I’m Not Forgetful, I’m Excercising

This is what I tell myself after my third trip upstairs. It goes kind of like this:

Sleep in for an hour after the alarm rings. (Why do I keep setting the alarm for 5:45 a.m.? I never get up.)

Shower, dress, makeup.

Carefully make my way down the stairs. (The steps at the top of the stairs are deceptively narrow. I wonder if they are original to the house – before building codes required the crazy rule of each step being identical and deep enough for your foot.)

Eat a quick bowl of Rice Chex then run back up the U-shaped stairway to brush my teeth.

Walk down the stairs, sliding right hand down the handrail.

Realize I need socks to wear with my boots.

Run back up the stairs.

Grab thick, white socks from my son’s room. Head downstairs again.

Look for my scarf.

Run back up the stairs.

Grab flowered scarf and take a moment to reminisce that it’s the same scarf I wore during my interview for my last job. Run down the stairs. Who has time for the handrail at this point.

Congratulate myself for exercising and drive to work instead of taking the lightrail so I won’t be late.




Thanksgiving Rolls

My second favorite Thanksgiving food, after my mom’s dressing, is rolls. Usually, I buy Rhodes frozen dinner rolls, let them thaw and rise, pop them into the oven and feel very impressed by my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast. (Well, one year I purchased premade rolls from the grocery store along with a premade pie and brought it to my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving. Let’s just say that my offering did not pass muster. I redeemed myself the next year with a tray of Rhodes rolls fresh from the oven.)

Last year I decided to make homemade rolls. I searched for a recipe on Thanksgiving morning and gave it a whirl. I don’t remember what happened, maybe I burned them or they didn’t rise, but I had to make new ones that were finished right before everyone sat down to eat. SAVE!!

This year, my 13 year old daughter offered to make rolls on Wednesday. She followed her mother’s example, searched for a recipe online and proceeded. When I got home from work, there were rolls in all phases around the kitchen. Some baked, some rising into monstrous size, and large blob of dough in the refrigerator bursting from its plastic wrap and beginning to make it’s way down the edge of the shelf. A sad and tired girl had been convinced by her older brother (who has NEVER made bread of any kind) that she needed to double the recipe. The rolls didn’t taste great and she was pooped. I gave her a big hug, ate five rolls and told her we’d start again on Thanksgiving morning.

The recipe I found the next day was absolutely delicious and very easy. The link from allrecipes.com is here. The directions are for a bread maker so here’s my adaptation using my KitchenAid mixer.

Sweet Dinner Rolls

2 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast (or 1 package)

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm milk

1 egg, beaten slightly

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp salt

3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, softened

Microwave the water and milk for 45 seconds to one minute. (I make it feel like a really warm bath. Not so hot that you can’t keep your fingers in it.) Add the yeast  and about a teaspoon of the sugar. (I measured the sugar and just took a big pinch out.) Let it rise for 10 to 15 minutes until it’s foamy. If it doesn’t foam, start over.

Place the water/milk/yeast mixture, egg, butter, remaining sugar, and salt into your mixing bowl. Mix briefly then add flour 1/2 cup at a time. (When I measure flour, I always fluff it in the bag or container first then scoop it into the measuring cup. This way it doesn’t get too packed down.) The dough is sticky so add just enough flour so you can handle it. Add a little flour to the counter top and knead a few times. The dough is wonderfully soft.

Grease a bowl with oil and roll your dough in it then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double. Divide dough in half and roll out on lightly floured surface. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle, spread with softened butter and cut each circle into 8 wedges. Start at the widest part of each wedge and roll gently.

Place point side down onto cookie sheet lightly sprayed with Pam. Curve each roll a bit so it gets a crescent shape. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pat yourself on the back for being so darn amazing and talented then eat rolls to your heart’s content.

The Grass Is Always Greener

I know when I’m working more than I want because I start daydreaming about being a stay-at-home mom again. I spend  more and more time perusing cute blogs with pictures of domestic bliss. You know, beautifully decorated and CLEAN rooms where happy children are enjoying one on one time with Mom as they create craft projects or bake together. I imagine having dinner prepared every night at just the right time so we can all eat together before running off to activities. There would be warm cookies from the oven when the kids get home. The birds would sing and the sun would always shine. Oh, sorry, I really got carried away. You get the picture, I think.

Then I remember why I went back to school and got a job. I remember how exciting it is to learn new things. I look back at how much confidence and independence I’ve gained. I’m happy that I’ve been able to help realize dreams for myself and family such as buying our little farm house with land for my husband, helping one daughter pay for college and another get her very own horse.

So I guess this post is saying the way to avoid ‘the greener grass syndrome’ is gratitude. Tonight in my prayers I will thank Heavenly Father for guiding me to a job where I can get my CPA license without working the demanding hours that public accounting would have required. I will thank Him that I have family close by that pitches in and helps me juggle career and home. I will thank Him for a husband who takes on new responsibilities like grocery shopping, making appointments, driving kids to orthodontic appointments, and even making dinner on occasion. (Those chicken enchiladas were delicious, honey!)

My heart feels lighter already!



The Old, The New and Public Transportation

I like variety, but change…not so much. The past two weeks have been all about change. I decided the time had come to work on getting my CPA license which meant leaving my old job. It’s taken all the extra energy I have to adjust from working with a total staff of 13 in an older building in NE Portland to my new downtown job where a staff of 140+ people covers 2 floors. It’s meant saying goodbye to coworkers who have become family. It’s meant crying because I’ll miss my boss who has become my friend. (Poor guy, I blubbered in my typical fashion, but he took it well.)

The new job means meeting new people, learning  a new accounting system and procedures, and generally feeling like a dork. It’s means taking public transportation – the light rail train named MAX.  MAX has it’s own set of challenges and changes, namely people. Lots of different kinds of people. It means little personal space and getting up close with sounds and smells. My favorite.

For instance, on my first day of work, I listened to a man with a cold snort every few minutes for most of my trip. I don’t mean a little sniffle. I mean a full on, loud, I-really-mean-it, SNORT. After 35 minutes, I couldn’t tune it out. The more I tried not to hear it, the louder it seemed to get. And then it struck my as funny. I tried hard not to laugh and therefore succeeded in just smiling. Finally, I relieved the tension by texting my husband about it. His reply? “Did you offer him a kleenex?” No sympathy from a man who has ridden MAX for 14 years.

I’m pleased to say that even after some tears, I think I’m beginning to adjust.