Bee's Hive

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A new Plan

When the going gets tough...the tough get going...even though the Texas sunshine has been wonderful for me, the rest of the dream sort of fell apart.  From the lack of good doctors to a company who has mandatory work hours right out of the sweat shop days.

I had two bad reactions from the new medicine and had to stop it. The next 2 drugs on the list, and the final 2 that I could take, are not promising so I passed on them. I decided to go back to the original drug I was taking and see if being off of it for months might allow it to work again. Today I started with the first shot.

We had time on Thanksgiving to talk about life and when we actually were the happiest. I do this from the back seat because I've lived my life and it's important for Dave to lead the way. I was shocked when he said he was happier with the life we had in Lancaster, Pa.  I think my heart stopped for a second and then joyfully almost jumped out of my chest! HOME, I never thought I would see home again, certainly not living there again.

The summer days of having yard sales on my front lawn with close friends, good food and lots of quiet stitching while we waited for customers.

Dave always loved his tractor, plowing my garden

and even plowing the snow

We raised pheasant


Dave installed lights on buggies

I did a lot of sewing

We had our own wagon

We did have electric but it was an Amish owned house. This was our heater..what ever went up the stairs was the only heat.

 Life, the life I long to have again. The plan is in motion. We've talked to our Amish friends, a business plan is in the making and the word is out for a house. April looks like the earliest we can leave, but we are leaving by June at the latest.

Next winter I'll be listening to the clopping of the wagons passing the house.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Elephant in the room..

Did you ever watch a room full of people all talking about the same thing, walking around the elephant in the room and pretending they didn't see it?

A few days ago I lost a very young friend to that elephant. I see him. He has been a huge problem and taken a lot of lives much too early.

If you watched the Michael Jackson's Court case today, you will know the Judge saw the elephant too. The Judge was very angry. His speech to the Doctor who killed Michael Jackson was meant for doctors everywhere. Will they hear him? Some will but others will have closed their ears to his words because of greed.

The people in the room who are avoiding the elephant have decided the surgery my friend had on her stomach to take off weight was the cause of her death. It's just much easier to avoid the elephant if you can put the cause on something you can openly talk about.

I'm afraid my friends problems started long before that surgery. I think it started like most teenagers who try out drugs under the pressure of their friends. Having a family who does not deal with it but instead abandons the person when they need strong people who love them to see them through it, helps the elephant get a grip on the person.

The biggest problem when this happens is the old lady doctor who should have retired years before, but because of greed, hangs on writing one prescription after another allowing the elephant to easily take over.

This elephant stomped through my family. He took the life of my nephew before his 21st birthday. These kids soon learn to complain about everything. They search out the "feel good" doctor's who write out prescriptions with one hand and collect a fee with the other. When they out grow the strength of the drugs prescribed, they sell them on the street for stronger drugs. It's something they learn early, sometimes having doctors in many cities and even in different states.

My friend and I had one fall out after another because she couldn't help herself from using me and I couldn't help myself from hating what she was doing to herself. Even after talking against her and about her so people would stop sending her money , I would get long long emails begging me to call her. It would break me down and the cycle would start all over again.

A few weeks ago after yet another fall out, I got one of these emails. They were always so sad. She was always so sorry and so alone. We talked for 3 hours until her phone battery ran low. When I called her back the next day the phone had been shut off. I'll never know if she wanted to ask me for the money to pay for the phone bill. She didn't ask, maybe because we were having such a good chat and she didn't want another fall out.

I had a bad feeling about that phone call. She talked about death, not in a general way, but she told me what she wanted and who she wanted her things to go to. Even through her laughter I could here her voice shake. She wasn't feeling well at all. She was trying to teach me how to make my emails so no one could change them since she had gotten copies of an email I was suppose to have written and they both were different. Funny how she was worried about me and I about her.

She had finally dumped an old boyfriend who couldn't decide if he wanted his mother to take care of him or if he wanted to grow up and be her partner. She was happy, had found a new boyfriend. He seemed to really love her. He was with her when she fell to the floor and did what he could to keep her alive while waiting for the ambulance to arrive after calling 911. At least her last moments were with the person she loved. She had finally found some happiness.

I'd like to say the elephant is dead, but there will be another movie star, family member or dear friend who will meet him. The feel good doctor's will be there waiting for them.

There is no peace in knowing another life is gone much too early. She will suffer no more as Michael Jackson will suffer no more. They will not have to search for the love that was missing from their lives or the support they needed as kids and didn't get. Their struggle is over, but for us, we may find ourselves looking in the eyes of another victum of the elephant in the room.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A crazy life....

Once again everything has changed. We couldn't find a rental so we went with a sale house. I've gone through the kind of realestate sales in Florida that you end up with less then you signed up for, but Texas has them might end up with more taxes, water bills, and suit's against a property...and rude nasty sales people who lie and make demands with conviction.

I won't say anymore because I'm still to angry...lets just say we took most of our furniture to goodwill, packed the entire house and then had to back out because of ...well, we just backed out, period.

Wednesday was a terrible day. After the house problems, Griz, our loved dog, got so sick he could just about stand up so we had to go off to the vets to have him put down. Dave fell completely apart when we got there so I had to hold's an awful thing to have to do to a pet who is looking into your eyes with love and trust, not knowing .... It's very up setting and something I'm having a problem with.

A few hours later we had tickets to the Willie Nelson concert. We went, but it was not an evening we could say we enjoyed. To top off my sad feelings, a vet without legs was in a wheel chair next to me. We had been sitting up front, close to the stage for almost 2 hours. As 10:30 approached and Willie was about to come on stage, people began to push in around us. I had a good view of the fat guys flannel shirt who managed to step over my feet and plant himself almost on my lap. The vet next to me had the same kind of a view as people closed in and didn't care about those of us who were stuck in chairs and couldn't see around or over them.

A few times someone would fall backwards into one of our laps. I poked the fellow in front of us and asked him if the guy next to me could get a look at Willie and use his camera...he said, "Lady, I paid for my ticket same as he did"...and he didn't move one inch. Finally, a few minutes before the concert was over the guy was pretty drunk and had to leave, most likely for the bathroom..or maybe the last call of the night for another beer...we only had a few seconds before people filled the hole where he had been, but we both got to take a few photo's.  I guess that's how some people really feel about our vets. Not one person was willing to move over, not even for 2 minutes.

Mean time Dave is working 12 hour days, 12 days in a row. He's exhausted. I'm amazed that Boeing hasn't realized that exhausted workers don't produce the best they have to give. Dave doesn't complain, but I'm his mom and I see how it's breaking him down by the 8th day in a row.

We need a new plan. We need some time to sit down and  talk about it but right now Dave isn't sure if he is going to get Friday off after Thanksgiving, so even making a plan has to wait. I'm not sure if I have the ambition to rip open boxes to find the roasting pan to make the turkey. We might just ignore the holidays this year. I refuse to unpack again. The TV is sitting on a plastic tote and I just don't care!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Beautiful new Calendar...we all need one of these!

My friend Kathy has just come out with her new Calendar for the year. This would make a truely great Holiday gift for anyone who sews and is just pretty to look at each month.

It's a great price and can be purchased from:

You can also go to Kathy's blog to read about it:

Southwestern colors

I thought before I go wild and buy the wrong colors to go with the orange kitchen, I'd better find out just what southwestern color are!

Looks like they use red with orange!  If I had to pick the color I disliked most it would be orange! But we came to Texas for a "new life" so it's time to put away my east coast pastels and think Sun and Bright!

Yes elsie, I did finish the boots wall hanging. I've been collecting western items, kids cowboy boots, hats spurs and some indian items. I'll take along the paint chip colors so I don't fall back to the things I am use too.  Of course the easy thing to do would be to just paint the walls...but with Dave's hours and the holidays coming up that won't be happening.  Maybe it's just time to let go and get with San Antonio's Mexican background!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Okay Sherrie.....LOL

You have to remember where I am in Texas...Helotos is originally a Mexican area....almost every home we looked at was either painted red or orange...San Antonio has a very Mexican theme to it!  I have to say I've gotten pretty used to has grown on me and I don't mind it anymore.  The house was built in 2006 so it's not from the seventies!  Can't you just see a table runner and napkins done in brights...yellow, orange, blue....I need to get lots more cowboy stuff and some big hats from Mexico! Makes me tired thinking about it...need to take a Mexican nap under one of those hats!

Home Sweet Home

I've been holding off posting to see if we got a house...WE DID!  But first lets back up to the Boeing Family Day. We were not allowed to take photo's but I grabbed a few off the boeing site of their new plane that Dave is working on...The Dreamliner.  Family day was dogs and lots of planes to see, gifts and even the Boeing Traveling Store was on site to make purchases. The kids had those bubble houses to jump around in and a Giant Slide.

My new meds are working pretty good. Over the past year while the other meds were shutting down I did get some damage and it's not I'll live with it. I'm glad to have any relief!

We have seen so many houses, all in the right area but some too small, only one car garage, and so on. We did find one that although it's a little smaller then we wanted, it has a wonderful covered patio and lots of windows and a fireplace. This morning we got the call that we got it so we'll soon be moving...Yeah! Lot of work ahead. We have a full trailer of items to go to goodwill first of all. All the TV's with the glass screens that weigh a ton are on their way out...we got new flat screen TV's and I'll be getting new living room furniture.  The kitchen is painted burnt orange!  Guess I'll be sewing a lot of new kitchen items since mine are all red...what a clash that would be!

Next is the Willie Nelson gig on November 16th. Lots more packing and unfortunately, we'll have to put the dog down before we move...unless he expires on his own before then. I think he must have cancer of the stomach...he's just been so sick and Dave is having a hard time making the discision. I think he's hoping it will just happen so he doesn't have too.

I did a little on line shopping. I bought a new Bunn professional coffee maker and a Rowenta iron. Both my currant bunn and rowenta owe me nothing. I've had them both at least 8 years. Time to replace them before one morning I find us with no coffee or no ironed shirt for Dave! Moving and shopping is hard since Dave is working 12 hour days, 12 days in a row. So, I'll post as things move on over the next month. We do have 3 bedrooms so that'll give me a sewing room! We also have a formal dining room. Don't know what we'll do with that since we no longer are very "formal"!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life moves on....

You would think with only two adults in the house that we could live a very quiet life but our house always seems like a circus. Both the dog and I went down for the count over the past few weeks. I am beginning to think we both have a little cat in us.

The dog, Griz, laid for 4 days without eating or drinking. Not possible to get the medicine in him but I told Dave I didn't think it was a good idea to force it down his throat. Dave forgot you should always listen to your mother. He waited until I went to bed and tried to pry open the dogs mouth and drop the pill in the back of his throat and force him to swallow. Griz did exactly what I thought he would do...he bit him. I would have bit him too if he tried to force medicine on me. Of course his finger got infected and he had to go to the ER for a shot and meds.

The hospital did what I thought they would do, they reported it to animal control. Animal control is not the humane society. They wanted to drag this old sick dog to the pound and put him in a cage for 10 days, most likely laying in his own vomit and diarrhea. I was grateful the Vet fought for us to keep him home since he was under his care. He just got his rabies shot in April. Rabies is their concern. I thought that's why you got the shot for you pet. These things never make sense to me.

Fast forward 2 weeks, Dave is healed and Griz might have beat the widow maker. He is eating and interested in his toys, although he is thin and his eyes still look sick. Only time will tell if he makes it once again. We haven't heard from animal control. It's not like the dog was running the streets and bit a stranger. He was forced into acting vile when Dave became desparate to save his life.

I hit bottom with the Humira. It was the worse time for the dog to get sick. I could barely take care of me without having to clean up after him and try getting medicine into him. Mostly for the past 2 weeks I stayed in bed with dog laying along side of the bed. Neither of us wanted to be alone but we also didn't want to be bothered with each other.

Once again the doctor was able to get the insurance company to send out my new meds yesterday. If this medicine works I'll be grateful but I will dread every shot I have to take. The package is over-kill. I don't know if they want to be different or if they think people are toddlers who need to be protected. The package reminds me of the over sized plastic bike you buy your toddler because he can't handle a real bike. The plunger is huge and hard to handle with bad hands. It is a double tube which makes it hard to see the medicine inside. The plunger doesn't want to move. Most of all the needle itself is double the size in thickness then the Enbrel needle. I would have to have the skin of a rhino to not notice the pain the huge needle causes. Then there is the volume. Enbrel was 40 mg...Humira was 50 mg...but Cimzia is 200 mg and I have to inject two needles each time. I injected yesterday morning and waited for the second shot until late last night. I could feel the pain of the needle before I got the package open.

I had a hard time going to sleep last night. For weeks I felt like I had a sleeping sickness. That's not uncommon to be extremely tired all the time with RA. But the Cimzia seems to have given me insomnia. At least I don't have to face the horse needle for 2 weeks. I won't think about it today!

I complained about the needle size on a Rheumatoid board. The one lady said she didn't see any difference in the needle size between Enbrel and Cimzia. All I can say is she must have thick skin! The difference is like using a regular sewing needle or an upholstery needle.


I hope I start feeling better this week. I'm sick of boxes packed all around my head. The holidays are soon here and I have nothing to keep me busy and no place to work. I'm going to have to put a push on the moving.  While all this illness was taking place, Dave was changed in the middle of the week from second shift to first shift. You would think day work would be the best but not when it starts at 4: am and you have to get up at 2:am to leave by 3:am.  The 10 hour day ends at 2:30 PM, giving you only a few hours to eat and get into bed by 7: PM...Dave is really suffering and his inner clock doesn't want to adjust.

Next Saturday is Family Day at Boeing. I hope I am allowed to take photo's. It will be nice to just get out of the house if I'm feeling okay.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick note...

We finally had some good rain last night but until it started we were on fire watch because of the lightening that could have sparked flames.  It's already dry again and nothing looks any greener, but while it was coming down it felt good to have some cooler air.

I got a call last night that I was approved for a new's a new name for me, never heard of it. Since they just sent the Humira I can't get it for a month, but at least I know help "might" be on the way.

Dave's back on mandatory over time so house hunting is off for a while.

We have been dealing with a sick dog this week. Don't know if he'll make it, he's pretty old and full of fatty tumors. Today he goes to the vet. He's had a good life. Dave will miss him. I'll miss him also although this past week has been hard since I'm having trouble taking care of myself. As sick as he's been, he still manages to greet Dave at the door when he comes home. He's been spending his days laying at my feet.


Griz with Susie at the doctor's

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sadly, still looking...

I liked the house as soon as I entered the front door. It was very open and lots of room and windows. We went from the livingroom into the kitchen. I pulled the blind away from the sliding door so I could see the yard. I don't know why I decided to open the door and go into the yard, but it was a good thing I did. The second my foot hit the patio a dog in the yard next door began to bark and grawl. It wasn't just a barking dog, it was the kind of a bark a dog does when he's ready to attack. I've heard that deep throat grawl before, very aggressive. Through the spaces in the wood fence I could see a very muscular out line of the dog...a pit bull...he never stopped barking and when Dave went within 5 feet of the fence he began grawling.

Of course the realestate guy continued to do his selling...pointing out the new over sized air conditioner, trying to yell over the dog. We backed into the kitchen and I told the fellow that I would have no use of the yard with the pit bull barking all the time. I couldn't imagine letting our dog outside at all. I had a picture in my head of the dog charging through the wooden fence. Sorry, the dog was a deal breaker. I didn't spend anymore time looking at the rest of the house. He finally said, "Your right, a pit bull is just that and I wouldn't live next to one myself".

We had seen a sign for a yard sale at the end of the street. We wanted to get a feel for the area so we decided to stop at the yard sale. When we pulled up we were very sad to see yet another pit bull, standing without a leash, on the sidewalk. We drove on.

So we are back to looking. There are so few one story houses in this area. We might have to settle for a two story and hope I can manage the steps.

Friday, September 23, 2011

House Hunting...

Dave thinks he found the house for us today. I get to see it Saturday. I think we'll need a weekly cleaning woman!  I'll give you a peek at the photo's he took for me to see.

Family room


Sunken Living Room

Master Bedroom has it's own Fireplace

Yard, Patio and dead grass from the heat this year

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 17, 1997.......September 18, 1997

September 17, 1997

I was cleaning up the dinner dishes when I got a call telling me if I wanted to see my son Mark alive, I should come to the hospital immediately. The next 18 hours would not only take away my son but would take away all my trust in people, my spirit, a huge piece of my heart and cause my family to scatter across the United States...guilt, fear, anger...sent us all running away from each other.

September 18, 1997

Time stopped today in 1997. Time heals all...blah, blah, blah...It doesn't!  It's a bitter pill for me to look at the sunshine and remember my son Mark who loved being out side, even in the snow. Here I am a useless, broken, painful body taking up space and he's gone when he was so full of life.

Let me tell you about time. I use to talk about Mark all the time, it gave me peace remembering his smile and laugh. It kept him here and not forgotten. But time didn't round the edges, soften the pain or allow me to forgive. Time has allowed me to see how all the folks who said they loved Mark, use him for an excuse for their failure's, fight among themselves because they didn't get's all bad how people can act in the end.

Then there is the fellow who killed my child...the one I am suppose to forgive and know that is what God asks of me. I'm afraid God will have to do the forgiving for me. I learned a year ago that this fellow managed to get transferred to the newest medical prison in Pennsylvania where there are no cells or me this is not punishment for someone who got life without parole. I've gone to the prison websites and read families calling this prison the "hotel" of prisons. Any hope of forgiveness was wiped out at the point.

The only bright spot that came out of this hell is the organ recipients, the people Mark wanted to live if he could not. It was very hard for me to sign those papers because I was against giving away parts of my child, but that is what he wanted and the last thing I could do for him. It's the only bright light, they live on and I got to meet some of them.

Yes I am often a bitter angry person. It has nothing to do with my own body, it's the pain in my heart that is there every minute I am awake and often breaks into my sleep with the voice of my son calling for me. Today I can only offer my heartbreak.

You won't have to call for me much longer son, like the eagle I will also soon be free

Friday, September 16, 2011


We all need something to look forward too, some of us need it more then others!

After searching all of the San Antonio area, we decided we wanted to look for a house in or near Helotes, Texas. While we were doing our search we stopped in Helotes at an antique store and a Honky Tonk. Floores is the Honky Tonk where many country singers got their start, Willie Nelson being one of them. We were told that he hasn't forgotten his roots and still does shows at Floores. (

At the time I told Dave that it was most likely a local secret when he would be there, but wouldn't that be so cool to be able to see him in person.

Things haven't been going to well on the home front lately and having something to look forward to was just what I needed to march on.  This morning Dave handed me this:

Now isn't this FUN!  The first thing that struck me was the November 16th date. This is an out doors event. No one would be hanging out doors in Pennsylvania to see anyone sing in mid November! It sure lifted my spirits. I feel like I need to go buy cowboy boots and a hat!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Checking in Rita!  We aren't taking any chances yet. We are still packed up and following the warnings about not using the out door grill or power tools, even electric mowers or weed wackers. One spark could burn acres of land. It looks like we will be getting some rain next weekend or the following week which will help. When you walk across the grass it crunches like crisp cereal. Funny how the weeds are still green and growing!

We got out yesterday to get our flu shoots and got a good look at the burnt as far as you can see. It burnt between houses and mall stores, right down the center like a huge road. A little breeze would have left it jump over the road and onto the golf course where we live....lots of dead dry grass and man made ponds with no water in them. I won't say we are lucky since the rain hasn't started yet.

I can't seem to get started on any project. I have Christmas balls sitting on the table to glitter and a stack of new fabric to work with, but no desire to get myself going right now. The last few days I had to deal with the RA attacking my jaw bones. Not a good way to go on a diet!  The blender is packed to move of course, so I stuck with melted ice cream through a straw. 

We are okay for now, wishing that perfect house comes on the market and looking forward to rain!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Long night...

It's hard to go to bed when you have flames licking at your back door. We were glad to see morning. Things always seem better when you can see what's happening. Now with the night behind me I'm going to bed! The temps are still hot and the warning that a wild fire can happen at anytime leaves us with our bags packed by the door. I tossed clothes in a bag, medicine and of course my Singer 221.


It's 1:am in the moring.  Dave just got home after taking this photo a few blocks away. It's behind the shopping center next to us. We are sitting here waiting to see if we have to evacuate.

San Antonio, Texas

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just checking in...

Looks like there are fires all around us here in Texas with no rain in sight yet. It has cooled down from the triple digits to a nice 96, but it's so dry with all brown grass looking a lot like it will never be green again.

My son lives along the river in Pennsylvania where they are being evacuated because the river flood walls can't hold back the water. I don't know which it worse, fire or water?? 

As for me, well I looked back to last August to see where I was. My friend had come to visit. We went into the city of San Antonio for a river boat ride and parked in a garage. I walked from the garage to the river ride and back again with no help.  I'm sorry to say this year I wouldn't make it out of the garage even with a walker. It was last August when all of this started to go down hill in a hurry.

Next I looked back on my trip to Pittsburgh in July. I was able to make it through the entire trip with the help of a walker. It was painful but I did do it.  I can't say my shopping trip this past weekend was equal to that. I found myself shaking from pain after 5 minutes and had to give up and just go home.

Yesterday I put a call into the doctor in Pittsburgh. It's pretty clear that Humira is doing nothing at all. I've taken 3 shots and over the past 3 weeks I've gotten into real trouble instead of seeing the improvement I was hoping for. The doctor is on vacation and I know he will have to do some research to find another drug that won't send my liver into failure so now I'll just wait.

This is Dave's last free weekend before he starts back on 12 days on and 2 off. He tried to set up appointments to see houses yesterday but the renters wouldn't let the realestate in so he got to see none. Maybe he should just wait to see if it starts raining before he moves us into the hill country anyway.

That all sounds pretty sad but life is really never sad, they are just the daily facts. This morning Dave's new bed arrived so tonight he'll get a good nights sleep..that's a happy thing.  I'm getting pretty board with everything packed up so I bought some small second hand Christmas Balls at goodwill and found the craft box with my German Glass glitter in it. Next week this will be my project while Dave is away for so many hours. Last year our little tree looked sad without balls on it. I left those behind because of breakage but I missed them, another cheerful thing. I also managed to get fabric from Joann's Fabric to enter their contest even though I don't like contests it will give me something to do. I may never send it in but with a date looming overhead it will force me to do it instead of just sitting here watching movies all day. Working with Fabric is always a fun thing.

I looked into Senior Centers but there aren't any here. They seem like adult day care centers and that's not what I'm use to. I was looking for one that took day trips or even a bus company that had day trips but that just isn't something they do here. Back home they have day trips to Casino's, flower shows, art museums and even trips to New York City for the shows. I could do these kind of trips. They are mostly sitting and looking like the day we went to the Zoo. I do have a power chair and walker. But that's not a Texas thing.

As for the neighborhoods here in Texas, people don't live outside, it's very strange. In the past year I've seen the children next door get in the car a few times, but they never play outside. In all the neighborhoods we have looked for a house in, we haven't seen any people outside. People are seen in the Mall, but not outside their homes...very strange. To tell you the truth, I'd move back to Lancaster, Pa. in a heart beat. But, that's not gonna happen and the heat is so much better for me. Even if Texan's don't go outside, I do...I bet they think I'm a strange old bird! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A month has passed....

It's been a month since I took the first shot of Humira. Today they delivered the next round of shots. The improvement is slight, very slight. But, I'll give it another month before I judge the results. I'm still getting a lot of break through flare ups. I've decided I'll never go back 3 years to feeling good again. There is just too much damage this time. It's better to face the facts then to hope when there isn't any. I'm just pushing on and doing what I can do each day. It'll take more then pain and flares to stop me from living. 

It's been a month of temperature's that were over 100 daily and as hot as 111 a few days ago. I took those nice hot days to hose down and scrub all the outside furniture, shovels and yard decorations for the up coming move. We did look at one home this month. It was in the right zip code but much too small. This is going to be harder then I thought. The area we want to be in is pretty new. Lots of young people with kids so the houses are mostly 2 story homes.  The realestate suggested a 2 story with the master bedroom on the first floor but since I would be the one to clean and deal with laundry that just wouldn't work for me.

In the mean time the house we are trying to live in is a mess with boxes all over the place. The property manager raised our rent because we wouldn't sign a new lease and has refused to respond to our calls to repair the damage that was done with the flood from next door. We still have an open wall where the plumber cut out the dry wall.  I'm just hoping the air conditioner keeps working. I have a feeling since he knows we are moving he is just not going to do any repairs for us. Texas is NOT one of the 38 states that have laws for the renter. I'm sure we'll have a problem getting back our deposit of $1000.00 when the time comes and he'll most likely blame the flood on us so he has a reason to keep the money. But, I'll deal with that when the time comes.

Sewing has come to a halt with everything packed up. I've been watching a lot of old movies to take up the day. Nothing like watching White Christmas in 106 degree heat! We are afraid to even start up the grill with everything so dried out and the yard has a huge split down the center. It looks like maybe the water or sewer pipes run where the ground has opened up.

This weekend we are going shopping for some nice, on sale, yard furniture. This is my stocking up weekend. I've ordered 2 new swim suits on line and talked Dave into getting a new mattress. The day we arrived in Texas a year ago we stopped at a mattress center and bought beds so we would have something to sleep on. They weren't the best beds! If you are going to work as hard as Dave works you need a good nights sleep and sturdy shoes that fit right. I replaced my bed last month. It's wonderful! He'll be so surprised, after he sleeps on a good mattress one night, just how good he feels.

This week will be cooler so I'm going to work on the garage. We want a house with a double car garage this time. We have so many projects we enjoy and no room to work on anything here. I never got my doll houses put back together but I'm looking forward to doing that in the next house. Dave wants to put a new skin on his antique canoe and he's restoring another old bike. I have a lot of scrapbooking supplies, oil painting and one tote filled with wood carving,that I had just started to learn how to do, all sitting for the past year in a garage where there is no room to work. I keep looking at my power craft saw I dragged along and wonder if I'll ever get to use it again. I miss seeing my things. It'll be great just to be able to look through the boxes again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time to make the soup

I had some trouble finding the right ingredients in Texas, but I found replacements that will work. There is a lot of chopping and cutting so it's best to get all that done and ready first to make the job easier. 

1 Leek, use only the white and light green part. Cut it in quarters and then slice it in 1/4 inch pieces.
1 Bunch Kale, after steaming it, remove the large stems and cut it into 1/2 inch slices across the leaves.
1 Cabbage, core it and slice thin about 1/4 of the head.
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Carrots and 2 Celery stalks, cut on a slant into 1/2 inch pieces.
7 Red skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
1 Zucchini, cut into 1/2 inches pieces.
1 cup Fresh green beans cut on an angle in 1 inch pieces.
1 Large can plum tomatoes, chopped
Rind of Italian cheese, prosciutto heal or substitute
Salt and pepper, bay leaf, pinch of crushed red pepper and vegetable stock

Start by preparing the Cannellini beans. I couldn't find dry Cannellini beans so I used a can of Goya Brand Beans plus the juice. If you have dried beans, cover them with water by 2 inches in a bowl and refrigerate for 12 hours. Drain and bring 8 cups of water to a boil, add beans, 1 large onion, bay leaf. Boil about 1 hour, drain and remove the onion and bay leaf. Keep one cup of the bean water to use in the soup. If you use dried beans, of course you would have to make them the day before along with the stock.

Minestrone soup starts with a base called Soffritto.You will need 1/3 cup of good Olive Oil, 1 large piece of celery, 1 carrot and 1 large onion, cut all very fine. In a stock pot, heat the oil on low, add the veggies and cook until golden brown, stirring often.

Add leek and garlic, cook about 5 minutes until soft. Add the veggies, celery, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and zucchini. Cook until golden about another 5 minutes.

Now add the juice from the beans and 1 large can of plum tomatoes that you have chopped, cabbage, kale, stock (about a quart or more), cheese rind, pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a bay leaf.

It's time to add the prosciutto. I always buy the heal of the meat for soup but in Texas I couldn't find one. I did find sliced slow aged so I rolled it and tied it..and added it to the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour.

If you use dried beans you would now add them and cook about 1 more hour or until all the beans and veggies are done.  With the canned beans I had to use, I cooked my soup for 15 minutes longer and added the canned beans cooking for an added 10 minutes. I removed the cheese rind but left the prosciutto for flavor.

Tomorrow I'll add some Italian bread toasted in the oven with garlic butter. This recipe makes about 8 bowls of soup.

Lets make some Veggie Stock for Minestrone soup

First we have to start with the vegetable stock. It's much better if you make it and keep it in the refrig over night.
You will need 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1 large onion (dice half and keep half whole), 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots (cut the celery and carrots to about 1/2 inch pieces)  2 or 3 garlic cloves sliced thin, fresh parsley, basil, thyme and 1 bay leaf. Peppercorns (about 1/4 tsp.) and coarse salt.

Heat oil and add chopped onion until it's carmelized (10 or 15 minutes). Add the veggies and cook until tender (10 minutes).

Add 10 to 12 cups of water, herbs, peppercorns, onion half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cook 1 hour.

Set pot in sink in cold water. When cool, pour through a sieve into a refrigerater container. Press the juice out of the veggies and discard them.

Refrigerate stock overnight.