If I had all the time in the world…

…to spend reading I would be a very happy woman.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful?  There are so many good books on my to read list, how in the world am I going to get through it if I don’t read all my waking moments?  I sure could use a maid, and a gourmet chef.  Dale really is a huge help and never tells me to stop reading.  He reads quite a bit himself, so I guess he can’t complain about me indulging in my passion. 

What do I read?  Anything and everything.  I read picture books “checking them out” for my grandchildren.  I read children’s books because I “have” to help my daughters find books for their readers.  I read YA books because they are fun.  I read lots and lots of nonfiction.  Yep, I rarely read adult fiction.  Once in a while, I can read adult fiction but I don’t like running into X-rated passages and so tend to read older fiction (Jane Austen etc.) or books recommended by people that I trust. 

Right now I am reading  “The Zookeepers Wife” a book about a couple in Warsaw who, during WW2, saved many Jews from being sent to concentration camps.  So far I am really enjoying it. 

I really like to read books about WW2 and I’ve finally figured out why I like them so much.  I personally don’t like war and how it affects families,  however I think reading about the war lets me connect with my dad who fought in the Pacific theater and died in 1960 when I was 11 years old.  Do I look like the kind of person who would read war books?

It is really lucky for us that we have such a good public library.  We make good use of the tax money that we pay into the library system.  I am glad that I don’t have to buy all the books that I want to read, we have the money, but not the space.  I can put a book on hold and then will be notified when the book is waiting for me to come and check it out.  I can manage my holds on line and then renew them when I need to. 

Where do I find new books to read?  Usually by word of mouth, friends I trust.  Sometimes on different websites which have lists of good reads.  I don’t go to the New York Times best seller list for fiction, but will look at their non-fiction sometimes.  I also have enjoyed Nancy Pearl’s “Book Lust” books which are lists of books to read, lots of non-fiction.  I am really careful about the fiction that is in her books because I don’t  know her. 

I just finished reading “Goose Girl” last night.  It was good, and I enjoyed it and will probably read some of Shannon Hale’s other books.  I am glad I read it because I discovered that it was not a good read for the age group 10 through 13.  It really is a YA book.  I won’t be recommending it to my grandchildren to read.

Mares eat oats…

…and so do I.  In fact I would say that I have eaten more oats than most people.  I really like oatmeal.  It makes a nourishing breakfast that stays with you longer than Cheerios (I like Cheerios too).  But when you wake up and it is below freezing outside, cold cereal isn’t what I want to eat.  Even though I like a hot breakfast (mmm pancakes) I can’t eat a hot breakfast of fattening foods every day or I would gain weight (yes, I struggle just like everyone else). 

Lately I have been eating steel cut oats instead of rolled oats.  I take a quarter cup of oats and toast them in a skillet until they are golden brown and start smelling toasty.  Then I add them to a cup of boiling water, simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on then take off the lid add a pinch of salt and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Dale thinks this takes entirely too much time.  However during the whole process I am doing my daily scripture reading, so really I am not standing over the stove salivating.  Dale stirs up his breakfast the night before by adding muesli mix to yogurt.  In the morning he adds some nuts and he has breakfast.  Bleah, I am not a fan of yogurt, or uncooked grains and it defeats the purpose of a warm breakfast because it is cold. 

I have served my hot cereal to Dale a few times and he admitted to me that it was very good.  Which brings me to why I am writing this post.  I ran out of steel cut oats.  They had them in Costco and when I went back to get some more they no longer had them.  Grrr.  I know they sell them at the Food Coop, and other places in the bulk food section, but the day that I was shopping I didn’t have the time to go to another store.  This was my very busy last week as I was preparing my RS class on soup and preparing the meal for that evening as well.  I was in Costco and then had to go straight home.  That meant I had to eat regular rolled oats for two mornings in a row.  What a shock to discover that I hate regular rolled oats, they almost made me gag.  The cereal that I had eaten my entire life, that had sustained me on cold mornings as long as I could remember and suddenly, blech. 

I didn’t eat the oatmeal on the cruise and I thought it was just because they had all this other great food and as long as I didn’t eat pancakes it was okay.  Except that I was eating eggs and bacon and sausage and pastries.  Now I know why I avoided the oatmeal, regular rolled oats (old fashioned long cooking) are bad, very, very bad.  Almost inedible.  I can’t believe I ever enjoyed them.  Now I will have to use my huge oatmeal supply in creative ways so that I never have to eat another serving of that slimy, gray, tasteless library paste.

Soup to soup.

I was asked to chair the next RS quarterly activity.  Each quarter we have a meeting where food is served and the classes taught are more organized and formal.  I was told to plan soup for the meal, and, would I also like to teach a class on soup.  Of course I said yes to both.  I got a committee together and we planned the dinner and then I have been busy planning my class.  You can do some planning on paper.  I did some research on the Internet.  But the main part of class prep has been…in the kitchen.

I found about 19 different recipes that I wanted to try, and I only had two weeks, what to do?  I should tell you that I have plenty of soup recipes that I already know and love, I just wanted to add to my repertoire.  I have been going through the list, one per night.  I let Leslie fix one for her family one night and I fixed another one for Dale and I.  Hers said it served 8 to 10, and I just didn’t want that many leftovers.  As it is I am sending leftovers home with whoever comes here. 

One I tried I have already decided not to include.  Kurt said it was “okay”.  Faint praise. 

Two or three nights ago (the soups are running into each other now) I fixed split pea with ham.  As I was sauteing the vegetables with the ham my mouth was watering.  It was the best split pea soup I’ve had in a while.  Tonight I made roasted butternut  squash soup.  It was the best soup, honestly, we would have been thrilled to eat it on the cruise.  I was going to make loaded baked potato soup, but it serves 8 and it has 8 slices of bacon, a cup of sour cream and 4 cups of cheddar cheese, not good for the diet.  I will have to make that on a night when Kurt will be here and Dale W. will not.  Don’t worry, I have two yummy sounding low-fat soups coming up very soon. 

The recipes that I have been thrilled with have come from the Cook’s Country website, which is one of America’s Test Kitchens sites.  They have all been incredibly good.  The one that I wasn’t thrilled about came from another website.  Which goes to show sometimes something that looks good can be deceiving.  Anymore if the recipe doesn’t direct me to saute the foundation vegetables I am going to be leery about the outcome.

I wonder if I am going to be tired of eating soup before the class comes?  When the soup was as good as tonight’s probably not.  Ahh, velvety smooth and delicious.

Our Recent Cruise

I’ve been waiting for Janet to do this because I did the detailed journal, so what does she say to me? Since you did the journal, this will be easy for you. Okay, here goes and grab your pillow.
On Saturday the 9th, Dixon drove me, Janet and Dale G. to SEA where we met up with Mark and started our adventure. The packing was easy since we now have to pay for checked luggage, so I was limited to one carry-on. Janet checked her large bag, and took some of the space in my bag for her wardrobe. I only needed two shirts, a pair of shorts and some socks. The flight took us to Atlanta, as it is impossible to get to New Orleans unless you fly into the Eastern Time Zone. The flight went well – in fact they gave us all seats in the emergency exit row, so we had lots of leg room.
When we arrived in New Orleans, it was very cold – colder than it was that morning in Seatle. We took a cab to our hotel in the Convention Center area and had a great meal and a good sleep.
We were close enough to the ship that the next day we walked there from the hotel. It was a snap to get on board and by noon we had wedged our way into the Buffet, or as we called it, the “Boo-Fay”. By evening we were steaming along the Mississippi towards warmer destinations.
We spent Monday at sea and we enjoy sea days for relaxation. We all brought reading material and participated in several activities and enjoyed the entertainment. A day at sea for me was, get up at 7:30, go to the gym, eat breakfast, relax, eat mid-morning snack, relax, lunch, relax, mid-afternoon snack, relax, dinner, entertainment, evening snack.
Our first port of call was at Coasta Maya. We booked an afternoon excursion to the Chakchoben ruins.

Janet, Dale and Mark at Chakchoben ruins
Janet, Dale and Mark at Chakchoben ruins
Dale had never been to a jungle before so this was especially interesting to him. The trip took several hours and was fun. The following day we were in Santo Tomas Guatemala. I’d never been there before and we booked a boat ride from a local vendor and went along the coast into a river inlet and saw a lot of the country side. We had lunch in a place with a Guatemalan family playing drums, singing and dancing. The food was overpriced and under quality, but what do you do when you are in Livingston Guatemala.
On the boat ride along the Guatemalan Coast
On the boat ride along the Guatemalan Coast

Our next port of call was Belize City. Janet and I have been there twice before so we didn’t do too much. The boys took a tour to Altan Ha, a Mayan Ruin, and the liked the place. We continued the next day to Cozumel where Janet and I had been once before so this time Janet and Dale walked around the city while Mark and I did some snorkeling. It was fun as there were only four of us in the water and we had a guide. We saw a couple of barracudas and a sting ray and a very large eagle ray among other things. It was an enjoyable day.
Cozumel
Cozumel
After snorkeling we went to the ship for lunch and then back to the city to see if there was any junk we wanted to buy. There wasn’t.

We had another day at sea on the return and enjoyed that. We arrived at New Orleans on Sunday monning and were able to walk to the motel from there and were in our room before 11 a.m. We walked to a WW2 museum nearby and enjoyed that, along with great Cajun food. We also walked around the French Quarter and we came across the Café du Monde and had some of their famous Beignets.

New Orleans
New Orleans

On Monday morning my nephew Nick Speth met us at the hotel. He lives in Baton Rouge and drove down to spend the day with us. We walked our legs off and saw a great deal of the city with Nick and we were ready to call it a vacation. On Tuesday morning we caught a cab to the airport and flew to Cincinnati – again in the Eastern Time zone. Our flight to SEA was very good, in fact we arrived 40 minutes early and our ride (spelled Kurt) arrived about 50 minutes after we arrived. We arrived home safely and loved our adventure.

Feeling like I’ve moved again.

I called Madigan to make an appointment and was told that I wasn’t assigned to a Doctor.  After several more calls to investigate what the problem was I found out that I had been kicked out of Madigan.  This was surprising since I had been told that I could use Madigan as my primary care facility. 

Maybe I should go back so you can understand.  We came home from Germany in July.  One of the first things we did was to go back to Madigan and set up our insurance for stateside care.  We left thinking all was in order.  A few days later we came home to a message that we needed to go back, they had made a mistake and we needed to pay some money in order for our insurance to take effect.  It didn’t mean I’m uninsured, just that I can’t make appointments.  We went in and were told instead of being able to make appointments in August we would have to wait until September, which was fine because, really, at the time I didn’t need to go in for anything (except the ophthalmologist, who I am supposed to see every six months).  They told me who my Dr. was going to be and which clinic I needed to go to. 

Fast forward to January.  I call, and was told they had kicked me out and that I needed to go to a civilian practitioner.  That is fine too, except, I have to find one.  Which I am doing today.  Or not doing today however you look at it. I have a list, some of the names we immediately crossed off usually because they were orthopedists, or nephrologists.  That left a few on the list.  We called some, no answer, only for inpatient etc.  I may not be able to find anyone in time for me to get my medications.  Yes, I have a deadline. 

What bothers me the most is how much you get hassled when you are trying to work with Tricare.  Their name is a misnomer, they should be we don’t care.  Why didn’t I receive a letter last September telling me that they had dumped me?  Why don’t they give a separate list for all those who are currently seeing patients who don’t need an orthopedist or a nephrologist, just  list of pcps who are accepting new patients?

We had the promise of health care for the rest of our lives.  I guess I should not complain.  You get what you pay for and we don’t pay that much.  I just wish they were more organized so that I could have been working on this problem last September instead of thinking I had all my bases covered.

Now, about the title of this post.  Every time we moved we had to start all over again with figuring out where things were and how things worked.  I am sure it made me a better person.  I am not so sure that it was helpful to all our children.  I don’t know if it is a revelation to them how difficult it was for someone like me to pick up and start all over again.  They were all troopers and never complained much even if they had to leave a good bunch of friends.  Now I feel as if I’ve had to move and reestablish myself.  It isn’t a good feeling for me, kind of upsetting and overwhelming, but mostly just unexpected.

I promised a vacation blog with pictures.  I haven’t forgotten the promise.  However, I wasn’t the only one in the family on the trip.  How about some of you others do the blog.  I will use the excuse that I can’t figure out how to post pictures.