Friday, February 26, 2010

My dream

Okay, so I know you are all tired of hearing me say this, but I have the most wonderful husband in the world. For years now I have told him that when he retires I want to have a condo in Orlando and a condo in Salt Lake City so that we can live half the year in Florida (cold weather makes my feet and hands really hurt, due to the neuropathy) and the other half of the year in SLC so Dad can be happy doing all that genealogy. Then I realized that if we live in SLC we'd have to fly to Denver whenever we wanted to travel because SLC's airport is fairly small and is not a hub for United. Since United is MY airline, it makes sense to live in a city that is a hub, so I amended my dream so that we'd live half the year in Florida (the winter half, summers there are unbearable) and the other half of the year here in Denver, and then Dad can just fly to SLC whenever he was in the mood to do family history stuff.

Well, since the real estate market in Orlando is so depressed right now, Dad's thinking that it's a good time to be looking and perhaps getting some property there. It's not a good time to be selling, so we'll be keeping our home here for the time being (probably another ten years or so) but buying a place in Florida makes good sense since the prices are so low.

Dad's looked online and there are 3 bedroom/2 bathroom condos for as low as $12,000 (although there's probably a good reason they're that low) and it's not unreasonable to expect to get something decent for $25,000 or so. How cool is that?

Anyway, the fact that Dad is taking my dream seriously enough to actually pursue it means the world to me. Not every spouse would do the same. When I asked him something about that, why he would try to make my dream come true, he said, "Making you happy makes me happy." Who wouldn't fall head over heals in love with a man who says stuff like that? Makes me love him even more than I did before.

Anyway, I suppose that's enough corny stuff for now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Woo Hoo!

One of my all-time favorite restaurants is Carrabba's. And one of my favorite things to eat there is the Sausage Lentil soup. I have searched all over the internet and found about 6 recipes for it, none are identical so I took bits and pieces of all six of them and created my OWN recipe out of the lot of them. And it tastes JUST like that soup, so now I don't have to wait till we go out for dinner, I can make it whenever I am craving it. Of course, it makes a pan big enough to feed an army so we'll be eating it all week, but since it seems like everyone in the whole family likes it that shouldn't be too difficult. In case anyone is interested, I'll post it here. You may want to cut it in half to make a more reasonable sized pan full.


  • 4 Tbs. Olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cup grated carrot
  • 4 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 lbs bulk Italian sausage, spicy hot
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 lbs lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 tbs. vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Heat olive oil in large soup pot. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and sausage to the pot. Saute, stirring often, until sausage is cooked through. Break up sausage into small bits as it cooks. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Remove bay leaves. Puree slightly with stick blender. If no stick blender is available, remove 1/3 of soup and puree in blender and return to pot.

Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with a thick slice of crusty bread.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Okay, first of all let me say that I am WAY too young to be retired. And it wasn't my choice, either. But other than that, there's a lot to be said for staying home.

First of all, I am re-discovering the joy of having a clean kitchen. And by clean kitchen I mean that we don't run out of clean silverware. And most of the time I don't let more than ONE sink get full of dishes. If both sinks have dishes in them, I am going nuts and I HAVE to get them done. I have NO qualms about running the dishwasher even if it's not all the way full. I simply don't care if I am using a soap biscuit and a little hot water without the dishwasher being completely packed. I want a clean kitchen. One day after I got home from a trip I was in the kitchen with Michael. I mentioned that the kitchen was trashed and I needed to get it cleaned up. He kind of rolled his eyes and threw his arms around me for a big hug. I said, "What was that for?" (Not that I was complaining, mind you.) He said something like, "While you were gone we would have killed to have the kitchen look this GOOD." It's NICE to be that appreciated.

Second, I am enjoying making meals for my family again. Not just dinners, though that's nice. I have compromised and have decided to cook 4 dinners a week. That way we can have leftovers a few times and folks can forage for themselves now and again (cheese and crackers, that sort of thing.) Plus a trip to Taco Bell on occasion never hurt anyone. But it's nice to have a good, home-cooked meal on occasion, and knowing that I made it myself means I'll like the way it tastes. And knowing that Gary will be sniffing the air appreciatively when he walks in the door after a long day makes me happy too. I have also enjoyed making the occasional breakfast for those who are around to eat it. Blueberry pancakes are a favorite and I know I'm bragging, but I make awesome blueberry pancakes.

Third, I have a "to do" list but I am in no hurry to complete it. I have a bunch of stuff on there that I've wanted to get done for years, and since it's taken years to pile up there's no rush to get it done. But there's a lot of satisfaction in getting the stuff crossed off the list. Some of it is tough to do, and some isn't. Some days I cross off one thing, some days I cross off two. Some days I add another item, and some days (most, actually) the list doesn't change at all but just stays on the fridge where I can look at it and decide if I'm going to work on it at all that day.

Fourth, I don't have to panic if I am visiting family out of town and I get sick and can't travel back to work. Last month I was visiting David and Sarah and then Carolyn and Erik and ended up with the flu. I had to stay for a lot longer than I had intended but I didn't have to worry about using up sick time or missing any work deadlines at all. It was so much easier.

Fifth, when it's cold, snowy, and nasty outside, I can look out the window and decide that there's nothing I need to do so badly that I need to venture out there to do.

Sixth, when a friend of mine wants to go to lunch, I can stop what I'm doing and go with her. Or if I want to go and kidnap Gary and go to lunch with him, I can do that too.

Seventh, there is NEVER more than a load of laundry or two to do at any given time. Usually it's a stretch to even do that much at once. It's been years since I've been able to say that.

Eighth, I think I am caught up on sleep. (Will a lighting bolt strike me down for thinking this?)

Ninth, and this is a biggie: I get to see Aidan and Asher SO much more.

Tenth, I get to do things with my family (taking a certain birthday girl to the Grizzly Rose) that I just wouldn't have had the energy to do if I were doing the 2 1/2 jobs I was doing before.

I guess to sum it up, I still don't like what happened to me. I don't like how the circumstances forced me to make the choices I did. I don't know if I will ever get to the point where I will consider some of those people "friends" again. But I am at least at a point where I am content. I still miss the paycheck, it was very tangible proof of my worth and I often need some sort of proof that I am worth something. Maybe at some point in the future I can find a happy medium.

Something new...

You may have noticed something new here, my blog is now "private." That's so I can post whatever I want and now maybe I'll actually update instead of waiting until I only have something to post that can be seen by anyone in the world. :)