Monday, January 19, 2015

Friends

Three of my college friends drove over to see me this weekend. Two of them stayed over night. We had a four-hour lunch at Chuy's on Saturday! L-R: Cindy, Patsy, me, Mel. Friday was my birthday, so it was a fun birthday weekend.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cold Saturday in January

It's a cold, bleak January morning, a Saturday. I get up and out the door early.

Mimi's excited to have her pink sweater and her leash both on. It means something is going to happen to her. But when I put her in her carrier in the back seat of my car, her excitement morphs into terror. I tell her not to worry, that we're just going to the nearby small town of Noonday, not back on an airplane to China. As usual, she doesn't understand.

We ride through nearly vacant roads on this weekend morning, made empty as others sleep in. These are back roads, lined with bare trees reaching their limbs to the frosty gray sky above.

This would be a charming ride through the woods if it were not for the wailing dog in the back seat.

We arrive ten minutes before the traveling small town veterinarian staff opens for business under a tent next to the Dollar General store. I don't want a line to form in front of me, so I get Mimi out of the car and we wait in the cold.

No line forms. No one else thinks it is warm enough to visit the outdoor vet today, not at this early hour anyway. Whether he offers cheaper prices or not, they have decided to stay home in their warm beds and postpone their doggy disease prevention to another day.

Mimi gets a blood test. We wait another ten minutes to get the result. Good news, no heart worms. We buy a year's worth of preventative medicine and jump back in the car.

Even though we had no stops at airports, Mimi is still not happy. She shrieks all the way home, over the undulating hills of east Texas.

I think she must get car sick, like me.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas from me, myself and Mimi

Wishing you all a blessed and merry Christmas. 

Thank You God for sending Jesus to save us from our sins and restore us to fellowship with You! Thank You for bringing Mimi and me safely to Texas for this chapter of our lives.

Let me fix that

While I was attempting a photo shoot in the backyard this morning, my dad decided my mom's earring needed untangling. In the end, this turned out to be my favorite photo of the batch. Love that look on my mom's face! (My mom's birthday is coming up on Monday.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

I'm home for Christmas this year, and was left in charge of decorating. So I got new stockings for the three humans in the house (couldn't find any cute dog stockings or else I would have gotten some). We have camouflage for my dad, red sparkly ruche stocking for my mom, and a satin-frill topped high-heel boot for me. 

My decorating style can be summed up in two words: Hobby Lobby.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Low-sugar, gluten-free Snickerdoodles


Ingredients:

2 eggs (I used organic eggs)
1/3 cup Stevia for Baking blend
1/4 cup softened butter (I used organic stick butter)
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups Bisquick Gluten Free mix
Ground cinnamon

Steps:

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. In large bowl, mix together eggs, Stevia blend, butter and shortening.
3. Add Bisquick and mix until dough forms
4. Drop biscuits on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam.
5. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with cinnamon.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Notes:
  • This makes a cake-like cookie that is slightly sweet, but not too sweet. Tastes yummy with a cup of bitter black coffee!
  • If you have never used gluten-free flour before, the unusual texture of rice flour vs. wheat flour may catch you off-guard at first. I like it though. 
  • Usually snickerdoodles have a crisp texture, and have sugar sprinkled on top. These are a little different than the traditional snickerdoodle.
  • My goal was to make something tasty that was (1) gluten free, (2) sugar free, and (3) used as many organic ingredients as possible. I realized after making the cookies that the Stevia Baking blend actually DOES have some sugar in it, but it is far less than I would normally use. I doubt shortening is a healthy ingredient, but I had no alternatives for that one.
  • Stevia is natural … no artificial chemical sweeteners for me. (Fact: I gave up Diet Cokes on August 1, 2013.) These cookies have all natural ingredients.

Benefits of eating low-sugar, gluten-free foods:
  • Reduces pain and inflammation for those suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, heartburn, or intestinal ailments like Celiac disease. I was in constant pain until September 17, 2013 when I stopped eating wheat and sugar products. The pain went away overnight.
  • Besides all the things you already know about sugar, did you know that it feeds cancer cells? 

In China, I had no access to Gluten-free Bisquick or Stevia for Baking. For me to eat gluten free and sugar free, it meant a diet of meat and vegetables. That kind of diet helped me lose weight and reduce my pain tremendously.

However, since I'm in the U.S. for Christmas this year, and have access to a few more specialty ingredients, I thought I might make a batch of cookies -- ones that are not too bad for me -- to help me get in the Christmas spirit. I don't plan to make or eat them often, but it's certainly nice to have at least one recipe to turn to when the cookie mood strikes!

(By the way, I had no intention of being the organic, gluten-free kind of person, and was more of the type to make fun of those who were. I'm now of the opinion that there is really something to it.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

She's heeeeere!

Mimi arrives at DFW Cargo Terminal on Friday, November 14, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. 
 We are quite happy now!
 Inseparable!
Life is good!

Mimi's departure in Shanghai

 Mimi is in the car traveling to Shanghai.
 She loves to look out the windows while in a car.
 The driver had to stop for a pit stop, so Mimi decided to get out and stretch her legs.
 Back in the car now.
Her super huge carrier didn't leave much room for comfortable sitting.
She might not have napped in the car had she known she'd be sleeping so long on the flight.
Out of the car, into the cargo terminal.
And … apparently she is not too happy about it.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change," she surely uttered at this point in time.
Door closed, cable ties secured, and just to be sure, netting goes over the carrier.
I like the triple security measures.
Mimi calms down and takes it like a real trooper.

Mistletoe and Magic

I didn't plan to be home for the holidays, but since I am, I plan to soak in all the holiday spirit I possibly can. I took my mom to a local annual event called "Mistletoe and Magic," where local booths are set up to sell clothing, gifts, furniture and food.
We didn't buy a thing, but we enjoyed strolling around. My mom was quite taken with this therapy dog. My mom is a huge dog lover.
Soon we were crowded out of the dog area (by other dog lovers).
Here's my mom!
The guy in the kilt is apparently the dog's master. I think the kilt went with the theme of the event, because the man spoke like an east Texan, not a Scot.
When the other folks left, we went back for another visit with the doggy. 
My mom wanted to take it home. Is two dogs in the house not enough? (Mimi wasn't home yet, but was to arrive the next day.)
Here's my mom in front of one of the beautiful Christmas trees. She can walk, but long bouts of walking cause back pain so I pushed her through the event. (She broke her back two years ago, and pain still persists. But she still gets out!)
We asked a stranger to take our photo together in front of the tree. I knew I should have asked her to make more than one photo…to make sure we had our eyes open. But we just got one photo together.
Here's another tree scene. I like how the deer head is covered in cream-colored canvas.
 Deer garland.
It was a mighty cold and dreary day. A cute little coffee cart was set up in the parking lot.
On the way back home, we drove through some old neighborhoods to see the changing colors of the leaves. It was a nice little outing!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Prayers for a good journey for Mimi

Mimi the dog child is currently enroute to the airport in Shanghai. Her flight leaves a few minutes before midnight Central/Texas time this evening. I hope she won't be frightened as she travels alone, completely unaware of what's going on and why. Won't she be surprised when she hears my voice at DFW tomorrow?!