June 24, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
For the Love of Garlic

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.


Man, I love me some garlic. LOVE ME SOME GARLIC. In the past, I simply used the jarred garlic (by the gallon) but over the years, I ratcheted my love affair with garlic up a few notches.

Doing fresh garlic does take some time - just under 4 minutes. I timed the process - from grabbing the bulb of garlic from my Franciscan Apple garlic keeper, to taking off the skins, to the chopping, to the rinsing of the peeler thingie (which yes, is a Unitasker, but one that I use nearly every day).  I do chop the garlic by hand - I have a mincer, but the knife is just as easy and since I am already using the knife for other things, that translates into one less thing to clean up.

YUM.  The smell of garlic hitting a pan of hot oil is out of this world.

Next, I am reconsidering my use of powdered ginger.

So, what is Your Thing when it comes to cooking? Something that you go the extra step to prepare because it is important to you.

Today's recipe is the result of a Labor of Love.  Kai Kratiam (Garlic Pepper Chicken) is one of my husband's favorite dishes at our favorite Thai restaurant here in Kansas City - the Thai Place.  I searched long and hard for a recipe, but just couldn't find one that replicated the restaurant's version.  Then, I had a Lightbulb moment while going through some Rick Bayless recipes - he mentioned that chicken breast is a great substitute for pork and I realized that I needed to re-examine ALL of my cookbooks (Frankly, my eyes immediately glaze over when pork is mentioned in a cookbook since the extent of our pork consumption is the occasional slice of bacon and pepperoni on our pizza.)  So, there it was all along in my copy of Simply Thai Cooking- Moo Kratium, the pork version of the the dish I'd been looking for.  I still had to modify it a bit - adding cabbage at the end and some fish sauce in the beginning.  But it is about as close as I can get to The Thai Place's version, I guess.

Also, this recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, but I have to admit I put in half a bulb of garlic.

Mmmmm.... GARLIC.

Kai Kratiam (Thai Garlic Pepper Chicken)

1 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced strips, 2 inches long
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced strips
5 tbsp vegetable oil

Optional Garnishes:
Lettuce leaves
Strips of red bell pepper
Fresh coriander leaves
Sweet and Sour sauce

1. In a bowl, marinate the chicken, fish sauce, soy sauce, black pepper and garlic for 5 minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine).

2. On medium-high, heat oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the chicken mixture and spread it out evenly. Fry the chicken until it is brown on one side, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and add the sliced cabbage. Fry the other side of the chicken another 3-5 minutes while letting the cabbage sit on top.

3. Either serve this with white rice or serve it on top of a bed of lettuce. No, really!

June 22, 2011

Childhood's End

Pink Floyd, Obscured by Clouds 1972

This weekend, I am heading to Indianapolis to say goodbye to my friend.  The past few weeks have been a flurry of wrapping some things up, getting travel reservations finalized, etc.  All this while hoping that Manoj's relaxed standards toward Food Safety and Storage kick in and that while I am gone, he finishes all the leftovers in the fridge.  One of the many, many benefits to my Indian husband is his Intestines Forged of Iron.

Added to my list lately has been what I like to call Spoiled White Girl Problems, I've Got 'Em

Spoiled White Girl Problems, I've Got 'Em

Exhibit A: The toaster broke. WOE IS ME, I have to buy a new goddamned toast because without toast, our house falls APART.

Exhibit B: The DVD player broke. WOE IS ME, not only did I have to wait an extra day to finish Dexter: Season One, but I also had to pay more MONEY.  And in the category of Mo' Money, Mo' Problems, I had to agonize over whether to upgrade to a Blu-Ray player. Agony,  I tell you.  Because I am a Spoiled White Girl and Made of Money.  Lots of MONEY.

Exhibit C: The Dishwasher broker.  WOE IS ME, we have to buy a part for it now with all that Money I was just bragging about. While I have freely admitted in the past that I enjoy washing dishes by hand, what I do not particularly relish is a marathon episode of washing an entire load of dishes that had been languishing impatiently for several days in the aforementioned, traitorous DishNotWasher.

Exhibit D: The clothes washer was leaking for a day . WOE IS ME.  Fortunately, it was leaking inside the tub thingie.  And while we have established that I clothe myself in MONEY, I still smacked that bastard around until it had the good sense to get its act together and stop the hell with The Leaking.

Exhibit E: Meanwhile, my fancy pants car has gotten wind of the recent unrest and is on the brink of revolt.  The air conditioner seems to be in cahoots and at times, I find myself sitting in traffic sweating.  Folks, SWEATING.  Gentle Reader, have I already not mentioned the Spoiled and White part?    WOE IS ME. Seriously, sweat is just not My Thing.  Trust me, I have other Things that are My Thing.  I cannot think of what those other Things might possibly be, but whatever, I have Things, I assure you.

And yet, despite all this recent mutiny, our 20+ year old grease-spattered oven that melts kitchen timers survives. Speaking of the wretched Kitchen Timer, I need to add that to the shopping list.  Also?  Add MONEY. I am in want of more of it.

The final tick on my To Do list that I had hoped to have wrapped up was a myriad of outside projects getting fixed on our house after a crazy hailstorm in April.  Our contractor comes out, fixes one thing, then leaves.  Or, even better, tries to fix the WRONG THING.  Then, he leaves.  Every single day, my To Do list includes the item "Call Stan."

With that, I am going to throw out some cute things my kiddos have said and slap up some Simian Snappage.

And then, I am going to call Stan.

Of course.

Anjali: All the elephants in India wear COSTUME clothes!

I don't know where she gets that idea.

Source: Rajesh Kakkanatt, courtesy Suresh Babu, Wikipedia

Arun: Anju why were you crying during musical chairs at school today?
Anju: Because I was missing Mama.
Me: Anju, but I thought you didn't like me.
Anju: Yes, but I miss you while I am at SCHOOL.

The other day, Anjali asked for something and yet, I did not rise immediately to meet Her Royal Highness' latest whim.

Anju: Mama, you aren't getting my milk! You have to do things you don't WANT to do.  That's what grownups are FOR, helping CHILDREN. 

Damned straight,  I am one Spoiled White Girl.

June 20, 2011

Scream Thy Last Scream

Pink Floyd, 1967

Sleeping With Daddy, Take 4,327,843,212

For 5.5  years, this has been such a common sight in our house. While I cannot give him too much credit for Anjali, our little narcoleptic, Manoj does deserve full marks for still being able to get Arun to sleep.

My husband, the Indian Cesar Milan of Simians.

Tomorrow is our 8 year wedding anniversary and I have been teasing Manoj that we need to celebrate the union of our love.  After all, there is so much to celebrate.

We are so very, very lucky.

June 17, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
Stirring Things Up

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.

I believe that every cook needs a handful of stir fry recipes to go on those busy days when you just need to whip up something fast for lunch or dinner.  I have four recipes that I rotate in and out so that we don't get tired of them -- a South Indian (Keralite?) chicken stir-fry called piralen, a garlic pepper chicken Thai stir fry called kai kratium (recipe for next week!), PF Chang's Kung Pao chicken recipe and a Pakistani stir-fry called karahi chicken.  A karahi is a wok-like pan and I don't actually own one - I just use a regular frying pan.

I jokingly call karahi chicken a "backwards" curry - most curries follow a predictable pattern - caramelize the onions, add the garlic/ginger, add the spices for a quick "bhunifying", then finish with meat, veggies and tomatoes/yogurt.  Karahi chicken completely mixes up all the usual steps and the results are quite tasty.

This recipe was given to me by a lovely Pakistani lady who damned near became my mother-in-law.  While I am perfectly happy with who eventually became my husband, it still makes me sad that I missed out on what would been the best in-laws EVER.  Seriously, they were such lovely, truly nice people, I would have been proud to call them my Baba and Ami.

Ah well, at least I ended up with some kickass recipes.  Oh, if you have a karahi chicken recipe or another stir fry recipe that you would like to share, and/or if you have suggestions on how I can improve this karahi chicken recipe, please feel free to link to your own post in the comments.  I am always on the hunt for new recipes.

Karahi Chicken

1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
1 onion,. thinly sliced
2 cups diced tomato
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you prefer mild)
salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder

1. Coat the bottom of a frying pan or wok with cooking oil and heat on medium-high.  Brown the chicken, stirring frequently.  After about 7 minutes, add the garlic and ginger.

2. When the chicken is pretty much done, add the salt, cayenne pepper, tomatoes and onions.  Fry for about 5 minutes or so, until the tomatoes break apart.

3. In another small frying pan, coat the bottom with a very small amount of cooking oil and heat on medium-high.   Add the cumin and coriander, stir constantly (add a teaspoon of water if it becomes sticky).  Cook for about 3 minutes, until the spices become aromatic.

4. Add the cumin/coriander mixture to the chicken and stir thoroughly.  Taste for salt, garnish with a handful of chopped cilantro.

June 15, 2011

Keep Talking

Pink Floyd, The Division Bell 1994

This spring, I came up with a few goals for myself to achieve this summer:
  1. Relearn at least one Clementi sonatina on the piano.
  2. Remove the wallpaper in the dining room under the chair rail and repaint it to see if that tones down the floral motif.  I might repaint the kitchen as well (decision is still pending based upon the outcome of the dining room.)  
  3. Rejoin a local mom's group.  Previously, when I was a member, I was either sick, pregnant and sick, dealing with dual nap schedules or working.  It was always something.  This past spring, I put my foot down with myself and promised that I would not only rejoin the club, but that I would actively participate.  Oh my.  I am SO kicking myself for not getting involved all these past years!  The group is comprised of a really nice group of gals who just want to hang out and do fun, relaxing things with their kids.  No gossip, no politics, they are just a low-key group.
  4. Participate in the summer reading program with my kids.  Oh sure, I am always reading something, but I picked up one of the lists for myself - I am going to read a certain number of poems and short stories, just to stretch myself a bit (any recommendations on your favorite short stories or poems?)
  5. Finally, I promised myself that I was going to SCHEDULE things.  All too easily, I let our days go by willy-nilly.  In particular, the few hours that I have free while Team Chaos languishes in school.  This summer, I am scheduling lunches with friends, art museum outings, special exhibit outings (e.g. The Princess Diana exhibit was awesome!) and movies.  Their summer session ends mid-July and I am determined to not waste any of these precious kid-free hours.
  6. By the end of August, I want to add 5 new recipes to my repertoire.  I have already added one that I am in LOVE with - it's Thai Chicken in a red chili sauce.  I also have a stack of cookbooks from the library that I am poring over.
Honestly?  Life is pretty damned good right now.  I recently read Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, one of the best books I have read in a long time.  I then read Shanghai Girls and Memories of Joy by Lisa See - both were VERY good reads.  Now, I've moved on to the 19th Wife - I am getting used to the different pace after having read three back-to-back books with Chinese immigrant themes.

Also, I joined a Facebook group that I affectionately refer to as the site about "Brown Boys and the White Girls Who Love Them".  Honestly, I am surprised at how much it has meant to me to have a group that understands some of the things that go with being married to a desi.  So far, the group is getting along with no drama (that I have seen anyway!)  and it is really nice to have a place to go to.  Lately, I've been spending more time on the group page than even on blogging!  Huh.

Flower Power
Help!  I am ripping out the wallpaper under the chair rail and am thinking of going with either a forest green or a dark, dark red.  I prefer a red, but what do you think?

Anjali is INSANE over her cousin Alaina.  They are simply too precious when they get together.  They disappear during the entire visit, off in their own little world of make-believe.

Recently, we went to Leavenworth to visit my grandma.  It was such a lovely visit - had a picnic by the river, then visited the Carousel Museum.  Afterward, we went back to her house where she showed the kids her piano, guitar, bongos, etc. (she is a music teacher and is so talented!)  It was so sweet to watch Arun and Anjali's eyes light up as she went from instrument to instrument. 

1850 Hand-Cranked Carousel
So Much Fun!  This is the oldest operating carousel in the United States!

1913 Carousel

Simian Snap!

June 10, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude: Tastes Like Chicken

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.


Bill Oliver (aka Ollie), Foodie Extraordinaire

Okay, okay....My dad doesn't actually eat kitties.  He hates them too much to actually consume them.  Yes, the man who hates cats with a vengeance proceeded to have three daughters who adore cats.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Manoj doesn't eat beef, not for religious reasons since he is Christian, but rather for health reasons.  A commenter, Nukkud,  pointed out there there is a small Christian group in India that doesn't eat beef for moral reasons:
Some christian groups in india do not eat beef. Its a moral thing. Its a big misunderstanding when people say it is a religious thing.

Beef is not eaten by many groups in india for the same reason why americans do not eat dog or horse.

The dog is known as a "mans best friend" while a horse is known as a "companion". Similarly, cows are seen as a symbol of mother and motherhood. In india, anything that carries a "motherly" connotation is serious stuff and hence, "beef" related subjects raise strong emotions.

Source: Maternal family are christians from coastal maharashtra and they strictly avoid beef.
Nukkud then goes on to add:
The keralites are an anomaly in india. Actually, a big chunk of hindu malayali population eats beef, though it's done behind closet.
I agree to a certain extent that Keralites are an anomaly, but I would also argue the Keralites are just one of many, many anomalies scattered through India. For example, I have seen so many Hindus over the past 20 years consume beef and only a handful were from Kerala.  The primary problem with discussing food choices in conjunction with daring to enter the choppy waters that comprise the complex cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of a country such as India is this:

Regardless of what I say, it will be wrong.

A country such as India holds just about every exception to every rule and as a writer, every single time I choose to write about India or Indians, I run the risk of someone pointing out the exceptions and exactly where I went astray.

Honestly? I really appreciated Nukkud's comments because they were respectful and most importantly, they made me think. Folks, you are always welcome to disagree with me and bonus points are awarded for making me think.

Generally, I believe morality and religion often have nothing to do with each other since so much religious dogma is based upon traditions with little explanation (two of the most moral persons I have ever known were atheists and grew up with no religion whatsoever.)  Furthermore, religious traditions often become confused and infused with cultural tradition.  I mainly mentioned the "Christian eating beef" thing in regard to my husband because there is a common misconception amongst many Americans where they believe all Indians are Hindus who don't eat beef.  Often I find myself explaining that "Yes, my married name is George and no, my husband did not convert to Christianity for me."  And then, I laugh because it really does tickle me.  Besides, it helps to navigate life with a healthy sense of humor toward these things.

Truthfully, I can only speak to my own personal experiences and quite simply,  I have seen way too many Hindus eating beef, Jews and Muslims eating pork and Catholics eating meat on Fridays to think that religion holds some greater power over our stomachs.

I freely admit that I have few "morals" when it comes to food.  I don't eat horses, cats, dogs or frogs not due to morals or potential companionship issues, but rather due to personal taste.  I love veal and I will happily tear through foie gras.  Perhaps, this makes me a horrible person, but when you begin drawing lines in the sand with food choices, the tide will eventually sweep in to erase those lines.  Even vegetarians have their own issues when it comes to "morals" as folks argue about the benefits to locally grown produce.

Anyway! All of this talk about different food choices reminded me of a tongue-in-cheek blog post that I wrote long ago when I was doing a blogging for our old business FoodieBytes (Full Disclosure: We sold our stake in that business earlier this year and we now own zero shares in it)

I wanted to end this post on a light note because in the end, food should be FUN, right?


7 Wonders of the Food World That Make Me Wonder

While I like to pretend that my gaping maw is adventurous, I admit that I have my limits. Some of the following dishes definitely look better than others. Some even push the definition of “edible“.
Which ones would you try or have you tried? What is the most unusual food you have ever eaten?


Biltong is a cured meat process that originates from South Africa – it is commonly made from cuts of beef, but can also be made with venison and ostrich (a version with fish is called bokkums.) Biltong differs from jerky in that the meat strips are a bit thicker and vinegar is used in the cured process. 
Chance of me eating this bad boy: 75% (this looks worthy of my gullet.)


Okay, I could not help but include this one since I have actually tried it. Truthfully? I liked it. An odd concoction, to be sure, it was milky, salty and a little “oily” — which is an interesting addition to one’s tea. Definitely not a tea you would be served at Buckingham Palace! Although I suspect Tibetans serve their tea with far less attitude than the Queen…….
Chance of me slurping this again: 100%


Century eggs actually arose as a solution to a common sense problem – how to keep a precious food from going rotten in times of hardship. Generally, century eggs are duck, chicken or quail eggs that are preserved in a “mixture of clay, ash,salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing.” Personally? I prefer my eggs not to be featured in odd hues of green.
Chance of me eating this bad boy: 0% (although admittedly, the odds would be greatly improved should I ever find myself faced with a Triple Dog Dare while plied with booze.)


Obviously, any fruit that gets itself banned from mass transportation is worthy of some sort of title. However, it is not clear whether it is the actual stench or the fact this fruit looks like a lethal weapon that prompted such a ban. In that vein, the durian is probably the Official Stinkbomb of the fruitworld. As such, Wikipedia had this to say regarding the durian:
The unusual flavour and odour of the fruit have prompted many people to search for an accurate description, with widely divergent and passionate views expressed, ranging from highly appreciative to deep disgust.
I admit that I am curious enough to try this.
Chance of me eating this bad boy: 90% (Why not? At least it did not once have a heartbeat, right?)


Actually, ants are eaten in a variety of locales all over the world including Australia, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Columbia, etc. (the ones pictured are Honeypot Ants which are eaten by Australian Aborigines). I remember reading about this as a kid, so perhaps this is why it does not freak me out nearly as much as say, a roasted tarantula.
Chance of me eating these bad boys: 90% (Not much would be needed to bolster my gastronomical resolve on this one.)


I will never forget when my Korean marketing professor in college told our class about his favorite dish, sannakji, a food that he missed desperately from back home. In short, this consists of eating octopus while it is still alive. He even giggled when he described how the tentacles would stick to the inside of your mouth. Oh sure, I love me some squid/octopus, but I would rather my food not be able to mount a rising protest while I am consuming it. If you have a hankering for such fare and you find a spot serving it, don't hesitate.  You probably should hit that before PETA gets a whiff of this potential animal rights violation.
Chance of me eating these bad boys: 0% (Consuming food as it is fighting for its life is simply not My Thing.)


File this under the “Interesting in Theory, Not So Much On My Plate” category: balut is a fertilized duck or chicken egg that has not quite completed its development, much less hatched. While it is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia including the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam, I hesitated including this stomach-turner. However, it won out in the Interest of Interesting, although I did decide to spare you the pictures (click the link if you have a strong stomach.) Oddly, I could not find any restaurants serving it in NYC, Boston, SF, Chicago or DC. I wonder why.
Chance of me eating this bad boy: 0% (Dude. No WAY.)

June 8, 2011


Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon 1973

The worst part is not knowing when the tears will come

(In related news, I am in need of water-proof mascara.)

On Saturday, I was at the post office to send out a package to Vegas. I kept forgetting things in the car and had to go back and forth...back and forth.  The last bit forgotten, the most important, was a pen. I was tired of hiking back to the car and so I asked the man, a priest, across the table if he had a pen.  So there I am at a table with a priest taping up a HUGE stack of packages alongside a girl who was stamping wedding invitations. As if it was the beginning of a joke or something. A priest, a bride and a blogger walk into a post office together.....   I began writing the address on the package and realized at that very moment I would need to address the box to Jolene's husband and not to Jolene herself.

And I promptly burst into tears.

I finished up the package, stuck it in the mailing bin and went to leave.  As I was leaving,  I spied a guy with a Pink Floyd shirt and I stopped him.  I told him about my stupid blog and how I have been using Pink Floyd song titles for post titles and how much fun it has been and he challenged me to come up with a post for the song "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" and and I was all like "Dude! Already written!" and we laughed and I got into my car to drive away and I thought how that guy must have a wondered just a little about the freaky Pink Floyd fangirl blogger type with the raccoon eyes.  And I laughed again.  Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion (Quick! Which movie quote is that??!  First to answer correctly wins a fucking PONY.)

Then, I promptly felt guilty for laughing.  AGAIN. How dare I move on with my life?  Right?  Enter random beeping as all the synapses in my brain plot to form a coup d'etat over their host.  Or something like that.

Okay, enough of that. Gentle Reader, I promised stupid, pithy posting.  Here you go, no serious thinking required from here on out.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, my sister Maureen and I headed off to Branson, Missouri to hang out with the parents, check out Silver Dollar City, eat some barbecue, listen to some bluegrass, see some butterflies at the Butterfly Palace and last but not least, commune with the masses in the hotel pool.

Branson, fucking MISSOURI...... Hayseed Heaven...Redneck Vegas....the Shangri-la of Hillbilly Schtick.... an Ozarktopia of Baldknobber's Bliss.

Perhaps,YOUR father might enjoy vacationing in the South of France, but MY father prefers to languish in the south of MISSOURI.  You are SO jealous right now that surely the green is seeping out of your nostrils, is it not?


Ah, but I kid the south of Missouri.  It is actually a nice, relaxing place to run to for a quickie weekend getaway.

Before this post completely careens off the rails, I am going to throw up some snaps and run far, far away.  If you would like to see the complete set of my glamorous Branson, Missouri vacation which included a lovely sidetrip to a fish hatchery, you can see the slideshow here.

Preview of next week's post? My whirlwind trip to the Carousel Museum in Leavenworth KS last Friday.

You say Flyover State like that's a bad thing.

Hot damn, these guys were just GORGEOUS.  I could NOT stop taking pictures of them.  

Don't It Make My Big Eyes Bigger

Unfortunately, They Don't Sell New Attitudes in the Gift Shop
Anjali was bound and determined that I not get a single picture of her smiling the entire trip.  Well played, baby girl.  You win this round.

Safety In Numbers
I put my cell phone number on each of my kids' bellies.  If they got lost, they could just ask someone to call me. Yes, they both actually know my number, but I was afraid they would blank on it if put on the spot or scared.  Arun spent the whole day coming up to me and saying in a really loud voice "Excuse me, I'M LOST.  Can you call MY MOM?!".  Then, he'd giggle and RUN AWAY.

Bathing Beauty
Is there anything more peaceful than a kitty sleeping in the sun? I think not.

Shopping at the Brits Store in Lawrence KS is Cheaper Than Therapy
My Wallace and Gromit addiction continues unabated......

June 2, 2011


My friend Jolene, my fellow Tonganoxie High School and University of Kansas (School of Business) alum,  passed away tonight and now, there is a 3.5 year old girl who will never hug her mother again.

I don't think I can add much more to that sentence.

Oh sure.... I could try, but it would simply all dissolve into a weepy, self-serving emotional sludge.

I am not sure if there will be a funeral yet, I have mixed feelings on that.  Jolene did not want us to make a big fuss over her, that was not in her nature.  I respect that.  However, there is something comforting in saying goodbye. But, also? Funerals in Vegas?  The Worst.  It is difficult to explain the juxtaposition of being on a plane full of folks with high expectations of partying and gambling in contrast to one's own sadness and grief.  I have already done that once, for my grandpa in 1999.  But I will do it again, if given the chance.

In a heartbeat.

I am taking the next week off from writing here. I am going to regroup and come back with pithy posts about my kids, my latest Kindle obsession and something particularly gross for Friday's Intestinal Fortitude.

This will also be the last time I talk of Jolene's death - anything more and I tread into mawkish, narcissistic territory that smacks of self-serving.  Instead, I am writing my memories of Jolene into a Word document that at some point, I will pass along to her husband.  Memories that perhaps, her daughter will be interested in someday.

I am closing comments on this post.  Instead of commenting,  I would rather folks spend their time doing something kind - paying someone's parking meter, holding the door open for the person behind them, paying for the coffee for the person next in the line.

And most importantly, giving loved ones hugs.  Lots and lots of hugs.

Please, do something kind today and don't do it randomly.

Make it full of purpose.