26 November 2009

(Nearly) Back in Action

Now I know this might now seem like a big deal to you but... I am happy to report that I can see my legs again - both legs! My heavy, ugly restrictive cast was removed today and with it a proverbial weight lifted off my shoulders (or lower limb... whatever). I was a bit nervous going into the hospital today, and not because they had giant warning swine flu pandemic signs everywhere (I am technically immune now that I have been vaccinated). It was because I couldn't bear the thought of wearing this cast one more second longer. What if they told me that I'd need to keep it on longer, I would DIE. However my prognosis was good and after being there for nearly 3 hours (hey I am a public patient ok) that sucker was removed. I nearly screamed 'FREEEEEDOOOM' al la Mel Gibson in Braveheart. I stared down at my shriveled limb in trepidation, now how in the world was I going to protect it from knocking off doorways or from an active toddler who wanted to play horse on it? That my friends I have not yet been able to answer. Cue screams of pain... All I know is I came home and took the most glorious hour long shower of my life. I can't shave the 'cavewoman' leg for two days while the skin sloughs its way off, but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the weightless feeling of my cast-free leg. Now the tough part, for the next week I still have to keep off it until I have my 'procedure' done. I am charge with moving my foot up and down, side to side and rolling it around at the joint. So far the movement has been stiff and painful but if this will make it easier to walk I am going to do it in my sleep!

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 November 2009

Thanksgiving Conundrum...

It is not very often I am puzzled by food. But the arrival of my Thanksgiving turkey has me very puzzled indeed.

We are planning to have 22 people over for our belated Thanksgiving meal on Saturday. I am going in to have my cast removed tomorrow and I wanted to make sure that I would have enough time to brine and prep. I managed to secure a very moderately priced FRESH turkey for this occasion. When I spoke to my 'dealer' on the phone I said I needed something about 10kg. Today he delivered into my care a 30lb monster.

Imagine this scenario, I am zipping around in my borrowed wheelchair. I go over to where I have carefully place this roasting monstrosity in my small roasting tin. I attempt to lift this whopper and place it on my lap. I open the oven door with my food (my good one) and try to put the turkey into the oven. I realise from my back-breaking bent over position that this sucker is not going to fit. OH MY GOD, my turkey is too big for my oven.

I call my mother- in- law and we troubleshoot the situation. What about cutting off the legs? It appears like it will fit then but how will that affect my projected cooking time of 4.30 - 5 hours? Also I was going to brine this baby so what will the implications of 'legless' mean? Will I need to roast the legs the day before? So many questions. Who will answer them all?

Then I get a brainwave and I call 1800 Butterball. They are one of the largest and best known suppliers for the traditional Thanksgiving turkeys in the US. A friendly home-economist suggests that I cut that baby in half and roast it in two parts. Hmm not sure will it fit that way either. But this is one of the joys of cooking, hopefully I will successfully feed all my hungry guests on Saturday. I have a feeling that we will be eating turkey leftovers for the next three weeks!

21 November 2009

Wedding Shower

Yesterday I hosted a wedding shower for one of my best friends. As we are both originally from the States, and her wedding is taking place in Chicago, it seemed the appropriate thing to do. To my knowledge wedding showers (and baby showers) have yet to catch on in the emerald isle. Usually the duty falls to the maid of honour and the other bridesmaids. As I am the only 'Irish' based bridesmaid I decided that I could handle the lot of it. Yes I do have a problem delegating, something I readily admit - perhaps it is because the age old adage "If you want something done properly - do it yourself" is a mantra I am unwilling to let go of. I had visions of my normal cooking and baking activities. Once my father and I managed to cater a full dinner for the 90 people that attended my father-in-law's 50th birthday! However, the broken limb has thrown me off course, so I was left with no chance but to accept help from some other friends. Our theme was home, and this is totally appropriate as my friend is writing her PhD on concepts of home and diasporic experience of migrants in Ireland. She is also a first-gen American so her own ideas of home are very important in figuring her cultural identity.

So how does one have a theme of home? Well firstly the shower was held in MY home. Ha ha. I decorated the house with flowers and different size heart cut-outs that read phrases like "Home is where the heart is", "Home follows the family", "There's no place like home", "Love makes a house a home" and "Home is where you make it". Then I asked all the guests to email me a treasured family recipe to construct a book of food. Naturally when we think of home we often recall certain comfort foods or meals that trigger specific memories. I thought it seemed appropriate that food and home are linked. I have also baked a selection of goodies - oreo cupcakes, bacon chocolate cupcakes (SERIOUSLY YUM) and brownies with cranberries and pecans.

The day was a total success, we played the toilet paper bride game, where each time dresses up a 'bride' with toilet paper and sello tape. We also played a hysterical version of mad libs called wed libs and we opened presents. I actually LOVED hosting the shower, even though I am dead tired today. Pictures to follow!

update: No sign of Lulu yet... heart is still breaking here. : (

19 November 2009

Houdini the Amazing Escaping Dog

When I first moved back to Ireland (after moving home to CA to decide if I really wanted to live in Ireland), we had agreed as a couple that we were ready for a dog. I have always been a dog lover and I had wanted a miniature dachshund for sometime. We got our first puppy Oscar in November 2002. Cute, messy, at times total aggressive male we absolutely feel in love with him. But it was clear in my mind that we really needed to get a second dog because despite our lavish attention, Oscar was lonely during the days when we were in work. Plus, I had always wanted a female dog as I had read that female dachshunds had a great disposition. We searched and search and finally decided that a puppy would be too difficult to rear so we found an 'adult' female (she was 18 months when we got her. Originally named Aura, I instantly decided that she looked like a Lulu. Little did we know that Lulu was crazy, 100% certifiable. But nevertheless she is a total sweetheart, super-friendly and very affectionate.

Why am I giving you this background? Well on Monday Lulu went missing. She had run out the front door and the garden gates were open. I was totally overcome with grief. Then the next morning brought good news, the pound had picked her up no more than two streets over about 40 minutes after she left the house. When I went to collect her at the pound, which trust me is no doggy day spa, we both cried with relief. Then yesterday evening the unthinkable happened again. Houdini has disappeared, AGAIN. This time the garden gates were closed and we have no idea how she escaped. A day later I have flooded the pound with phone calls, talked to the DSPCA, my local vets, even put adds on the internet. My fear is that this super-friendly nutty dog will be run over. The most heartbreaking thing is that Cupcake keeps looking at Oscar and asking for Lulu. Then she will occasionally say, Lulu all gone.

Lulu come home! I don't know what I will do without her.

07 November 2009

Back on the bandwagon

The worst thing, the absolute worst thing about having this broken ankle is that I home all the time. I mean like I haven't gone out of this house since last Saturday!!! I have been constantly in the kitchen finding terrible horrible fatty food to devour. I have really fallen off the weight watchers wagon. What is that you say? It might not be as bad as it sounds? No it is really bad, worse even, there is this thing that accompanies me everywhere. I have been thinking of it as the 'blob' but I suppose you might call it my middle section. The reason I am writing this blog post is because I actually need to start holding myself accountable for the food decisions I am making. i.e. I simply cannot use the fact that I can't walk to eat chocolate on an hourly basis. Starting tomorrow I am going to get back to weight watchers, even if I can't go out to attend the meeting I am going to start tracking again.

03 November 2009

Catering for the golfing needs of men...

Oh those men with their ravenous, insatiable golf needs. How can a simple [minded] woman like myself keep up?

What, might you ask, are the golfing needs of men? And how might these golfing 'needs' differ from the golfing needs of women?

The Irish Times has just reported on the outcome of the Equality Authority appeal to the Supreme Court on the case involving the discrimination of women from membership at the Portmarnock Golf Club. The Supreme Court has upheld the decision that the Portmarnock Golf Club is not discriminating against women because it was a 'gentleman's golf club, a golf club for gentleman'. 5 euros says that the two male justices that upheld the district court's previous decision are members of that club.


This makes me want to take up golf and bust my way onto that golf course. Any takers?

The last laugh

While talking to my father this past weekend he started baiting me.

"I thought you had a strict no sugar policy, so how come every time I get a picture of that kid [Cupcake] she is eating ice cream or chocolate?"

"Oh Dad, come on I did my best, she was sugar free for, like, 14 months."

"Yeah you sound just like your mother, she tried that kind of mumbo jumbo with you kids. Ha she even tried to buy you guys gender neutral toys. That was a failed experiment. I had the last laugh, I told her it wouldn't make a difference that you guys would turn out to be whatever sex you were born with."

Oh GOD! Classic case biological determinacy syndrome... "Um Dad, I think you should attend a couple Women's Studies classes, we'd love to have you... really."

When I thought about it afterwards, I did have the last laugh in this conversation! Perhaps one might say the ultimate last laugh goes to my mother... If she hadn't thought that gender neutrality could possibly make a difference in how her two girls and one boy were socialised and more importantly, that gender equality weren't something to strive for maybe I wouldn't have turned out to be so committed and focused on feminism.

01 November 2009

Back to bed

Or perhaps this post should be titled, "Back to my bed". Yes I have made the move back upstairs after three long weeks of sleeping in the kitchen. It has been wonderful to sleep on a decent mattress and not have some wayward spring digging into my back. The only problem now is that I have to plan very carefully when I will descend the stairs and when I will make my way back up, because it takes a lot of effort so I can only manage once a day for each. Now my 'homecoming' wasn't celebrated by all parties. Of course cupcake is overjoyed to have Mama back where she belongs, but there is someone else who put up some unusual resistance. Yes you read that correctly my own husband wasn't so keen on me returning. It seems that Mr. Sprawl has enjoyed his time alone in our bed. Really I can't blame him, with the exception of the annoying spring and sleeping next to my kitchen table, I rather enjoyed the luxury of not having his legs thrown over me in the middle of the night. I suppose he can't help himself, I mean the poor guy is over six feet tall. I don't however think that gives him the right to infringe on my side of the bed! Even when I was 9 months pregnant I would wake up in the dead of night to find his legs thrown over my stomach. So the natural solution to our problem is to get a bigger bed. I was informed the other day that we could buy the bed but when it arrives he would like just a week or so to sleep there by himself! This is what I can't understand, surely I am the delicate party in this matter, therefore my rest and comfort should be of the utmost concern. Unfortunately we have not come to an agreement and I am desperately awaiting the arrival of the new bed. At least I am out of the kitchen, there is nothing like waking up to the smell of last night's tacos...