We don’t make casseroles very often now but I do remember making them weekly when I was a single mom; they almost always included canned cream of chicken or mushroom soup, a pound of protein in the form of chicken or ground beef and a frozen vegetable – usually carrots or corn. Add a tossed green salad and dinner was on the table in about an hour.
I’ve been gluten-free for more than three years now and in the beginning, I’ll admit to being a bit apprehensive about navigating the gluten-free world. I knew I was ahead of the game because I already knew how to cook and was relieved I wasn’t learning that skill along with trying to figure out what was safe to eat. And believe me, after you been cross-contaminated a few times, you quickly understand how important it is to be able to eat well while being safe.
We’re three weeks in to the new semester for The Professor (hey, that rhymes!) and our fall calendar is color-coded with activites through December; way back when I was a single mom, I assumed, incorrectly, that when my kids were grown and on their own, life would slow down. While there are no more high-school fall football practices or games to attend, I do find most days with multiple deadlines and being pulled in more directions than one. Sound familiar? I thought so.
And here we are, Wednesday, the first Wednesday of November 2013 in fact. The fall-colored yellow, red and oranges leaves of our trees frame our windows with a canopy of brightness; they cling to gnarled branches before floating to the ground in wispy groupings before turning a caramel-colored brown and are mulched into the lawn for the season. 2013 has been a grand year, albeit travel-heavy, but the work has been rewarding.
Our youngest niece headed off to college this weekend; the same niece who was a three-year-old when The Professor and I got married. I know – total whiplash . . . and before you ask, yes, I’m feeling rather old thank-you-very-much.
It’s mid-winter and while we’ve had one really good snow this season, as I look out my windows today, I see brown grass and bare trees – it all melted when the rains came whipping through a few weekends back. We’ve had a few additional days of snow but nothing really major and the local weather-guessers are saying that temperatures will reach near 40 sometime this week.
Musical pairing – Only The Wine by David Gray
‘When we came here looking for some advice it was poured out on us; everything we wanted to know that they knew, they told us. And we in turn, have wanted to pass that on to people who come after us’ ~ Pat Dudley, Bethel Heights
It has been a month since I’ve been home from Full on Oregon . . . and you know what? We’re still talkin’ about it. We’re still remembering the people we met, the food we ate and the drinks we shared; and I’m still thinking about a few of the women I met who left quite an impression . . .
Musical pairing – The Quidditch Match by John Williams
I am completely in love with the world of Harry Potter. I wear my Gryffindor scarf with pride. I pick up sticks when I’m on walks with my husband just to wave them in the air at him and say “Expelliarmus!” When we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter last October, I literally went running through the park like some sort of crazed madwoman just to get to the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” If there was an Olympic record for sprinting toward a theme park ride, I would be polishing the gold right now. And I may or may not have tripped a few kids along the way . . . do you think that would get me disqualified?
Musical pairing – Dreams Be Dreams by Jack Johnson
I grew up in Southeastern Washington State in the tiny little town of Walla Walla – population of about 25,000 when I lived there. Some of you will have to look it up on Google maps while others will recognize Walla Walla’s name as the up-and-coming home to some terrific wines and is receiving big-time press of late. It is also home to the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion, which, in my humble opinion, is the best sweet onion of all time! But back in the day, my hometown was just a dot on the map where generations of family farmers planted hundreds of acres in wheat, alfalfa and corn or raised cattle and horses – it was the Wild West, baby! (just kidding about that ‘wild west’ part . . . )