Sunday, February 27, 2011

Youth Quaker

After church at 8:00 A.M., I had to shuttle Abigail and Hillary off to the West River Community Center for a swim meet while Susan stayed behind to carry out her duties as Sunday school director.  She joined us later to work in the concessions stand all day while I stayed in the swimming pool area and kept track of the girls' times in the events booklet.

And where was Suzanna during all this, you may wonder?  Well, I'll tell you:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pride, Prejudice, and Fish

For this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper, Hillary was my helper.  We made a pretty simple meal because we had errands to do during the day and a play to attend right after supper--not a lot of time for multiple recipes or lots of dishes to wash.  So here's what we made:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweets and Tunes

Our church is raising funds to update its organ with digital components that will improve its sound, capabilities, and longevity.  The fundraising is going quite well, actually, probably because the committee in charge has been using a variety of approaches to soliciting funds.  Their latest: a night of "Sweets and Tunes," an event held in one of the church's gathering halls this evening.  Organizers had decorated the room with strings of white lights and set the tables with lace tablecloths, fancy centerpieces, and candles.  There was a small stage set up in the middle of the room for the entertainment, which included . . . Susan and me!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Entirely Lemon

One of my friends, Weston, loves lemons.  One day he and I went out for dinner, and I watched him eat the lemon wedges that were served as garnish.  He sucked the juice out of them and then consumed them, peel and all.  I mentioned that I have made some tasty lemon-based food for some of the Scandinavian Saturday suppers in our household, and he has been pestering me ever since to make something lemony for him.  So tonight I did.

At home I made the lemon mousse that was part of this supper last year.  Then I brought it and a bunch of other ingredients over to his place to make the rest of a lemon-themed supper for him and his fiancée to enjoy: sautéed chicken breasts covered in paper-thin lemon slices and simmered in lemon juice, wine, and garlic; multi-colored spaghetti with a pasta sauce including lemon juice and Parmesan and Asiago cheeses; and roasted kale drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and lemon juice.  After the lemon mousse for dessert, we enjoyed a lemon liqueur over ice.  It was all very good, especially to lemon-loving Weston (for whom I even brought extra lemons for him to snack on while I was cooking).

I got a strange look from the grocery store employee whose check-out lane I used.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adjustment to Nightly Supper Themes

Faithful Reader, do you recall that, for almost three years now, our family has been dining each night according to a particular theme?  Bless Susan for her willingness to play along; each week she plans meals to suit these nightly themes (with the occasional exception, such as dining out for a birthday, or needing to eat up some leftovers from the previous night, etc.).  (And I'm in charge of the weekly Scandinavian Saturday supper, of course.)  We have tried a lot of new and fantastic food these past several years as Susan has experimented with new dishes to fit those themes . . . and we rarely repeat a recipe, either--there are just too many out there that we don't want to miss out on!

Well, we also have some favorite cooking shows that we like to watch each week (because Food Network is a family-friendly choice when trying to find something to watch with the kids), and I recently suggested altering our nightly themes somewhat to allow for regular trials of the recipes that we see on our favorite shows.  Here's are the changes:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Food Service Memories

It was another lo-o-ong Saturday for our family, thanks to a swim meet in Mandan, ND.  We left in the wee hours of the morning in order to arrive in time for pre-meet warmups, and we returned home late after spending some time shopping.  Thus, no Scandinavian Saturday supper this week.

However, we did have a great meal, thanks to a mid-afternoon stop at the Ground Round.  Susan's brother Jerrett stopped by the pool to watch each of the girls swim this morning, and he joined us for a late dinner/early supper once the meet had ended.  We chose the Ground Round partly because it's located near some of the stores where we intended to shop but also because we haven't eaten at one of their restaurants in a long time, and we have fond memories of it.  Susan and I both worked at the Ground Round in Grand Forks during our university years, and I loved my coworkers and have many funny stories from our interactions at work.

So I was predisposed to be in a good mood walking into the Bismarck location today and enjoyed the whole meal: the salty popcorn and cold beer, the overloaded burger, the visit with Jerrett, the friendly service . . . a great dining experience overall.  (The shopping afterwards wore me out, though, and the long drive home was very sleepy . . .)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cruz Control

We have season tickets from the Dickinson Area Concert Association, and the next event in the lineup was tonight.  After supper we walked up the street to the Catholic school auditorium where tonight's concert was held.  We heard Edgar Cruz, an acoustic guitarist who plays in many different styles.  He played original songs as well as famous Latin songs, classical music, hits of the early 1900s, and rock staples.  He's versatile!  And he has a warm, easy-going presence on stage, making for a relaxing performance of easy-to-listen-to guitar music.  You can hear him here, or watch him play "Bohemian Rhapsody" here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inconclusive

Because of this, Susan and Abigail and I made a trip to Bismarck, ND today to meet with a pediatric neurologist.  We intended to hear an expert interpretation of the symptoms that Abigail experienced last month and of the results of the CAT scan, EEG, and MRI that she underwent in the weeks since.  The neurologist noted that the CAT scan and MRI showed nothing abnormal, although the EEG did show some abnormal activity in the brain.  She listened to the details of the initial incident and Abigail's behavior during and after it.  And her conclusion?  "I don't know."  Turns out that Abigail's symptoms aren't typical of any usual explanation from the neurologist's experience.  Anti-seizure medication is an option, but then we'd be medicating Abigail for a condition that we're not certain exists . . . using drugs that impede brain activity, for Pete's sake!  Or we could do nothing and just see if something similar ever happens again; and if it were to repeat, the doctor would be able to give a better diagnosis and prescribe medication accordingly.  So we're probably going to wait.

A lot of family and friends have been waiting for news from us about what happened, and we certainly wish we had returned from the neurologist appointment today with something certain to say about the incident in January that started this all.  Unfortunately we don't know much more now than we did before going to Bismarck.

Keep praying.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love, Not Stuff . . . Well, Except for Flowers and Food

Is there a Valentine's Day equivalent of Christmastime's Scrooge?  If so, that's what I may sound like when I tell you that I opened the conversation at the dining room table the other day with something like, "Now, before we go buy things for Valentine's Day, do we really need to bring any more stuff into this house?"  But we've still got Christmas gifts sitting out, waiting for us to find a place for them; and the girls just hauled in several awesome Valentine's Day gifts from Grandpa and Grandma this past weekend . . . so nobody flinched at my suggestion that we exchange just love, not gifts, for today's holiday.

Be that as it may, I still took the opportunity to slip away from work today to buy flowers for my four valentines: yellow roses for each of the daughters, and a dozen red roses for Susan.  And after Susan and I were done with work, and the girls had finished their after-school swim team practice, we all went out to supper and had a delicious meal (including a huge portion of fried ice cream that we all shared for dessert) at El Sombrero, our favorite Mexican restaurant in town.  What a joy to spend time with my four lovely valentines!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Aunt Shirley at Gramma Sharon's

No Scandinavian Saturday supper this weekend.  Instead, we drove to Williston, ND for the girls' swim meet there.  We had an uneventful drive there early this morning, taking I-94 to Belfield, then Hwy 85 north through Fairfield, Grassy Butte, Watford City, Arnegard, and Alexander.  I point that out because, on the way back, we took a different route with far fewer towns along the way: we took Hwy 68 south of Alexander and then turned off on Hwy 16 through the Little Missouri National Grassland, encountering no towns or cities until we reached Beach back on the Interstate, which we traveled east back to Dickinson.  Hwy 16 was a beautiful drive: very little traffic, scenic terrain, deer along the roadside . . . all with the added benefit of the sense of exploration that comes when taking an unfamiliar path.

Even better than what we got to see on the drive home was whom we got to see while in Williston:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lutheran Luck and Laughter

Susan and I had a fun night out tonight.  A while ago, Susan got an invitation via Facebook to a birthday get-together for a woman who goes to our church.  I'm not this woman's Facebook friend, so I didn't get that invitation and declined Susan's offer to crash the party, but I encouraged her to attend.  Well, the woman later followed up with Susan to clarify that I was invited, too, so we decided to go.  And we're so glad that we did!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Magnetic Personality

The next episode in this saga was today: Abigail's EEG last week revealed some abnormal activity, so they scheduled her for an MRI this morning.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Savory Swedish Salmon Soup and Sandwiches

We had been planning to take our family friend Monica (whom the girls call their "in-town grandma") to Suzanna's concert this afternoon and then go out for supper afterwards.  However, it's terribly icy out, so Monica (who had hip surgery not long ago) opted to stay in and invited us to come to her home for supper after the concert.  We were going to take pizza to her, but this is Scandinavian Saturday in our household, and I wondered if there would be time before the concert to prepare something ethnic to pick up and take over to her after the concert.  It was Abigail's turn to be my helper, and she was game for fixing Scandinavian food to share with Monica for supper . . . so that's what we did.

Suzanna the Honor Chorister

The big weekend for Suzanna arrived: she participated in all-state honor choir (remember?) yesterday and today!  She got out of school around noon yesterday to go with her music teacher to the university (we're so lucky that the event is being held this year in Dickinson--we don't have to travel!), and he turned her over to the conductor assigned to direct Suzanna and the other 99 middle-school-aged students chosen from across the state.  They performed at concerts last night and this afternoon.  Wanna hear a little bit?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Abigail's All-Nighter

Abigail went in for an EEG today (catch up here), and the procedure itself was standard and uneventful.  Here she is ready for electrodes to be attached to the special cap: