Monday, September 29, 2008

My little kitty named Iggy

I have had Igor for almost 18 years! He is a solid black cat with just a few black hairs under his chin with the biggest green yellow eyes. We had 2 black cats and I have vivid memories of Alex as a small child, jerking up their heads and asking "what kind of kitty are you?" Actually, Iggy, as we call him, owns me. He isn't aloof or even very independent but he just decides that he is going to sit or lay on me. Right now, he is sitting across my left forearm with his head in the crook of my elbow while I type. His little body is between me and the laptop and his cute little head is be-bobbling as I type. But he is happy!

For many years, the minute I went to bed, he hopped up on the bed and kneaded my shoulders for about 5 minutes and then just draped himself across my back and shoulders til I drifted off to sleep. I used to tell Jim that I can't imagine life without him doing that because I love him so much. Well now he is a very old man-kitty. I fear the end is near as he has been frail and small for a year or so. Every morning when I wake up and every evening when I come home form work, I quietly look to see if he is still breathing. Just the other day, he fell while trying to jump from one counter top to the other. He hardly ever come upstairs anymore..........I guess he is just too tired or slow. He spends about 20 hours a day on his pillow in his little basket bed I made for him on the big chair in the living room. But for now, we are both happy as he is purring gently in mommy's warm embrace.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Marianne is in the kitchen cooking Crab Cakes!

So my husband has gotten into watching the cooking shows! And when he sees something he likes, he goes on the internet, finds it and prints it out for me to look at. Now this is interesting because he is generally a meat and potatoes or rice man, loving his beef. But the way I figure it, if he is interested in something new, I am happy to try it out.

So a few months ago, he showed me a crab cake recipe and off we go to Kroger and buy the stuff and I made them. They were pretty good but a bit hot/spicy, but I tucked the recipe away in my cute lil recipe book Jim gave me for Christmas.

Now to be perfectly honest with you..............I don't really cook! Especially now that there's usually only the two of us, we end up going out a lot. For those of you who know me well, ahem, my children, they will agree. I have a few favorites but that's about it. It's like I really freak out when I see a recipe that has more than 6 or 8 ingredients. I guess I get overwhelmed. But if I see someone make it, I feel better about it. I think it's because I am a visual learner and seeing is doing!

Well this one has 8 ingredients for the crab cakes themselves and then 4 ingredients for the sassy tartar sauce. So maybe because it's separated, the list looked shorter so I felt I could tackle it. And too, maybe I didn't screw it up too bad the first time since Jim wanted me to make it again. So here it is compliments of Sandra Lee:

Sassy tartar Sauce:
10 oz bottle tartar sauce
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
6 dashes hot sauce
1 scallion, finely chopped

Crab Cakes:
12 oz lump crabmeat, drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup herb seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay preferred)
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
10 saltine crackers
vegetable oil for frying

Sassy Tartar Sauce:

In small bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.

Crab Cakes:

In a medium bowl, add crabmeat, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, seafood seasoning, egg, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Form 6 crab cakes approximately 2 1/2 inches diameter and place on baking sheet.

In small plastic bag crush the saltine crackers and place into shallow dish. Lightly dredge the formed crab cakes into the crushed crackers and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to cover bottom of pan. When oil is hot, fry crab cakes in batches for about 3 minutes per side or until just golden brown. Transfer to a sheet pan or plate lined with a paper towel.

Serve crab cakes with tartar sauce.

We also had asparagus and wine and a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich for dessert!

Now there is only one thing missing...............the beach!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The days are getting shorter!

Fall is right around the corner. Well officially fall has arrived according to the calendar, but we still have warm summer-like days. I actually love fall and think it is my favorite season. I used to proclaim spring as my favorite season, but the crisp mornings with crystal blue skies and low humidity and sunny afternoons with warm colors make me love it more. We treasure days down at our beach house in Cherrygrove where we can spend a few hours on the beach in our bathing suits lounging in the sun soaking up the last rays of sun. We call them "bonus days!"

However, there is some sadness that is looming. I am an active person and thoroughly enjoy evening walk, runs and bike rides, especially since the temps are cooler and the humidity lower. But I know I better enjoy them while I can, as the days are getting noticeably shorter and I know that pretty soon it will be dark when I get home from work. Just today, I im'ed Jim at work to ask if he wanted to go for a bike ride when we got home from work. If so, I would come straight home without going to Curves, so we could squeeze in a bike ride before it got dark. I even contemplated waiting to get gas tomorrow so I wouldn't waste the precious daylight minutes. When I got home, I immediately went upstairs and changed so we could get on our way. We biked about 45 minutes, and it wasn't until we got back inside the house that I noticed how dark it was outside. It suddenly sunk into my head that we had a lot of SAD months of winter to go through yet.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with my dad one day walking at the beach. He remarked that the first day of winter is the happiest day of the year because from that point on, the days are getting longer! So does that make the first day of summer the saddest day of the year, even though summer has barely begun?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Blog for Mamaw!

My 78 year old, computer savvy mom loves to read my daughter, Jenni's and my blogs and wanted me to help her set one up so she can publish her writings. So I got her a gmail account and entitled her blog, Mary's Memories . So here it is and now we can read all about her goings on. The funniest thing is that she says when she reads our blogs, she feels like she is we can SPY on her!

Love you , Mom!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A very BUSY Sunday!

Usually our Sundays are sort of lazy, catching up and finishing Saturday chores and relaxing for the week ahead. But, yesterday was busy and we didn't get the usual stuff done. We met a friend of Jim's at SouthPoint Mall so we had to do catchup today.

I did lounge around on the couch drinking coffee until about 10:30. Then I got on my Wii Fit and did about 35 minutes. Yaya it is so much fun! I unloaded the dishwasher and put 12 wine bottles into hot water to soak off the labels. I worked with the wine bottles I bottled last weekend by dipping the tops in boiling water to get a shrink wrap cork topper on there. You know that wrapper thing you gotta take off before you get the cork out!!

Then I got on my running shoes and ran/walked 2.5 miles but before I headed out the door, I started a load of laundry. I stopped to pick up trash at road. Funny thing..........there was a brand new trash bag there so I used it to collect the trash and then my husband turned the corner headed to the trash dump and I flagged him down to take an extra bag of trash! Such good timing!

When I got home, I put the laundry in the dryer and started another load and finished the 1st load of wine bottle washing. Then I made an oriental chicken salad for Cleo's baby shower tomorrow, cleaned up the kitchen and then took labels off 18 more wine bottles. That is hard work actually but I hate buying new ones and love to recycle. My friends are so nice to save their wine bottles for me anyway.

Then Jim and I took our bikes into town an rode around in a friend's neighborhood. Then we did our usual Sunday evening ritual of stopping at Carolina Brewery for a beer (or two) and we shared a turkey bacon wrap. This time we splurged and got dessert.........creole bread pudding...........whoa! I think I suddenly replaced all of the calories I ran/walked/biked/wii fitted off for the day in one simple dish. But we enjoyed it!

On home we went and Jim mentioned that the grass needed mowing but I had planned to go grocery shopping as the pantry and fridge was bare so I told him that he had a choice...........either grocery shop or mow the grass. I wasn't surpised when he chose to do the grass.

After the groceries were put away, we folded 2 loads of clean laundry and Sara came by for her Arbonne order, Jim and I pulled my hair through the highlighting cap and then I applied the color. Thirty minutes later, a nice deserved and needed shower and a nice color job. Just trying to blend in the grey!

So here it is almost 10:30 pm and I just sat down. There is only one problem..................6 am Monday morning is just around the corner! But the bright spot is that it's only a 4 day week. Jenni and I have a girls' weekend at our beach house with her college roommate and her mom next weekend. Whoooohoooo another weekend of shopping, eating, drinking, lazing and I am sure a lot of girl talk!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Menopause the Musical

Three of my very best friends and I had a night out on Thursday night to see the hilariously funny musical called Menopause the Musical at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. We left work together in Jean's minivan (yeah............grandmas own minivans!) and ate dinner at Nosh and fought all the crazy traffic to get a parking spot int the deck. It was hilarious! Very few men in the crowd and I almost wanted to ask one of them how they "survived?"

The music was all of the good stuff we know with the lyrics changed to things like hot flashes, personal summers, brain fog, depression, night sweats, wrinkles, weight gain (in the middle) and reclaiming your life and being who you have become! The actors and their characters were awesome and real.............only one skinny cute girl!

I am thinking of buying the musical CD so I can sing along in the car on the way to work and get geared up for the day. The tunes were very familiar: Chain of Fools, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, New Attitude, Stayin Alive, YMCA, Help Me Rhonda, Wishin and Hopin, The Great Pretender, are just a few to mention.

I got home late but we had so much fun that the four of us have planned to do something like this every month. Durham has done a great job of revitalizing the downtown area and I have have been gone so long (we moved to Pittsboro in 1996!) that there are so many places I need to check out! But then, put 4 women together (all over age 50) and we can make fun of just about anything!