Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


How do you find a menu?

No, not the one on your laptop and not even those you get at restaurants.  I’m talking the daily grind menu; the one you have to come up with every day to feed your family.  Every single day.  Endlessly.

I realize I have it easy.  We don’t have kids to feed which would complicate the issue.  It’s just us two adults.  But we still have to eat.  For most of my marriage we worked on opposite shifts and when I got home from work in the evenings husband was already at work.  If I didn’t feel like cooking, and I rarely did, I’d eat something from the fridge, usually standing up.  I’d cook on the weekends and that was it.  Heaven.

Now we’re home together in the evenings and the pressure is on.  I recognize it’s a pressure of my own making, that I could probably insist that he get his own meals.  And he would.  But somehow I feel it’s my responsibility to make dinner for us.  If I’m terribly organized I will have made a couple of things over the weekend that we can eat all week.  If I’m not that together I struggle with getting something on the table before 8 at night.  Either way somewhere deep in my inner self I resent the necessity of it all.

The suggestion has been made that we put together a schedule of meals.  A sort of preplanned dining map, one that can be repeated on into the future, with attached grocery lists which will make it easier for the husband to buy the groceries that will be required.  Something totally opposite my usual process which is to go to the grocery store listless, wander around checking out what “looks good” and creating meals spontaneously.  Which I acknowledge hasn’t always worked out that well.


As I sit here in the predawn darkness with my cookbooks surrounding me, trying to plan a month of meals I wonder.  How do other people handle this menu thing?  How do they feed their families day after day, week after week, into the forever future?

Or do you all just resort to those restaurant menus?




Did you know that’s a word?  Mashup.  I had to get a graduate degree in information to find that out.  And I’m still only vaguely sure what it means.  So for the purposes of today’s post, class, we will define it as a bunch of unrelated topics mashed into one post.

First up are technological problems.  There was the blog issue where it suddenly one evening stopped behaving in the way I’ve become accustomed.  Even with the graduate degree in information I have a phobia about technology.  And when things don’t work the same way they’ve worked before I get a little weirded out.

I’m trying to be better.  I really am.  And braver about clicking away at different things in an attempt to fix stuff without making other stuff worse.  But it’s still uncomfortable for me to do that.  And during the past two weeks we’ve been having cable issues here at the house as well.  Intermittent outages, little blackouts, for a few seconds, or hours.  So the odds of having internet work when I needed it were low.  The combination of blog problems, work problems and internet connection problems was, at times, overwhelming.

So I did what any good person does when technology lets her down.  I made soup.

I haven’t made this recipe before.  It’s the Weight Watcher version of potato soup.  I make another potato soup full of Velvetta cheese and bacon that is purely heaven but hardly healthy.  This one is full of onions and leeks, and though I’ve only tasted a bit of it as I cleaned up the pan, I think it just might be a different version of heaven.

And after the soup was made and put away Katie and I went for our weekly adventure. I’ve been wanting to take her on longer car rides.   I’m hoping to get her used to trips of greater and greater lengths so that we can explore further afield on weekends this summer.

So with high hopes, and virtually no planning, I loaded her up and off we went.  I got approximately 1/2 a mile down the road when she started complaining.  Loudly.  Seems I forgot to do the potty break prior to the loading of the sheltie.

So we stopped at her favorite local park.  I figured she’d do her thing like she always does, as soon as she’s out of the car, then we’d continue on our way.  But no.  We had to EXPLORE first.  Did I tell you it was cold yesterday?  We had blue skies and sunshine, but the temperature was in the high teens.

Yes it was very very cold.

Eventually she got her jobs done and I started back to the car.  She was like “WHAT?!  We haven’t done much of anything and this is MY FAVORITE PARK MOM!!!!”

But we headed off to MY favorite park, about 40 minutes away anyway.  Because I had the car keys and she doesn’t even have her learners permit to drive yet.

Once at my favorite park we headed out to the end of a point of land that extends into a big inland lake.  It’s a picnic area when times are warmer, but during winter it’s just a part of the park with no cars going by and no runners and nobody on bikes.  And it’s down a long hill so it’s sort of out of the wind.  Did I mention it was COLD out?

There are some big old hickory trees out there with the most beautiful bark.

There are lots of beautiful places to look at the lake and enjoy the sunshine.  It was almost totally frozen over with a smooth sheet of ice that reflected the blue sky.

We saw a pair of swans who were doing synchronized swimming just for us.

We had fun walking around and pretending it was summer.  Which it clearly wasn’t.

Then I had to go to the bathroom, so I loaded up the sheltie again and off we drove in search of an open restroom.   Once I got to one I debated leaving Katie in the car.  But I never do she and I walked across a playground to the bathroom building.  Katie didn’t want to go in the big scary building.  But she did.  And she certainly didn’t want to go into the stall, even though I used the handicapped stall so she’s have more space to freak out in.  But she did.  And she was not OK with the fact that the toilet paper holder thingy squeaked.  A lot.  But she held her own and only tried to get under the wall to the other stall once.  But the flushing thing?  In a big empty concrete building with all it’s echos?  Oh boy.  That’s why she was on a leash.  Picture it, crazed sheltie, all four feet going, head down, pulling wildly on the leash and Mama just trying to get her coat back on.  Good thing we were alone.

So after the bathroom adventure we came home.  She was pretty quiet on the 40 minute trip home.  I guess she figured if she stayed quiet she wouldn’t have to go into any more scary places.

And for our third and final mashed up topic, husband and I went to see “The King’s Speech” last night because the TV and internet were down again, and we’d read all the hard copy magazines and newspapers we had in the house.  Technology let us down, so we had an old fashioned date night.  Not such a bad thing.  The movie is wonderful and deserves all the praise and awards that it has received.

When I got home the internet was back up, so I looked up more information about King George VI, his brother, Lionel his speech therapist and Wallace Simpson.  I guess I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.

Class dismissed.



Weekend extra extra…by Katie the Sheltie

Hi everyone, Katie here.  My Mama says I can write this blog about my weekend adventure because she’s too tired after spending the weekend grocery shopping and doing laundry and cooking and stuff.

See, yesterday after she spent the whole afternoon with Daddy’s Aunt Vi, shopping for clothes and food and such she got home ready to put her feet up.  She said they hurt.  But Daddy said I had been a very good dog all day (that’s mostly cuz I napped all afternoon while waiting for my Mama to come home)  and Mama should take me to the park! The PARK?! Yes Mama..that’s a VERY GOOD IDEA.  I got all excited and I don’t know why Mama was glaring at Daddy and telling him to shush up!

Well you know us sheltie-girls….once an idea about going to the park is in our pretty little heads…well…we’re pretty persuasive.   And you also know what a pushover Mama is.  So guess what?  We went exploring..just Mama and me.  Daddy stayed home.  I think he had his feet up but I’m not going to tell Mama that.

And you know what else?  My favorite park in the whole world was open!  It closes for the winter, but the gates were open yesterday so we went there!  And we had it all to ourselves!  There was still ice on the pond…but we heard red winged blackbirds calling..and even more special…we heard FROGS PEEPING!!!!  How cool is that!

Everything is still brown, but that’s ok.

Lots of good sniffings anyway, no matter what color the fields are.

We walked around the whole thing.  I don’t know how far that is, but I’m sure it’s over a mile.  Maybe lots more.  Hard to measure when you’re busy checking everything out.

I was pretty good.  I even did some heeling for Mom.  The only way she could get that picture was of our shadow.  Don’t we look good!?  OK…so maybe my butt was out too far and stuff…but I was paying attention to Mama and that’s what counts?  Right?  Right?

Anyways…we had a whole lot of fun and Mama even forgot her feet hurt.  She’s glad she went to the park with me, and I’m awfully glad we got to spend some time together when she wasn’t grumpy.  (You know she’s been sort of grumpy mad for awhile now, right?)

Mama’s cooking in the kitchen now, and humming along with the show tunes playing on the TV.  She said it’s fun to guess what show the song is from before she looks to see if she’s right.  I think that walk in the park did a lot for her spirits.

Glad to be of assistance.

-Your gal Katie…


Food photography

I’ve been trying, really trying, to photograph food.  You’d think it would be easier than photographing a moving object….say a sheltie or something.  But in reality I’m finding it much more difficult.  Here are the best photos I’ve taken so far…but I have a long way to go!

My first idea was to use ice cream.  Why?  Because I love ice cream, and I had this interesting plate…and it should go beautifully…right?

Well.  Not so much.  Ice cream melts, I didn’t have the right lighting…and though I liked the reflection of the ice in the plate it just didn’t work.  So I moved on.

Then I made some soup.  Soup doesn’t melt…should go beautifully…right?

Well…I didn’t have the right light…the chunkier parts of the soup sank, so I added some red bell pepper for color..but still…I moved on.

In my fridge was a beautiful head of cabbage.  I thought the colors in the leaves were wonderful.  Cabbage is food…right?

But is this food photography?

I wandered into the grocery store…and fell in love with more vegetables.

Have you noticed how they arrange produce in store lately?  It’s just so beautiful, like artwork.

Have you ever seen orange beets?

Or noticed water droplets on the purple cabbage?

But is this food photography?

What about the farmer’s market…

…do you see the purple green beans?

And don’t you miss the fruit of summer?

But really…back to food photography.

Finally I made a cake just to see if I could photograph it.  Sometime I’ll show you the whole cake baking event.  It took me most of the day.

But for now…because this is getting more than long enough…here’s the cake.

I’m still struggling with the lighting..but I suppose this is more what food photography is supposed to be about…because this one makes me want to stop writing and go have a piece.  A big piece.