Sunday, November 27, 2016

Some like it hot .....

Oh m'gosh, it's really over.  
Poor November.  The 'tween month.  In merchants' rush to promote Christmas immediately post-Halloween, I wonder if Thanksgiving doesn't feel like the fabled red-headed step-child. 

Still, I've enjoyed reading about each of your observances!

Some long-time readers may recall, I've no memories of traditional Thanksgiving feasts.   Instead, my parents - who worked three jobs between them - seized the opportunity each November to travel over the mountains and through the woods to a nice hotel in Denver.   I can still hear my father musing, "THIS year I think I'm going to be thankful for ______."   (Steak?  Lobster? ... something he'd get to enjoy just once each year.) 

Bless DH's heart!   It feels I've come full circle!
Due to unfortunate circumstances with his adult offspring, he agreed to forgo tradition and eat "out" ... someplace where we could order prime rib (him) and salmon (me) ... and enjoy a 'real' conversation without me trying to talk over his stupid headphones.  I always feel a bit sorry for the wait staff; in fact, by 8:00 our server confessed she was 'exhausted.' (Yes, I make a point to over-tip those who work on holidays.)

So, what's this business about liking it hot?  
Well, I'm particularly thankful this year for our bounty of Hatch Chile sitting in the freezer.

Funny about coming full-circle.  Growing up in New Mexico, chili was a staple.  Each autumn when the Hatch crop came to fruition, my father would agree to 'split' a bushel with a co-worker. Poor mother had the tedious job of roasting, blistering and peeling those pungent pieces of Heaven.   Working in rubber gloves to avoid blistering her own skin, she'd carefully package the meat in freezer bags -- hopefully to last until the next September.    

I took it for granted.  That is, until it wasn't available.  In Texas, then in Florida ... even in Arizona just a decade ago, I'd mention 'Hatch" and be met with blank stares.   
"No", they'd say.  "Our green chili's not hot."   


In the 50's and 60's, I still remember folks in New Mexico chuckling at tourists' choice of green sauce v. the red because they believed it was milder.
Until a few years ago, there existed an unremarkable little store-front restaurant   .... that boasted the most remarkable fare, punctuated by their liberal use Hatch chilies. 
No matter if you were a physicist or a security guard, The Rio Grande Cafe was THE place to take out-of-town friends and family.   

(Warning:  "Potty humor" ahead.   
Some may wish to skip the next paragraph.)   

A steaming basket of sopapillas and vial of honey accompanied each dinner ... but so did an innocuous bowl of sherbet.    I'm unsure of it was truth or fiction, but my father never tired of telling the story of the Yankee and his family who visited the Rio Grande Cafe:   At the end of their meal the husband excused himself to use the men's room .... but when he hadn't returned in a reasonable time, his wife grew concerned and asked her son to 'go check.'   
"Yep, Dad's in there all right.", the young man confirmed.  "But he just keeps moaning, 'Come on sherbet, come on!'"


Ya, ya.  OK.
So I was more than a little delighted when, a couple of years ago, a restaurant opened not far from us, their commercial jingle boasting, "Hatch chilies make it hot!"  In short order, Arribas became a favorite. and even DH is growing accustom to its particular sting.

When they began roasting their crop a couple of months ago we both jumped at the chance to purchase a couple of pounds.   We've enjoyed putting them in our weekend 'everything' omelets, and yesterday before the Big Game I added a handful to my slow-cooker bean dip.   (Oy, oy!   Should've made that a 'pinch'!)

In an attempt to explain its charm, I asked my friends in the Los Alamos FB group, "How, in a few words, would you describe Hatch chili?"  Gosh, but the responses came flooding in!  These are a few of my favorites:

"A cross between gasoline and napalm."

"how 'bout: I died and went to Heaven?"

"My brother grows his own green chilies on his ranch outside Albuquerque. It's actually a multi- tasking green chili. He eats green chili sandwiches while stripping paint with them."


So, that's my gastronomical holiday tale of Thanksgiving.
S'true, you can't go home again ... but your taste buds can visit!

Are you a fan of 'hot'?
If you ever happen this direction, we'd love to invite you to lunch!

Hugs from Phoenix!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Another Hodgepodge :)

Volume 286, that is.  I dunno how Joyce does it, but I'm glad she does!   If'n you've an itch to play along, just click here!

Let's all think  happy thoughts ... share one of yours here:  

"After all, tomorrow is another day."
(- Scarlett O'Hara) 

There's a Chinese proverb that says, "If you want happiness for an hour take a nap.  If you want happiness for a day go fishing ..." What say you?  If you want happiness for a day _________."

I'd give myself permission to ignore my trivial obligations and 'veg' with a good book (David Baldacci, anyone?), a cup of dark roast coffee and a soft afghan.

Where do you go to decompress from the world around you?

Coming home and shuttering the windows and doors.  Our living quarters are at the back of the house, so there's little in the way of street noise.  

What song never fails to make you happy?

A couple genres come to mind:  The Seekers' Georgy Girl and Rogers and Hammerstein's musical scores.  I've never been to a clambake, but they make me wish I had! 

Wednesday is National Fast Food Day.  Should that be a thing?   Why not? 

Apparently it is, so tell us what's the last 'fast food' you consumed? 

Wow, it's been years.   I try not to consume bread.

 If you were putting together your own version of a 'happy meal' what would you include?  

The first thing that comes to mind?  A runny fried egg atop a slice of sausage pizza and a glass of Cabernet.

In a few sentences, tell us why you blog.

Because it's cheaper than psychotherapy?  (LOL)  

The short version?  When I chose to relocate across the country, I never paused to consider how much I'd miss my family and friends. Rather than 'fess my shortcomings misgivings to DH, I sought refuge at the keyboard ... and discovered one -- then several! -- folks connected and some wonderful friendships resulted.  It's addictive, don't you think?   

List seven things you're feeling especially grateful for today.

  1. Only yesterday, Tom's pulmonologist reported that his lung function has significantly improved!
  2. Little by little, our temps are dropping.  (The 80's may not feel like Autumn, but it sure beats 100-plus!)
  3. My best, most meaningful, memories are still intact.   Dementia is a great enemy.
  4. Our benefits' Open Enrollment for 2017 will actually result in a few dollars saved each month!
  5. There's still a half-full jar of Jif Extra-Crunchy Peanut Butter in the freezer.   :)
  6. Thankful for an honest auto mechanic .... who might very well have taken us to the cleaners and we'd never have known the difference.  
  7. MOSTLY?  I'm thankful to Mr. God for second, third (and probably a kajillion) 'second chances'!

Insert your own random thought here.

Don't stop believing!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Nuthin' like the Real Thing

Happy November friends!
Disclaimer:  Even as I'm typing, I realize this is going to come across awfully self-serving ... so you can bail now if you'd like.  I dunno ... sometimes you just gotta talk to someone.

* * *

Ya know, for all the advances in modern medicine I've been privy to witness,  there's still a part of me that misses the sincerity of yesteryear.   I call it the 'Welby Syndrome.' 
... aka Marcus Welby, M.D. for other fans of 70's television.   

Some of y'all may remember, I voiced concern after my last 'well' exam in August.   While I adore the Nurse Practitioner I've been seeing for the last 8-9 years ... this time I felt like there was a giant stopwatch above my head. "E" was going through the motions with no eye contact and little conversation.  She disappeared as quickly as she'd come.  

Anyway, a few days later - after what might have been a royal screw-up with my labs and resulting prescription - I came to agree with a friend who trumpets the necessity for everyone becoming their own health advocate.   

Deep breath.  "If someone wants to believe I'm being a hypochondriac let 'em."   I remembered the kindly, empathetic M.D. Tom and I used to visit ... the one who discovered evidence of Tom's bladder cancer before any symptoms manifested themselves ... the same one who championed my right to fire my Infectious Disease specialist when she was refusing to release me to go back to work after the dog attack.  

Doctor H. left that physicians' practice shortly thereafter and I moved onto seeing his colleague.   (Probably just as well, as he was devastatingly handsome.  LOL!) 

That was then, this is now.  No doubt I thoroughly confused his scheduler when I called for an appointment.  "No, actually I'm fine.  I'd just like an appointment to talk to the doctor."  

Then there he was:  The neatly trimmed black beard has morphed into a fluffy snow-white cloud, but his startling blue eyes were warm ... and curious.   (Still handsome as hell, dang it!)

His, "Don't worry, I've all the time in the world" attitude -- and the Biblical verses stenciled on the walls -- almost made me  weep.

Well, just like no-one's supposed to 'bad-mouth' their boss in an interview, I felt a huge rush of guilt expressing my misgivings about his former colleague.    
He didn't concur aloud ... but when examining the results of my recent tests he frowned and asked, "Tell me again, why does she have you taking hormones for osteoporosis?"
I stuttered to explain, "E" believed they would reverse the bone loss ...  but I'd not a little concern learning (that) after 65 they contribute to heart disease.   Nervously, I quipped: "Well, I saw it on Facebook so that has to be true, right?)   
I expected he'd chuckle at my attempt at levity; instead he nodded.

Standing, he moved to sit beside me and voiced his own recommendations.  My osteoporosis is purportedly 'severe' -- but in addition to the effects of smoking for 43 years, he allowed that my family history and slender build were contributors.   
(Ha! Slender? I looove you, doctor!)     

Then, worried about taking up too much of his time, I off-handily asked about a couple recent oddities:  When getting ready for work I've had a weird weight in my chest and dull pain in my upper arm.    In spite of my poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, my labs and vitals have always been textbook perfect .... "So it's probably just anxiety, right?"
In the space of the next 15 minutes, my EKG came back.  In his words, "Not pristine" ... so now I'm the proud owner of a wee vial of nitro and referrals to see both an endocrinologist and cardio.

"I'm going to pot."  That's what my momma used to say as she grew older.  Now, I'm too honest to pretend I'm not worried ... more so about the stupid stress test than anything else.  I can't UNforget that my former hubby suffered his fatal heart attack while undergoing a stress test.)    

Now that the weather is becoming a little cooler (high 80's are still much better than 110) I'm looking at gizmo's out on Amazon that will prompt me to get up and get moving.    Does anyone else own a Fit Bit?   Considering all the choices, I wonder if a less-expensive alternative  ... one that only measures steps and heart-rate ... isn't a better alternative?    Everyone - including a favorite author whose weekly blog chronicles her 70#  weight loss - recommends doing 10,000 steps/day.   (How far IS that?) 
At 72 years young, if she can do it, so can I!

* * *

Thank you so much for listening .... 
Big hugs from Phoenix!

P.S. - 
I don't mean to sounds like I'm putting down Nurse Practitioners (v. doctors).  For now, this gal prefers the Real Thing!