Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Aha. So that's how you fix that. Phew!

Monday, April 28, 2003

I'm having archive problems. Half of them are gone...
Cool Change (again)

First off - I don't dislike the song. (I had written about it in one of my posts yesterday). I like Little River Band, and I like that song. I was just over-thinking a few lines in the song.

And second, while I was washing baby bottles and listening to Alex make outboard motor sounds, it occurred to me that maybe the lines in question aren't really interconnected, as I originally thought they were supposed to be.

For instance -

I've never been romantic (just a general statement of fact)
And sometimes I don't care (about stuff that maybe I should care about)
I know it may sound selfish (and therefore not so appealing, like my previously mentioned traits)
But let me breathe the air (well...because it's there for all of us and despite my seemingly prickly personality, I have the right to breathe, dammit)

Anyway, that was the thought for this evening. The thought regarding that song, anyway. I have had a few other thoughts too in the last couple of hours. I plan to have at least one more before I go to bed.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Whole Wheat Linguine with Leeks and Mushrooms

I made this the other night...

Trimmed and chopped a couple of big leeks and let them sit in a bowl of cold water for a while to clean off any dirt.

Poured some olive oil and some butter in a pan and when the butter melted I added the leeks and also a package of sliced mushrooms. Covered the pan to sweat them a bit.

Filled a pot with water and started bringing that to a boil...

Took the cover off the leeks and mushrooms, added some salt and pepper and a sprinkling of flour (to thicken the juices, eventually) and poured some sherry into it. Cooked that for a little while, then added about 2 cups of chicken stock. Kept it bubbling.

When the water came to a boil, I added some salt and a package of whole wheat linguine. (You could use any shape pasta you like. I will just insist that you use whole wheat. It has a great texture and flavor.)

When the liquid had reduced somewhat in the pan of leeks and mushrooms, I lowered the heat just to keep it at a very low simmer. When the pasta was done, I drizzled a VERY little bit of cream into the leeks and mushroom mixture.

Drained the pasta, put some in a couple of bowls for Bill and I, and spooned some of the leek/mushroom mixture over the top. Grated a little parmesan onto that, and ta-da - dinner.

Ordinary Lips

Early this morning when I couldn't get into blogger to type all my tidbits of wisdom (HA!), I was looking things up online, here and there - actually I think I was shopping for shoes...And while I was clicking here and there, my computer froze up. So I had to restart it - and as I did that, naturally everything became unfrozen, and the page I wanted opened up briefly, and with it a pop-up screen that caught my attention - and was gone before I could check it out further.

The little square screen had a profile shot of some woman's big red pursed lips. And the caption, big (like the lips) to the left, said this:


Aaak! Then there was a little button you could click on to find out how to KISS YOUR THIN ORDINARY LIPS GOODBYE (as the lip model in the picture had apparently done, or was doing) - but then everything closed down and it was gone.

And it's not something I plan to investigate.

But I have since gone to look at my own lips in the mirror in the "downstairs" bathroom. (It has the best lighting.)

And my lips look, well, ordinary. Thinner than some, not as thin as others. They look pale right now because there is nothing on them. There should be some moisturizer on them, actually, because they are kind of dry and chapped from blowing my nose eight hundred times a day these past several weeks.

But they do look ordinary. I'm not sure that I want them to look otherwise. This is my face. This is what it looks like, and I think if I made any drastic changes to it, I would no longer look like me. I'd do double-takes every morning. Who is she, with the big fat out-of-the ordinary lips? Oh, that's right.

I've always thought of myself as pretty insecure and self-conscious. I have spent years feeling ugly, in fact. But I have never wanted to have anyone cut my face or inject anything into me anywhere to change what I looked like.

And if I did consider slicing and dicing, or injections of any kind, my face, even on my worst days, would not be the place I'd start.

But I think, even, also, on my worst days, that for me, no amount of Barbie-izing would change the way I feel - or felt - when looking in the mirror. Because what I'm seeing has nothing to do with what I look like. It's all (of course) coming from what I'm thinking of myself at that moment. I could look like (insert most beautiful woman in the world in your opinion here) and still, if I'm down in a pit mentally and emotionally and psychologically - I will still think I'm ugly. I figure that's true for most of us, at one time or another.

I still do it. I have really horrible, miserable, crappy times and I hate myself. At that moment. Nothing changes it. Being married doesn't change that. Having a child doesn't change that. Earning a decent paycheck, living in a nice (if cluttered) house doesn't change that. It's all within me. I've lightened up on myself considerably over the years, but it still comes back. I just fight it better than I used to. I don't say all the horrible things to myself that I used to. Not all of them. I pull out of it faster. But. It's still there.

I've been going through a rollercoaster of emotion over the last couple of weeks. Much of it due, I'm sure, to the miscarriage. And the fact that I've been sick all month. (I've got a sinus infection now, and I'm on an antibiotic for THREE WEEKS!!! I'm sick of being sick.) I think some if it's also now due to the hormonal paddleball competition going on inside of me as my body realizes it's not pregnant.

I've been a waterfall some days. The littlest things have sent the tears gushing. Big things, understandable things, too, like the miscarriage, of course, will do it, too. But the amount of crying is over the top, I think. Even for me, and I cry easily.

I've been having periods of depression too. I've always had those. Less so in recent years, but they do not go away completely either. And mornings have been the worst. I just cry and cry and can't pinpoint what has set me off. (Again - probably the cocktail of miscarriage sadness, sinus infection, and hormonal upheaval). I don't remember being this way with the other miscarriage. Not sure why I'm like this now.

My doctor's office called on Thursday to set up a schedule of blood work. They want to monitor my hormone levels to make sure they return to a non-pregnant level. I think, judging by how I've been feeling, they are doing that. Loudly.

But when the nurse was telling me this on the phone, it just seemed like too much. I already felt lousy, I have already taken enough time (in my opinion) out of work because of this, I have a baby and a husband and a cluttery house and grocery shopping to do and laundry and I just don't feel like revisiting the miscarriage any more. I don't want to have any more needles taking blood from me for a while either.

I am fixated on the blood. Don't know why. Maybe it's the D&C and its aftermath. But on Thursday, when I got that call, I felt like growling and snarling and snapping at the poor nurse. Get away - you've taken enough blood from me. That's the irrational feeling that keeps resurfacing. Totally irrational. They aren't leeches, or vampires. I guess something's stuck in me - some synapse is misfiring right now - and I can't get out of that thought pattern. It's like a broken record, and I'm having a hard time moving on to the next song.

But I'm getting there.

And I'm trying to take a break - physically, but especially mentally - from trying to have another baby. I think this was too soon. I need to take some better care of me for a while.

So, back to the unrealistic expectations - I've been perusing back issues of Shape magazine, planning to "Have a Bikini Body by June!" and other such fairy tales...(I've never had a bikini body. Don't think I'd know what to do with it if I ever reached that pinnacle of Barbie-hood...) But they do have some good recipes now and then, and that's really my first step toward taking better care of me. I need to get back to eating better. (This sinus infection is helping tremendously - I can't really taste anything, so I have no desire to eat anything yummy that's bad for me. There would be no fun in it.) And I will go back to doing yoga. I miss that. And Pilates. I had started that a few months after Alex was born and didn't stick with it when I went back to work because it was such an adjustment and I could only juggle a few chainsaws at a time...) But it felt good and made me feel good.

But that's the plan. I doubt I'll have a bikini body by June. Certainly not this June, anyway. I don't really expect to have one ever. But there's that little "yeah, but what if?" in the back of my mind. It sounds like a giggle. So who knows.

And yeah, what if? Nothing would really change, except I'd have to buy all new clothes (oh darn)...I'd still have ugly days in the mirror.

Unless I kissed my thin ordinary lips goodbye....

For some reason this song has been going through my head this morning. One section of it. Four lines, actually. And they are:

I've never been romantic
And sometimes I don't care
I know it may sound selfish
But let me breathe the air

I don't get it.

And for whatever reason (probably lack of sleep, earlier this morning) I had it in my head that Christopher Cross had done that song (probably getting it mixed up with "Sailing" or something...). Anyway, just to make sure I had the lyrics right in my mind, I looked it up. (I also did that because after my initial post very early this morning, I couldn't get back into blogger, so I couldn't say all the stuff I had planned to say while Alex was sleeping. Now he's awake, so I have to type fast.)

Anyway, so I stand corrected - this was done by Little River Band, not Christopher Cross. And I like Little River Band. So I was somewhat dismayed when I learned that they had written this. (Because I'm not a huge Chris Cross fan, and so I wanted to be able to poke fun at him, or whoever wrote the lyrics to the song.)

BUT NO MATTER - whoever wrote those lines - I don't get it. And so those four lines are playing themselves over and over in my head as I try to figure out what not being romantic has to do with being able to breathe the air. It's not selfish at all to want to breathe. But it's got nothing to do - that I can see - with being romantic. If it does, or if I'm just not "getting" it, please, anyone one of the handful of people who actually read this blog, please enlighten me.

So anyway. That is one of the things I wanted to say this morning. It's not huge. It has no impact on world events, or even local events. I probably won't even discuss it with my husband when he gets home because he's probably not a fan of either Chris Cross or the Little River Band and wouldn't care either way because he's less interested in the lyrics and more interested in the music itself.

He does, however, like to spend time on the water, so maybe I could use that as the hook....

...No pun intended, but I'm kind of happy that I wrote it that way.

Good (yawn) morning...yes, another early fishing trip. The egg and cheese (I originally wrote "sheese") sandwich is made, coffee is brewing, I hear water running in the bathroom upstairs, so Bill is up...his lunch (tuna sandwich, banana, cool ranch Doritos, and some girl scout cookies) is packed...he loaded the car last night. He's meeting his friend Steve somewhere and they'll ride the rest of the way in Steve's car. Going to somewhere in Massachusetts.

Bill joined a fishing club this year. His friend Steve had joined last year and really wanted Bill to join. Bill wasn't sure if he wanted to. But he has joined for the year, and we'll see what happens next. He did it mostly because Steve is his friend and a nice guy.

I'm going back to bed now. See you later....

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Alex has just woken up from his morning nap. I'm listening to him on the baby monitor as I finish up the dishes...he is shaking the crib...but not out of impatience - it's fun.

I think he feels powerful.

I hear him breathing...have no idea what he's doing, but he sounds very focused.

Occasional babble...oh, now I hear his music box.

He can turn that on and off by himself... okay, now he's had enough of solitary play...he's starting to sound annoyed.

Could be because the batteries are low in the music box, too...and the lights aren't as bright.

He's quiet now...nope, he's definitely had enough.

Okay, time to go. I will write more later...I have stuff to say and I think I will have some uninterrupted time this afternoon. Perhaps at afternoon nap time...we'll see....

Monday, April 21, 2003

Home Today

I took today off. I needed to rest. I had that nap on Thursday, and that's been it. And my husband has been sick with a sore throat since Friday night, and like I mentioned yesterday, Alex has an ear infection. And a cold. He's been up a couple of times each of the past several nights, and therefore, so have I. So I took Alex to daycare and came home, had tea and toast, took a hot shower, and then took a nap. Woke up to someone banging on the front door. I ignored whoever it was. I'm not here!!!

And then I got up around noon, had something to eat, and realized that part of what has been making me feel tired and out of sorts is all the clutter everywhere I look. (Except for the "main" living room. We rarely use it. The last time anyone was in there for more than a few minutes was when Bill's guitar ensemble students were here - they practice in there. Which is probably why the room is so tidy at the moment.)

So anyway - I put away the clean laundry and brought the rest of the dirty stuff downstairs (Bill had done a bunch of it over the weekend). I folded the stuff in the dryer. I put more stuff away. I put all Alex's clean bottles and things away (we're back in the kitchen now), and the clean dishes in the dishwasher, and washed most of what was in the sink from this morning and yesterday. I brought down three piles of books that have been sitting in the upstairs hall collecting dust for probably a year. They are now on a bookcase in the living room. Not organized, but at least off the floor. Opened all the windows upstairs. Brought a bunch of coats downstairs and hung them back in the closet by the front door. That's where they came from. They've been upstairs since the end of November, when we needed to use the closet for other peoples' coats...

And what else...straightened the slipcover on the downstairs couch. (It's one of those "Surefit" slipcovers - and it sure doesn't fit. It's loose, and supposedly this problem is solved by tucking in the excess slipcover material "just like you normally do" (that's what they said in the catalog. But until I bought this thing, my experience has been that slipcovers actually FIT.) So anyway, for the moment, it's tucked in and looks like it fits. Until someone sits on it.) Put new pillowcases on the two pillows that are on the couch. Decided that when I go get Alex in a little while, I will also go somewhere and get little bins or something for his toys. I don't care if he pulls them all out - I just want a place to toss them when he goes to bed.

Um...well, it seemed like a lot while I was doing it. I'll have more laundry to do. And I'm making chicken soup for dinner tonight - we could all use some, I think.

Tomorrow I'll do the "big" grocery shopping trip. So I've started that list.

And I look around at all the other things we just haven't gotten around to since we moved in...or since Alex was born. Or since...??? I don't know. I have projects that pre-date electricity, I think. But hey, at least my house looks a little better. And I feel better for it.

So that's my post for today. I don't think I'll have a chance to write more today. I will be playing with my son, and folding, and ironing, and cooking, and maybe throwing some clutter OUT... all those things that, if I really think about it, are the things that make me feel planted. Centered. Connected. Not all the things...but some of them.

There's a verse from Fiddler on the Roof, in the opening song - "Tradition" that I like - it's the wives, or mamas, singing:

"Who must know the way to make a proper home,
a quiet home,
a kosher home?
Who must raise a family and run the home,
so Papa's free to read the Holy Book?"

Of course, in our home, Bill's holy book would be anything by Charlie Papazian, home-brewing guru...

But the rest of it (okay, I'm not Jewish, we don't keep kosher, so I guess we have to cross that line out too), appeals to me. I guess the line it boils down to is "a quiet home." To me, that means peaceful. It means welcoming, it means comfortable. It means a sanctuary, it means a haven. It means an invisible, all-encompassing embrace. So okay, I suppose I didn't need to trot out the whole verse. But too bad. I did.

Gotta run now. Time to go pick up Alex.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Happy Easter!

Happy colored eggs and bunny rabbit day to all...

Don't have much time to type (I think I'm going to have to start getting up at 4 in the morning again to accomplish this with any regularity...) - we are going to my sister's house for dinner this afternoon, and in a moment I have to put Alex in his little dressed-up-boy Easter outfit, me in something better than jeans and a tee shirt, and Bill, also in something more dressed up. I have a light blue dress that I might wear, but it's not too good for sitting on the floor with a baby...

Speaking of a baby - mine has another ear infection, he's teething, and he has a cold. He's not too happy, and not too cooperative, judging from the "Alex,, no" that I hear coming from downstairs. Now he's crying. He is overtired, but he doesn't want to take a nap. He just wants to bang stuff and grab stuff and fling himself backwards if anyone picks him up. I hear "ssshhh" and softer crying - Bill has picked him up and there is peace for now. I think the half hour car ride will help too.

I made a lemon cheesecake for dessert...if it turns out good I'll post the recipe. No reason why it shouldn't be good - it's from the most recent copy of Cook's Illustrated magazine, and I have yet to be dissatisfied with any of their recipes. There's a layer of lemon curd on top of the cheesecake - yum. Love that.

Okay, have to go. We need to leave in half an hour or so.

Oh - and Bill took Alex outside earlier, while I was in the shower, and he swears Alex said "tulip" several times. Of course, he refused to say anything remotely like tulip once he was inside....

Friday, April 18, 2003


I just didn't feel like typing any more yesterday. I had made lots of mental notes at the hospital, planning to come back after everything and write about it all...but I just don't feel like it.

So these are just my "notes" -

We left the house by 5:30 in the morning. It was dark and chilly out, and reminded me, in a way, of family trips to New Jersey to visit my mom's parents before they moved up to RI. We always left the house in the middle of the night, it seemed. Always dark out, always stars up above, and there was always an undercurrent of excitement humming below our sleepiness.

Alex babbled the whole way down to my parents' house - he fell asleep about 3 minutes before we arrived there to drop him off.

(didn't publish this until now - the 20th...)

There were more mental notes, but I have run out of desire to chronicle Thursday morning. I'm closing that door and moving on...

Thursday, April 17, 2003

GRRRRR...I had just typed a bunch of stuff about this morning, and then my left pinkie hit something over there on the keyboard, and now it's all gone. I don't know what I did, but it wasn't anything I WANTED to do. Maybe I'm hungry. I haven't had anything today since two slices of toast after I came out of the anaesthetic this morning. (It was the best meal I ever had...). So maybe I'll go eat something and try this again later.

But I am fine. Things went without a hitch this morning, and I came home and took a nap for over two hours. Right now my husband and son are asleep on the couch downstairs. They look so beautiful.

I will write later. Thanks to all of you who have been thinking about me - it means so much.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


I have to be at the hospital tomorrow morning by 6:30. I can't eat or drink anything after midnight tonight. I must not wear makeup or perfume or jewelry, except my wedding band and engagement ring (it would be a struggle to pull either one off anyway), I must not bring any valuables, I must have a ride to and from the hospital...I must probably sign paperwork, give them some blood to run tests on, remove my clothes, don a hospital johnnie, submit quietly while they attempt to put in an IV needle (it often takes them a few tries, and both of my hands), and doze off under the bright OR lights, and wake up, slowly, warm under all the hospital blankets, with all the other post-op folk, in a long room, slowly rising back to the surface, aware of what has happened, sad that it had to happen, and glad the "procedure" is over. At some point they will wheel me back to the little room I started in. My husband will be fetched from the waiting room. They will bring me into the bathroom and help clean me up. I will be brought back to the bed, and offered toast and a beverage. When they feel confident that I can walk under my own power, I will be allowed to put my own clothes back on and leave the hospital.

I have done this before. I know what to expect. I remember with my other miscarriage, waking up from the anaesthesia crying. The nurse asked why I was crying, and I told her: Because I'm sad.

Yes. I am sad.

I have pushed that down, out of the way this past week or so. I have been casual, matter-of-fact...calm. And on some levels I am those things. But buried beneath that, working its way back to the top, is sadness. I would have been twelve weeks along this Friday. The first trimester just about finished. Most of the danger of miscarriage past.

And even though I've been through a D&C before, and it's a pretty routine procedure, I am edgy and tense about it today. I left work a couple hours early. Not enough to do there, too much time to think.

I just don't want to go. I don't want this done to me. I don't want to be knocked out. I am a tiny bit scared.

And I am sad.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

This and That

The peas are starting to come up in the garden. And there are buds on some of the tulips...and a hyacinth started blooming yesterday...and it was in the 70's today - never mind spring, we just jumped into summer. I guess it's supposed to get colder again, so that was just a preview.

I have friends who love summer, friends who hate summer. I don't hate any of it. I'll complain, at times, about whatever season I'm in and long the one opposite it...but I do that all year long...and I think what I really like the most is not any one particular season over the others - I like the change. I like the fact that where I live, we have 4 seasons. We have different weather conditions throughout the year. I don't think I'd be happy living someplace that the weather is the same year round. I love the changes.

We're getting a new trailer for the boat. Actually, Bill put a down payment on one today. The one we have is rusting and falling apart - a spring popped on it last fall when Bill and my father were taking the boat out of the we need a new one. Need a new boat, eventually, but not this year.

Okay, thought I could write more but no, Alex is done with his bottle and requesting my presence in the other room....

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Trout for Lunch

Pretty simple - all I did was this:

Heat some oil in a pan - about a quarter of an inch or so.

While it is warming up, mix about two parts flour to one part cornmeal in a bowl. Add some salt and pepper. If you want to season it more than this, go right ahead.

Pat the filets dry with some paper towel. Dredge each filet in the flour mixture and place on a clean, dry plate.

When the oil is hot (it sizzles immediately when you flick some water into it), place a few filets in the pan. Watch out for the splattering.

When the edges start to look opaque, turn the filets over and finish cooking. They should be a pale golden brown on each side.

Remove the filets and place on paper towels on another plate. Keep the plate and fish warm in your oven (on very low heat - about 200 degrees. You don't want to dry out the fish.)

Repeat the frying with the rest of the fish.

Serve with tartar sauce, lemon wedges, hot sauce, or whatever you like on your fish.

You can also serve other things with this, like rice or fries or potato salad, but there's also something kind of cool and fun about just having the fish by itself. Especially when it was caught just a few hours earlier.

We gave Alex some little bits of fish (double-checking for bones, first) and he loves it. He had already had his lunch, his fruit for dessert, a teething cookie, and a few Cheerios. But after the first little taste of fish, he wanted more. And more. He liked it with tartar sauce, and also with the lemon. He can try hot sauce a bit later on in his life.

Anyway - we had a very nice lunch. And there's more fish in the fridge.

The Art of the Filet

No, I'm not going to give instructions. Joe just returned (he left to get into some dry clothes). Bill is in the kitchen teaching Joe how to skin and filet the trout. Before Joe arrived, I was leaning against the kitchen counter, camera in hand, watching Bill work. Alex sat in his high chair, stuffing Cheerios into his mouth, still sleepy-looking.

And I was swept back to my childhood. The same scene - some fish waiting in the sink, staring pointlessly at the ceiling, and the one other fish lying on the counter, under the knife. My dad used to put down a bunch of newspapers, which is a good idea, since the paper soaks up the water and blood and residual slime coat that most fish have for protection. Bill is doing his cutting on a big rectangular cutting board I got as a shower gift before we were married. It says something about "Dad's Barbecue" on it, and there are recipes and line drawings of a cow, a pig, and a chicken fading on the cutting surface. There is a little channel that runs just inside the perimeter of the board, to catch whatever juices may be flowing on it that day. Today - as I said, it's water and blood and slime. Paper towels are used to soak up the excess liquid.

Bill is careful and patient. Better to take the time now to slice cleanly and to carefully cut out the band of bones that run along the upper midline of each side of the fish. If you take this row of bones out, you don't have to worry about them getting stuck in your throat later.

I took some pictures as he did the first fish today. And a picture of all the fish in the sink. This is part of the day. This is part of our lives, part of what we do and who we are. When Alex is old enough, he will hold a fishing pole and learn to cast out and reel in.

There is a picture of me somewhere with my little white fishing pole and a tray of 14 choggies. (I have no idea how the word is spelled. That's what it sounds like.) I caught them. At least, I participated in the catching of them. They are small, but they are mine.

I remember going fishing with my Dad's father; my Grandpa. I must have been 3. We were on a dock somewhere, maybe Point Judith?, and I was holding my very own pole, the line down in the water. A fish grabbed whatever bait was on the end of the line and I was startled and let go. Quick as anything, Grandpa's hand shot out and caught the pole. I believe I was instructed to never, never, ever let go of the pole. And I never did again.

I remember later on when my parents had a boat. It was a small Boston Whaler. We had it for a few years; I'm not sure how long. We would go out and ride around Salt Pond. I enjoyed it. Well, we all enjoyed it sometimes - especially those after-dinner trips over to Billington Cove Marina. They sold ice cream. Very good ice cream.

But there were two camps: the seasick camp and the not-seasick camp. So sometimes attempted fishing trips were cut short. Or I would just go with my father. Sometimes my father and my mother's father - Grandad. We had horrible luck, most of the time. But it was fun. I remember sitting out in the middle of the water, patiently holding my fishing pole, happy to be out there hanging around with my father and grandfather. I was such a tomboy. And I thought I had a bite. Finally! So I slowly reeled it in, only to find a crab hang on to the end of the line, tenaciously polishing off the last bit of minnow or squid or whatever we were using. Oh well.

Fishing with Bill is vastly different. There is no sitting out in the middle of anywhere. There is only pursuit. There is the careful studying of the sky to see if the seagulls are circling anywhere (which would mean bait fish are near the top, and bluefish are probably attacking them from below)...or he is trolling back and forth along the southern side of Hope Island, for stripers or blues. Or it is night time, and we are casting among the rocks for stripers. Or we are jigging for scup. Or standing (not sitting!) in the drifting boat, occasionally testing the line, hoping for fluke or flounder. But we are not sitting.

And it is a lot of fun to catch a fish. Especially a big one. Especially, in my opinion, a bluefish. They fight and jump and thrash and will bite if you put your finger too close. It's a lot of fun.

I have to go now. My jolly fisherman husband would like me to pour him some coffee. With a celebratory shot of Bailey's in it.

Success!!! (Thank goodness...)

The mighty fishermen arrived home about half an hour ago - around 9:15. They came in with nothing but barely-concealed grins. Bill tried said, "well, we said we'd catch a fish..." - he likes to savor the telling...anyway, they have 9 fish. Some rainbow trout, some brown trout, and a small salmon.

I took a picture of the two of them and their string of fish, as men and trout dripped water and pond muck on the kitchen floor. Then I went upstairs and woke up Alex, dressed him in his onesie, jeans, green plaid flannel shirt, and fishing vest (couldn't find an appropriate hat) and brought him downstairs.

Joe held Alex, Bill held the fish. Bill and Joe smiled, Alex looked sleepy and puzzled. I think I got a good shot of him looking up at Bill.

Anyway, this has been a quick and happy Opening Day morning. And we shall have trout for lunch. I'll post the recipe later.
Weather Update...

It is absolutely pouring out there. And cold. I really hope they catch some fish. And I am really glad I am home. Warm. Dry.
Opening Day

For those of you who weren't born into and didn't marry into the same religion as my husband, today is the most holy day of the year.

Today is the second Saturday in April...Opening Day of Trout Season in Rhode Island.

Last night my husband carefully and reverently loaded my car (his is having ignition problems) with the various articles necessary for today's activities: two fresh-water poles with 6-pound-test line, tackle box, smaller trout-specific tackle box, net, new spinner bait lures he bought last night, new cushions for the canoe while it is held aloft on top of my car on the journey to Mecca - I mean Carbunkle Pond...., rain gear for himself and his nephew, Joe (Joe's using my rain gear), straps to hold the canoe on the car, a blanket to put on top of the car but beneath the cushions and the canoe, a garbage bag for the day's catch, a stringer, the canoe motor and battery (Carbunkle is pretty big, and it's not a whole lot of fun paddling when there are 50,000 other pilgrims out there looking to catch the same 6 trout you're after)...a paddle, just in jackets (required by law), current fishing licenses with trout stamps, gloves, and meal worms.

I think that's everything. I didn't convert when we got married, so I only have a small part in the Opening Day activities.

This morning we were all up by 4:30 am, except Alex, who is too young to participate...he will be baptized when he is old enough to fully grasp the seriousness of this day - it is not fishing for fun, like the pagans (Mommy) do. This morning's venture is a mission from the god of fishing. It is to be treated with the utmost respect and reverence. If it is cold and raining (like it is today), too bad. There will be no going home until the limit has been caught, until the clouds part and the angels sing, until nirvana is reached, until...well, something like that. But there's definitely no going home without fish.

While my husband and Joe put the last few things into the car, and put the canoe on top, I started the coffee and made them the traditional Opening Day breakfast. Fried egg on an english muffin. With melted cheese. And this year - slices of pepperoni that had been warmed in the pan while the eggs were cooking. This is my contribution to the day. I know, I know, some of you (Mom, Meredith) think I am nuts to bother getting up and feeding them if I'm not going anywhere myself...and it's probably true. But I do it anyway.

Maybe it's for luck ("Luck? We don't need luck, foolish woman! We have powerbait! We have spinners! We have meal worms! We don't need luck!")...or maybe it's because I like to fish too. Just not on opening day. I lack the faith and devotion that oozes from my husband's pores. I will want to go home and be warm.

So anyway, they should be arriving at Carbunkle Pond any moment now. (It is 5:48 at this moment.) It is a cold, wet morning. We had a lot of rain last night, and I think it's supposed to rain this morning on and off as well. But that's okay. Rain is not a bad thing when you're fishing for trout. Much better to have rain, or at least a dark, overcast sky, than bright sun. Bright sun will cast shadows on the water, and nothing makes a suspicious trout decide to stay right where he is than the shadowy shape of a canoe and two tall men with poles and a net directly above. So this morning's weather is a good thing. It will extend the prime fishing time by at least another hour, maybe two.

Opening day commences at 6:00 am. Sharp. Not a second before. And if you start a second after, you might as well reel in your worm and dauber, pack up your gear, and go home. There will not be a single square inch of water available after all the Opening Day veterans have cast.

Here's why. Imagine John Lennon and George Harrison come back to life for one weekend. And they get together with Paul and Ringo somewhere for a reunion concert. Tickets will go on sale at 6:00 am on the morning of the Monday preceding that weekend. In one place only. Imagine all the people (couldn't help that) traveling for miles and miles to camp out in front of the ticket window for at least a month, just to make sure they get a seat somewhere within a 5 mile radius of the concert. Anyone who ambles out on Monday morning at 6:00:01 with any hope of getting a ticket is obviously running a few CD's short of a boxed set. (Okay, forgive me for that, but I tried.)

So it's the same principle here. Many people camp out the night before Opening Day. For some, it's a family tradition. They bring their children, their tents, their marshmallows, Hershey bars and graham crackers, and have a fun night of cooking outside their tent, over an open pile of damp logs and cold, wet coals. Then they curl up in their sleeping bags, safely out of the elements inside their snug tents, and pray that the mud slides hold off until morning.

Before dawn, these campers, and the other, smarter people who have "roughed it" enough in their lives to appreciate the convenience of a warm, dry bed and a warm, dry car, all gather at the water's edge (or out on the water, in their canoes and other vessels) to bait hooks, test line, plan strategy, determine wind direction, sniff the air ("there be trout in them thar waters...") and wish they'd brought a second set of gloves because it's really, really cold right now.

Everyone waits. The wind dies, the birds hush, and the fishing faithful pray. And then - it is 6:00 am - and in one beautiful, sweeping motion, reminiscent of Radio City Rockettes kicking, or a Busby Berkley (sp?) musical extravaganza, poles already angled back, ready for that first, exhilirating cast, arc forward with a SNAP! Lines fly out across the water, bait and lures of every kind break the water's surface, and Opening Day, the most wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day of the year, has begun.

And then the next minute you hear a lot of unholy words being muttered because most everyone on shore has had their line tangle with about 5 or 6 other lines. It's hard not to tangle when you are standing shoulder to shoulder to rib cage to hip bone to elbow with 50,000 other people, after all.

My husband chooses to avoid this delay in his quest by going out onto the water. And it's nice to sit out in a canoe, early in the morning, smelling the damp, earthy scent of mud and sludge that has been stirred up by a million other boats and sinkers and's nice to listen to the birds singing their morning songs (they are permitted to begin again after 6:02 am)'s nice to be far, far away from phones and news broadcasts and the daily grind.

Of course, it may be nice, but it don't catch you no fish. So you don't just sit there. You survey the water. You choose your spot. You take a cast . Let the worm float, let it hover there, calling to the starving trout who, only weeks before, were splashing happily in their home ponds at the trout hatcheries. The trout who, just weeks ago, had 3 square meals a day and didn't even have to look for it. Sure, they had to share with all the other trout in their age and size group, but there was plenty of food, and it just came right to you. Then they were gathered up and trucked away to these new ponds. At first they were kind of cool - much bigger, less crowding...more nooks and crannies to explore, and all free food any more. Now they have to work for it. And having been hatched and raised in domesticity, they are complete novices. Sure, instinct will take over, but it's just not the same. Not half as much fun as hearing the dinner bell ring and racing all your buddies to the edge of the hatchery pond and fighting for breakfast pellets.

So Opening Day is actually kind of a cruel joke for the trout. After a couple weeks of trying to figure out if bug larva tastes as good as a pellet, (tastes a bit better, actually - not as crunchy, but there's a small pop when you bite it and the filling is smoothe and creamy.), suddenly, one morning, tons and tons of FREE FOOD falls into the pond. Hooray! The punishment is over! And the fish race each other again, laughing with giddy relief, toward the banquet.

And then sharp things pierce their cheeks and they are dragged to the surface of the water. Something dips into the water and next they are trapped in a tangle of what seems like a thousand ropes. The net lifts them out of the water and into the boat, where the hooks are removed from their tender mouths. And then they are either thrown back to go through this again (not likely), or they are put on a stringer. The humane fishermen will bleed them right away, so they die quickly. Ripping the gills out is a quick and effective means to this end. The less humane will put the fish in a bucket and let them flop around until they die. People have seen my husband rip the gills out and think that is cruel (or cool, depending on the age and gender of the observer). But he is not a cruel man. He does it so the fish will die fast and suffering is minimal.

And yes, this is necessary. These fish will not survive the year in these ponds anyway. The majority of the ponds are relatively shallow, and the water will get much too warm in the summer. Most of the ponds that are stocked are generally stocked twice a year - early spring and then again in the fall. Most of the trout have been caught before summer or winter hit.

So anyway, back to fishing.

Some years are good, others, not so good. Last year was a great year. Bill went with his friend and beer-brewing partner, John. Rather than sleep over, as Joe did this year, John slept in his own bed and promised to be at our house by 5:00 in the morning. Ha. He was late. And that is a BIG no-no on opening day. Actually, it is a bad idea any time you are going fishing first thing in the morning with my husband. But there's a reason. Very often the best fishing is done before the sun comes up. The fish can't see sun-backed images hovering menacingly above them. They think the things plopping on the top of the water are really little bugs or larvae. So the less sun, the better the fishing is. Unless you've been cursed by the fish gods, but that's different. You're doomed no matter what. Anyway, my point is, you want to catch fish, you get to our house on time. ESPECIALLY on Opening Day. Tardiness is a mortal sin.

And John was late. The car was ready, the canoe was strapped on top, coffee was made, and Bill had had his breakfast. The clock ticked. "If he's not here in five minutes I'm leaving." Okay. Okay. Maybe he'll be here. Pace, pace, pace, pace, back and forth, coffee in hand, one eye on the clock, the other squinting in fury. Finally, we hear a car pull in. John has arrived. He is late, but he will live. Bill has prepared coffee for John ("F*** him, he can drink it the way I make it!"). I offer to fix John breakfast. Bill takes the cold english muffin from my hand, thrusts it at John. "Here. You can eat that." And off they go.

Despite the ugliness of the start to their day, they caught 10 trout between them. The limit is 6 per person. They stopped at 10 because there was really no need for 12 fish. My husband is not greedy. He just wants to catch his limit. That's all.

There have been not-so-good years, and even an ugly year (my first experience as an Opening Day widow) when my husband, my brother-in-law, my father, and my cousin all went together, 2 canoes between them, and were gone a long, long time. They arrived home around 3:30 in the afternoon, if I remember right. With 2 fish. That's it. Not 2 fish each. Just 2 fish. My cousin, Steve, caught at least one of them. Either my dad caught the other one, or Steve caught both and my dad had one on but lost it...something like that. Anyway. Steve doesn't even really like to fish. He went along because he's a nice guy and a team player and this way there were 4 of them so they could use the 2 canoes in various combinations. Bill, the mighty fisherman, who has been doing this since he was an embryo, caught nothing. Little girls were reeling in monster trout on their Snoopy poles and he caught nothing. Not even a bite. It was not pretty. No. It was an ugly, ugly day. We don't talk about it.

So who knows what today will bring. Bill has vowed, as he does every year, not to come home without fish. Without at least one fish. And I hope he is successful. Partly because I like trout. Partly because I want him to be happy. Partly because I don't want him to be miserable for the rest of the day/evening/weekend.

And partly because I want to take a picture of him and Alex and Joe with a stringer of fish. Alex has a really cute tiny little fishing vest, and that combined with a green plaid shirt and jeans and a goofy hat will be just adorable. So what if he didn't catch any of the fish. Some day he will.

And now, I am going to fix myself some breakfast and warm up my coffee again. Alex is awake. Time to start our day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

More from Yesterday

I went back to work yesterday after the sonogram and the ultrasound. I'm covering someone else's desk plus my own, and one of the other managers is away as well, so we are short handed until I still had a bladder full of 2 big glasses of water and the bathroom at work was closer than the bathroom at my house. (haha.)

I guess it was good to be there - I was kept busy and distracted for the most part. But I had already told my boss (had to let him know why I was going to be late coming back, plus he's a good friend), and I couldn't look at his concerned face too much. No one else there knew/knows. There are two other pregnant women there - both showing. One is due in July, the other in September. That kind of kicked me in the stomach for a second but I adjusted.

And I emailed my sister and told my mother. I couldn't call my sister. I knew if I tried to say anything I would dissolve. But even emailing did it. She was, of course, wonderful and understanding and supportive. I could hear her voice in the emails she wrote - so that was just as bad as calling her...and as good. I had to call my mother, because she's not always on the computer and I didn't know when she'd see it. So I just prefaced it by saying I didn't want her to say anything because I didn't want to talk about it. And then I told her. And of course she said we got off the phone quickly after that. I talked to her later, from home.

Meanwhile, being at work was kind of bizarre. I felt like I was in a bubble, and all this stuff was going on, and I was doing what I needed to do, but the sounds and perspective were off. I found myself getting really fed up with stupid little things. I found myself wondering if coming to work had been the right idea. I found myself wondering if working there at all was the right idea.

I have an appointment on Thursday to discuss my options. I don't think there are many. I think it's either - let nature take care of it and wait for my (slow on the uptake) body to figure it out and miscarry that way...or a d & c, which I've had before with the first pregnancy/miscarriage.

I don't want either. I don't want to just wait...and I don't want to go in and have them take it.

So I don't know.

I will keep you posted.

Time to go wake up my guys.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Bad News

I had my sonogram today. I knew from the look on the doctor's face that something wasn't right. At first she said she was just trying to get the image in focus, but I somehow knew that this pregnancy is over.

She said she was concerned, and swung the screen around so I could see. There was the black hole-like section which is my uterus, which was familiar, but inside, it was not filled, as it should have been.

While I was waiting for her to get to that point, I just stared at the side of the sonogram machine. It had a sticker on the side that read "GE Cares" and an 800 number. I'm not sure what they care about - my condition or how well their machine is working. But I just stared at that.

I think on some level I knew. But it wasn't close to the surface, so I didn't recognize it. Or maybe that's just hindsight.

I really had wanted Bill to be there. For the first see the little heartbeat...and to be there with me in case we got bad news. But he really couldn't get away - there was a lot going on at the school and he was out last Friday and there is a concert there this I said I'd go by myself, and he would come with me on another visit.

And then this morning. We had snow last night (HELLO UP THERE - IT'S SPRING!!!), and he started both of our cars and cleared them off this morning. He left for work first. I got in the car and didn't realize, til I got to daycare to drop Alex off, that he had switched our sets of keys. He has more keys than I do. So I decided that, whether it was intentional or not, he had come along with me today.

And the other thing - my name was spelled wrong on the sonogram screen. It was "Jane." They corrected it for me, but isn't it funny how these little things become magnified when we look back and try not to really look at the actual picture. Like the fact that "GE Cares."

I went over to the radiologist, who is in a building not far from my doctor's office. I've been there before. The radiologist there was the one to give me the bad news with my first pregnancy. And the good news when I was pregnant with Alex. I don't think I can go anywhere else - he must be the bearer of news, good or bad. So this time it was bad. But I knew that anyway.

He showed me the image and I asked if he knew how far along it had happended. So he measured it - the "dead embryo" - which just looked like a grey blob of bumps on the screen - and said it was about 7 weeks. So this happened about 3 or so weeks ago. And my body has not done anything yet.

I have not felt all that different. The smell of coffee in the morning still is making me queasy. So do eggs sometimes. My body has been thinking it is pregnant...

I have to go tell my husband now.

Then I think I will have a good cry.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Why we had to square dance in gym class...

My friend Beth responded to my earlier post on square dancing and I asked if I could quote her. She said, in part, that she had been part of a conversation with Mr. Brown about why he tortured us all with square dancing, and he said he did it for two reasons:

" was a way to get kids to listen to and follow directions in a way that they never would again, a bit of Americana....But my favorite reason is his second - it was a way for ALL kids to be touched. He said to us 'Do you really think any of the ******** kids walked around the playground holding hands like you and your friends used to do? No one would touch them. And that would make me sad, cause they were just kids. And all kids want to hold hands with someone. So, this is one way I could MAKE it happen. Everyone would hold hands with someone.' "

What a really sweet thing to do.

I take back my earlier sarcasm.

There seems to have been more to gym class than mere physical education...

Kitty Cat and Dada and Mama

I have decided that it's official. Alex's first word (or phrase) is "kitty cat." My main criterion is the intent with which he says this. He sees the cat, and I say "Who's that?" in an encouraging manner...and his eyes light up and he smiles and says, excitedly, "teeteeta" or "deedeeda" or a combination of those two. At dinner tonight he spat out his mouthful of pasta and sauce just to be able to say "teeteeta!" when the cat came into the room.

Anyway, that's why I think "kitty cat" wins. He does say "mama" and "dada" (sometimes we're "mamama" and "dadada", and yesterday my husband was just "daa") too. But it's different. Maybe it's that he doesn't need to say mama and dada to get our attention. He's already got it. Yesterday he sort of casually said "daa" when he saw my husband in the other room, giving a lesson to his guitar ensemble students. It was like "hey, there's Daddy over there."

And "mama" stands for a multitude of subcategories that I think all come under the "comfort" umbrella.

"Mama" means...

...a clean diaper...

...a warm bottle...

...pick me up I don't want to be in the playpen any more...

...I just lost my balance and fell and hit my face on the side of the chair and I need to be held while I cry for a bit...

...I'm overtired and I'm becoming clumsy and I can't seem to stop careening around the living room please somebody do something...

...I'm awake and it's dark in my room except for the little blue light over there and the orange one over here and it's just too quiet for me so I think I'll express my unease as loudly as I can...

...I did all kinds of things in daycare today but I was really happy when you came to get me, which you must have known since I came crawling across the floor at breakneck speed when you arrived, and since I don't have a vocabulary extensive enough to tell you this on our ride home, I will just sit here in my rear-facing car seat and babble. mamaMAMAMAMA!


...I'm almost asleep but I don't want to be put into my crib just yet, maybe if you just cradle me...and hum to me...a bit...I'll...fall...asleep......BUTNOTCOMPLETELYASLEEP!! QUICK! PICK ME BACK UP! I DON'T WANT TO BE IN MY CRIB YET! HUM ANOTHER TWELVE VERSES OF THAT SONG!........thank you.....aren't I cute when I'm snuggly like this?......thank you......I promise I'll outgrow this some day......when I'm older...way older........maybe........but not yet......not.....just......yet...............goodnight...mama....

Thursday, April 03, 2003


I haven't written much in here this week. I wasn't home for most of the day on Sunday, and then that night my throat started hurting and this week I've been fighting a cold - the worst of it has been the sore throat.

And because I'm pregnant, I can't take much for it. So I'm feeling not only sick, but also tired (I've been waking up around 3:00 am for many, many days now) and like my head is stuffed with dryer lint. I feel stupid and inarticulate. So I haven't even wanted to write, because I have felt too dumb to say anything. Except the couple of posts since Saturday. And even they were a struggle - my typing skills have temporarily deteriorated. My throat feels better today, but I sound awful. (Although, to look on the bright side, I do a much better Stevie Nicks impersonation when I'm congested. So that's something.)

I was home Monday, to try to rest and get better. I spent the day on the couch watching reruns of "ER" and "Law and Order" and stuff like that. No cooking shows. I couldn't even summon the interest in them. No war - I wanted to remain completely passive. Which I did.

I saw a bit of "The Dick Van Dyke Show," which brought me back to childhood. (They were reruns then, too!) And I was little, and home sick from school, with a bowl of Campbell's Chicken 'n' Dumplings soup (I don't think they make it any more - it was one of my favorites), and some saltine crackers with butter on them (my father's mother used to do that - put butter on saltines. One of my snippets of memory of her)...or tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich...those were the comfort foods of my childhood. Also Campbell's Black Bean soup with a squeeze of lemon. The soup was so thick that the lemon just sat on top of it, a little clear well on top of brown-black sludge. It was fabulous. Food memories.

Then on Tuesday I stayed home again, this time because Alex had to stay home. Two ear infections and a case of conjunctivitis. And he never complained about the ear infections. I brought him to the doctor on Monday afternoon because the people at daycare said he'd woken up from his nap with some goop in his eyes, and he'd had some that morning. So I found out about the ears only because of the eyes. He's on medication now, some white thick stuff that I mix with his dessert at night, and a clear antibiotic gel for his eyes. Oh, he loves when I have to apply that.

But you know, Tuesday was a lot of fun. He and I played just about all day, except for nap times. We both wore our jammies all day long, too.

We played with his plastic trucks - I rolled them across the floor to him, he picked them up and shook them and banged them on the floor and hollered mock-angrily at them.

We played catch. Yes - really and truly. He understands the concept. He is just not all that great at catching yet. But he knows that he needs to throw it back to me, and he does. He throws lefty a lot. And he's very proud every time. Of course, I clap and yell "yaaayyy!" when time he throws, and I also clap and tell him "good catch!" when I toss the ball into his lap. He sits there with a big drooly grin, big blue eyes wide, and nose scrunched up, and looks down at the ball. Then, in one perfect motion, he grabs the ball and hurls it at my knee. Yaaaaaayyyyy! It's so much fun. He is just so delighted to be doing this.

I tried to interest him in some of the chunky little board books I bought for him recently. He chewed on them a bit and then decided they were better for throwing.

He loves our cat. I think he's trying to say "kitty cat" - "deedeeda! deedeeda!" But sometimes he adds a few extra dees or das...Bill thinks he's working on "dada" but no, I really think the first word he will say - on purpose - will be kitty cat. Okay, that's two words. So he'll start right off with sentences!! That's my little guy!! Anyway, he loves the cat. And she is either trying to cultivate a friendship with him, or she is stupid. She will let him approach, and she will not run away, even as his grabby little hand shoots out and tries to remove her ear...or he takes a handful of fur and tries to rip that off of her. (We try to teach him to pet her, but he's not the least bit interested in being gentle) He loves her tail. That's the best thing to grab! And she doesn't run away!! At least not at first. She just crouches down - I can't even describe it as patiently, because she doesn't seem patient. She seems grim. Resigned. Maybe she is being stubborn. "I don't care what you do to me, little grub, I'm not going anywhere! Ow!" I don't know. Finally, she will run away, somewhere that our makeshift barricades will not allow him to go (yet). Then he just stands there, peeking over the arm of a chair, saying "deedeedeeDEEDEEDEEDA" over and over, stopping occasionally to flash me his 6-toothed grin. He loves her.

He took about a 45 minute nap in the morning, and in the afternoon, I put him in his crib at about 1:55...and he started yelling at 2:15. Not quite long enough....

So I brought him downstairs to the couch with me, cradled him, sort of, in my arm and against the pillows propped at one end, and gave him the rest of the bottle he hadn't finished before. We were watching "Birth Day" - just like it sounds, a show about births. I love it - I push when these mothers are pushing, I tell them they can do it when they are wailing that they can't, and I cry when their children are born.

Anyway, we hung out there on the couch, watching the next baby arrive, and within minutes, Alex's breathing had slowed and become more regular...he still was holding the bottle in his mouth, but he was asleep. I kept him where he was, snuggled next to me. I covered us with a blanket, and tried to get a bit more comfortable (not easy with one arm trapped beneath his head and sticking out at a weird angle), and turned the volume on the TV down a bit...and I dozed off too. I woke up a few times, and I don't think I was ever deeply asleep, but Alex was. We stayed there like that for an hour and a half.

When he woke up the back of his head was sweaty and his cheeks were warm. He blinked and looked around with his serious little "just waking up" his bearings...and tried to dive off the couch. The deedeeda was near.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003


I have to write this down because it keeps going through my head and I don't think it will go away until I do something about it.

Part of the physical education curriculum when I went to elementary school (from first to 6th grade) was square dancing. I don't know why, really, unless it was to give the gym teacher a break. He'd pretty much just pair us up, tell us where to stand, and put the record on. Then he could just watch us all step back and forth, bow and curtsy, link arms, weave in and out of each other, and referee the shoving matches.

The only name of a square dance I can remember is the "Virginia Reel". And I think I remember it because one of the boldest moments in my life, probably, took place in gym class one day when I asked our teacher, Mr. Brown, if Duncan Fletcher could be my partner for that dance. It was a huge moment for me, and I remember feeling a little giddy and breathless, looking up at Mr. Brown...way up...I think I was in either first or second grade at the time.

Anyway, this is what has been playing over and over in my head for the past hour or so, and I must exorcise it somehow:

" in to the center, honors to your own, swing your corner lady, and promenade her home...promenade."

That's it. That's all I remember. And I don't think it was from the "Virginia Reel" either, which was not a "square" form of the dance either, it was two long rows, one boys, one girls, facing each other.

But since the above snippet says "corner lady" it must have been from one of the truly "square" square dances.

That's all. I just had to get it out of my system.

Oh, and yes, Duncan Fletcher was my "Virginia Reel" partner that day.
Buffalo Balls

As I think I mentioned in a previous post, on Sunday I went to visit my sister and her family, and my parents, while my husband taught some guys how to brew an all-grain batch of beer.

Saturday night I made these meatballs for them to have for lunch on Sunday. According to Bill, they were a huge hit. Here is what I did:

First, the meatball ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef
1 14 oz pkg of "Gimme Lean" sausage flavor (it's a meat substitute. Found, at least in my area, with things like tofu and the like in that section of the grocery store. There's also a ground beef flavor, but I wanted the flavor of sausage in addition to the ground beef. The other reason I like this stuff is that unlike real meat, it doesn't lose moisture. When you cook ground beef and spoon off the fat, the meat has a tendancy to be tough. The Gimme Lean products don't have any fat, so they stay moist. We use the ground beef variety for tacos.)
1 medium onion, minced
About 3/4 cup bread crumbs, and enough milk to moisten the crumbs
An egg
Salt and pepper

And you will also need:

A 14 oz can of beef broth
2 cups of any red hot sauce you like
1 stick of unsalted butter

Shredded cheddar cheese, blue cheese, torpedo rolls - to serve

I think that's everything. I didn't write it down at the time...

Anyway, put all the meatball ingredients together in a big bowl and, with your hands, squish it all together til it's pretty well combined. Form into balls somewhere between ping pong and golf in size, then flatten slightly. (I was making them at night, and I wanted them to cook faster. You don't really have to flatten them if you don't want to.)

When they're all shaped, heat a skillet and brown the meatballs on both sides (or all sides, if not flattened) but don't worry about cooking through - they'll do that later. Hold browned meatballs on another plate until all are browned. Put the browned meatballs back in the pan and add the can of beef broth. Cover and cook on low heat until the meatballs are cooked through. Shouldn't take very long.

In a separate pan, melt the butter and whisk in the red hot sauce. (* Must give credit here to Paula Deen, who has a show on the food network. This is the sauce from her recipe for Buffalo Wings, which are very good.

Anyway, pour the sauce in with the meatballs, once they're cooked, and heat through. Serve on rolls with shredded cheddar or crumbled blue cheese.

Or, if you're making these ahead as I did, when the meatballs are cooked through, remove them from the pan to cool, and whisk the buffalo sauce into the remaining broth in the pan. When it's all cooled, put the meatballs and sauce into the crock pot insert, cover, and refrigerate. I started the crock pot going the next morning around 7:00 and the guys at lunch around noon or one, I think. And there were even a few left over for me!
Publishing is Temporarily Unavailable

That is the message that's been up since I first tried to post this morning.....