Why, I'm Honored
Wordless Wednesday, Late Edition

Mixed Emotions

Welp, I'm still sick and still getting sicker. I was in a pretty cranky mood yesterday, for no other reason than that I just feel like total shit.

I was hoping that having a day off from work yesterday would give me some time to rest and feel better, but it wasn't to be. I ended up having to run around, which probably didn't help much.

First, after I got the kids on the bus, I had to get to work to pick up my paycheck, and then to the bank to deposit it. That was a #1 priority to make sure nothing bounced, eek.

Then, I had to immediately drive over to the Progressive (insurance) service center to drop off my van and pick up my rental. Have I mentioned that here? Progressive did some work on the van several years ago for a claim, and the piece wasn't painted properly. It has been bubbled up for months, until finally a week or two ago, the paint sloughed right off. There was a huge area of bare metal on the front passenger fender, so of course I needed to get it taken care of immediately. Thank goodness it won't cost us anything to fix or for the rental.

They said I'd have my van back possibly by Friday, and by Monday at the latest - but I'm kind of enjoying the GMC Acadia they gave me while it's in the shop! I'm not an SUV lover, and the only reason I drive a big, honkin' minivan is because our kids and their stuff just won't fit in a smaller vehicle - but, man, it is nice. I thought my seven-year-old van was still in decent condition, but the Acadia puts it to shame! I've rarely ridden in such a smoothly riding vehicle. It's like buttah, baby.

I went back home after that to relax for an hour or so, before I drove to the school to pick up Chloë for a big audition. Remember after she did the two movies in January and February, she said she didn't want to model or act anymore?? Well, I've been letting all kinds of opportunities pass by without doing anything, because I wasn't going to push her to do it if she wasn't into it.  So a week or two ago, she asked me when was going to start modeling and acting again! Um, hello?! She totally didn't even remember saying she wanted to stop. Rob and I just looked at each other and shook our heads...

So this audition came up, and it's a SAG job for a Colonial Williamsburg ad campaign. She'd just told me she wanted to start up again, so I submitted her for it, and they requested to see her yesterday (Tuesday).

I picked her up from school at lunchtime, and let her eat her food in the van Acadia on the way to Portsmouth, where the auditions were held. She has this one, majorly loose tooth hanging by a thread, sticking out the front of her face, and I was begging her to let me pluck it before she was seen! She refused to let me near it or try to pull it herself, so... in she went, looking like a jack-o'-lantern. Nice. Hopefully that won't be the thing that keeps her from getting the job!

She auditioned as a "family" with another little girl and a man and woman, acting as her parents. It was an improv audition, which is new to her, so she didn't have to remember her monologue. I couldn't go in with her, so I have no idea how it went, but when she came out, she just looked at me and smiled, saying, "FUN!!" Hope that's a good sign. Anyway, cross your fingers for her!

I took her back to school and, feeling completely miserable, finally crashed on the couch for a nap. Only, I didn't hear my alarm - or it didn't go off - and the next thing I knew, some kids from school were banging on my door. I woke up, immediately realized I was late for the bus, and ran to the door. The kids told me my kids weren't let off the bus, because I wasn't there. Crapola! Grabbed my shoes, my keys, my sunglasses,... and headed off to school to pick them up.

They were getting there just as I was. The busdriver hollered, "There she is!" and I rushed up to apologize and explain what happened. No one was concerned or upset, and the kids were happy-go-lucky, so it was okay. I certainly don't plan to make it a habit, though!

After we got home and the kids had a good snack, I had them start on their homework so it could be done before Chloë's soccer practice. Only, I completely forgot her soccer practice was changed from 6:00 to 5:00 starting yesterday, until my phone alarm beeped loudly at 5... telling me to be there at 6. I'd never changed it in the darn phone. Argh!! So we missed that, which annoyed the snot out of me, since I was irritated at Rob for missing Jack's Pack - or is it Den? And what is the difference? - Meeting last night.  Can't be mad at him, when I did the same thing!

The kitchen was in a shambles, and I will not cook in a messy kitchen, so Rob set to work cleaning it up as soon as he got home (something he'd meant to do on Monday before getting stuck at the Naval Hospital all day). I started dinner as soon as there was a clean spot for me to work: chicken thighs en papillote, yellow rice, and broccoli for dinner. "En papillote" simply means "in parchment," which for me actually means in aluminum foil. You make a sealed packet out of the foil and then add your food, which can be meat alone, or veggies alone, or both together, and probably other stuff to, but that's all I've ever done. I used to cook en papillote a great deal in our first year or two of marriage, before I got pregnant with the twins and had difficulty touching raw meats! You pretty much can't mess it up, and it has always tasted great.

Normally, when I cook the foil meals, I spray the foil with cooking spray, lay my cleaned-and-dried meats on the foil and salt-and-pepper both sides well. Then I'll put in a tbsp or two of olive oil to make sure everything gets moist and tender. If I'm doing veggies, I'll put those in there - but only raw, cut up veggies like onions, carrots and zukes; definitely don't use frozen or canned or they'll be mush! I wanted to use frozen broccoli to clear out some room in the freezer, so I just had the chicken thighs in foil this time. And instead of olive oil, I used some herbed butter (cilantro lime in one packet and wine something-or-other in the other) that I'd gotten for only 99¢ at Harris Teeter, on special. It was experimental; I had no idea how it'd turn out, especially since I hadn't cooked a foil meal in years and years.

(I put the oven anywhere from 350º to 400º, depending on the meat, and let it cook for an hour or so, give or take. You literally can't ruin it, other than not cooking it long enough. You don't want to be opening the packets and checking on the meat to see if it's cooked, so give it plenty of time. Opening the packets ruins the effect.) (And that's pretty much the only cooking lesson you'll ever get from me!) ;)


So here's how it turned out. I always take all the skin off, and yet it remains tender and juicy, moist and flavorful. SO GOOD.

I told the kids they had to eat all the chicken I gave them, which was not much, in order to get dessert. Little did I know, this would not be a challenge, since it tasted so great! My mood was instantly lifted when Jack told me, "I love this chicken, Mom. It's delicious!"

Score!!! It doesn't get much better than that. So you can bet I'll be cooking en papillote a lot more after this.

We folded and put away four loads of laundry after the kids had their well-earned desserts, and then we sent them to bed. I'd planned to knit, but again I didn't feel well enough to even hold up the needles, so I crashed. Ahhhh....

Only, it was a horrible sleep. I woke up half a dozen times, coughing, snot-nosed, and feeling like my body had been used for a punching bag. By the time 0600 rolled around, I could barely breathe. Since Stephanie told me that she potentially had the swine flu and we'd all been exposed on Sunday, I debated about ten minutes before finally calling in to work and letting them know I was sick, felt awful, and had been exposed. That raised alarm bells, and now I can't go back to work until I get a doctor's note of release.

Flippin' sweet! I'm off now, to call and make that appointment...

Hope you're all feeling better than I am! Except you, Steph - I know you're not!


P.S. If you try a foil meal for the first time after reading this, let me know how it turns out!

P.P.S. I didn't do a "Menu Plan Monday" this week because I don't know what-all we have now that I bought so many "real" groceries instead of just Schwan's. Hopefully I'll get that back on track before next week. :)