Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Waiting For Snow

We have been lucky up here in NH. We have escaped the last two big storms that rolled through the Mid Atlantic. In fact,as of yesterday we have been one month without any snow falling at all. Alas,today that stretch is going to be broken. We are waiting for a snowstorm to hit us. It's suppose to start late this morning. Right now it's 9:52 AM and the sun keeps peeking out. There are some rather forbidding looking clouds heading towards us from the South/Southwest. They are very dark. School has been cancelled,which actually seems strange when you consider that it hasn't even started snowing yet. However, I am glad that the superintendant has erred on the side of caution.The snow is suppose to start within the next hour or two,and increase in intensity,so by the time the kids would've been getting out of school around 2:30,the storm would be in full swing and the roads bad. Plus,we have only had one snow day all season,I believe.Last year the kids wound up going to school until the end of June because of all the snow days from storms and from the ice storm we had. ( We were lucky from that storm. Here we only lost power for maybe 8 hours. I had friends who lost power for three to five days).

Today we are suppose to get anywhere from 5-9 inches of snow.And I can finally see the top of my stonewall!!!! Dagnabit!!!! Hopefully it won't last long. The snow has been melting here,the water running down the dirt road and down the side of the main road. The only bad thing about that will be the MUD. I don't like Mud Season at all,though I would rather have that than snow I guess. I know some of you are saying,"Mud Season? There is a Mud Season?" Yes, up here we have Mud Season,which is right after the snow melts and the ground defrosts. In fact, we have a couple extra seasons. While most people have Spring,Summer,Fall,and Winter,we up here have the following- Mud Season,Spring,Black Fly Season,Summer,Fall,and Winter. Spring and Black Fly Season overlap each other,since Black Fly Season starts in May when the weather gets warmer and Spring is in full swing.No one likes Black Fly Season.

No black flies around today. We are waiting for the snow to hit. Our woodstove is going,I bought my groceries yesterday,and no one has to go anywhere. We are cozy and content.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Last week, I watched Oprah's show entitled "Food 101." Some of what they discussed really bothered me. The fact that chickens have been bred so their breast meat is bigget than it used to be surprised me.Is there really a need to morph chickens into these huge breasted birds? Then I started thinking about how portions on just about everything have increased in size. Think about it! If you go out to eat,the portions are gigantic! Do we really need this much food? Half of it goes to waste because the portions are ridiculous. No wonder we are an overweight nation.

I refuse to buy margarine. For years I did,because it was considered healthier than butter. However,when I actually thought about what margarine basically is (whipped vegetable oil,the kind one uses in the bottle)I came to the conclusion that there cannot be much nutritional value in conglealed vegetable oil. So now,we buy regular old butter. If it was good enough for the pioneers,it is good enough for us.

My Dear Friend Michelle has been on the "homemade is better" bandwagon for as long as I have known her,which would be four years.She would tell me about preservatives,and how she didn't want her children eating anymore of it than they had to,so she makes what she can. I heard her message,but for some reason never felt the need to pick up the torch and carry it with her.

Then,my son asked if I would buy Devil Dogs that week and Oprah came on.

A light bulb went off.

I could MAKE Devil Dogs. Well, they wouldn't be Devil Dogs precisely,but couldn't I make devils food cake,cut it in half,and put frosting in between the two layers? Devil Squares! No boxes,no plastic wrappers,no preservatives! And while I was at it,why didn't I just make cookies? Why buy the packaged kind that have addtiives to "maintain freshness?" Not from a mix,either,mine would be HOMEMADE from SCRATCH,baby!!!

My torch has been lit......

So my attempt at Devil Squares,while they did not come out perfectly square,was a good start. The only thing I had to buy was cocoa. I got the Devil's Food cake recipe from the New Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. What I should've done was use 2 8x8 pans-instead I used a not quite 9x 12,which required more baking time,and which made the cake hard to get out of the pan. So even though some edges came off,I was able to slice the cake down the middle lengthwise,and put the homemade confecttioners sugar frosting inbetween the two layers. I cut them up into squares,and they were very good,if I do say so myself.

I explained to Zach that I wanted to make nice,homemade treats,and that I made him my version of Devil Dogs. He tried one,and pronounced it better than a Devil Dog,and that he really appreciated that I made them from scratch "just for him." It made me feel great. They lasted a whole week,whereas the Devil Dogs would've been gone in a couple of days because there aren't many in the package and they aren't very big.

Yesterday I made homemade walnut chocolate chip cookies ( also from Better Homes and Gardens). I have made cookies before from scratch,but for some reason,these were the best I have ever made.Amazing! I wonder if part of it is because I WANT to make them,for good reasons,not because I HAVE to.

So....no more bought treats. It's from scratch all the way!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Knees and Sleep

Rick had his sleep study at the VA on Wednesday night with the sleep apnea machine to see what oxygen levels he needed during the night. He said at first it was strange,because when he first started falling asleep he would wake up,gasp for air,and felt like he was strangling because of the oxygen levels were at a certain amount. He couldn't just gulp in air like he normally would,and of course the levels kept changing as they adjusted it. He said a couple of times he wanted to rip off his air mask,but he didn't. At some point he fell sound asleep,and didn't even move all night,nor did he snore once. When I picked him up at 6:00 AM,he told me he felt great. He woke right up,and wasn't' groggy. His limbs didn't feel like lead,either.The technician explained that the doctor would read the report,then put in an order to the prosthetics dept,who in turn would order the unit. The company who makes the unit will come to the house,install it,and explain it in detail. The technician did go over the major points,such as what to do if something breaks,don't try to adjust it,how to put the right level of water in the tank for humidity (because it can dry someone out having all the oxygen being forced into the nose and throat).He also explained that while the machine will work right away,his body won't feel the full affects of it until about a month of use has gone by,and if he felt good now,imagine how he will feel when then? It will take a month or so before he gets the machine. It's not big,about the size of a loaf of bread. He needs the face mask instead of just the nostril unit because he also breathes through his mouth off and on during the night.

Another positive thing is he has an appointment with the Lower Extremities Team at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital on the 18th regarding his knees. The VA had referred him Concord Hospital late last year,but after reading Rick's medical notes,the Dr refused to even see him because he had a stroke in 2008.Apparently that puts Rick at a higher risk for surgery.He said we should try Dartmouth or Boston Medical. We were not happy,because he wouldn't even see us and tell us in person.We then went back to the VA and they put in a referral for Dartmouth. For those of you not familiar with Dartmouth,it's one of the best hospitals in the country.It's over in Lebanon,NH,about 2 1/2 hours from here,on the VT border and right by Dartmouth College.When Rick explained to them what was going on,they said that they needed to get him in as soon as possible,and put him in on the first opening-someone had cancelled. So we need to bring any xrays or MRI's with us,and they are going to do some tests themselves,then we see Dr.Bernini afterwards.If any hospital can help,it should be Dartmouth. Dr Bernini has written a paper regarding the benefits of simultaneous bilateral knee replacement.Of course, we don't know if Rick would be a candidate for that,but if he could be, it would be great. It would be so wonderful to see Rick walk with comfort again,even to the next room. His knees have been getting worse,and giving out more and more. You can hear the crack,it's like crumpling a bag of potato chips. If his knees can be fixed,his quality of life would be a million percent better---and he wouldn't have to take morphine anymore,which would be great. So on the 18th,the ball will be rolling. I just hope we are not disappointed again. The Manchester VA has told him there is nothing that can be done for his knees,except bilateral knee replacement. Why the Boston VA only looked to see if he had cartilage left and didn't consider the bone infarctions is beyond me. (Manchester does not do this type of surgery,since they are no longer a full service VA hospital. They stopped being one right before the Iraq War started---so now vets have to have big surgeries done in Boston. Our Congressmen have been fighting to make it full service again).We are thankful that Manchester realizes how bad his situation is and have gone to the mat for him. Some of the hesitation to replace his knees is the fact that he's so young-replacements generally have to be replaced within 20-25 years,and they generally do not take well or work at all the second time. But like Rick says,he would rather be able to have some semblance of a life now,while he's young enough to enjoy it,than when he's 73 years old. I concur!!!!!