Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Longest Day

This takes the cake as my longest trip to TX.

Left our home in SAC at 4pm Christmas afternoon, to arrive a the airport 90 minutes early as recommended.

Flight was on time. Settled in at the gate, flight was on time.

Started to read the latest Nicholas Sparks novel.

Glanced up at the counter, and the flight suddenly showed a delay of 1 1/2 hrs!

Scheduled for a 6pm departure, finally left SAC at 7:45.

Arrived in Vegas at 9:10, boarded at quarter of 10. Then waited on the tarmac for a while, then had to be de-iced.

Turbulence, not extremely bad, but enough to keep the flight attendants strapped in for most of the flight. Finally got peanuts and a glass of water about 45 minutes before landing in TX.

By the time we got the luggage and drove home and crawled into bed it was quarter to 4 TX time. Allowing for the 2 hr time difference -- almost 12 hours after I left CA.

But at least I didn't fall on my head this time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cornbread Stuffing

Sorry, Mom, but this is the best stuffiing I have ever had!

Fried up bacon instead of the smoked ham, and used the bacon drippings instead of butter. Used canned Trader Joe's whole kernel corn because that was all I had.

Only downside------I made 1/4 the recipe (1 qt corning ware pan) because I didn't want to waste the ingredients if it wasn't yummy -- which is definitely was!

A real keeper-----as one of my granddaughters says----------"Oh my starry eyed surprise!"

Michael Symon's Cornbread Stuffing
Courtesy Food Network

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup diced red pepper
1/2-pound diced smoked ham
2 eggs
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups cubed and toasted cornbread

Preheat oven to 375.
Melt butter and sweat vegetables until tender. Add ham and cook over low heat for 2 more minutes. Set aside to slightly cool. Whisk together eggs, stock, cream and herbs and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Combine all items, including cornbread, in a 4-quart lasagna pan and cook covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for additional 20 minutes or until crusty.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Another shoe has dropped.

We've dealt with so much since DH's stroke three-and-a- half years ago,
and last week they diagnosed him with diabetes, as well.

Took most of yesterday off to drive him to a diabetes education class.

Most of the "work" following a new eating plan (and hopefully getting
him to exercise) will fall on my shoulders, even though the leader
today stressed it is not the caregivers responsibility to follow
through with the plans.

She stressed that I should not be the "Diabetes Police", but when he can't/won't take care of himself, who else does it fall to?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Taste of Grey Poupon

Have you heard of

It's a fun little website that matches your entertainment style with nationally known brand names, and offers hostesses free gifts when they are matched to one of their houseparties.
It's a great marketing tool, as well as a lot of fun for the hostess and her attendees

Last night several friends came over for my Taste of Grey Poupon party. We sampled the three new GP specialty mustards, along with the tried-n-true dijon variety. Dinner included Hot German Potato Salad, Spaetzle with bacon, carmelized onions and swiss cheese, Polish Dogs and Mini Wiener Schnitzel Sandwiches. For dessert I served individual apple blossoms.
We rounded out the evening with Lemon Drop Martinis, Margaritas and a rousing game of Texas Hold'Em.

I received (12 each) jars of mustard, recipe cards, GP coupons, mustard pairing wheels, GP measuring cups and the gift bags to hold them. In addition, as hostess, I received three jars of the new mustards, an apron and a DVD.
Head on over to and sign up to be a hostess. It's a fun way to entertain your friends!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ultimate Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cookies

Ultimate Ghirardelli
Double Chocolate Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies

11 1/2 ounces(s) Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet
Chocolate Chips
12 ounce(s) Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup(s) sugar
1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 cup(s) chopped walnuts

In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter.

In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick; stir into chocolate mixture.

In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture.

Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts.

Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrape to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. (Dough may be frozen; thaw in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.)

Heat oven to 375°F.

Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft.

Cool on baking sheet; store in airtight tin up to 1 week.

Susan's Note:

DH made these cookies today, and to say they were a huge hit with the family would be the biggest understatement ever!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Can you believe it..........the VA actually followed up with ME yesterday, instead of the other way around!

DH has fasting blood work next week, and then a visit to his new VA doctor the following week (i.e. two weeks from today).

That will be about 7 weeks after his last appointment, so we will see what the effect of his new diet (but still no exercise, alas!) has been on his weight and blood sugar levels. He's down about 5 lbs. (me, too!)

Yesterday a dear friend told me she'd hate to be in my shoes (dealing with a stroke victim on a 24/7 basis). What's funny is I'd hate to be in HER shoes (she has MS!)

Isn't is the truth -- your burdens are always easier to bear than someone else's!

Friday, October 03, 2008


Sorry I've been missing-in-action lately.

The daily saga with DH's health continues.

After two incredibly bad weekends (with him not feeling up-to-par) and his foul moods peaked on Tuesday, when his blood pressure dropped to 80/60. (Normally with a bag full of meds, his BP runs 140/80).

It was an inconvenient as could be, with me being the only one in the office and it being the final day of the month, with billing to be done after 5pm.

But there we were, on the line with the VA for nearly an hour trying to talk to a nurse and then trying to get an appointmen (after an hour on the phone I was told he should be seen in the ER).

So off to the VA we went. Admitted to the ER where, after an IV, an EKG, and another ultrasound on the carotid arteries, they came up with...........nothing!

The good news is they couldn't find a reason for the drop in BP.

The bad news is they couldn't find a reason for the drop in BP.

And so goes the story of life after a stroke.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trader Joe's Customer Service

Disclaimer: We LOVE Trader Joe's. When we lived in Redding, it was one of the highlights of our trips to visit family in the SAC area (well, that and seeing the grandgirls! (~_~)

Yesterday our final stop of the morning's shoppings/errands/yard sales was at Trader Joe's. I dropped Rollin off in front of the store while I parked the car.

He was headed for customer service to pick up a motorized shopping cart (since his stroke 3 1/2 yrs ago, he tires easily and is easily confused when he is experiencing "sensory overload").

Both happened to him yesterday morning, and I found him at the customer service desk where an extremely caring young lady (whose name unfortunately escapes me) asked him if he needed anything, and sent someone for a bottle of water for him. He offered to pay for it, but she refused.

We of course thanked her, and proceeded with our shopping. I made a special trip back to thank her again while he took the groceries to the car (explaining about his stroke). She said she was just concerned and wanted to make sure he was OK.

Now THAT'S customer service!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Country Bob's Sauce

Want a chance to win a free bottle of Country Bob's Sauce?

Here's the info and link.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cooking With Friends

The Cooking With Friends Club is a unique community that encourages people to cook together and use their friendships as a main ingredient. It's a cost effective, emotionally rewarding and fun way to cook. The club offers a website, a free monthly e-newsletter and a Yahoo group for inspiration and guidance. Here's the link to the Yahoo group: http://groups. group/CookingWit hFriendsClub/

When joining the Yahoo group please put my name (Susan Lowe) in the comment box, as they are tracking referrals for a contest!

I've gotten so many good tips and recipes from this group, I know you'll love it too. And the good thing (as women are want to do) is -- you can change your mind at any time and drop out of the group.

It's Fun!

It's Free!

Any you just may come out with some lifelong family favorite recipes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Donate Life California

I have signed up with the
Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry.

Please join me in saving and enhancing the lives of
thousands of people
in need of your help.

It took me only a few minutes to sign up --
minutes that could mean years of life for someone

Perhaps you, like me, had always "thought" about doing it,
but never quite got around to it.

Well, here's your "ROUND TUIT."

My decision was prompted by the death of a dear friend, my
daugher's best "college friend" who died while waiting for
a transplant. Maybe if one more person had donated, he'd
still be alive today.

To sign up or for more information, please visit

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

We Americans celebrate our country's 232nd birthday this week, the anniversary of the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776.

One year later, Americans in Philadelphia set off bonfires and placed candles in the windows of their homes and public building. Bells in church towers rang out. Ships shot off their cannons. People throughout the thirteen colonies flew our country's flag, and shopkeepers displayed red, white and blue decorations. Veterans of the recent Revolutionary War marched in parades, and gathered together to hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud. In 1941, Congress declared the 4th of July a national holiday.

How do you celebrate our nation's birthday? As a child, I delighted in holding sparklers in my hands, tracing patterns with them in the night sky. Summers spent in Seattle with my Grandmother meant traveling to a park where I watched fireworks being set off over one of the city's lakes. Rollin and I spent our first 4th of July holiday together watching fireworks explode over Humboldt Bay.

This week, we will celebrate with that American summer tradition, a BBQ. Hamburgers, hot dogs, my Mom's recipe for potato salad, and my one pot beans will be enjoyed by all. Later that night we will gather in the driveway and watch our own mini fireworks show.

However you choose to celebrate this week's holiday, please stop for a moment to remember our country's humble beginnings, and say a little prayer thanking God for this great country we live in.

Warts and all, America is still a mighty fine place to be!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Yan Can Cook

Martin Yan (of Yan Can Cook fame) and my son, David.

I think this is a great photo, considering David's recent job promotion, and the history our family has with PBS and Martin's cooking shows.

Remember, it's up to you to support your local PBS affiliate. If not you, then who will?

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm A Proud Mommy!

My son was promoted this week!

Read about it here:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Penny-pinching Strategies for an Expensive World

Lord knows these days we can use all the help we can get to stretch our dollar (gas here is hovering just below the $4/gallon mark, grocery prices are skyrocketing, new clothes seem more of a luxury than ever).

Here are some of the penny-pinching strategies my Mom taught me:

1. Eat seasonally. If you can’t grow your own veggies, visit your local Farmer’s Market or other farm-to-you food source Cut out the middle-man any time you can. We frequent two local Farmer's Markets here in town (one on Sunday mornings, one on Wednesday morning) and there is a great truck farm we go to on Saturdays where they pick the corn in the morning and bring it from the field to the produce stand, all within your eyesight. Now that is fresh!

2. Cook once, eat twice. If you’re making chili, make a double batch and freeze some in individual containers for a quick lunch later on. Ditto for soups, stews, etc. Two (or more meals) and only one cleanup!

3. Waste not, want not. We save everything! If we have a roasted chicken for dinner, the carcass goes into the crockpot along with your usual suspects — carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic. In the morning strain and freeze in one cup freezer containers. The next time your recipe calls for a cup of chicken broth, run to your freezer where it’s free (and so much better than canned!). We use it to cook rice in, instead of water. Great soup base of course. Too many ripe tomatoes (come on, that’s like being too rich or too thin!)—core, cut them in half, place cut side up in a large pan. Drizzle with EVVO. What else do you have in the garden or pantry? Sliced onions, diced peppers, summer squash, garlic. Season to taste with salt, pepper and herbs (we swear by Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning.) Roast uncovered at 400 for about 45 minutes. We like it tossed with pasta, or my personal favorite, as a topping for toasted french bread slices.

4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We don't buy individual bags of chips or other snacks. Buy the large economy size and bag them yourself. You still get the advantage of portion control without the added expense. Or better yet, use reusable plastic containers that you can wash and reuse. Pass clothing down from one child to another, or one family to another. Take advantage of websites such as Freecycle or Craig's List. Frequent yard sales. You paid good money for those cans and bottles at the store, recoup that money by recycling them!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,
"A word that means the world to me.- Howard Johnson.

On the second Sunday every May we stop for a few minutes to recognize our mothers.

When I was a child I made cards and gifts in school, at church, and at Camp Fire Girls to proudly present to my mother. Necklaces of macaroni, dyed blue (her favorite color), cards decorated with lace and flowers and a handwritten sentiment were bestowed upon her.

That Sunday at church you were handed a carnation when you walked into the sanctuary: a pink carnation if your mother was living, and a white one if she had passed on. During the service the pastor would take time to remember mothers: corsages were presented to the youngest mother (I won this one year at age 19, a few months after my first son was born), the oldest mother, and the mother with the most children in attendance.

My mother turned eighty earlier this year. If you, too, are fortunate to still have your mother living, make time for her this Mother's Day. Drop her a card, call her, send her a gift, or perhaps the best of all, send her a letter telling her why she is important to you and how much you love her.

If your mother has passed on, take a few quiet moments to remember her.

Heck, while you're at it, take time to remember all of the women in your life, not just your mother, but your grandmother, daughter, sister or aunt.

And while you're at it, say a little thank you for your girlfriends, too.

You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Passing of a Friend

A man I knew died last week.

He was 52. He was a peer of my younger sister, but when you grow up in a small town like we did, everyone is your friend.

Godspeed, Todd.

The world is a little dimmer today without your bright light, but I know the angels welcomed you home.

We will all feel your loss until that day when we, too, join you in our Heavenly home.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Inauspicious Start to Vacation

So there I was.

Excited to begin my annual vacation to Texas, to ring in the new year and celebrate my birthday with our daughter and family.

After cooling my heels for five hours at the airport, I was finally allowed to board my non stop flight via Express Jet. Yeah, in just over three hours I would be on the ground in San Antonio and ready to be enveloped in the love of my daughter, son-in-law and three little grand-girls.

Flying doesn't make me nervous, I just see it as a means to an end -- a quick and efficient way to get where I'm going

So I settle into my window seat, bringing out the newest Nicholas Sparks novel, and prepared for an uneventful flight.

You see where this is going yet?

About forty-five minutes before landing, I wake from a brief twenty minute nap. My stomach had been a little "off" all day, but I had chalked it up to the excitement of the trip. It was stuffy in the cabin, and I fiddled with the air vents for a few minutes, dabbed some water around my face and back of my neck. I thought if I got up and walked to the ladies's room, I might "shake it off" and feel better.

And therein lay my mistake.

About six rows back I (according to eye witnesses) just crumpled into a guy sitting on the aisle to my left, fell, and landed on my back in the middle of the narrow aisle. I don't think I was out long, suddenly aware of voices around me -- "what happened", "is she OK?", "is she diabetic?" and so on and so on. It quickly became apparent they were talking about ME!

The flight attendant was kneeling behind me, asking what my name was, and if I felt OK. Amazingly, now I did! The queasiness and lightheaded feeling was gone! She asked me if I wanted to sit up, and slowly I did. I brought my hand back around from where it had been cradling my neck, felt something sticky, and realized I had blood all over my hand.

I heard the young flight attendant say " Oh, oh, she's bleeding/" And then I was aware of another person hovering around me. He introduced himself as Brian, a surgical tech in the US Air Force, stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. He pretty much took over. They applied pressure to the top of my head and got me a cold rag for the back of my necck. Brian found the cut and reassured me it wasn't bad, but was bleeding pretty profusely partly because head wounds do that, and partly because of the altitude we were flying at.

They wrapped my head up like a mummy, taped the gauze down, and got me into a seat. The flight attendant told me the pilot wanted to divert to El Paso, which was twenty minutes away (backtracking). We were forty minutes away from San Antonio. I told her I didn't want to divert, but to keep on going. I assured her I had someone waiting for me. Then she announces the clincher "Don't worry, honey, the paramedics are standing by at the gate."

My biggest nightmare -- being the center of attention!

Somehow I get through it all, the paramedics reassure me it doesn't even need stitches, but they would be glad to transport me to the hospital if that was my choice. I reassured them I felt fine, I signed off on all of their forms, denying further treatment, etc.

I was apparently quite a sight, arriving at baggage claim with an airport police escort, clothing rumpled and hair matted in blood, but none the worse for the wear!

Ain't life grand!

And as Forrest Gump says "That's all I have to say about that."