"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Warm Autumn Cocoa

Even though I dread the coming of autumn - because it means the end of warm weather and the beginning of cold weather - there are a few things I must admit I like about it. I love the bright orange and red and yellow leaves, even though it doesn't last very long before it's all a rather unattractive brown. I love that week or so when it seems all the leaves are falling at once, and the air is always filled with leaves raining down. I love the rustling they make as the wind shifts them all around the ground. And I love that smell. It seems odd to love any smell associated with something decaying, but that scent of the fallen leaves, especially after a rain, is somehow wonderful. Wouldn't it be nice if all decaying things could smell pleasant?

So, it's no secret that I'm not a cold weather fan, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does suit my wardrobe better. I love sweaters, and they fill about 80% of my closet.

I also love the cold weather foods - those wonderful, rich, warm comfort foods. Autumn means I can start stirring up pots of soups and stews and chilis.

And pumpkin everything. I must say, I don't object to that at all.

It also means I can curl up with a nice hot cup of cocoa. That's what I did tonight.

I wanted a cup of cocoa with a distinctly autumnal twist to it. I also wanted something low in fat, but I'm not willing to compromise richness for that. No problem. Here's what I came up with!

Warm Autumn Cocoa (makes 2 "normal" servings or one big one!)

2 heaping tsp. Hershey's cocoa
4 heaping tsp. of sugar (or equivalent sugar substitute)
2-3 T. nondairy powdered creamer (I like the extra rich kind)
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. plus 3 tsp. lowfat milk (I use 1% fat, but skim also works - the nondairy creamer keeps it nice and rich)

Heat 2 c. milk in microwave or on stove until very hot but not to boiling. Meanwhile, in a very large mug or normal size teapot, add the cocoa, sugar, creamer and spice. Mix well (do not skip the mixing or the cocoa powder will be lumpy and bitter). Add the vanilla extract and 3 tsp. milk. Stir until it forms a smooth syrup. If it's too thick, add another teaspoon of milk. Stir in the hot milk. Either enjoy your giant mug of cocoa or pour into smaller mugs to share!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Keeping busy

We're definitely keeping busy around here lately. Gin had her first cheer competition on Sunday. Both of her group's teams took first place for their divisions, so she was very excited. It was a long day for all of us. We went in to Sidney to pick up my mom, then spent about five hours at the venue before meeting up with my son, Pooh, for dinner at Noodles & Co. Mom says she's not hosting Thanksgiving this year, so Noodles & Co. was our Thanksgiving. I'm not sure, but I think that might be a crime. Good though. On our drive home, we got caught in a traffic jam for 45 minutes because of a crash on the interstate ahead of us. It happened just beyond an interminably long construction zone, so all the exits were closed, and no one could go anywhere. All we could do was wait. And wait. And wait. Yesterday, Gin had her cheer practice, so that meant leaving early and having to go back to the office with Munch while Gin was in practice. Today, I had to leave early so I could take Munch to a doctor's appointment to adjust the dosage of her ADD medication. Unfortunately, we just got a refill, and because of the restrictions on getting the "controlled substance" we can't get the new dosage for another three weeks. After the doctor we stopped by the store to pick up a few things, went out for a quick bite (stalling until after office hours so I could take her into the office with me to finish my work - I did NOT want to do an hour roundtrip to take her home then go back to the office, then another half hour home again). We spent another hour and 45 minutes in the office. Afterward, Munch reminded me I still needed some teeth for my Halloween costume (trick or treat is Thursday). Somehow, that trip into the store came out to about $50. When we finally got home, I threw on some dinner. It was a very delicious seafood bisque with lobster ravioli. Sorry, I don't have a recipe for this one. It was Bertolli. :) Tomorrow, Munch has a field trip with school, then as I said, trick or treat is Thursday. I'm taking the day off work. Munch will be a zombie, so I need adequate time to do the makeup well. Oh, by the way, she wants me to be a zombie with her. There should probably be pictures. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Heart heavy

My heart is breaking tonight for my dear friend who has just lost her daughter. She was just 21 years old and the mother of a precious little boy who's not yet two years old. It's so strange for me because I have two other friends who have just had babies. One had a very difficult pregnancy and just three weeks ago had her baby, after a difficult delivery during which they both nearly died. But they are now both well and healthy. The other, he and his wife found out that there was a great possibility of miscarriage. She held on and held on and two weeks ago their baby daughter was delivered. She weighed just over a pound, but she is doing so well and such a strong little angel that we are all believing now that she will prove all the doctors wrong. So it was such a shock to learn that my other friend had lost her daughter. I still don't know what happened. I'd never met her, but I know that she was a person who brought nothing but sweetness and a brilliant light to all those she touched. It was just four days ago my friend had posted a picture of a bouquet of flowers her daughter gave her, just to tell her that she loved her. I can only imagine the pain my friend must be feeling. Nine years ago, I almost lost my daughter in a freak accident. Even now, it haunts me. Tonda, Mike, Miranda and darling little Noah, my heart is with you. Holly was truly fortunate to have been so deeply loved in her too-brief time on this earth.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I hate people

I could have written a post tonight about my friend's lovely wedding yesterday, about the end of a relationship, or about Manchester United's fantastic win over Newcastle today. I could have written about getting to work today and finding that Mitt Romney's coming to town, so my planned work day was completely shot while I had to scramble for the story, or about how my boss actually said "good job" to me about something. I even could have written about how the first freeze of the year is due to hit tonight and as of last night, my furnace doesn't seem to work anymore, so the house is quite frigid. But no. I got home from work, after stopping at the store for new furnace filters, and parked in my own driveway. I took in one armload full of things from the car and scampered about for five or ten minutes in the house before running back out to the car, parked in my own driveway and retrieving the rest of the things I needed to take in - only to look up and see that my GPS unit has been stolen. I live on a cul-de-sac. In a village of 600 people. And my GPS has been stolen from my car left unattended in my own driveway for only five or ten minutes. I hate people. I think about what kind of a person would do something like this. He can see from the car I drive (a 14-year-old Honda with 211k miles on it), from the place I live (one of a four-unit building), from any number of clues inside the car, that I probably don't have things any better in life than he does. Does this matter? No. He takes my GPS, which I need for my pathetic job at which I've gotten no pay rises in 10 years, and for my daughter's activities that have me driving all over the state in the coming months. Does this matter? Is this a consideration at all? Of course not. Other people don't matter to these people - ever. Are these things even all that valuable in the stolen goods market? No. They're only $100 or less retail. So for the $10 or $20 bucks you'll get - or maybe an eighth of pot or a few pills, he'll gladly put me out a hundred bucks that I clearly cannot spare in order to replace it. All because I thought I could leave my car unattended in my own driveway for a few minutes. The kind of person who does this sort of thing - yeah, I know people like that. I married - and very happily divorced - a person like this. A person who thinks of no one but himself. Quite simply a bad person. A pathetic example of a human being. And more often than not,someone who is quite proud to be like this. I know these people. They'll laugh about it. "Check out what I got!" Would they ever for a single moment think, "Check out what someone else lost. What someone else needed and couldn't afford to replace. What's going to cost them far more than it's ever going to profit me." No. They won't. Not for a single moment. They laugh about it and take pride in it. I know people like this. And there are far too many of them. And they have too much power in the world, because they are willing to cross those lines that decent people don't cross.

Monday, October 1, 2012

'Found' time

I ended up catching a break today and getting an early respite in what had promised to be a rather nightmarish week. Our staff sports guy is out starting tomorrow to have knee surgery. In our office, that means the news editor will be doing his job. So my fellow copy editor/paginator will be be doing the news editor's job. Which means I'll be doing both his job and my job, in addition to the job of the reporter who's out on maternity leave. And the job of the webmaster who was never replaced. All that's still on. So what was my break? Well, on top of all that, my editor (who has lost all grip on the reality of our staffing situation) assigned me to cover a trial that was scheduled to start today. Trial coverage means I can't do ANYTHING else. My fellow copy ed even had to post the news stories to the web last night, since I'd be out of the office today. He did it wrong, but I honestly don't care. Anyway, the trial was was dismissed. It's a civil case that will be refiled this week, but at least it's a reprieve. I was glad, because it meant I was able to leave work early and thus will be able to get my daughter to cheerleading practice tonight.