Category Archives: Things on my Mind

A Long Hiatus


Yes, it’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything, but I’ve been in a huge transition. I had no idea just how crazy it would be to move from Germany to California with a couple of stops in between. But we’ve finally landed and gotten all of our stuff unpacked. Whew! It’s been a big learning experience, to say the least. Have I mentioned that I really hate moving?

California desert living, though, has been pretty awesome so far. The temperatures are amazing, the mornings and evenings are cool while there’s plenty of sunshine all day long. I missed the sunshine during my time in Germany, so this has been heavenly. We’ve also moved to California at a very interesting time – Prop 37, which will require GMOs to be labeled on food packaging, is being promoted very heavily across the state of California leading up to the big election. President Obama and Gov. Romney are having their big debates, too. America is quite heated on both sides of the fence and the tension is growing. How exciting!

But now, as fall arrives, I’m distracted by all things of the season. I love fall and am excited to be back stateside for the fall season this year. I signed up for an organic produce delivery here on base,, and pick up lots of fun local produce every week. I love it! Along with the traditional produce, each week something that I’m not really familiar with comes along, like Chinese okra, or Delicata squash. Fun things that give me a chance to learn something totally new to me. Eeek!!!

I’ve been inspired so much since arriving here in SoCal. I’ve taken up canning and I’m expanding my knowledge base in this area. I’ve always made my own salsa and canned it, but now I’m venturing into jams and soups and have plans to can more diverse foods for my shelves. I canned salsa and soup yesterday with plans to do more jam this week. When my box arrives, I’m always excited to see what fun things will inspire me. These past two weeks it’s been pomegranates. And they’re amazing! So, I’m making some variety of pomegranate jam, probably combining them with some peaches or pears or both.

So, this is a short post this week, but I wanted to get back here and let everyone know that I’ve made it from one part of the world to the other safely and happily. I have some work to do today, so I’ll write more next time. And don’t worry, I’ll be sharing my food adventures with you all soon!

To a happier, healthier and longer life.



Excessive Day-Time Tiredness and the Joys of European Springtime

Lately, I’ve been having so much of a problem with daytime sleepiness that my husband took notice. He actually made a doctor‘s appointment for me, fearing there might be something seriously wrong with me. Honestly, I didn’t consider that much could really be wrong until he mentioned his concern for my health and well-being. However, I guess he had a point….I am, after all, over 40 years old. Though sometimes I really try to forget that. I like to think I’m 30-11 instead. I know I certainly  don’t feel like I’m middle-aged. Jeez, what the hell is that supposed to feel like, anyway? Scary thought…moving on.

So, I did go to the appointment my husband had scheduled and told the doctor that yes, in fact, I’ve had a pretty big problem lately with feeling excessively tired. She had two thoughts: sleep interruption or thyroid issues. She decided that we should check my hormones and my vitamin levels (especially iron to rule out anemia) and see what comes back. If everything comes back normal, then we can tackle the issue of sleep interruption with a sleep study. Joy.

The beautiful, vibrantly yellow rape fields of the Eifel region of Germany.

I’m a huge puss when it comes to needles being jabbed into my arm. I would make the worst junkie EVER. But I toughed it out as they took no less than six vials of blood from me. And you know I didn’t leave without getting my hard-earned Dora the Explorer stickers!

But the tests came back great! My hormones are fine! (Happy dance around the kitchen table!) I got a prescription for iron to supplement my diet, just to be on the safe side and added B-complex and B-12 supplements to make sure all of these important vitamins are present. But everything in my chart shows I’m fine.

So, what’s the verdict? My doctor mentioned something in the follow-up appointment she had not mentioned before…allergies. I take two different allergy medications everyday and I’m not even allergic to anything in particular. But apparently, this spring in Germany, the pollen is so bad that it’s making everyone sick.

Aiden gives me a flower...

Not too long after I went in for my visit with my doctor, my son starting having some odd symptoms, too. He woke up early, early one morning and couldn’t open his eye…it was swollen shut. Poor guy…he’s only five. He was freakin’ out! I took him to the doctor, too, and it turns out he’s having the same problem I’ve been having.

Shortly after the conversation with my son’s doctor,  I noticed how much more tired he is. I knew it was getting harder and harder to get him up in the mornings for school, but I really thought it was because he’s so close to school being over and he’s ready for a break It didn’t occur to me that he was feeling the same thing I’ve been feeling. But he and I have been feeling it together. We both are struggling to get through our days.

After we get home from school, he usually passes out in the floor on the rug and naps for a couple of hours. I let him. I know how it is. If I can slip in a nap during that time, I do it too. It’s all we can do to stay awake these days. I truly have to get everything done in the early part of the day because there’s just no way I have any energy for anything from the late afternoon on. I try. My intentions are there, but my energy is zapped.

I hope this springtime hell passes soon. There is so much left in a day from 3pm on. I hate that I get to that point in the day and start thinking about going to bed. I have way too many things I want to accomplish to keep this up. Ugh.

I think I’ll go lie down now…

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

One Last “Fling” to Ring in the New Year

When I say fling, I’m not talking about clandestine meetings with someone other than my hubby, Denny. No, I’m talking about an indulgence of another sort. One more sinister, in a way, than adultery. I’m speaking of my love affair with food and wine.

With 2011 just hours away, I’m planning out my last meal of 2010. I’m planning on decadence and over indulgence at its finest and on the good china. But much like the day I decided I would give up red meat and enjoyed a last dinner at my favorite steakhouse, I intend to eat with pleasure, slowly and deliberately, savoring every morsel. I will indulge tonight because in the next year I have vowed to be less indulgent. I will be working hard at my goals and meals such as these will be few and far between. They will be tiny rewards at the end of my journey. So it will be a long while before I delve into a plate so decadent again.

On tonight’s menu I will be roasting some tenderloins. Not the worst of the decadence by any means…it will be the sides and the drinks that will be on the naughty list. I haven’t made them in a long time, but tonight I will make homemade au gratin potatoes to accompany the steak. Yum. My mouth is already watering in anticipation.

The libations we have lined up for the rest of the afternoon and evening are the most decadent of all. Champagne with fragoline di bosco, a liqueur made with wild mountain strawberries. So delightful! This cocktail is something we discovered when we first moved to Germany. It took forever for us to find the fragoline di bosco, but once we did we treasured it, saving it for only the most special of occasions…like Sylvester (also known as New Year‘s Eve.)

Champagne and fragoline di bosco...Yum!

I already have the gluhwein warming on the stove and it’s not even 3:00pm yet. The wine, champagne and a small sampling of other tasty liqueurs await me and my husband as we begin to fall into celebration mode. It will begin slowly, but progress quickly as the night befalls us. And the darkness begins to set in around 4:30pm these days.

Mini strawberries dancing in the bubbly

Our neighborhood is small and rural…fireworks will be soaring at midnight. Denny will have the music and disco lights going in full swing in the basement just for the two of us. It will be a fun-filled night of merriment that we will no doubt laugh about for years to come.

Tonight I eat, drink and enjoy all the things I love…my husband, celebrations, rich food, great wine and champagne. I love to have a good time. And I love a good party. But this holiday season has brought with it a few more pounds once again. And they have been adding up over these last few years. So, come Monday, life will change for me. My waistline can’t wait any longer. It’s time to get up off my duff and do something for the betterment of my knees before they buckle under the extra weight. Monday I begin anew.

So, to all of my friends and family and all that I have yet to meet…enjoy your Sylvester tonight. Have a wonderful, fun-filled celebration saying good-bye to our auld acquaintence and welcoming the new, fresh-faced friend 2011. Be safe. Party hard. And I’ll see you all (metaphorically, of course) at work next year…

Happy New Year!