Monthly Archives: April 2010

New Beginnings

I went to my new acupuncturist today.  Really like her.  Really like the set up.  It is East Nashville Community Acupuncture.  Basically, picture a whole bunch of recliners, relaxing music, and needles and you have a pretty good picture of what is going on.  It took longer than my normal session but wasn’t as intense. 

She doesn’t twist the needles to find the “chi”.  She just inserts them.  So there isn’t the intense electrical charge I typically feel during a session.  Therefore, this session, although longer was fairly relaxing instead of stimulating, so to speak.  It was funny though, at the end, she asked me if I was “ever able to relax.”  Everyone else was all kicked back in their recliners, several people snoring loudly.  I was upright (feet up) and awake with my eyes open the whole time.  I was relaxed though!  I promise!  Next time, I’m taking Mr. T’s Nook because it seems the most relaxing thing I could do. 

Tennessee Game Days is THIS weekend!  Can you believe it!  I’m so excited and looking forward to it.  Not only do I get to stay at a she-she hotel for 3 days but I also get to see this project that we’ve been working on for a year come to fruition.  Oh, and I get to PLAY GAMES!  Yeah! 

Then we have a week and then we go to France.  We bought Mr. T. new “France” pants last night.  Ha!  There was a song when I was growing up that went, “Oh, the ants in your pants sure make you dance.  They make you jump.  They make you prace.  They make you want to fly to France!  The ants sure make you dance.  Hoe down.”  It was off the Teddy Bears Picnic cassette.  Anyway,  I digress.  It is hard to be excited about something that *seems* far way.  Even if it is 13 days away. 

Oh, and my RE fired me when I told him I didn’t like the way his office handled my last miscarriage.  Yeah.  Cool.  And I quote, “We really pride ourselves on our relationship building.  I’m sorry.  I guess we will just have to wait to hear what they (new RE) say,” and then he walked out of the room.  Nice, huh?  He agreed I needed an ultrasound to see if I had cysts and then left the room.  But, I’m on CD2 now so it doesn’t *really* matter.  I think we are going to do 1 last rogue Femara cycle.  No temping.  No herbs.  No obsessing.  We’ll be in France for O so we will just do what we wish and hope that this is what people mean when they quip, “Just relax.”  😀 

Mr. T has begun running a GURPS 24 (Jack Bauer) campaign for several of our friends and me.  It is excellent!  I’m playing an Arabic woman who is the group’s driver and on-the-scene interrogator.  We start tomorrow.  It should be interesting.  The other folks in the group are playing characters with names like Dylan Province, Mark Mendoza, Mitch Connor, and Rock Thunderbottom.  Okay, I confess, Rock Thunderbottom I just made up but there was another name that just screamed government espionage/intrigue! 

Oh, if you get a change you should check out the film, 12 Stones…it is wonderful.  Then you should give $10 to Heifer International.  Yep.  Just $10.  That’s all it takes to change a life.  For more info check out  I’m trying to plan a showing here in town…wish me luck!


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So I have women’s retreat to attend this weekend and we were asked to bring a “dessert” to share.  A few weeks ago I heard of a new-to-me concept: Crock Pot Cake.  Yep.  Doesn’t that sound fun? 

Or so I thought…

I have been hankering for a bit of “earthquake” cake recently and thought, “Aha!  I will convert this recipe from dutch oven campfire to crock pot and have a wonderful cake.”  Well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out exactly as I would have hoped.

So, earthquake cake is german chocolate cake with a layer of coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips on the bottom and a powdered sugar/cream cheese mixture glopped on top.  As the cake bakes the sweet cream cheese goo melts creating crators and cracks in the surface of the cake.  It isn’t a pretty cake but it was wildy tasty. 

My crock pot was almost full of cakiness.  I think that was the problem.  When I bake this in my dutch oven there is only about a 3 inch layer of cake because I have a HUGEMUNGOUS dutch oven.  Since the crock pot was full it took a long time to bake.  The edges got crusty but the middle was still oozing.  Not what I look for in a delicious cake usually. 

So I stirred.

And let it bake some more.

Then  I stirred more because we were approaching the 3 1/2 hour cooking on high point and I was not only antsy to try it but it seemed fairly wasteful…20 minutes in the oven or 3 1/2 hours in a crock pot…it’s not like I was out shopping.  I was standing right there waiting.  Okay, not the whole time.  Mr. T. and I watched the end of season 5 of 24.  Yeah, I don’t know, you do the math on that.

Anyway, eventually I declared the cake finished.  It was an ugly mess.  It tasted okay.  I served it to guests on Wednesday night.  They all cleaned their bowls.  I won’t do it that way again though.

So, the dry run had failed.  I decided not to make earthquake cake for the women’s retreat.  Instead I spent last night making chocolate almond cocoa nib toffee.  Say that 5 times fast!  I love making toffee because it is easy and people are impressed plus it is tasty.  I think this batch was some of the best I’ve made in awhile.

Chocolate Almond Cocoa Nib Toffee

1 1/3 c. sugar

1 c. butter

1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons corn syrup (I’ve used less but that amount ensure no crystalization)

Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot.  I use my Le Creuset here.  I usually just put it on high and leave it alone, stirring occassionally.  We are looking for around 295 F degrees which will take awhile.  The mixture will bubble a lot so make sure it is in a big enough vessel to allow for plenty of expansion.  It will turn from a yellowy/white color to shades of amber.  I let mine go to a fairly dark amber but once it starts turning watch, watch it can burn just like that!  Poof!  Ruined!  I use the water method for determining doneness.  I take about a cup of water and drop a few drops of the molten liquid (it will burn you and hurt be careful!) in.  You are looking for the drop to immediately harden and be crunchy not chewy.  Test along the way and you will move from soft ball, soft crack, hard ball, to hard crack. 


Mean while, take a large cookie sheet and place about 1 cup of sliced almonds (use your judgement you just want a thin consistent layer covering the entire cookie sheet) and 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tsp salt, and placing the cookie sheet on the stovetop (with eye/burner on) begin to brown the almonds.  Use a hotpad to hold the cookie sheet or you will be hot quickly.  Use a spatula to move the almonds around so they are coated with butter and not burned.  This will take just a few minutes.  If they start to burn lower the heat.  You just want a nice brown.  Burned nuts are not tasty.  If they burn, try again.  Maybe your dog would like the burned ones?  Once the almonds are brought into browned, buttered, salted wonderfulness shake the pan and evenly distribute them across the pan in a single layer.  Sprinkle on 1/2 cup (again use your judgement for achieving a nice even layer that is about 1/3 the density of the almonds) of cocoa nibs.  Mine came in little bits already.  Place the cookie sheet on the stove (no longer hot!) next to the bubbling toffee mixture.


Your toffee should be turning shades of light brown at this point.  I toss in a teaspoon of baking soda to increase the volume.  I also like the texture of the finished product better.  You do what you like.  It isn’t crucial.  Once I’m almost to 295 or at the hard ball stage I turn off the heat (mixture will continue to cook!) and add in about a tablespoon of vanilla.  It will bubble and steam.  Be careful!  It hurts to be burned by toffee (aka culinary napalm).  Let me mixture sit for about 30 seconds-1 minute to stop boiling but you don’t want it to cool as it will start to set up.  Then warning pets, children, and partners to stay away lest you trip, spill, slosh, or burn them, proceed to pour the hot as molten lava toffee all over the almond/nibs on the cookie sheet.  You are going for a nice, consistent, thin layer.  I usually just try to glob it consistently enough in the pan that then I can use a wooden spoon (by the way I hope you remembered that wood is great for this because it doesn’t conduct heat/melt/or burn…I wouldn’t use plastic or metal!) to spread the mixture around to get a nice even layer. 

Finally…I placed about 1/3 c of ghiradelli chocolate chips on top.  Let them sit for 30 seconds and using the wooden spoon spread those into a nice but very thin layer.  Pop the pan (using a hot pad!) into the refridgerator or freezer.  Wait until cold.  Crack into bits.  Enjoy!  This stuff is addictively yummy. 

And now, I’m off to the women’s retreat where I will sit in my room eating the toffee I brought to share, reading novels, and lamenting the negative pregnancy tests.  Not really.  But in my mind it seems like a great way to spend the weekend!  Enjoy yours!

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What I wanted to say…

What I wanted to say about Mr. T’s weekend involved things like the above.  And to a little extent they did.  But to a larger extent they included this instead:

Yeah.  I ran over my dog with a utility cart while out enjoying Mr. T’s weekend.  We were out at the Farm.  Sad.  Very, very sad.  She darted right in front of us and I couldn’t stop in time.  Her left rear hip was dislocated and her left rear leg was degloved (the skin came off to the bone).  She has had stiches and the shoulder was popped back in today.  She is miserable.  A whimpering mess.  So am I.  She goes back on Monday to determine if she needs more surgery.  Awful. 

Now for something cheerier.  Henry!  He is unharmed (was riding in the cart which Molly refuses to do!) and settling into life here at the Mr. T. ranch just fine. 

And now for chickens!

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Project finished!  This is a brief glimpse of our cheery yet traditionalesque library.  Otherwise known as the loft.  Looks like we need another book or two!  Maybe one on raising chickens…

Project finished!  Yummy homemade organic strawberry jam.  Mr. T and I spent a lovely two hours hulling strawberries and making jam.  We got to sample a little yesterday morning and it was tasty!  Well worth the small measure of effort.

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Infertility Specialist–Uh. No. Sorry.

So, I have fired my acupuncturist.  Well…I mean…I have one more session and then I’m done with her.  I will find a new one.   At my session today she said, “I looked at your chart.  I think you ovulated on the 13th day of your cycle.” 


Do you know *anything* about fertility charting? 

Obviously not.  Yes, it was a rhetorical question.   I did not ovulate on CD13 because my temp that day was 96.81.  The next day it was 97.1.  The change has to be at least .4 degrees and it has to be SUSTAINED over the next 4 temps to confirm.  Further, no chart I have EVER had has had a CD13 ovulation including this one.   Also, look at the other signs which did not indicate fertility including the–wait for it–fertility monitor.  If the fertility monitor is saying “low” that doesn’t mean “get low” and dance for your man so you can make a baby.  It means you have a LOW chance of being fertile.  Also the big RED light on the traffic light next to my chart which says “NOT FERTILE.”

But the fact that I am paying $300 a month and you don’t no anything about infertility evidently is fairly laughable.  I get it, you got a book you ordered recently which is helping but learn how to read a chart.  I mean, the site you visit to see my chart has a FREE course on it. 


We got accepted to the Fertility Clinic– Big F Big C.  We applied Tuesday and I expected to hear something next week and that it would be difficult to get an appointment before June or so.  Um, the called Wednesday afternoon and said they could see us next Tuesday. 



I’m not ready!






So, we postponed until after France.  Hopefully we’ll catch this eggie I’m working on right now or the one next month whilst on vacation…I think then we’d have to name the baby Paris.  Or Giverny.  Or Notre Dame.  Or Chambord.  He’s gonna be one mixed up little guy huh? 

Yummy dinner tonight:

  • Spinach salad with eggs with hot bacon onion vinagrette
  • Grilled Chicken stuffed with roasted red pepper and basil goat cheese
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Leek and mushroom risotto
  • Petite chocolate crusts with a dollop of fresh whipped sweet vanilla cream and a sliced strawberry on top

It was all pretty fabulous outside on the patio.  Yes, yes…life is good.  What deliciousness have you cooked recently?  I think I’m going to make strawberry preserve tomorrow afternoon…

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The Loneliness of Easter

So, today was my first holiday alone.

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before for any holiday.  Even the little ones like Memorial Day or President’s Day.  I guess I have been alone on Valentine’s Day…

Oh, yes.  There was that awful Valentine’s Day where I was very single and decided to heck with it I was going to go out and celebrate.  So I went to my favorite restaurant and asked for a table.  I was told, “We are doing a couples only menu tonight.  It’s prix fixe for two.”  I said, “No, problem!  I have lunch for tomorrow,” and gave my winningest smile.  “I’m sorry ma’am.  This night is for couples only.  We aren’t seating singles.”  “So, even if I pay the set rate for two meals you won’t seat me.”  “That’s correct.” 

No problem!  I’ll make what they were serving!  Simple enough.  Swiss cheese fondue, skip the entree, chocolate fondue!  I just need the cheese.  I have everything else already.  So I went to the grocer.  No swiss cheese.  Stop 2 no swiss cheese.  Stop 3 finally swiss cheese and home to cook! 

It was like 8pm at that point.  I didn’t read the instructions and wound up with really lumpy, seperated globs of cheese and hot wine.  Sigh…boy, that’s a fun memory, isn’t it?

Sorry for the derail.  I didn’t mean to go so off topic.  But I guess it wasn’t really off topic…I was lonely for family then and today.  Mr. T. is sleeping soundly these days which is great but also, disappointing.  I offered to get up early, when he got home, and make us Easter breakfast (I had made orange sweet rolls and cinnamon rolls which were divine!) but he was too tired. 

Sunday school was a mismash of horrendousness–molestation statistics, gang shootings, that only the “saved” get to go to heaven–all left a bad taste in my mouth.  I think it is interesting when someone can bring up something as intensely triggering as molestation as just as “look around the room 1/2-1/4 of you have been molested” and just leave it as that.  Um.  Yeah.  Excuse me, what does that have to do with the following scripture? 

               “If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.  Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

Maybe the point was that without God more people would be molesters?  ie corrupted?  Who knows.  I surely don’t.  But I did feel really depleted, bewildered, and lonely when I left. 

But then BFF, her husband DW, and I went out to lunch at Cheesecake Factory where we had all kinds of interesting philosophical/religious discussion.  It was one of those really interesting conversations where everyone comes from a different background- BFF is a PK of the Freewill Baptist persuasion, DW’s mom died when he was little and he wasn’t really “churched”, and I from my mainline protestant way of thinking.  I think DW was feeling rather fiesty and controversial today as he wondered if my miscarriages were God punishing me for my sin of divorce and other such inflamatory rhetoric.  I was lucky that my somber mood had passed at that point and I was able to respond as if he was making a comment about something theoretical and not *my life*. 

But I thought about what he said more as I drove home.  What if I am being punished?  Well, okay.  So, I beleive I have been obedient and accepting.  But I think that thought process is a load of crap.  I think the first person crying for my loss was God.  I think it hurts him to see us suffer.  I don’t think he send these things to us.  I think he can use the harm for his good.  I think all things work for his design and purpose–even our mistakes and bad choices.  Sigh. 

And I miss family.  I miss Easter dinner.  Last year my Mom said she felt like an “unfound Easter egg.”  Yeah.  I get that. 

But we are his favorite.  We are his precious children.  We are not unfound.  We have amazing grace.  Even though my family was spread over thousands of miles and various states our thoughts were on each other.  I am so fortunate to have such wonderful friends like BFF and DW in my life.  Even when they ask hard questions or challenge me in ways I’m not ready for…it is…part of God’s plan and for his good.  Friends who are like family…   ❤

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