Thanks… I think?

29 November 2010 | 29 Comments

Well, I really wanted this post to be about pretty tables and turkey and gobs of Black Friday deals, but that’s not exactly how it went.

Wednesday morning I woke up and knew something wasn’t right immediately.  I thought maybe I was just tired and got up to go to the bathroom.  About halfway there I knew something was really really wrong.  Most of those details are still fuzzy in my head but they involve me collapsing on the floor and screaming for Finn to bring me the phone.

I managed to call Dave and then crawled into the shower because in my logic, I thought a freezing shower would keep me from passing out.  Thank God Finn was there to get the phone and Dave was home within minutes because if I had been alone the doctor is pretty sure that things would have been very very bad.  I remember about 25% of the paramedics part including realizing I was naked from the shower and needed to get something on because I thought for sure my good friend, would be the one to arrive.  {Thankfully, he wasn’t on duty.}

A lovely day was spent in the ER along with another two in the hospital for good measure.  I have been poked and prodded, my arms are bruised and still burning from some of the stuff they gave me.  The care I received was amazing, one ER nurse in particular, I am told by my doctor, basically saved my life and prevented needing a blood transfusion by asking for additional non-invasive tests that stopped things going from bad to worse.   

When I came home, the first two days,  I slept anywhere from 18-20 hours a day and even walking to the bathroom made me winded.  Now I’m down to a respectable 15 ish hours of sleep a day and lots of resting.  I need a babysitter for at least a week and follow up appointments and tests are scheduled.  Right now, they’re looking for the source of the internal bleeding they think caused the excruciating pain and concentrating on getting my hemoglobin levels increased before doing any other tests.  

They think I should feel back to normal within 3 weeks and most days I seem to feel just a little bit better than the day before.  I’m taking that as a good sign.  So, I know this is totally out of the blue, believe me… it was for me too.  Posting for the next few weeks is going to be light and sporadic at best. 

Wine and Turkey. Turkey and Wine.

23 November 2010 | 6 Comments

I am not a sommelier.  For those of you who did not put on your fancy pants this morning, that is a wine expert.  They are specially trained and can tell you which wines to pair with any meal you might put together.  Except asparagus because not only does it make your pee smell funny, it also apparently doesn’t have a wine pairing.   They can also tell you about things like mouth feel and tannins and notes of cherry and oak.

I just drink it and if I like it, I’ll buy it again.

Here are my “go to” turkey wines along with a French aperitif {fancy pants translation: drink before dinner} that you have to try this Thanksgiving. 

I promise, you will love it.

My first pick for a great wine with turkey is a Cambria Pinot Noir.


Pick number two is a heavier red, the Trinchero Chicken Farm Ranch Merlot.

Lastly, for you white wine drinkers, give the Byron Chardonnay a try!

And on to that aperitif… a Kir Royale.  Well technically since I’m not using a true champagne from the Champagne region, it’s a Kir PĂ©tillant, but we’ll just call it a Kir Royale for good measure.  I’d also like to thank the brilliant and lovely SĂ©verine and her family for teaching me the joys of the Kir Royale.  At sixteen and in France for the first time, this was the height of sophistication.  Almost twenty years later it is still one of my favorites.

It also could not be easier to make.

You will need:  a champagne glass, creme de cassis & chilled champagne {or my favorite substitute Domaine Ste Michelle Brut which is about $14 and tastes amazing.}

Pour the champagne into the glass filling most of the way to the top, then very slowly add a bit of creme de cassis until it just turns a pretty pink color.  Voila!  Now you can drink and enjoy.

And stay tuned tomorrow for a sneak peek of our Thanksgiving tables!

Disturbed for the youth of America.

22 November 2010 | 8 Comments

Last night, I watched the AMAs.  {That’s the American Music Awards.}

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone most of the evening, but then… then it happened.

The disturbing event that had me mouth agape on the couch praying that I was hallucinating.

Justin Bieber.

Dude, I get it.  I survived New Kids on the Block in my era, but artist of the year they were not.

Teen sensations and good performers to be sure.

Artist of the year?  REALLY?

What the fuck youth of America?  What.  The.  Fuck.


18 November 2010 | 6 Comments

I’m a jump to conclusion-er.  It’s a fault.  A big one. 

Some idiot is speeding and cuts me off.  The nerve!  Jackass!  Can you believe they gave this moron a license??

What if that person just got a phone call telling them their child was hurt?  Or their elderly father fell?  Would I react in the same way?

She is SUCH a bitch today, why is she in customer service?

Maybe her pet died.  Or it has been an incredibly awful week.  Would I be kinder?  Gentler?

Sometimes words, just words tear through you with such force when all you need, all you want is just a bit of kindness. 

Don’t get me wrong here, sometimes an idiot is just an idiot. 

But maybe, just maybe taking a moment to think before I come to that conclusion will save me from making someone’s awful day even worse.  I’ve been there, both on the giving and the receiving end, and either way it feels like shit.

Roxy & National Prematurity Awareness Day

17 November 2010 | 7 Comments
Sam is one of my readers.  She sent me an email asking me if I would mind helping her this week and when she told me why, I was MORE than happy to lend her my {and your} ears.  Please take just a minute to read Roxy's story as told by her Mama, Sam. 

And Sam?  Thank you for letting me be a small part in helping you tell your story.

A little background: During a routine checkup, the doctors found out I had developed preeclampsia. I was given steroid shots to strengthen Roxy’s lungs and we were told that we would try to hold out 48 hours before delivery. I was already having contractions and Roxy was in position to deliver. About twelve hours later, I was wheeled away for an emergency C-section because Roxy was in distress and my kidneys were starting to decrease in urine output.

Our miracle baby Roxy was born 11 weeks premature. She weighed in at a whopping 1 pound, 9 ounces and was a mere 14 inches long (She was estimated to weigh approximately 2 pounds, 10 ounces). She was born with a head full of black hair and immediately whisked away from us to be taken care of. For us, the delivery room was silent - no newborn screams filling the air - and my husband got to cut Roxy's umbilical cord and then watch as the doctors began performing resuscitation on her.

We weren't in a normal situation where the waiting grandparents could see the newborn in the nursery. Everyone was in the room with me after delivery awaiting the anxious arrival of Roxy. We were told that she was too small to stay in the nursery at the hospital we were at. She would have had to weigh in as expected to be big enough. She was being transferred to a bigger university hospital with a better equipped Level 3 NICU. Although the idea of transferring me to the other hospital was tossed around, it was decided that it would be best for me to stay where I was. This was on Saturday.

What seemed like hours and hours later, they finally wheeled Roxy into my room so that I could see her for the first time and the only time before they transported her.

My little micropreemie came into my room in an incubator and was strapped in for transport with straps that looked to be as big as she was. She was on a ventilator. She was screaming to let us know she wasn't happy and her screams could barely be heard - her voice was as small as she was. We spent about ten minutes with her adoring her and I was able to touch her teeny hand. Her entire hand wasn't as big as the last joint of my index finger. Then they wheeled her away and it was almost two more days before I saw her again.

The following Monday, Labor Day, was the first time I was allowed to leave my hospital to go to hers and visit. Learning the NICU was an event all in itself. Roxy was only allowed to have two visitors at a time, one of which had to be a parent. Eventually, this was limited even further to only parents and biological grandparents. We had to stop at a reception desk and be buzzed back into the nurseries. We were only allowed to visit during certain hours - every three with an hour break in between. We learned how to scrub up as we went in. The first time you walk up to your baby's incubator, you see tubes and wires and hear machines beeping and groaning.

Its scary. Every little bleep had me looking at Roxy's monitor to see if it was her.

That was our life for almost the entire time Roxy was in the NICU. Roxy spent a total of 67 days in the NICU. We did have several scares. Roxy developed a staph infection soon after being admitted into the hospital. Then they thought she had developed another one.  After that they thought she developed NEC (which is potentially fatal to premature infants), she was routinely checked for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which is common in premature infants and would affect her eyesight. She had several ultrasounds of her brain to make sure she didn't have a hemorrhage (intraventricular hemorrhages can cause several problems in premature infants from minor to severe) and generally made sure that anything that could possibly be wrong with her, wasn't.

The NICU is a rollercoaster ride. It has ups and it has several downs.

She was transferred to a Level 2 Nursery before she was discharged. We were in that nursery for just about two weeks before Roxy came home. That was the nursery where she was discharged from her incubator into a heated bed (her "big girl bed"). Roxy was discharged on November 11, 2009. It was the best day ever for me. It was frightening, but joyful!

Since Roxy's been home, we've only had a few scares. We stayed quarantined for most of the winter. But we've been so very fortunate. We've had an ultrasound of her head and her back to make sure there were no neurological complications and that her Grade I IVF (brain hemorrhage) left no lasting damage. Both came back perfect. Each trip to the NICU Grad Clinic and pediatrician are good. At the last NICU checkup they indicated that she appears advanced for her adjusted age.

She took off crawling and jabbering just before her first birthday. She's a happy and healthy baby and for that we are thankful. Now, at 14 months, she's walking and talking. She has about eight teeth in various stages of coming in. She's got attitude, she's got spunk, and most importantly, she always has a smile for everyone.

Not all babies are as lucky as Roxy. For that reason, we have joined with the March of Dimes to help all babies have a chance...for survival, for health, for a good beginning.

March of Dimes has a mission that all babies will be born healthy. Their focus is not only on premature babies like Roxy, but rather all babies. We’re fighting for those who are too small to fight for themselves. Please check out the March of Dimes website or join the cause by creating a team for your local March.

Our fight will not be over until all babies are born healthy!

Thanksgiving Pants.

16 November 2010 | 2 Comments

Join me over at Style Lush, I’m talking about Thanksgiving pants today!


15 November 2010 | 14 Comments

I’m going to tell you something, but first you must raise your right hand and repeat after me…

“I (insert your name here) promise not to judge Michelle too terribly after she reveals her deep dark secret.  Well, I will judge her a bit, but I won’t stop reading despite being SHOCKED and awed at her secret.  I will not forget that she used to be a strong, extremely independent woman who was capable of doing things.  In the name of the Target, the Starbucks, and the holy Lowes.   Amen.”

Y’all.  I am spoiled.

Rotten, in fact.

Dave, he left for London Saturday night.  After he left, my sister Lyndsey and I were crafting and talking and in general carrying on like idiots.  {We do this when we are together.}  It was during clean up that I realized the garbage was full. 


I could not even remember the last time I took the garbage out or replaced a garbage bag.

Lynds offered to do it for me.  Sisters are like the best thing ever, aren’t they?  It was totally embarrassing.  But I did it.  My very own self.

That isn’t the worst of it.

He does all the dirty stuff around here.  All of it.

Last week, I went to the park and Finn and I got a block from the park when I realized that something was ‘wrong’ with the car.  I thought that I had somehow knocked the alignment out.  He came to my rescue and looked at me like I was a lunatic when the entire front tire was flat.

As a pancake.

So he changed my tire.  In his work clothes.  Happily and laughing at me most of the whole time.

And ok, I’m going to admit this for all the world to hear… are you ready for this one?   It is Amy’s favorite.

I didn’t get gas myself for probably two and a half years.

No, really.  It started when I was pregnant for Finn and it was cold and crappy out.  This is when he sweetly started making me drive his car as well.  He would take my car and fill it up for me and I never had to get gas. 

It was magic.

So one day, when I did, I had to call him at work and ask which side of the car the gas thingy was on and where the release lever was.  {Turns out on the driver’s side and there isn’t one.} 

The thing is about all this, I used to be such an independent to a fault, take charge kind of girl.  I thought people who admitted things like this were ridiculous.  You can’t change your own tire?  Really?  Your husband gets gas for you?  You have GOT to be kidding me.

But y’all, I know I could if it came down to it.  It just doesn’t take away from the fact that that man of mine, he spoils me rotten.  And I’m not giving that up for at least the next 50 years.

Throwdown at Our House

11 November 2010 | 17 Comments

My dad and I have a special kind of relationship.  It mostly involves me giving him a bunch of shit and being the most difficult of his four {plus two step} children.  He swears that I am, out of all of his children, the one who challenges him the most and is the toughest on him.  I think he likes that my expectations are high and I know he is proud of the woman that I am.

We like to pick on each other.  We debate, both playing devil’s advocate.  And we have cooking throwdowns.

It’s been going on for ages, probably close to fifteen years now.  We do cakes, chocolate cream pies, mashed potatoes, cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookies, and of course, there was the great meatloaf incident of 2001 that I don’t like to discuss.

So my dear readers, here is where you come in.  We need a challenge.  Ideally, the suggestion will be something that neither of us has made before, but that might be a stretch.  What do you want to see us make?  I will even leave the visual judging to you since obviously there isn’t taste-o-vision yet on the internet.  The taste portion we will leave to the un-refined palates of my rag tag family.  I am quite sure there will be bribery involved.

And to thank you, there *might* be a little prize package for whomever’s idea we choose.   

So, what’s it going to be??


10 November 2010 | 8 Comments

Saturday Dave is leaving for London.  And for reasons like it was scheduled less than two weeks before he was leaving, I have an appointment that I absolutely can not reschedule, finding a last minute sitter for a week is not in the cards, and I am insanely busy getting ready for a holiday bazaar, it is literally the busiest week of my year… I can not go with him.

I can not tell you how incredibly sad this makes me.

Awfully.  Painfully.  Horribly sad.

And green with envy.  Green like Elphaba. 

No Marks & Spencer holiday shopping.  No sticky toffee pudding.  No bundling up against chilly British winds.  No driving like a madwoman on the ‘wrong’ side of the road while Dave stealthly navigates us.

Oh, I know there will be other trips.  It’s not like it’s Paris I’m missing.  Well, I’m missing that too since my friend Lisa is there with her husband Arik celebrating their tenth anniversary.  And I know that a seven hour red-eye trans-Atlantic COACH flight is going to blow, but still.


Mad Love for the Thanksgiving Table

09 November 2010 | 2 Comments
That's what we're discussing at Style Lush today.  Get over there and give me your hints for an inexpensive, yet beautiful Thanksgiving table!

Four Things That Disturb Me.

08 November 2010 | 5 Comments

1.  My sister and Dave are excited by TRON.  Really a TRON movie?  Where do these people come from and why are they related to me?  I might be able to get behind a HeMan or Jem and the Holograms or GoBots movie, but Tron?

2.  Bed Bugs.  They freak me out so completely that I can’t even tell you and yet, I am disturbingly attracted to stories about them.  I sit there reading them and squirm.  Before we went to Kentucky, I had to check the bed bug site to make sure there weren’t any complaints about our hotel.

3.  I am feeling out of sorts lately with the writing.  I’ve had minor bouts of writers block before, but I’d love your suggestions for getting my mojo back.  This summer I was tripping over myself because I couldn’t write enough and now, eh… burn out.

4.  Realizing that summer is gone.  I mean really, it is NOVEMBER.  Where did this year go?  I want it back.


So what is disturbing you these days?


By the way, I wanted to say thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers for Colin.  They still aren’t sure what it was, but he is doing much much better.

This Week Can Suck It.

04 November 2010 | 14 Comments

Really and truly.

I can’t really wrap my head around everything so I was just keeping quiet till I could process things.

Monday night my hormones went all whack-a-doodle from the fertility crap and I was sick.  Like so sick, I almost called my mom at 2 am to come and stay with Finn so Dave could take me to the ER.  It felt like someone was stabbing me repeatedly in both my ovaries and my sternum.  Did I mention that I was dehydrated to the point of having orange urine?  I think I slept an hour at a time here and there between being awake all night.  Dave was leery about leaving me at six in the morning to go to work, but I assured him I was fine and went back to sleep.

Then the nurse from the doctor’s office called me at 7:50 am and woke me up again with more results from blood work last week.  Who the eff does that?  I don’t even remember talking to her, or getting my results, so I am hoping that I’m not dying.  It was at this point that I realized that I probably shouldn’t be driving Finnegan to his class on a couple hours {interrupted} sleep.

So I called Dave and asked him, in the middle of a really huge project, to come home.  Which he did gladly and took care of Finn like a champ until I had slept until noon all while working at home.  Then, he stayed with me another hour until he had given me enough Gatorade that my eyeballs were floating and my urine was finally a dark yellow instead of orange.  He went back into work for a bit and Finn and I took a nap.

An hour after we had fallen asleep I woke up inexplicably and five minutes later my sister called and told me to get to my cousin’s {across the street} immediately.  Her voice wasn’t right.  I ripped Finn out of bed and was out of the house in a minute flat.  I had on pajama pants and Dave’s old band t-shirt, I wasn’t even wearing a bra for crying out loud.

Lyndsey nannies for my cousin and while she was watching the boys on Tuesday, the littlest munchkin spiked a fever, had a seizure and stopped breathing.  Needless to say she did everything right, called 911, gave him a breath, and took him via ambulance to the ER at the hospital where his mom works, my cousin met them there.

I stayed with Myles until they were able to come get him that evening.  Lynds came to my house and we just sat, quiet while she processed everything and cried a little.  She loves those boys and I think seeing that happen scared the ever living shit out of her.

So I’m asking for your thoughts right now while they try to narrow down what spiked his fever to 105.4 and for Lyndsey that she has a little peace and gets some sleep and for Colin’s parents as they are working hard to keep his fever in control even now.  They are hoping that it isn’t bacterial, they’ve ruled out meningitis, and his white bloodcell counts came back in the normal range.

This baby is tough.  He already scraps with the big boys.  He dances like a maniac everyday to 90s music.  We want him back to his red headed, angry little midget, ankle biting self as soon as possible.  So please say a little prayer today.

pancakes   apples 011

I’m taking tomorrow off and I’ll see you Monday morning bright and early with something entertaining and a week that doesn’t suck.  How does that sound?

Currently Craving.

03 November 2010 | 6 Comments

I should really learn to stay off TasteSpotting because it is, without a doubt, food porn at its finest.  It also makes me want to {attempt to} cook things like Pumpkin Gnocchi and Grand Marnier Souffles which I am clearly not capable of doing. 

I also blame autumn.  And cold weather while we’re at it.

Stace posted about roasting a chicken in the crockpot and the very next day after cajoling the recipe out of her,  I made a roasted chicken in the crockpot.  And the day after that?  Homemade chicken stock.

This weekend I’m making a spice cake for Oma’s birthday.

What kind of deliciousness have you been cooking lately?

Pumpkin Pancakes

Roasted Garlic

Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Cider, & Vanilla Bean


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Chile Roasted Feta & Watermelon

Blueberry Crumble Cake

Pretzel Bread

Black Friday

02 November 2010 | 3 Comments
Y'all, it has been a day and a half & I'll have stories for you soon... the good thing? 

It's only 24 days until Black Friday!

Come visit me at Style Lush today where we're talking Black Friday

It's a HOLIDAY in our house.  Is it in yours?


01 November 2010 | 5 Comments
Today, I just feel like being quiet.  It was such a crazy weekend that I'm still trying to get my head on straight. 

How was yours?
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