A Postscipt for 2018

Hubby and I had a fun Christmas Eve. Laura’s house was full of Hubby’s side – daughters, grandkids, a mother-in-law and the dog. Tender and delicious Beef-on-a-bun was served with a pasta salad as we sat around Laura’s apartment talking over one another and the dog barking at everyones’ feet to grab just a bite of something – anything, please, people! We enjoyed seeing Laura’s two kids who now have jobs and stories of their own lives to tell. Her daughter has experienced a bitter life experience (breaking up with her beau of several years). They had settled into a small home together and it has been heartbreaking for her and just as heartbreaking for her Mom to watch and leave her daughter to try and solve a situation as best she knows how. Laura’s daughter has a good head on her shoulders, and despite the stubbornness she and her ex both have, I’m sure this affair will work itself out.

We then left Niagara Falls and headed to St. Catharines to finish out the evening at a sister’s home for fabulous deserts and gift exchanges. With more conversations and a lot of laughs, and again, everyone talked over each other, but with our large family we somehow understand what everyone else is saying. With my appetite increasing, and my sister serving a Yule Log cake, I couldn’t help myself but to go back for seconds. I’m trying my best to maintain the weight I have at present, but it has been a tough road. Too many things that pass by my eyes and nose smelling ever so good, my hands just seem to rise up from nowhere and grab whatever it is. For the first time in months I’m finally back to enjoying food.

Waking up Christmas morning, seemed like any other regular day. I struggled to shake the covers off by 8:30 am, but I had to take my routine pills by 9:00, get dressed, eat the toast and jam that dear Hubby fixes each morning, and be on the road to arrive at his other daughter’s home by 10:00 am.

Again, a household of family. Susan, hubby Tom and her two daughters were up and had already opened their gifts by the time we arrived. The gifts given to each and everyone of the family were well thought-out, clever, neat and fun. We listened to some of Bridget’s stories of her months living in Leeds, England, her side trips to Amsterdam, Italy, Germany and Spain, along with a couple of trips to places in England, such as Bristol and Inverness, Scotland. Her face lit up as she was telling us of the good times she had, the people she met and how well she did on the course she was taking. Hubby and I are so pleased she’s had this experience.

When we arrived home we grabbed a bit of lunch, sat in our comfy recliners and settled right back into our usual routine of doing the LA Times Crossword and gaming on the iPad. Within a couple of hours we began to start preparations for our little turkey breast, roast potatoes and a veg. Naturally not as yummy as a regular turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but it was ours’ and we enjoyed it.

Just because it’s still 2018, my life was still throwing me a couple of curve balls. Several days before Christmas I decided to make some Focaccia Bread. A simple enough recipe using the Bread Machine. I love the bread machine and use it a lot to make homemade rolls and other breads, so being very familiar with the workings, I put all of the ingredients into the machine in order they were suppose to go. I turned the machine on the Dough setting, as usual, and was expecting a nice round sticky dough in 1-1/2 hours. The dough would then be placed and flattened out onto a cookie sheet, dimpled with my fingers and popped in the oven for some yummy goodness in 20 minutes.

This, however, was not to be. The bread machine timer dinged when the time was up and as I went to open up the lid, what to my surprise but all of the ingredients were still sitting in the pan as if I had just put them in. Nothing had moved, nothing had even turned into a dough. I called for Nat and after we dug our fingers into the pan we soon discovered that the dough hook was not on its spindle to turn the ingredients around. We struggled a bit to get the dough hook back into place, and by now all of the ingredients had mixed together, including the yeast, which I was worried about. It was not to touch the salt, but I couldn’t tell by looking at the somewhat mess now created. I told Nat I just wanted to throw it out, that I was certain it was not going to work and I would redo everything.  Despite my objections, Nat convinced me to turn the machine on and see what happens. As predicted, I was right, the results were a big globby mess that felt like and looked like a beige heavy rock.

We threw the dough mess out and as we were fixing to unplug the bread machine for a few minutes, Nat discovered it had been leaking. The placemat it sits on to keep it from jumping around, was soaked. Decision made – throw the machine out and I’ll get a new one. I suppose it was about time. This bread machine had been well used and loved. A new up-dated machine would be warranted.

I struggled for a couple of days without a bread machine, but I had found and ordered a new one that would arrive just before Christmas. So I  had to wait until Boxing Day to maybe try again with the Focaccia Bread.

The new bread machine had all kinds of settings I knew I would never use, but at least it had what I needed and had a shiny chrome exterior that looked very professional. So I tried again, putting the ingredients into the pan as instructed. This machine would only take 23 minutes, however to make the dough. A bit surprised, but that’s what it said. So once the dough was complete – and looked pretty good at this point – I spread the same around the cookie sheet, dimpled with my fingers and spread the Olive Oil and Rosemary all around the top. Again, everything was looking pretty good and like the pictures you see on TV. Well, another curve ball was heading towards me again. The bread looked fabulous coming out of the oven, but once cut to try a piece with our supper that night, the bread was extremely hard to slice and was just as tough when we both tried to bite into it. Looking at each other, we both queried “What the hell happened”?  “Don’t know” answered the wife. “I followed the recipe exactly as written, as I do when trying something I’ve never baked before”, I further added.

After Christmas and with the rock hard Focaccia Bread still on my mind, I did a little research. According to what I found, the recipe I followed never asked for the dough to be rested so it could rise. The recipe also never stated that the dough should be kneaded once or twice and then given a chance to rise once the bread was spread out on the cookie sheet. So, I did further reseach and now have a recipe from my most favourite baker in the world – Paul Hollywood. In a few days I’ll give this whole affair a second chance and see what Mr. Hollywood can do. Despite the hiccups, I’m having fun again working with the bread machine.

It has also come to my attention today, after I called in two prescription renewals that the powers that be who were attending to me at the hospital in October, had cancelled a prescription that I had been taking up until that time. Apparentlly they felt that one drug I was taking wasn’t worth it’s salt, so they ordered a similar one but with an appetite stimulant in it. I was just a bit upset as I was never told about this and I felt a bit cheated and tricked. I told the Dieticians that I had an appetite, I just couldn’t fulfill it. The Thrush was now growing down my throat and I could NOT swallow a thing, thus the gagging. They never heard a word I said, and if I had renewed the new drug they swapped out, I’d be eating more and more than I wanted. As I’m trying to maintain the weight I am now I don’t need any help from chemicals to make me even bigger than I want to be. Somehow, I have this problem a lot – no one listening to me or even hearing what I’m saying.

2019 is going to be a year of new positives, new temperment and hopefully a lot of laughs. If not – just shoot me now.