8. Felicitations. Today begins my birthday month. HOLLER. March rules! My birthday rules! I celebrate it all month. Sorry in advance for not caring if you're tired of hearing about it by March 6. Sure, the Invalid State will alter the course of the celebrations, but there will be celebrations nonetheless.


xoxo, you know you love me...Gossip Girl aka stupid Dan Humphrey. Still lame, GG creators.

Linking up with The Sowell Life for The Friday Five even though today I have eight.

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