Saturday, August 30, 2008

Recipes Worth Sharing - All Day Mac & Cheese

I found this recipe on Frugal Upstate, and since I've been looking for an easy Crock Pot Mac & Cheese recipe, I thought I'd give this one a whirl. I'm glad I did!

  • 16 oz pasta, cooked and drained (I used penne rigate, but anything would be good. next time, shells! or rotini!)
  • 4 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 TBS Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  1. I used a 2.5 quart crock pot, and it fit perfectly. I would NOT go any smaller than that.
  2. Spray Crockpot with nonstick spray (or grease down, your choice).
  3. Mix everything together and pour into Crockpot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours**
  5. Do not stir, it will cook and firm up.

**Note: 5-6 hours means it is done. I don't think anything at all would happen to this recipe if it had to cook a few more hours. So if you work an 8 hour day go ahead and throw it together and start the crockpot in the morning-it should still be fine when you get home. That's the beauty of crockpots-very few things HAVE to be taken out when done.

******Beth's Note: This recipe is a great base to be jazzed up. On it's own, it seemed a little blah. Grumps added more salt & pepper to his, I added some grated parmesan (out of the good ol' green can). Next time I make it, I will absolutely play around with the cheese mixture, as well as tossing in some veggies and/or meat. I'm calling it one of my favorites because it gives a great "fix & forget" start to a meal that would only need a couple extra ingredients to be a star. And, if your lazy (like me!), it does ok on it's own, too.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Infertility is a

You'd think that with everything going on in my world these days, infertility would have taken a back seat. SHOULD have taken a back seat.

But, NOPE! That bitch is ALWAYS there, just beyond whatever is demanding front and center attention in my brain. And every now and then, it demands the spot light for itself.

Still worried about Dad (his recovery, whether or not he'll ever get home, whether or not he'll be approved for medicare, where we'll move him to if his insurance doesn't approve him to stay in rehab, how the hell he (or we) will pay for a nursing home). Still worried about Grumps (will he get accepted into the education program, how will he do in school, will his spirit survive this whole new brand of hard-times). Always worried about our finances (We were getting ahead until the whole "unemployed spouse" situation made its grand entrance. If he's going to school, how are we going to figure out a way to get ahead with our new financial situation?) Work is INSANE, and will NOT get any better until after tax season. Grump's Mom's and sister's health are an ongoing concern. I have more friends going thru their own emotional turmoils than I can count. blah blah blah blah fucking blah.

And still, through all of that, the soul-crushing ache of infertility manages to rear its ugly head. It's really disgusting. I wasn't really sure how we'd pay for treatments in our former economic life. This new life? Ha! Laughable. And let's just be naive for a moment and say that we won't need treatments (again, laughable... but not totally impossible), is now, with all of this going on, really a reasonable and responsible time to add a child into the mix? Of course my brain is screaming NO, YOU FREAKING IDIOT! But my heart? And my uterus? Those bitches INSIST that we can find a way to make it work. And the little whores further comment that life doesn't always work out "the way you have it pictured" but it does always work out.

Go back to ttc with an unemployed hubs and a shaky financial picture? Or put it on hold for ANOTHER 2+ years, when we'll both be 2 years older, and then endo has had a 2 year opportunity to grow it's little heart out (which, as I'm typing this makes me realize that this option would make this entire year of preparation treatments & surgery a COMPLETE waste of time and energy)?

Ah, the infertility... she is a BITCH!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So much going on, lots to say about it.

Oh - where to begin?

Dad is still in the rehab/nursing home. We (the 3 of us girls) had a care conference with the social worker, charge nurse, and occupational therapist on Tuesday morning. Apparently, Dad's not been all that cooperative with therapy, and it's getting to a point where he could be at risk for not getting insurance approval to stay there. If that happens, then we have to get him on medicaid, and put him in a full-fledged nursing home.

After the care conference, Sis2 & I went with Dad to his group physical therapy. It's the first time I've seen him during therapy, and I was pretty impressed. He was doing the exercises pretty well, I'd say in the top 20% of the group. And then he got winded. And then he couldn't catch his breath at all. And then he got scared. And then? Then he was done. "Take me back to my room, I'm done for today", frustrated, angry, terrified... done.

Once we got him back to his room, and he settled down a bit, we had a heart-to-heart-to-heart-to-heart. We did our best to make it clear to him that he still has the opportunity to get better and go home, but HE has to do the work to get there. He not only has to do what's asked of him, but he has to take the initiative to do more for himself. It's ok to have to ask for help, but he can't keep expecting people to do for him, and he can't keep leaving therapy early. It seems to have helped, as Sis2 spent the afternoon with him, and he did everything asked of him in therapy, and more.

I'm not excited yet, but I am hopeful... Think of it as a delayed arrival of AF, or a + OPK... Hopeful for the potential, but very, very aware that there is a whole lot that can still go wrong.

On the Grumps front, not a whole lot has changed. He is signed up and approved for unemployment, and he should get his first direct deposit tomorrow. He attended a seminar on the education program, and was sent home with a laundry list of paperwork to complete/gather/bring to his consultation with his case-worker next month. He's adjusting to his new life at home, but is by no means happy about it. And still very much has good days and bad. We're trying to take one day at a time while keeping him focused on the things he can do to improve the situation (some certifications he's been meaning to test for, lots of house projects we haven't made the time for, etc). Definitely working hard to find & keep the balance.

Work has just turned batshit insane, as our office building was just sold and is being turned into an urgent care facility. Our lease is up at the end of October, so the last week and a half has been spent finding and seeing potential space. We think we've found where we want to go, and now have to go through the whole negotiations process (can you hear the excitement in my voice?). And then comes the moving process (more excitement I tell ya).

And, just for fun... Grump's Mom has her maintenance chemo appointment tomorrow, along with the follow-up appointment for her recent spleen CT (where she'll HOPEFULLY get some results). AND Grump's twin sister spent a few days in the hospital last week and weekend. She's home now, and the condition is one that the doctors can treat with medications. It should resolve without any lasting problems, but her medical history is complicated enough that we can never be sure of anything.

I jokingly told my Mom that I need to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, because the fucking thing keeps dropping. At this point, I'm not so sure I was joking.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Ever hit one of those points in life where planning seems like a lost cause? Or a luxury you can't afford? Yeah - I'm there.

I had all of these BIG PLANS about how I was going to get the house in better shape, and make some major progress toward bill payment, and get signed up for another continuing ed class this fall, and and and. I even had a big ol' 101 in 1001 post all written, and scheduled to run in a couple of weeks.

And then? well... life happened.

Dad's situation is still unstable. Altho, medically, he's greatly improved, his strength is G.O.N.E. My always thin father (5'7" and never more than 145 pounds) is now skinny - and not in a good way. The size medium pants my sister bought him literally FALL off of his frail body. He's still not eating anything beyond what he gets in his feeding tube (which, is another point of contention... he says they're not bringing him food. I'll bet he's not asked for it. AND, there is a dining room TWO DOORS from his room in the center. Think he could ask for some help to get into his wheelchair to go down there? Bah!), he's still having digestive system issues (and you don't want any more detail), and he's still not doing all the physical therapy they're asking if him.

I spoke with the business center at his rehab this week, and found out that his 100% pay runs out early next month. After that, he has a daily co-pay. And it's not a small one. I have no idea how we'll be able to keep him there long enough to build up his strength to go home. ESPECIALLY when he's being so uncooperative.

And, AND... the man has lost his grip on reality. Not in a frightening "not recognizing people" kind of way (thank the Lord for that much), but in a "I refuse to acknowledge that my daughters have lives outside of being at my beck and call". And let me tell you, he's become one demanding son of a bitch. Everything from "I need you to buy me new socks. And you have to bring them to me so I can approve them. But I'm not going to put them on my feet until they're washed, so you have to do that too." and "I need tennis shoes for physical therapy. Not gym shoes, tennis shoes. I don't like the shoes you brought me (the ones he had at home), so buy me new ones. But I don't know what kind." to "Do my laundry. I made a mess of one outfit and you're not going to like it." and "I need some money. But I don't want it here." (umm, huh?).

But his latest little demand/scheme has to take the cake. He told me yesterday that what he'd like to do is go home for breakfast, then come back for his morning therapy. Then go home again for lunch, and come back for afternoon therapy. Then go home for dinner, and come back to spend the night. Umm... WHAT? WHY does he not realize that a) it's a 20 mile round trip from the rehab to his apartment, b) my sister and I both work full time, and c) we both KNOW that if we got him out of there for ANY reason, we'd have a GIGANTIC fight on our hands to get him back! Fortunately, I was able to placate him with "I dont think you're strong enough for that right now Dad, but maybe in a few weeks". I can't WAIT to share that little conversation with my sisters!

On the Grumps front - he's gotten his unemployment totally approved, and should get his first check late next week. We've got his resume posted on the state website (required for unemployment), and he even got a call about it. AND he's signed up for a seminar next week on high-demand career educational assistance. We're waiting to see if he'll qualify for the educational program before really pushing the job hunt.

All of that is to say that all those lovely plans I had are totally out the window. I can't see until tomorrow (other than the Dad visitation schedule), let alone make any progress on any goals. Very much in "1 day at a time" mode right now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Recipes Worth Sharing - Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had some bananas in the house that I HAD to do something with. Rather than eat 3 of them today, or throw them out tomorrow, I went in search of a banana bread recipe. I found a LOT of them, and decided to combine a few. This is what I came up with, and - if I do say so myself - they're pretty darn good!

  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1 3/4 C flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Lightly grease & flour muffin pan
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter & sugar. Add eggs and mix well.
  4. Mix in peanut butter, bananas, flour, vanilla and baking soda until blended.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake at 325 for 20 - 25 mins, until tops are golden brown and wooden toothpick in center comes out clean.

Makes 12 large muffins.

As an aside, these would be good with some crunch in them, too. Maybe some chopped walnuts or pecans, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wow, what a timesuck!

Play it! I'm Bbear1212.

random office fun, altho probably not a good idea to play at work

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The post that may or may not get published...

So, the back story....

The Grumps had been at his job for over 14 years. The last 6 of them have been miserable. Yet, he's felt a tremendous sense of loyalty to this place, so he's stuck it out. Through years without raises or reviews, of being expected to do a job for which he does not have the title or the pay - let alone the respect. Training the revolving door of newly hired coworkers. Covering for his foreman while the foreman is off managing his other career. Being the only person in the building with the capability of running ALL of the machines in the machine shop (literally, the foreman doesn't even know how to turn on Grump's machine, let alone get parts from it).

Now, that's not to say he has been the perfect employee. Lord knows that he hasn't.

He's had a bit of an "attitude problem" so to speak. But, I honestly can't fault him for that. He's been expected to do many, MANY things that he's not paid to do. Without a raise, and without a review, and without even a simple "thank you" for a job well done. He seemed to have hit the glass-ceiling as far as pay is concerned, as he discovered a couple of years ago that the new -hires he was training were only making slightly less than him.

He voiced his opinions - in a helpful, solution based way - on many occasions over the course of a few years. Some were met with gratitude, others were shot down, and quite a few were ignored all together.

In the last few months, that helpful, solution based attitude has been replaced with a "I'll do the job you pay me to do, and not a whole lot more" attitude. He's asked for raises, begged for performance reviews... all being met with either "I'd love to, but I can't" or his personal favorite, "I'll get back to you on that".

The last 6 months of his time there have been absolutely miserable. I can't remember the last time he didn't come home from work at the very least frustrated - if not full-on pissed off. But, he was still being talked to (by their standards) as a valued employee. We really thought that he had been welcomed in to the "family" there (are all small businesses run that way?).

Until Monday. I heard him come back home at about 7am. Barely awake myself, I asked him what he was doing home. "I got fired" was his response. Unceremoniously tossed out like a piece of trash. He's angry, frustrated, depressed, and quite honestly - heart broken. In many ways, it's like a divorce. (You spend 14 years somewhere, and tell me how you'd handle the rejection of being fired.)

I know in my heart that this is a good thing for him. It's been time to move on from that place - from that industry - for many, many years. The fear of the unknown, and our fear of "what comes next" has been the main thing holding him there, stuck in the comfort of familiarity.

As I mentioned in my last post, he really does have the potential for some great opportunities. A career change is quite possible - getting him out of the dying (at least in MI) manufacturing industry. He has the opportunity to CHOOSE what he wants to do now, rather than falling into a job that he can't seem to get out of, and turning it into a career. There is the potential for him to go back to school for his associates degree, and to enter a field that he's dreamed of since he was a child.

So please, help me to remember that this is all for the best. That in the long run, this really will be a WONDERFUL thing for him, for us. We both really believe this with all our hearts. Yet, it's hard to remember that in those moments when the fear and depression creep in. Being a 1 income family is terrifying. Being unemployed for the first time in your adult life is terrifying. Having to go back to school after not being there for over 17 years is terrifying (especially when he was never a stellar student to begin with).

But the terrifying can be exciting, too. Can't it?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday - The Silver Lining Edition

I'm stretching REALLY hard on this one, so bare with me here.

Things to be thankful for when you're husband becomes involuntarily unemployed:

  1. He qualified for unemployment (thank the Lord!)
  2. He may qualify for the State of Michigan No Worker Left Behind program, giving him the opportunity to get out of a dying industry (at least in this state), and into a growing, high-demand field.
  3. He may have the opportunity, through the above mentioned program, to earn his Associates Degree.
  4. Somehow, over the last few months - even with my depression, careless spending, and poor job of bill tracking - we've managed to build up a bit of a surplus in our available cash. This provides us a bit of a cushion for the sudden change in our overall financial picture.
  5. His former employer is covering us on their insurance through month end, and
  6. My employer is willing to put us on the insurance policy here.

And as a bonus bit of thankfulness:

  1. Dad moved to the rehab center yesterday, and
  2. He's agreed to get moving on the Patient Advocate paperwork!

Monday, August 11, 2008


say a prayer for the Grumps and I. I'm not going to go into details here, other than to say that everyone is healthy and safe. But, if you have a few moments to send us some good thoughts & prayers, we would greatly appreciate it.

There will probably be some radio silence here for a little while, as well as a reduced commenting stretch. My apologies, and my thanks for your understanding.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I'm not in such a great place this week, but I'm going to do this exercise anyway. Hopefully, it will alter my perspective a bit.

  1. Today, I'm thankful for my cozy bed, which I will be getting into as soon as is realistically possible.
  2. I'm thankful that my job is so flexible, and for my boss who has been so understanding. Knowing that I'm able to take off & help or visit Dad, or just spend an afternoon at home to decompress, is a huge relief.
  3. I'm thankful that the Grumpy One has some extra paying work coming in. August & September are expensive months in our house, so the extra cash flow will help.
  4. I'm thankful that Grumpy was able to go with me to visit Dad this weekend. It was nice for Dad to have some "guy talk", and he definitely perked up a bit while Grumpy was there.
  5. Finally, I'm thankful for the AMAZING staff at Beaumont Grosse Pointe. Dad can be difficult sometimes, but everyone from the housekeeping and cafeteria staff, to his nurses and aides, all the way up to doctors, surgeons, and department heads - have been INCREDIBLE!

I could certainly use some good news this week, so please, tell me something good from your life!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Recipes Worth Sharing - Cheesey Tuna & Rice Muffinlettes

It's been a while since I've shared a recipe, so I thought I'd post one of our new favorites!

Cheesey Tuna & Rice Muffinlettes with Tangy Butter Sauce:

  • 2 C Cooked rice (I use brown rice)
  • 1Tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 Can Tuna flaked and drained
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • black olives, sliced (I omitted these, as Grumpy has a ridiculous aversion to them)
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp dried onion
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine rice, cheese, tuna, olives, onion, parsley and salt.
  3. Stir in eggs and milk, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Spray six muffin cups. Divide rice mixture evenly among cups.
  5. Bake for 15 min. until lightly browned.
  6. Serve with tangy butter sauce

Tangy Butter Sauce:

  • ¼ C melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp seasoned salt
  • ½ tsp parsley flakes

6 of these were a dinner for Grumps & I without any side dish (shoosh, I know it needs a veggie, but at least it was a meal that came out of my kitchen rather than from a drive-thru). For a family of 4 (with a side dish), I'd probably make 12 of them, and serve with a side... and expect left overs.

I debated about not making the tangy butter sauce, but it was definitely a nice little tangy-ness against the muffinlettes.

If you try them, let me know what you think!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thank You!

To the 2 of you that signed up for MySurvery using the link on my sidebar... THANK YOU! You pushed me over the 1,000 point mark, so I can request another check! Wahoo!

Getting ready for the move

It looks like Dad should be moving to a "rehab facility" (code for nursing home) sometime this week. I expect the move to go well, since he's awfully darn excited about it. Since he got the news that he'd be getting out of the hospital, he's been out of bed more, eating more, and generally more talkative and cooperative.

The downside to the move is that either

  1. He goes to a facility that is ridiculously inconvenient for sis & I (have to find one that will take his insurance AND his IV nutrition), or
  2. He gets a feeding tube.

We're encouraging the feeding tube, as it's a lower level of skilled care, and means that we can likely get him in to a facility that is about 5 minutes from each of our homes, and my work. He's not thrilled about the idea, but he doesn't want to be on the other side of town, either.

I haven't seen him since Friday (had the weekend off, since sis is leaving for out-of-town on Tue, and won't be back to see Dad until next Mon), so I'm hoping that the decision has been made, and acted upon, and we're just waiting for moving day.

Four freakin' weeks of this, as of today, with no end in sight. The GOOD side of that is how far he's come, medically. There was a very real chance of losing him for the first 2 weeks of this saga. But, it seems as though we've gotten through that, and on to the "getting him ready to go home" part of the program....

I hope.

Friday, August 1, 2008

One Word

A GIANT thanks to Jendeis for all of the recent memes! Heaven forbid I have to slow my brain down & focus it enough for some coherent, relevant blog content!

You have to answer all questions with one word.

  1. Where is your cell phone? desk
  2. Your significant other? Grumpy
  3. Your hair? natural
  4. Your mother? controlling
  5. Your father? stubborn
  6. Your favorite thing? snuggles
  7. Your dream last night? none
  8. Your favorite drink? Mike's
  9. Your dream/goal? Mom
  10. The room you’re in? Office
  11. Your hobby? gardening
  12. Your fear? childless
  13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? parent
  14. What you’re not? skinny
  15. Muffins? banana
  16. One of your wish list items? puppy
  17. Where you grew up? Detroit
  18. The last thing you did? comment
  19. What are you wearing? capris
  20. Favorite gadget? cell
  21. Your pets? furkids
  22. Your computer? laptop
  23. Your mood? stressed
  24. Missing someone? nope
  25. Your car? reliable
  26. Something you’re not wearing? socks
  27. Favorite store? Sears
  28. Like someone? sometimes
  29. Your favorite color? purple
  30. When is the last time you laughed? today
  31. Last time you cried? weeks


...Blogoversary To Me!
Happy Blogoversary To Me!
Happy Blogoversary Dear theidlemindofbeth,
Happy Blogoversary To Me!

Now, where did I put those damn candles....