Monday, September 28, 2009


Let’s see. What’ve I got for you today? How’s about we catch up.

We’ve got good news on the middle school bullying front: We’ve had one week incident free. I’d like to think someone got the message. I don’t remember if I mentioned it before but there was an increase in the nonsense right after the child spoke with the counselor. Just as I figured, there were accusations of Michael being a momma’s boy, etc. and the boy went so far as to throw his binder. It was almost funny because that evening there was a message on our machine from a counselor saying the matter should be put to rest; he spoke to the boy and it sounds like there was a misunderstanding. Almost funny. Not quite. When Monday rolled around we were happy to hear that nothing whatsoever had transpired in 6th period. By Friday I was ecstatic.

I hope Michael doesn’t read this. At least not soon. All of this is meant for the family to be able to read later. I just have this hope for him (and his sister as well) that he would think silly. If you’re a mom of a kid who’s a little different, you’ll understand. I pray he’ll find a friend. He talks as if he doesn’t need one but we all know different. We all need someone who gets us, shares our values, and even some of our interests. Someone who doesn’t annoy us (most of the time) and someone we don’t annoy (too much). You know, a “bosom friend”:

Anne tipped the vase of apple blossoms near enough to bestow a soft kiss on a pink-cupped bud, and then studied diligently for some moments longer.

"Marilla," she demanded presently, "do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea?'

"A--what kind of friend?"

"A bosom friend--an intimate friend, you know--a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will too. Do you think it's possible?'

"Diana Barry lives at Orchard Slope and she's about your age."

-Anne of Green Gables

Let’s see. Oh! I was going to tell you the story of my secret garden gate. Now remember children, you mustn’t tell The Oddfellows!

(I’m totally serious. Mums the word.)

Once upon a time my pal Tia and her husband were planning on digging out the basement on the other side of their “B” house (very common around these parts with all the government houses and their partial basements). We live across the street a few doors down and our backyard had a bit of a slope to it. Knowing we hoped to level it off at some point, they offered to bring the basement dirt to us. It seemed like a good idea to me. Our yard backs up to the Oddfellows Hall (it’s sandwiched between us and Resthaven Cemetery) so all Dean would need to do was take out a section of fence and go for it, right? Well, it was a little more of a pain than that. But it was totally under control. No big deal.

The night after the work began, there was a knock on our door. Mind you, this was like 10:30 p.m. Two old men were there to tell us that we could not legally be back there and that they were getting lawyered up. Are you kidding me? The way our property is laid out, there’s no other access to the backyard. It’s just an edge of a parking lot that goes unused 99% of the time. Even later that night they showed up at Tia’s place to issue the same warning. Obviously they were paying attention throughout the day—how else would they know where the dirt was coming from? We never heard from them again at least about this. One did ask me to keep my eyes open for drug deals going down. It seems to be a real hot spot for that sort of activity as it’s mostly abandoned aside from the occasional hazmat training and wedding reception. After that bit of nonsense, Dad figured we needed a more discrete way of accessing the back of the garden so he manufactured a gate out of the fence sections. From the Oddfellow’s parking lot it looks like business as usual and no one’s the wiser. At least no one particularly litigious.

To wind up this grab bag I’ll share the soup recipe I made today. It’s by Pam Anderson (not Pamela Anderson) and she is one of my favorite cookbook authors. She takes what we love and figures out how to do it better. This was supposed to be for dinner but I’ve already had 3 bowls . . . I KNOW. But at least it wasn’t one of those $1.99 Peanut Buster Parfaits Tami was tempting me with!

Chicken Soup with Black Beans and Corn

1 recipe Fast Chicken Soup Base
2 (16 ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
tortilla chips
grated Monterey Jack cheese
fresh lime wedges

Prepare Fast Chicken Soup Base. Bring to a simmer.

Add these, then simmer until tender, 10-20 minutes: 2 16-ounce cans black beans, drained; 1 10-ounce package frozen corn; 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes; 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced; 2 Tbs. ground cumin; 2 tsps. chili powder.

Before removing from heat, stir in: 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro.

Final touch: Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve soup with tortilla chips, grated Monterey Jack cheese and fresh lime wedges.

Fast Chicken Soup Base

2 quarts chicken broth
1 quart water
1 store-bought roast chicken
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, cut into medium dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds or half rounds, depending on size
2 large stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Bring broth and water to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Meanwhile, separate chicken meat from skin and bones; reserve meat. Add skin and bones to the simmering broth. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until bones release their flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.

Strain broth through a colander into a large container; reserve broth and discard skin and bones. Return kettle to burner set on medium-high.

Add oil, then onions, carrots and celery. Saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chicken, broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Return to a simmer before adding the extras of your choice.)
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  1. I think the oddfellows are nuts! We will have to swap stories when we tried to buy that building, and ended up cleaning up the property for them, before they pulled out of the deal.

  2. OK, I was totally fooled. I had NO idea that you guys had a gate there now. HOW FUNNY!

    We can now look back and laugh (at least I think we can) but back then...I thought we were gonna have a fight on our hands. I've never had to send my kids in the house before, so they wouldn't hear a nasty conversation...possibly a fight...but I guess there's always a first. No fight...just VERY stern warnings from the older gentlemen and Dean & I getting VERY serious and heated in our comments back to them. No swearing though...haha. OK, I know we've already talked about this at least a dozen times, and it still doesn't make any sense,'s over. We have a dug out basement, you have a more level back yard, and also have a nice-concealed gate for future projects. The End.

    I'm glad we're neighbors...we'll have many stories to laugh about when we are old and grey.


So, what do you think?