Saturday, October 31, 2009

Veal Scallopini

This is the first time I made this dish, and I just loved it.

Veal Scallopini

3 T olive or veg oil
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 lb thin veal scallopini (less than 1/4 inch thick)
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
1/2 fresh lemon
1.5 T drained small capers

Heat a 12 inch heavy skillet (not non-stick) over high heat until hot, then add oil and heat until hot.
Meanwhile, stir together flour, 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper, then dredge veal in flour, knocking off excess.
Cook veal in 2 batches, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 2-2 1/2 minutes per batch.
Transfer to a plate.
Discard oil from skillet, then add butter,and cook over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until browned and fragrant, 1 - 2 minutes. Stir in juice from 1/2 lemon, capers and 1/4 t each of salt and pepper. Return veal to skillet just to heat through.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Disgusting Lunch

My husband is on the Atkins diet. We started on it together, but, as always happens, I could no longer stand the sight of meat. Plus, I've been under the weather, and when I am under the weather, I crave pasta and can't even think about meat.

So at dinnertime, he does his thing and I do mine. I will prepare something for myself, and he will prepare something for himself.

Last night I came home, feeling quite exhausted, and found a family size Stouffers escalloped chicken and noodles casserole in the freezer. Mmm, that sounded like the perfect dinner for me. And since I've not made it to the grocery store in a while and have no bread in the house, I thought I could bring the leftovers to work for lunch.

So I put the frozen dinner in the oven as soon as I got home. It has to cook for 66 minutes. When it was done, I just helped myself to a bowl full and sat down to watch TV. The husband came in and asked "what can I eat?" I said "well there's lots of stuff in the freezer." He said "but none of it appeals to me." He looked in the fridge. He looked in the freezer. He was like a forlorn child. I left the kitchen thinking he'll figure something out.

Meanwhile, I was not happy with the temperature of the casserole. After cooking for 66 minutes, it was barely lukewarm. I started to eat it that way, and finally, realizing it had no appeal, I stuck it in the microwave. I was amused when I went back into the kitchen and saw that my husband had helped himself to the casserole. I smiled to myself thinking he's had enough of Atkins too.

Later on, I spooned a helping into a tupperware container to take for my lunch.

Work was not good today. For some reason, I could not get into my word files that I needed to work on. No one in IT could figure it out. I kept getting messages about not having access. I had counted on getting certain things done. And then, another co-worker came to work very sick. I stopped by her office and told her she looked terrible. She was coughing non-stop. She told me she had a temp of 101.9. I told her she needed to go home. Meanwhile, many other co-workers were very annoyed she was there. Just this week, our company put anti-bacterial soap and Clorox wipes all over the place. The containers promised to keep flu germs away. As I was filling my coffee cup, reading one of the containers, I laughed to myself, thinking they can put all these germ killers on every visible surface, but if you have a sick person who comes to work, these germ killers will do nothing.

Finally it was lunchtime. I walked down a floor and heated my chicken and noodles. I carried my tupperware container back to my office to eat at my desk. I took a bite, and damn, if it wasn't a deja vu experience - it was barely lukewarm. So I walked back down to the kitchen, reheated it, and with the lid half on, started to walk back to my office. Then - I have no idea how it happened, but the tupperware container flew out of my hand and my chicken and noodles were scattered all over the carpeting. "SHIT!" came out of my lips before I could think about it. My helpful co-worker Donna was in the kitchen and heard something fall, followed by my rather loud "shit." She said to someone else in the lunchroom "that didn't sound good." She came out to investigate and saw my huge mess. And I mean huge. It looked like someone had gotten sick all over the office carpeting.

So I grabbed a trash can and started to pick up the pieces. But chicken and noodles comes with a lot of sauce, and sauce is hard to pick up. Donna and another co-worker helped, and I grabbed some of those Clorox wipes to try to get the cream sauce off the carpet. Donna, being much more fastidious than me, decided we should leave paper towels over the spot to help blot it up. As other co-workers came in from lunch, they wondered "who got sick." The news that no one got sick but klutzy Bonnie spilled her food was soon through the office.

Meanwhile, I carried my tupperware container back to my office. It had one spoonful of chicken and noodles left. I ate it. It was not appealing. It was lukewarm again.

I don't think I'll ever be able to eat Stouffers chicken and noodles again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

There's Nothing Official Wrong With Me!

It has always been a fear of mine, when I schedule a doctor's visit, that there will be nothing wrong with me and he will wonder why I am wasting his time.

So that fear was realized today.

When we were at a wedding in MI, 16 days ago, I was hit with some kind of bug. I felt miserable. Lots of coughing. No fever. Sore throat. My chest hurt. Every time I tried to talk, I would go into spasms of coughing. My voice was barely hanging in there. A few days after the onset of my yuckiness, my son had a 104 temp. I had had my flu shot exactly 15 days before. He was diagnosed with the flu, Type A.

He got better. My thing kept hanging on. I read all the symptoms of the regular flu and H1n1 about a hundred times. I googled pneumonia. I googled bronchitis. People who work with me were tired of hearing me hack away. My family was getting tired of listening to me. Everyone said "when are you gonna call a dr?"

So today I got to work and received emails from some friends: "Call a dr. This has been hanging around too long." I thought well it's Monday. The dr's office will be filled with people much sicker than me. I am able to function. Finally, I just called the dr's office and waited on hold, listening to a recorded message for 15 minutes while I hacked away. I must have done a good job at describing my symptoms, because amazingly, I got an appointment for today.

I got there and described my symptoms. He sent me for a chest x-ray. He gave me a breathing test. The verdict: "all normal." I thought oh hell. I was hoping for some official diagnosis. I felt like an idiot for wasting everyone's time. He prescribed an inhaler for me and told me to call if I'm not better in 2 weeks.

Not better? But there's nothing wrong with me! I came home and went to bed.

For someone who has nothing wrong, I certainly feel like crap.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Love Trader Joe's

Cousin Deet, who got me into this blogging adventure, just emailed me to ask how come I haven't put anything new on the blog. I know! I told her. Nothing seems blogworthy, and the longer I go like this, the worse it gets.

So, for lack of a better topic, I will write a post about Trader Joe's. I LOVE Trader Joe's. When they first appeared in my part of town about 7 years ago, my husband and I took a friend over to that shopping center. It was 9:30 and Trader Joe's was closed, but the lights were on, and there were people working inside. It was a nice summer night. So we were looking in the window, and a manager type of guy came out and asked us if we had been in the store yet. We said yes, but our friend, who lived on the other side of town, hadn't. So the guy who worked there said "well come on in and look around." And we just walked in and looked around. It's always difficult to shop at TJ's and not buy anything (the registers were closed) but it was a fun little adventure.

Every time I go in that store, it seems that the employees just love working there. When I'm checking out, they will comment on something I bought and tell me how they just tried it and loved it and served it at a party. The check-out lines are never dull. There is always conversation going on. I have decided if there ever comes a time when I don't have to work to live, I will go work at TJ's and just have a gay old time and happily talk to people all day long.

No one is in a bad mood at TJ's. Everyone is happy. Well, sometimes my husband gets grumpy, as he tends to do, when the aisles are packed and you can't move. But I've discovered the simple solution of leaving the cart at the end of an aisle and I just go breezing through the store free as a bird.

Tonight I wanted to view the hummus and salsas in a refrigerated case. There was a lady standing in front of the case, and she was kind of in my way, but I walked around her and grabbed what I needed. She realized she was in my way and apologized, laughing to herself as she told me "I have no idea what I'm doing here. I don't even know what I'm looking for. But I'm just standing here stuck looking." And I knew exactly what she meant.

When Cousin Deet comes in town, from Lansing, she stocks up on all her TJ stuff. It is quite amusing watching her fill her cart to overflowing, and she says that she really didn't mean to buy that much.

All of the food is fascinating to me, from the chocolate covered everythings (the dark chocolate caramels and the toffee are the best) to the frozen foods you can't buy anywhere else, to the special soaps, to the best priced olive oil in's always an adventure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Friend for a Few Seasons

Years ago, when my son was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and a bunch of other stuff, I spent a lot of time on the computer, just trying to get information. We went through some very bad years with some very challenging behaviors. I've seen bloggers blogging about issues such as what we went through, and I am very glad to see all the support they get from their followers. When we were going through this stuff, it seemed there wasn't much support out there.

One night I was checking out a site on TS and I started to read the comments. Most comments I couldn't relate to, but one comment just struck a nerve with me. And I sent an email to this stranger ("G"), whose son seemed to have the exact same issues as mine.

I could be completely open with my new friend, because he was going through the exact same stuff. We would tell each other about new medications that were coming out, what our doctors had said, if flax oil was effective (it was, but my son wouldn't take it) and how we responded to some of the difficult behaviors. We worked together to find a new way to live. Both of us were living lives that we never would have envisioned living.

At the time, G was an investment banker in L.A. He and his wife had adopted their son from a woman in Cleveland, where I live. That somehow seemed to link us more. And so began an email correspondence that lasted for several years.

There is an email that comes along every few years about friends - it's about how a friend can be there for a reason, a season, or forever. The gist of it is that sometimes someone comes along to fulfill a need, and that friendship doesn't last forever, but it is there for you in your time of need.

G and I emailed on a daily basis. I printed all the emails and kept them in notebooks. I have 3 full notebooks of our correspondence. After a few years of corresponding, G got divorced from his wife, came out as a gay man, and moved to AZ to open a bed and breakfast. He invited my family to come and stay, as his guest. We accepted.

Shortly before our trip, I went for my annual GYN exam. The dr was making conversation and asked if I had any plans for spring break. I said yes, as a matter of fact, our family is going to stay at this B&B of a man I met online! I told him the story and he kept saying "that is SO cool!"

So our family flew out west for a vacation. We flew to Las Vegas, spent a few days there, and then drove down to AZ. My husband had cousins living in the same city (one lived right across the street from the B&B, which was bizarre, and we introduced him to G). We spent about 5 days getting to know G. I have to smile when I think of that trip, because I think about how all these couples meet online and then decide to get married, and people think "but they haven't even met!" but when you email someone every day, you do get to know them - often better than you know people you spend 8 hours a day with as co-workers.

G's son became more difficult. His wife had sole custody in L.A. and he didn't see his son much. When he did, he had a very difficult time and soon it became easier for him not to see his son at all. Our emails became less frequent, as the focus of what had brought us together had changed. It seemed to me that G changed a lot too. Gradually, I realized that this man who had tried to hard to help his son had basically given up, and wanted to live his life without him.

I still have my notebooks. Once a year or so, I think oh, I should just throw the damn things out. And then I pick them up and start reading. The reason I had printed them and organized them so carefully was that a friend suggested I do this as my own journal of what we lived through. And that is what those notebooks have become for me. When I start to read them, I am really horrified by what we went through. We tend to put very unpleasant things out of our mind, and while I have vague memories of what we went through, those notebooks are the black and white proof of what happened. And it wasn't pretty.

G and I haven't corresponded in about a year. I sometimes get on his B&B website to see if he's still the owner, because he used to talk about doing other things. With no strings attached to anything, he is free to take off for anywhere and start a new life.

I don't think this was a life-long friendship. But it is a friendship that was there for several seasons, and more importantly, it was there for a reason, and I am grateful that we had what we had.