I have next week off. I can hardly believe it. I have been working full out since June and I have had no time off this year that did not involve my mother. Deb also has most of next week off so we are looking forward to some serious together time and communing with the dogs. In no particular order, here are the things I plan to do next week:
- Let the dogs in and out about 15 times per day.
- Cook. I want to make some soups for the freezer to take for lunches.
- Watch obscene amounts of TV whilst I crochet.
- Listen to music
- Play computer games
- Buy some new music
If I can help it, I intend to only leave the house to forage for supplies. I really could become a hermit if I didn’t have to leave the house to work. It sounds like a great week to me!
 This does involve my mother but not until the end and only for 1 day!
 Heaven forbid they all go at once!
 NaBloPoMo does not recognize vacations!
Well tomorrow we head back home. Five days away was a nice break. The massages were excellent! Today we went for a drive to Campbell River. We really liked it there – it was right on the ocean and very well kept. We may look into going there for our next get away. One thing we noticed was a lot of things for sale – cars, trucks, RVs and boats. Our vacations tend to have a Mennonite theme and we were not disappointed when we saw a Mennonite church. We are going to relax and watch the Bucket List!
 Once we went to Harrison Hot Springs and the Mormon Brethren were there. I am not quite sure how they categorized all the women. (I checked for a blog about that adventure but I don’t have one. I guess I wasn’t blogging then.)
Deb has been taking some great shots at the beach of Piper and Sawyer. Enjoy!
Deb and I are at the Kingfisher Spa and Resort in Courtenay. We also have Piper and Sawyer with us. We have been here before so it is a known quantity. We are not in the really nice suites because we have dogs with us. There will be much swimming, hot tubbing and spa treatments!
My mother has gone home. It was a great experience with her over the week on the cruise. It was great because I made it great. It was also great because Deb made it great too. She spent 2 days with her, alone, for me. It is not an easy task being with her for any length of time. She can be demanding and difficult. I was very thankful that she was not rude to the crew on the ship – I don’t think I could have taken it. Also, the crew gave her nothing to complain about. I am glad we had this time together so she could get to know me a little better than she did before.
One thing I am grateful for is that she will be off my case about my weight. Given the amount of food I ate and all the exercise I got she was shocked that I did not lose any weight. I eat less than she does and she noticed. Of course, I did feel like the food police was watching me the whole time. I really did not have much an appetite. I was rarely hungry as we pretty much ate 3 meals a day, which I don’t do normally. She has now concluded that there is something else wrong. I have been telling her this for years but she just does not believe it. Now she does.
I feel quite bad for her, as Kathy is not always nice or kind to her. Kathy was quite upset that we went on the cruise together. She predicted that my mother would want to throw me overboard after 3 days. She said that quite to the contrary, that she enjoyed my company. She also remarked to Deb how I could talk to anyone and hold my own. Plus, we cannot forget the awesome Holland America Rubik’s cube I won play Team Trivia with Glen, the gay Australian Cruise Director.
I really enjoyed the cruise. Now I would like to do it again with Deb! Maybe we could do an Olivia cruise. The scenery was amazing – especially Glacier Bay. Haida Gwaii was lovely too. I finally feel like I am back on land today. It took a couple of days to get my land legs back so to speak!
 Something weird is going on again. I am literally not at all hungry.
 Glen got increasingly campy as the week on. By the end he was saying ‘toodle loo’ after his announcements.
We got up at 6 am so we could have time to shower and have some breakfast. We disembarked at around 7:45 am. It took us a while to find how to get out of the terminal, which was fine until we could no longer have a luggage cart and I was faced with trying to manage most of the luggage.
I have to say how pleased I am with how the cruise went with my mother. We have never spent this much time alone together ever. We discovered that we actually do get along quite well. My sister had predicted that my mother would be so tired of me after a week that she wouldn’t want to see me for a long time. Her prediction was dead wrong. My prediction hope was that we would be just fine without the additional emotional input my sister provides.
My mother was very pleased with how it went too. We actually spent some time building our relationship, which we had never done. We talked about a few painful things but it was well contained and respectful. She actually admitted she was wrong about my food intake and weight. This is a huge breakthrough for my mother and she finally sees that my food intake is low. She is hopeful that the endocrinologist I am seeing will be able to figure out the problem.
For the first time in my life, I have hope that I can have a relationship with mother. It is something we have never had. She used to say that she doesn’t understand me because I am so different from her. I think this bodes very well for the future. Now she wants to go to Hawaii and I am already looking forward to it!
No curry series would be complete without the butter chicken recipe. A couple of things about this recipe.
- It takes 5 hours to make this. 3 hours just to cook the onions properly.
- After you put the tomato paste in make sure you cook it until the oil separates – this will make sense when you see it.
- Use butter if you want softer onions
5 onions – large – diced
1 cup of oil, ghee or margarine
5 tomatoes – large
½ cup of pureed garlic
½ cup of pureed ginger
1 tsp of tumeric
1 tsp of garam masala
¼ tsp of cayenne (optional)
1 small can tomato paste
1 litre of whipping cream
- cook the onions on a low heat in the oil until they are translucent. It is important that this is done slowly. It should take at least an hour if not longer. Stir often.
- add the pureed ginger and garlic and cook for 20 minutes or so with the onions. It should start to form a paste.
- add tumeric, cayenne (you can also use pureed jalapeno) and garam masala – cook for 20 minutes or so
- add tomato paste – cook until the entire mixture is a ruddy brown and the oil starts to separate from the paste. This step is very important or the tomato paste will not be mixed in well enough.
- puree the 5 tomatoes and add to mixture.
- run the sauce through a blender to liquify.
- return the sauce to the pan and add the whipping cream
- add raw chicken to sauce. Cook on low temp until chicken is cooked – about an hour
The clocks went forward an hour as we made our way back towards BC. This meant I got one hour less of sleep. Boo hoo for me! I slept until about 9:40 am. By the time I showered and dressed this meant we were a bit late for breakfast so all we got was cold cereal, which was just fine. I am getting a little tired of rich food.
We went for a special luncheon today for just the ‘suite’ guests. As we arrived to the dining room we ran into my former professor and his wife again, so we sat together. It was very enjoyable to talk about politics and other topics.
We went out into open waters today and the boat was rolling quite a bit. This was the most wave action we have seen since the cruise started. We were down shopping for jewelry when it was worst. It certainly made life interesting.
At the end of the cruise is when you decide what you are going to tip. This is particularly interesting given that we have had our own concierge and room stewards. My mother does not tip well. When I went to give the money to the Jean-Paul, I asked him to divide the money. He then asked me to put it into envelopes. When I went to divide the money, it seemed a pitiful amount that everyone was going to get. So I augmented the amount when my mother wasn’t looking. This would be on top of the $11 per day we already paid. Holland America says that they do this to make it easier for everyone. I really felt it was important to tip the people who have made our cruise great.
The crew has done a phenomenal job on this cruise. I have a great example to demonstrate how efficient the crew work. Since we embarked on the ship, I had been called ma’am and madam and Ms Shihtzustaff too many times. I said to one of them, please, please, just call me Christine. From that moment on every person who greeted me from room steward to the dining room called me Christine. I could not believe it!
I have some free time so I am going to run away now!
 I also gave them our bottle of champagne.