January 20, 2014

The Never Ending Pot of Pork Soup

My parents are visiting this week to help me with the kids. My husband is on a business trip in Texas and I have a lot of things to do.

I decided to stir-fry some pork. My intentions were to make sweet and sour pork stir-fry. The outcome, something which went very awry.

First, I thought I would add some cornstarch to the pork pieces because I read somewhere it makes a thicker sauce. Perhaps I put too much cornstarch on it, perhaps I starting shaking the white powdery substance on top and couldn't seem to stop. (I'm not admitting to anything.)

In any case, it looked like boiled squeegee pork when I was done with it.

So then everything started going in the pot. (I'm not sure if you read about my attempt at making Indian samosas and the green goop that unfortunately followed. It isn't a pretty sight when hell breaks loose in my kitchen and I start adding things.)

I added chopped vegetables into the pot along with oregano, cumin, Italian Spices, oh and I found leftover (maybe) expired chicken stock in the refrigerator, then I had to add another container because there wasn't enough liquid, and the nasty chopped celery my mom brought up from South Bend (even though I didn't want to but she would know if I threw it away) and by the end of it --- I had a soup.

I let go of a huge sigh when I was done. What the hell did I make? Nothing was going to save this pork and instead I made a great soup surrounding nasty pork pieces. Ugh.

So for the past two days (since I added everything in the refrigerator practically) we have had this pork soup. I am so tired of it yet I don't want to waste food.

When my parents and daughter ate it for the first time they were wondering what kind of meat was in this soup. My daughter thought it surely had to be chicken brains, my dad's bet was on under-cooked chicken. (No, it's pork people, PORK!)

So the never ending pork soup is still in the refrigerator waiting for yet another day and another lunch. Now if my husband were here, I could somehow pawn it off on him. But he is on the business trip. My daughter is picky, my son spits it out onto the floor, my dad can barely chew the pork (he's 80 and can't even chew lettuce) and my mom will say, "It's okay" in a nonchalant tone and then I'll find it dumped in the garbage with paper plates on top to hide it.

Even my dog won't eat a piece of that pork.

Lesson learned: Always - measure - cornstarch!

January 11, 2014

There Are Lessons Everywhere: Cutie Pie

Beautiful Cutie Pie
Last night, Cutie Pie, our FIV cat with the kidney and liver problems took a turn for the worse. He no longer moved a lot and when we tried to pick him up he would growl because it was painful. His belly was bloated because we gave him fluids and his body wasn't absorbing them. It wasn't looking good for him.

I held him until 3 in the morning and we didn't expect him to live through the night. He did and in the morning we made the hard decision to put him to sleep. We first asked the doctor if there was anything at all we could do. But our cat was in pain and some of the light was gone from his eyes. He looked uncomfortable and defeated.

If you have ever had to put an animal to sleep it is horrible. But it is necessary because I have also let pets die naturally because I couldn't give up and hoped for a miracle. It was the wrong decision.

Seeing a pet in severe pain, dying, is wretched. The sounds which they make can stay with you. So I had to put him to sleep before that happened. With his organs shutting down it would have been pretty bad. I had to do the right thing even if I didn't want to go through it. To me though, being with a pet (or human) when they pass away is important. You want them to see someone they love when the last light goes out of their eyes. For them to know you love them enough to be there in their most difficult and final time.

So I am very sad. I feel like today I'm in the twilight zone. With every pet I have lost (and there have been a lot the past ten years) and when our baby lived for a day, after it was all over, I felt like the day went on as usual, people busy and living life, but the day for me was going in slow motion. I felt like, everything that goes on in the world doesn't truly matter. The only thing which does are the relationships we have (pet and people alike) and how we love and care for others.

Anyway, there is a small lesson in this experience I would like to share with you. As mentioned, I feel very sad about losing him and I wish there had been something more we could have done. But as I was feeling bad, I realized I had asked God to please let him live past our Christmas vacation when we were gone for a week and he was boarded at the animal hospital. And he did live. The doctor was surprised at how strong he was. I begged God to let him come home and spend a little more time here instead of die in a hospital. He did. I got to hold him for a whole week, I got to hold him his last few hours, and I got to be there when he took his last breath. All of these were blessings which didn't seem likely. But he held on.

I could look at the overall end, my cat is gone and he died. But I also choose to look at how lucky I was to have a little more time with him and even though it was horrible to go through, he had a loving and graceful ending. There were four people petting him when he was injected and he purred to the very end. And after the light went out of his eyes, somehow the door to the examination room was opened and the song, In the Arms of An Angel, played on the radio in the front room. It has always been a special song to me (a story for another time) and it just seemed like it was a sign, he would be okay.

So even in the worst circumstances, it is possible to see a blessing somewhere. It is hard but this is how we get through life, knowing even in our most difficult times, God is looking after us - even if it's just a little.

January 7, 2014

Growing Up and Growing Cold

Olivia doing her homework
It has been a virtual ice land in the Midwest and with school closings because of frigid temperatures we have been inside for the past three days. It really has been nice. My husband is working from home because of it so with all of us stuck here and most businesses closed, we have been "made" so to speak to spend more time with each other instead of going everywhere: lessons, grocery store, work, school, and activities.

It is actually 2 degrees outside. 2! And I had to post the following because I thought it was hilarious. We finally had to venture outside for necessities like milk and stuff for the toddler and I asked my 7 year-old daughter to get dressed so we can leave. (She loves to wear comfy pajamas in the house.) She comes back to the living room with a long sweater and shorts. Yes, shorts!

"You're not wearing those are you?"
"Yeah, why not? I have on a sweater and I'm going to wear my long coat. They'll cover my legs."
I started laughing hysterically. I just couldn't help it. "Do you know how cold 2 degrees is!"

Sometimes, I think my daughter is growing up too fast. She is at a transitional age where Disney princesses are no longer interesting and video games and Disney teen shows are the new replacement. She isn't in to pink anymore but leopard and zebra prints. She doesn't want me to braid her hair and favors makeup and "cool" things. In the past two months, she graduated from having me help her take a shower to doing it herself. It's nice but it also means she is growing up. But when she says cute things or doesn't realize something like how cold it is outside for shorts, it is a nice little reminder she is still young.

They grow up so fast.




Noah and a tired big sister