Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Bend in the Road

Courtesy MorgueFile.com
There are times when the road you travel takes a turn and you find yourself on a warm sunny day, in a friendly place, surrounded by good people and good things. Today was like that.

I woke up feeling better than I've felt in two years. No, really. The Z-pac must have kicked a bunch of suff out because I didn't even have sniffles and the only pain I have is my hands and that is rather mild. Yeah, I'm stunned, too.

It was a beautiful morning but after getting Sarah off to school, I elected to go back to bed and sleep for another hour. I was still sleepy. So I did. Now, normally I never go back to bed because frankly, it is painful. I am usually in pain when I wake up and once I have been up an hour, I've worked off some of the stiffness and the pain is better. But going back to bed would mean starting over. I'd never sleep and if I did, it would be a miserable sleep filled with pain. Today, I was able to lie down and it was so heavenly to lie on my bed and not hurt.

I was up and dressed by 10 a.m. because I had a lunch date at 11 a.m. Tomorrow is the start of Camp NaNo 2015 and I and 5 friends met for lunch to celebrate and kick off the April Camp session. I have an amazing bunch of friends! Really, they're the most awesome people. We ate and talked for two hours and I suspect we could have gone on longer but I think the staff was looking at us a bit odd.

Once I got home it was around 1:30 p.m. and after I fed Mike I packed up the computer and his tax paperwork and headed for the patio. However, while I was working on that, an old friend from Multiply days came online and invited me to a live video chat. Well, with assorted technical difficulties with both Skype and Google Hangouts, we finally were able to talk for about an hour. It was awesome to visit with Nancy January and catch up. Turns out she isn't really that far from where my son lives in Arkansas... just in Oklahoma. I'm going out to visit David after school is out and it would be so cool to visit my friends while I'm there.

After talking to Nancy, I filed Mike's taxes. Now I just have to get mine done. Ugh. I really hate doing taxes but this year, I actually got paid to do some taxes so it isn't so bad when that happens.

This week, I'm hoping the whole week is as nice as today and maybe I can actually do outside work for a bit. I have a lot to do around the yard and flowers to plant. We'll have to see. But then there's Camp... and a short story Anthology to pull together (with help from other writers), and the school is having students make up the missed days via online classes so Sarah's Saturday's will be tied up some. And there is the novel edit I have to get back to now that I'm feeling better.

I've been reading a lot lately. I've finished two Richard Castle novels and one David Baldacci novel in the last two weeks. It was my first Baldacci and I really, really, really like the way he writes, a lot. In fact, it was a bit of a comfort. He does somethings I do that everyone says shouldn't be done.. so now I will be doing them anyway. I'm about to start a new book my friend/group member Rae Ford handed me at lunch today. Not sure if I'll like it but one thing the Kindle did for me is get me to read authors I probably wouldn't have read before. Those authors who offer them free really are gaining readers.

Now, I'm off to other things. Bed probably. I have a busy day tomorrow.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Overheard

Courtesy Pixabay @ Public Domain
Today I had to take Mike, my oldest son, in for his annual checkup. He can't drive himself because of the broken leg. He has no money or insurance and has to use a local clinic that helps low income and indigent folks get medical care. Remember that last bit: low income and indigent. The sign on the doors say it is for the homeless. My son isn't homeless but income wise he qualifies. He has no income.

As we stood at our window a  young woman with a small child stood at the one next to us. She was using the business phone through the service window. Her conversation with the party on the other end of the line went like this. I wasn't eavesdropping. She was talking very loud.

"I'm calling for the person who has this phone. Whoever has this phone, you better return it. I have a tracker on that phone and I am calling the police. I will prosecute you when I find you and I will find you cause I'm tracking you. Whoever you are you need to get my phone back to me now."

She hung up and gathered her handbag. As she walked away she was loudly grumbling. "You better return my phone. That's a $750 phone and I'm not about to lose it."

$750 phone.
$0 medical care.

Yes, I'm making several assumptions. However, once you've worked where I've worked, you realize this is not the exception, this is the rule.

Welcome to America.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

When Play Doh Becomes Stone


One Bowl, One Pan

I intended to post this the day I made it but things got away from me. This recipe is for a chicken and rice casserole that my family has loved for years. I haven't made it since before Jerry died. I have hardly any family left to serve such meals so there's no point. With Mike here recovering from his broken leg, I have an opportunity to actually make some real meals. This says it will feed 4-6 but don't count it for more than 4 people, unless you have some extra sides. 

Chicken, Rice, & Vegetable Casserole

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1.25 - 1.5 hr.
Oven temp: 375
Feeds approximately 4-6 people 


Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of Onion soup mix
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup uncooked regular rice
  • 10-12 oz of pea & carrots or mixed vegetables thawed
  • 1 can of mushrooms (optional)
  • 4-6 pieces of chicken (amount will vary based on size of pieces)

Items you need to prepare this dish:

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 13x9 in baking pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • measuring cups
  • mixing spoon

Optional but recommended Prep:

  1. Line your baking pan with foil. This just makes clean up easier. 
  2. Make a tent of foil that will cover the whole pan. I usually have to take two sheets, longer than my pan, fold them together legnthwise so they'll tent well all the way around.
Prepare as follows:

  1. In bowl, mix Onion soup mix, milk, and soup. Take out 1/4 cup of the mixture and set it aside. 
  2. Pour in rice and vegetables. Mix well. It may be a bit stiff but that's fine. 
  3. Pour into your baking pan and spread it evenly.
  4. Place chicken pieces on top of your rice mixture. As you can see, I got about 8 small thighs. You could probably use about 4 large breast or leg quarters instead.
  5. Pour the 1/4 cup of mixture you set aside over the chicken pieces. 
  6. Place foil tent over the pan and seal it up well around the edges. This is important to hold in the moisture to cook the rice. 
  7. Place in the oven and set your timer.


When the time is up, open the tent very carefully. Steam will boil out and you can get a nasty burn. I usually open one side, with great caution, and let it vent a second. I also take a spoon and get a small bite of rice out and see if it is done. If it isn't, reseal it and put it back in for a little longer. This is why sealing it tight is important. You have to keep the moisture in to cook the rice. Also, buy good rice. I've used rice that just simply didn't cook in this recipe.

No, I don't have a final shot of the finished product. It smelled delicious and we were so hungry by the time it was done, I forgot all about photos. You'll just have to try it. Believe me when I say it is delicious. I've fed a lot of folks with this meal. There was never enough rice to suit us.  


It has been so long since I made this I had forgotten how delicious it tasted! And yes, we had some leftovers. We had it for lunch the next day. After looking at the photos, I may make this again this week. My mouth is watering.

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