Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sublime ginger and carrot soup

Last Thursday Lara and I went to Denver Airport to pick up Debra (my sister) from the UK. She is expecting a baby in May and so there was much excitement about this visit. Last year when she was here I didn’t have a job and so saw more of her, of course I am not complaining about being in work, but it has been really difficult dragging myself off each day. Yesterday Mr W agreed to take the children for a while after I got off work and so Lara, Debra and I went to lunch to celebrate her birthday.

We’ve had a lazy day today, all lounging in our pajamas until 10. Boy 2 has been in a foul mood. I’m not sure why – perhaps he is annoyed that he isn’t getting as much of my attention as usual. He was up at 3.40 am and has spent most of today fussing and whining. I’ve arranged to have a break from him tomorrow. He’s off school, and I do not want to spend the entire day putting his clothes back on and trying to soothe him, so he’s off with Angels of CO for 5 hours, I am going to heave such an enormous sigh of relief.

Cooking always seems like a good idea when I am at home with Boy 2, so today (while Debra did her cross stitch and we all chatted) I made a Christmas cake with the leftover jarred mincemeat. It is very good – would actually be even nicer with the cream cheese frosting that I put on the banana cake. I then made a carrot and ginger soup, the recipe for which was in one of the women’s magazines Debra had brought over with her. It contained carrots, a small piece of ginger, an onion, garlic, curry powder and coconut milk. I had hoped it would be good of course – but it was absolutely sublime and looked gorgeous with some coriander on top, and such a great, unusual taste – the carrots were so sweet, the ginger and garlic added the perfect touch. I may never eat canned soup again. Then I put together fish cakes – had to adapt the recipe as I didn’t have salmon or a sweet potato, just used a few regular potatoes and mashed in curry powder, seasoning, tuna fish and bread crumbs. I haven’t eaten any of these yet, they are chilling in the fridge.

I am tired. So much going on. Boy 2’s behavioural therapist, Michelle K. and Laurie are trying to help me get him out of the Aurora Public School System. Boy 1 has failed math and Chinese and is signed up for after school classes. Cat is feeling off colour again. I am going to have a huge glass of wine tonight.

Snowy Days

It snowed all day yesterday, but Lara’s flight in from Portland wasn’t delayed and Boy 1 and Miss W went to the airport with their dad to collect her. When she arrived, we stayed home all day long catching up while the snow blew around outside, and I made chicken pot pie. The stock, made by boiling a chicken in 2 gallons of water with herbs, celery, carrots and onions, smelled delicious. Unfortunately as pastry is not my forte I’d bought Grands puffy biscuits to lay on top rather than frozen puff pastry which I couldn’t find, and the biscuits didn’t work out very well. They were soggy from the gravy, and the carrots, which the recipe called for, did not have enough time to cook. This recipe was a little too work-intensive for me, it took hours and wasn’t quite worth the effort. But I enjoyed my time in the kitchen as I was glugging away on some wine.

Drive to Miss W’s drop-off point was hideous this morning with several inches of snow on the ground, and I got stuck. Along I-70 I was going at about 40 mph, could not see lanes, I hate driving in this weather. The best thing to come out of today was a phone call from Boy 2’s new teacher, Miss Mindy, who sounds so refreshingly nice, cheerful and loving. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high at this point as she hasn’t had the chance to reach burn-out point, but Boy 2 has been smiley and calm this week, and Miss M. sounded affectionate as she descibed how he’s been hugging her. She also told me about a few strategies she’s using, it really sounds (touch wood) as if this teacher is decent and committed to her job and might be a good fit for Boy 2.

Yay, made it through this week!

my cake
new Warriors book!
It has been so intense this week, there was the lost glasses drama, everyone returned to school, and then on Thursday the washing machine broke down causing untold stress. Sears (whom I purchased the machine from just over a year ago) were very relaxed about it and told me they could have someone out to fix it in a week and by the way I should purchase their extended warranty it was only $190). The leak in my bathroom was also causing worry so on the same day an appliance man (not linked to Sears, I will never again buy anything from them) arrived, as well as a plumber to look in the bathroom. The washing machine issue was caused by 2 broken brokers, the bathroom is leaking because of the horrible, ancient, vinyl surround around my (equally ancient and horrible) bathtub. Mr W put some special bathroom caulking tape in place for me as a temporary fix but it’s already peeling away. So at some point soon I’m going to at least find out how much it will cost to replace the surround and tub in the bathroom.

Work has provided a welcome escape and I’ve been sorting out historicals for a display and finding books I have to read, and books I’ve read and want to read again . . . The Future Homemakers of America is one of my favourite novels and will be due for a reread this year, and I must check out Tim Pears. At the moment, I’m reading This World we Live in by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the 3rd (I think) in this series of novels in which an asteroid hits the moon. I do think the first novel was the best. Although I find this apocalyptic vision of the future fascinating and I like the main character, Miranda, this novel doesn’t really seem to know exactly where it’s going. Am also reading Under The Dome by Stephen King, this is the first of his I’ve read in years. Nobody can just die in a SK novel, they have to throw a fit or poop their pants too while they’re at it.

I wanted to come home this week and immediately start serenely whipping up a cake, but it didn’t work out that way. I was anxious to gas up the car before the bad weather hit, and there was a message from the library to let us know that Miss W’s book had come in. So it was off to Bennett and almost 4 before I started in on the old-fashioned banana cake from Ina Garten’s latest Barefoot Contessa cook book. I haven’t baked a cake in a long time, but used my new cake pan from World Market. I forgot to get the eggs to room temperature, put in baking powder instead of baking soda, and got cross with Boy 1 for flinging my wine down the sink. In spite of these small mishaps it turned out well, it actually rose and came out of the cake pan without sticking. I let it cool and made the frosting – 1/2 pound of confectioners sugar, butter and cream cheese. Unfortunately, it does look rather lumpy (however I tasted it and it’s wonderful). Now I am going to celebrate the end of the week with some wine and a slice of old-fashioned banana cake.

One Hour Optical

I was so frustrated yesterday. It was my fourth day home with Boy 1 and Miss W returned from her sleepover. I noticed she wasn’t wearing her glasses and she said she hadn’t taken them to her friend’s house, then moments later came the announcement that never fails to make me cringe with dread : the glasses were lost. We searched her room (stripped the bed, vacuumed, pulled furniture away from the walls) with no luck, then Mr W arrived and began excavating behind the washing machine and dryer. Things had piled up so badly due to Boy 2’s OCD flaring up again this break, so there were balls and soft toys, pieces of toast, underwear, a lost earring, wooden spoons and spatulas (which I’d been missing quite badly), cat bowls, cat food, pieces of paper etc. etc. etc. I was so edgy and frustrated with the mess, worried about the glasses, trying to cook a ham, and there was Christmas stuff everywhere I’d started dismantling. Then I had an idea for something I could write, it had been churning around for about 24 hours and suddenly developed much more clearly. I still haven’t jotted down so much as a word for it, as it’s still percolating and I don’t know yet if it’s rubbish. But there seems to be increasing evidence that Dorchester is folding and so that market is now closed off to me, M & B do not want my romance novel, and I do need a project to channel my energy into.

I felt giddy with joy this morning as the boys were returning to school, Boy 2 actually went off very cheerfully (looked very cute in Wrangler jeans and new red sweater). Even though I had to go to 1 Hour optical to see about getting Miss W’s glasses replaced, after being cooped up for so long a trip to the optician’s seemed like a marvelous treat. Arrived early with Mr W and Miss W. Miss W was deeply unhappy and churlish because she hates wearing glasses still, and hates visiting the optician. All the staff were absolutely brilliant and kind and we had some discussions this time about the possibility of Miss W wearing contacts, staff seemed to think this might be a good idea as she hates wearing glasses, i did not think it was a good idea as I don’t think Miss W would take care of contacts very well. But it’s something to think about over the next few years, Miss W actually agreed with this and said she would like a yellow pair that resembled wolf eyes. But for now we have gone with a quite trendy pair with dark frames that will be ready after 2pm on Wednesday. I was so impressed with the way everyone here was kind and understanding with Miss W, she had to have her eyes puffed into and dilated and hated every minute of it and wasn’t shy about showing her displeasure. She’s far-sighted and has astigmatism.

After this went to Barnes and Nobles for a calendar (50% off but all good ones were gone) and then went to Target and bought a microwave with my Christmas $$$, what a relief to get rid of my old one. The enamel had started to seriously burn away, don’t ask me how, but I’m sure it wasn’t really safe to use. Then to World Market where I discovered that I was a day late to take advantage of their sale and buy a beautiful, apple green, cast iron pot for 25% off. Staff told me that sale was over. Mr W pointed out (calmly) that sale signs were still all posted and they changed their minds and let me have pot for 25% off! Now I have no excuse not to whip up things like boeuf bourgignone and complicated chicken pot pies!

There was a message from school nurse when I arrived home, gritted my teeth at the sound of her voice telling me there was a problem and I needed to call her. I checked and she hadn’t called my cell. Why not? She made a huge song and dance about needing my bloody cell phone number a few months ago. Clicked message #2 and it was her again, quickly saying she’d made a mistake and I must ignore the previous message – she’d thought Boy 2 was absent from school but now realized he wasn’t.


Boy 2 suffers from a lot of issues but not invisibility so what the hell is going on – did he escape from school again or something? How in God’s name could staff ‘think’ a student was absent but then ‘realize’ he wasn’t? I am going to call these morons tomorrow. However I very much doubt they will admit what happened if he escaped again. No note in back pack (of course) but Boy 2 seemed happy and OK this afternoon.

Back to work tomorrow and I don’t mind one bit.