Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Make Your Own Cranberry Sauce

Mom, Dad, and Brother arrived yesterday, and Thanksgiving preparations are underway!

Today we made a pilgrimage to Jungle Jim's international grocery warehouse - more to come on that when the pictures are downloaded. I think we got everything we need for a stupendous meal, but if history has taught me anything, it's that we'll be making an emergency trip to the grocery store for something tomorrow!

So here's what's happening today:

The turkey brine is brewed...

The pumpkin has been roasted and pureed for the pie...

Jarrahdale pumpkin - the type I got for pie this year!

And the cranberry sauce is thickening up in the fridge...

I know it's not the most flattering picture, but I just couldn't be bothered
with "staging" this afternoon. :)

In case you haven't made your cranberry sauce yet, here's a recipe that I love from the December 2007 issue of Cuisine at Home. It's quick and easy, and it tastes so much better than the canned stuff. :)

Honey-Lemon Cranberry Sauce with Rosemary
Makes 2 1/2 cups; Total time: 15 minutes + chilling

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cupe fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Pinch of salt

1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries

Boil honey, sugar, lemon juice, water, rosemary, and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat.

Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce thickens, about 8 minutes; remove rosemary. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

I hope you give it a try sometime!

Friday, November 22, 2013


By Ted

Mackenzie is resting with her two nurses (Minnie and Milo) after a successful surgery. She will be resting for the rest of today. Then we head back to the eye institute tomorrow morning for a post-op check-up. Here's a photo of Mackenzie and Milo:

Today Is the Day!

I couldn't fall asleep last night. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. :)

Today is my scheduled LASIK surgery, and if all goes according to plan, I'll be having my eyeballs lasered in about 5 hours. Ted is coming along so he can drive me home, but we've already agreed that he is not going to video-tape the procedure. It's just a little too creepy, I think.

So take one last look at these:

You won't see them again!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Good News!

Today I had my final consultation appointment at Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI), and my eyes are in good condition and ready for laser correction... this Friday!

The doctor called me "the blind child" during my checkup, and I had to laugh when the assistant wanted to do an eye chart exam without my glasses. You know the one:

Except now they only show you one line at a time. The assistant kept increasing the letter size on her screen (I'm assuming) and asking if I could read any of them. That was an easy, "Nope," each time as I couldn't even see the letters.

On the final screen, when I said I absolutely couldn't read any of it, she replied with a bewildered, "Really??" After that, she had to resort to the grade school game of holding up fingers and asking how many.

When I got to put my glasses back on, this is what I saw on the eye chart:

Yep. That was the only letter, taking up the whole screen. And I couldn't see it.

I could not stop laughing.

So anyway, the rest of the appointment went well. And on Friday I get my vision corrected!! Woo hoo!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fort Ancient

By Ted

Last Saturday, we visited Fort Ancient. About an hour east of Oxford, Fort Ancient is a State Memorial perched above the Little Miami River in the town of Oregonia, Ohio. On the way we stopped in Lebanon for lunch; we passed up The Golden Lamb--Ohio's oldest hotel, with guests including John Quincy Adams and Mark Twain--for Doc's Place, a hole-in-the-wall sports pub with a killer bloody mary bar. 

After lunch, it was on to the Fort! A quick history: the complex was constructed by the Hopewell culture around the time of Christ. (Other Hopewell sites in south-central Ohio include Mound City outside of Chillicothe, part of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.) Fort Ancient was originally thought to be, well, a fort. This thesis has been revised based on recent archaeological work; now the site is thought to have served a ceremonial purpose. 

At Fort Ancient, there is a well done museum with a history of native American and colonial settlement in southwest Ohio. We also hiked along the bluffs above the Little Miami, just below the walls of the Fort. 

Some photos!

A map(!) of the earthworks
Looking north over the Little Miami River 

Looking back towards the Fort as we descend towards the river 

 An action shot of Mackenzie!

One of the portals in the Fort

Another view of the walls of the Fort

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Today I got a special treat:  lunch out with my husband. :) And I got this fortune in my cookie:

Needless to say, this is the most specific fortune I have ever received.

How could my fortune cookie know that next Tuesday is my final (hopefully) LASIK consultation? Does this mean that I will qualify for the operation? Or does it mean I'll have the opportunity to put my contacts back in?

Either way, I'm excited to find out what Tuesday brings.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Snow Cats

Yesterday Ted and I woke up to freezing temperatures and a dusting of snow!

The cats have only experienced snow from the balcony of our condo in Boulder, so of course they thought they knew everything there was to know about snow.

But when Milo jumped down off the back porch into the fluffy white stuff, he was so surprised that he took off in a sprint to the left. He swiftly changed his mind, did a 180, and sprinted out toward the middle of our field. About 20 yards out he made a quick 90-degree turn and disappeared around the building. I was so shocked by his sudden crazed sprint that I only just caught a photo of him before he disappeared around the corner:

I quickly ran through the house to the front door and opened it to peer outside. There he was, looking panicked in our neighbor's front yard. When he saw my head poke out he came sprinting over to the door to come back inside.

Once he recovered from the shock of cold snow on his paws, he of course wanted to go back out and explore. His second foray lasted much longer, and now he really thinks he's the expert when it comes to snow.

I can't wait to see how he handles a really big snowfall!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Still No Contacts...

I went to my second LASIK consultation appointment last week. If you'll remember, I went on October 3, only to have to reschedule because they said that my corneas were warped and I needed to be out of my contacts for 3 more weeks.

So after 5 weeks in my glasses I headed back to the eye office on October 30th. I had prepared myself for two scenarios: Either I was a candidate or I wasn't. I was anxious to get rid of my glasses one way or the other.

What I had not prepared myself for was this: "Your corneas look exactly the same as the first time we scanned them. We think we need to do it again with our more advanced machine down in Cincinnati."

This meant... making another appointment. Mind you, this is just the consultation process. I have not even qualified yet for the LASIK operation.

And you know you're in for the long haul when the scheduling guy in the front office says, "Did you want that appointment before the end of the year?"

So on November 19th, I'll drive down to Cinci - a bit farther than the office I have been going to. Let's hope that this is the last consultation appointment. At this point, I'd be happy just to go back to contacts.

I know there are plenty of people who live day-to-day with glasses, but I'm not sure if their prescription is as bad as mine. Here's a little window into my world.

I cannot do ANYTHING without my glasses on. I am practically blind. For instance, at the end of a long day when all I want to do is lie in bed and read, I have to keep my glasses on. To read a book without my glasses is to hold the book literally within an inch of my nose and turn my head side to side to read each sentence. That's right, my eyesight is so bad that if my face is positioned on the left side of the page, I cannot see the words on the right side of the page.

Putting makeup on takes twice as long as it used to. Obviously I can't put mascara on with my glasses on, so I have to take them off and practically press my forehead against the mirror so as not to poke myself in the eye with the mascara wand.

You may be thinking, "Just skip the mascara!" But if you are blonde, have blonde eyelashes, and have the facial structure of a 17 year old boy, you will understand. I only wore mascara for special occasions until about halfway through college, when a friend of mine flat out said to me that I looked prettier when I wore mascara. To you she may not sound like a very good friend, but you have to understand that I was a student athlete in college, and my basic daily attire was saggy sweatpants, a t-shirt and ponytail. Subtle changes such as mascara drastically improved my curb appeal.

And so I fog up the mirror with my breath each morning as I apply my mascara:

Another beauty routine that is complicated by poor eyesight is - well, this is a little personal, but - shaving your legs. Imagine trying to shave your legs when you can't really see your legs. If you think you nick yourself a lot now, try closing your eyes while shaving your knees. I've gone so far as to try to wear my glasses in the shower or bath, but they fog up instantly, and that is actually worse. If you have perfect eyesight and can't imagine it, allow me to provide you with an image:

In case you can't tell, that is a leg and an arm (though not mine because I am not posting pictures of my naked legs on the internet - thank you to this crazy person who did). And yes, that is almost exactly what it looks like without my glasses on. Suffice it to say, poor Ted has been sharing a bed with a Sasquatch for the last 6 weeks...

Along with shaving I have given up exercising. At first I ran on the treadmill at the rec center with my glasses tucked neatly in the little basket up front. But I couldn't see the numbers on the screen or the buttons to adjust the speed, and running with blurry vision actually made me a little nauseous. Running with glasses on became impossible as soon as I started to sweat. You're probably thinking that this is a lame excuse to skip exercise, but my commitment to working out was tenuous to begin with.

Finally, I don't own a pair of prescription sunglasses, so I haven't been able to shade my eyes from the sun for the last month. Along with blonde hair, I have blue eyes, and those suckers let every last ray of light into my poor, sensitive pupils. At my last LASIK appointment, though, I managed to score these lenses that sit inside your glasses after you get your eyes dilated:

Dorky, but effective.

I'll give you the final update on the LASIK eval sometime after November 19th. Like I said, one way or the other, I'll be happy to take my glasses off.