Hello blog. I have missed you. Life has whisked me along and I have had no time to sit at my computer and write. The beginning of 2017 hopefully is not indicative of where the rest of the year is heading. A whirlwind of activity has swallowed us up like a large sinkhole at our house, and it’s not over yet. Yesterday was the first day I found time to sit in my favorite chair, and draw a long breath. Whew.
The majority of this month has been devoted to relocating my mother from the Bay Area to Sacramento. Trying to do this from a vantage point three plus hours away turned out to be somewhat of a logistic nightmare. The route becoming so familiar commuting back and forth our car automatically turned on the left turn signal when approaching the stop light at the top of the hill heading south. Rick and I tired of viewing the same scenery to the point several times we opted for slightly longer routes simply to relieve the monotony. One thing I’ve definitely crossed off my list should I return for a second shot at a career, would be trucking. No way could I travel back and forth along the same route incessantly unless there was a gun pointed at my temple.
Next week we travel back once again to San Jose to sell the remaining items in the house and do a general cleanup. That accomplished, life should return to normal, or as normal as our lives seem to get.
Last Sunday was a total dog and pony show. Purposely, we looked for a location approximately dead center between my daughter and I when thinking of living quarters for my Mother. This way one or the other of us would be able to help get her settled and make regular visits. Sunday was to be Rick and my first day of quiet in quite awhile after moving her in on Saturday. Unpacking most of the day on Saturday we arrived home well after dark stopping only to pick up something to eat. Driving up the hill we were so exhausted we resorted to hand gestures to communicate. The act of forming words seemed too much of an effort. Sunday I slept in (for me at least) until after 6:00. Ahhhhhhh, I thought as I gathered my newspaper from the porch and picked up a throw from the back of my chair. A message came in as I was about to sit down from that nagging little voice in my head. “Not so fast Blondie, the universe has other plans for you.” What an annoying little being I thought unfolding my paper. The plan for the next few days was my daughter was to go over to mother’s and unpack boxes and get her acclimated while I took a much needed break. Yea. Settled in my chair my daughter called. While moving something she had dislocated her right shoulder and it was in a sling. This would leave her immobile for several weeks. Naturally, through no fault of her own, no unpacking boxes for her. “Murphy, are you hiding underneath all the newspaper in one of those boxes? I’ll find you you little bugger and when I do there’s a dumpster with your name written all over it.” Fine. “Breathe”, I heard my little voice chant.
The phone took on a life of its own ringing off the hook for the next hour. Tucking the phone in a drawer in a last ditch effort to stifle it, I sat down next to Rick with a hot cup of coffee and picked up my newspaper where I’d left it on the side table. Dry when I’d set it down, oddly now my paper was sopping wet. A drop fell from above splashing onto my hand. Oh-oh. Had it not been pouring outside I would have run screaming from the house and boogied on down the hill. Sure enough, on closer inspection water was visibly drooling in from a spot at the top of the window forming rivulets down our blinds. Oh goodie. Naturally, it was the weekend. Undoubtedly the expensive person we would have to call to fix this situation would be on double time. I rolled my eyes and began looking up the appropriate number to call.
Arriving on the scene in between showers, the roofer inspected the affected area from the outside. Climbing down the ladder he reported the former tenants had somehow glued the shingles onto the roof to effect a patch of sorts with a polyurethane type compound. This would make the job more difficult and naturally more expensive. Naturally. I’m going to have a tee-shirt made with just that word emblazoned across the front. Handing over a large check we thanked him and settled in for the evening. Another wave of rain began to pound on the deck and once again our blinds began to weep. Someone hand me my tee-shirt please.
At that point, not a drinker myself, I went to the garage and retrieved an unopened bottle of Gray Goose vodka brought with us from our restaurant days. I entertained the thought of inserting a straw in the top and going for but instead poured a vodka and orange juice and sipped on it for a while. Didn’t help much but didn’t hurt either.
So, looking forward to February. With a new face in the oval office I also have my fingers crossed our country is in good hands because I need to step on some solid ground here.
This soup is absolutely the best on a stormy night or any night.
Hearty Hamburger Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground chuck
2 15 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
6 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 tsp. beef bouillon
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 cup canned corn
1 cup cooked elbow macaroni
In large stockpot heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, green pepper, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook and stir for 8 mins. or until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile cook ground beef in large skillet until no longer pink. Drain on paper towels. Add cooked beef to vegetables in stockpot. Add remaining ingredients except macaroni and bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 50 mins. Add macaroni and serve.