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So I got this funny (and very sweet) text the other night.  It was from Diva, wondering if I was ok.  Her husband works in the ER at Kettering Medical Center, and had just texted her that they had just gotten an incoming patient call for someone with my name.  I was snug at home eating dinner and thinking about watching some tv, so I knew I was fine.  However, there’s one other person in the world who shares my name, and that’s my mother.  So I called home to check.  Rosie answered the phone, and I said, “So, um, by any chance has Mom been in the ER today?” She replied that actually, yeah, she was there now, but it wasn’t anything to worry about.  Mom had fallen a few days before on the rocky walk in the backyard, and badly bruised her foot and leg.  She had showed me the bruise when I was home, and it really was spectacular looking.  However it had started swelling, and this worried her enough that she thought it should be looked at.  Her regular doctor thought it was probably fine, but he wanted to get the x-rays and scans done to be sure.  So she went on down to the ER and got it checked out.  The verdict is that she’s ok, there’s no blood clot (which is what they were worried about) and she should keep off it as much as she can for a few days.  So Mom’s going to be fine, Diva and her husband are awfully sweet, and Dayton really is the biggest small town ever.

In other news, it is snowing again, which is making me wish very much that I were at home making things in my crock pot.  There’s just something about a crock pot cooking away on the counter, filling the house with warmth, lovely smells, and the promise of good things to come.  I’ve been in love with crock pots since Ani moved in with me and Johnsy, bringing her large one with her, and I cooked pulled chicken in it for the first time.  It’s possibly the easiest recipe I’ve ever cooked, even easier than Sinfully Easy Cream Biscuits (1 part cream, 2 parts flour, mix, knead, cut out, bake for 15min at 450F).  There are only two ingredients: one 3 lb. bag of frozen, skinless, boneless chicken thighs, and a packet of taco or chili seasoning.  You put the chicken (still frozen) in the crock pot, pour the seasoning over it, turn it on to High, put the lid on and walk away.  About an hour or so later (the “or so” is extremely flexible) you come back and stir it.  Then you walk away again and let it cook for at least 3 hours, up to 8 depending on your convenience, and how quickly the chicken is cooking (crock pots vary).  When it’s done, you stir the chicken again, and it disintegrates into juicy, lovely shreds of goodness that make a gorgeous filling for tacos, tortillas, and burritos, a great topping for rice, or delicious just straight.  When I moved out of Johnsy’s house in with Rosie and Johnnycakes, one of the first purchases I made for my new home was my own large crock pot.  I’ve never regretted it.

As nice as the pulled chicken is, what I’m contemplating cooking today is bean soup.  I love a nice, thick bean soup, but cooking it on top of the stove requires slow cooking and careful watching.  Beans are prone to burning, particularly as they start approaching optimal thickness (I like my bean soup thick).  However, in a crock pot, you don’t have to worry about it.  You put in your beans, your ham bone, your garlic and onions, and let it simmer away for hours until it’s gorgeous, tender, and beautifully thickened.  That, plus maybe some rice and cheese, is a meal fit for a queen.  Too bad I’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to have it…

In other, other news, I might be heading down to DC this weekend for the March for Life.  After our fun road trip in November, Grace and I started talking about the next one.  At the time we decided that we should go down to the March, and I said provisionally that I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure.  There was a little something niggling in the back corner of my mind, and I couldn’t quite figure it out.  Later I realized that the March is on the same day that Swing Club starts up again, and I need to be there to teach.  If it weren’t the first day back, I could get someone to sub for me, but those first days are important (it’s a measure of how much I wanted to go that I even thought about getting a sub – the only time I’ve ever done that in the three years I’ve been teaching for them was the day my brother died).  So with deep sadness I had to tell Grace that I couldn’t go.  However, the story doesn’t end there.  It turns out that we might not be having Swing Club on Monday after all.  It seems that Madame President has been running into Issues with whoever assigns rooms for various club activities, and somehow Swing Club hasn’t been able to reserve a place to meet for Monday.  So we might not meet on Monday after all, which means I can go gallivanting with Grace, and also get to be part of my first March in way, way too long.  And that would be awesome.  I still haven’t heard the final word from Madame, and there are a few other details that would need to be worked out, but still – potential road trip glee!

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