Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Head is Stuffed With Useless Facts

Do you like facts? You know, those little bits of information that you can wow your friends with and astound people who are watching Jeopardy!

I love miscellaneous facts. That minutae that just makes your brain go ZING! and the eyes of your friends and family glaze over. Oh yes, I love minutae and I am sure that some day there is going to be a need for me to pipe up and tell someone, off the top of my head that:

1. At the Battle of Midway none of the battleships and aircraft carriers that participated in the battle ever actually saw each other. I can also name the four aircraft carriers that the Japanese committed to the battle : Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu (all of which were sunk).

2. If you plant your bell peppers beside your tomatoes then the peppers will be stunted. Also, always cook your peppers and onions well before adding the tomatoes because the addition of tomatoes stops the peppers from cooking.

3. It is illegal to own the 1933 US Gold Double Eagle ($20 coin). There are only a few in existence and that is because they were stolen by a US mint employee in 1933 and sold. Most were recovered by the government, all but two. One resides at the Federal Reserve in NYC and the other is privately owned with the permission of the US government.

And the "motherlode"...........

4. I can list all the Kings and Queens of England from George I onwards as well as accompanying commentary.
George I: boring
George II: double boring
George III: died in 1820, who for the last 10 years of his life was crazy as a bed bug and didn't actually reign. They kept him stowed away while his son was the Prince Regent
George IV: 1820-1830, had multiple illegitimate children but only one legit, a girl (Caroline) who died giving birth to her first child. George hated his wife passionately and vowed to have no more children with her.
William IV: 1830-1837, brother of GeorgeIV, also no legitimate issue, no intention of fathering legitimate issue. That set off a "baby race" between his brothers which resulted in...
Queen Victoria: 1837-1901: longest reigning monarch (but QEII is closing in), poor fashion sense, loads of children who were married out to all the heads of state, grandsons were Kaiser Wilhelm and Czar Nicholas II
Edward VII: 1901-1910, playboy, lightweight (only in style of reign, HEAVYWEIGHT in weight), married to Alexandra who was deaf in one ear and who turned a blind eye to his many affairs.
George V: 1910-1936: stern, staunch, king during tough times, married the woman who was the intended bride of his older brother who died.
Edward VIII: 1936, 11 months to be exact. Abdicated to marry twice divorced American commoner Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson. Nazi sympathizer, Gov. of Burmuda, Duke of Windsor, playboy.
George VI: 1936 -1952, "the Spare" who never thought he would be king.
Queen Elizabeth II : 1952 - present. And heaven help the United Kingdom when her wacky son, Prince Charles, comes to the throne. The guy's car runs on recycled red wine for the love of Pete. Seems a waste of red wine if you ask me.

Sometime, somewhere I am going to need to spout this out. I just know it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Abundance of Friends

I am giving you fair warning that this is a long post. I am feeling wordy today and this post has been working it's way through my system for a while. Consider yourself warned, but still encouraged to read.

What seems like many years ago now, I went through a period of what I would now term fairly serious post partum depression. It was serious. It lasted 6 months. I told no one. No one guessed, not HHBL, not my parents, not the few friends that I had. No one here on Earth knew that I struggled to get out of bed daily. That I struggled to get through the basic tasks of the day with three children under the age of five. That if it had not been for the fact that I never was without my children in the car with me that I would most likey have sent said car off the bridge that spans the Chagrin River, I had the place all picked out. That is a scary thought isn't. It is certainly scary to me as I sit here, 18 years later and think about it.

Life was very bleak. And that time, when I was at the lowest point that I have ever been in my entire life I literally fell on my knees and cried out to the Lord. You see, there was one person who knew how I struggled and it was my Jesus. I remember that day vividly, as I think we all do when we have times like that. I remember clearly asking Jesus for a friend, just a friend.

And let me tell you that the Lord answers the cries of our hearts and in abundance.

This stream of thought has been brewing in my mind for quite a while as I think about the groups of friends that I have. Groups and groups and groups. Friends and more friends. More than I could imagine and such a varied group let me tell you. Some of the groups have overlaps and some sort of stand on their own but all precious to me.

They came slowly at first because, you see, I had to learn that I was someone who was worthy of friendship, that I was someone whom people might actually like to be friends with. I firmly believe that the lie that, "you are not a person that other women would like to know" is the internal thought that the Evil One uses to bring discontent. We all have a desire and need for friendship and companionship and if we feel that we are someone that others do not wish to know then we are isolated and more vulnerable. I speak only for myself on this but I have seen the same thing happen in others.

First there were friends that were the mothers of my daughters friends. We had a common thread that bound us together. We spent time together on occasion helping in the classroom or on a field trip.

Then a few more were added when I went to work at my daughter's school.
Linda will shoot me if she ever sees that I have put this picture up but tough! Yes, we were the "kitchen ladies".I loved that job and I loved those women and they are still my friends, amazingly, even though we no longer work together and for the most part our children are grown. I learned that yes, I am a funny person and someone that works well with others. Although I occasionally run with knives.

And then there were these lovely ladies. I have to say that Stacey and Susan have been my friends for a really long time, we were college roomies at Baylor University. But, as life has a tendency to do, we had drifted into our adult lives and out of each others. But the Lord continued to fulfill the cry of my heart and brought us back together and I have to say I do not know what I would do without them now. We still live in different areas of the country but we try to spend a "girls weekend" together every once in a while and we talk and email and Facebook and.....

Lest you think that it was all, "Lord give me, give me, give me.." let me assure you it was not. I had to learn to be a friend, to know how to listen, I had a lot to learn. And I am still learning let me tell you.

You never know when friends will present themselves. For a period of time, a short and rather awkward period of time I was a Creative Memories consultant. I was not cut out for that job but that is another story altogether. What was great about that little fork in the road was the friends that I picked up along the way. The whacky (you KNOW you are guys), scrapbooking women who made me (and make me) stay up late and cut pictures and do all that incomprehensible scrapping stuff. They are another link in the friendship circle. Yes, that is me with my very short hair. It was a phase.....that lasted 15 years.

And then there are these women. This is one of those overlap situations where there are women from several different "friend circles" (I sound like a cell phone company). There are women from my neighborhood, there are women from the "kitchen ladies" days, there are women from way back when my kids were little, there are women from Bible study. They all come to my house in December for a rather raucous ornament exchange where there is eating and laughing and stealing. When I started this thing almost 10 years ago many of them didn't know each other and many of them only see each other once a year, at this thing. But they are friends and another link in the circle (I can hear "The Lion King" song in the background).

And then there are these precious women who mean the world to me, who took care of me after my surgery when my mom went home, who make me laugh, who study the bible with me. They are my sisters of the heart.

And now I have added another group to the friend mix. I don't have a picture to show you but they are my knitting buddies, the crazy, quirky women of TriCounty Knitaholics. We meet every other Monday unless of course we need a "supplemental meeting" which seems to happen a lot. What can I say, don't mess with women who regularly use pointy sticks.

So, all those many years ago, when I was so low and so lonely and cried out to the Lord for one friend....He blessed me. He blessed me a thousand fold with friends overflowing. And I treasure each and every one.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And We Are Walking

In a long ago and far away time I worked out at Curves. OK fine, I quit my membership there this March, you people are so picky. But, I did spend two years going to my local Curves 3-5 days a week. And in that time I made some great friends. There was a group of us who showed up every morning...the "early morning" group. Trust me when I say that if you have a group of people who are willing to get up and sweat at 7:30a then you have a group of strong minded individuals. Yup, strong.

So, there was a change in ownership at the Curves....and there were other changes that made some of us a tad unhappy.....and so we all quit. We took our sneakers and went home. Pffffffft!

But then we all said, "Well, we still have to exercise or else we will all look like hippos. So how about we exercise together!"

And so we do. 3 days a week (and occasionally more) we power walk two miles around a local lake. If it is raining we go to the local outlet mall and walk under cover but most of the time we walk outside. We walk, we talk, we solve the worlds problems.

Finally, I remembered to bring my camera to take some pictures. Are you ready? Here we go....

Sunny Lake is really lovely. Last year not so much because the powers that be drained the lake to do some work so all summer it was a stinking mudhole. But now it is lovely, especially this time of year when the leaves are turning.

We occasionally see some wildlife, mostly geese and the occasional duck. The geese are rather a problem around here. You can't kill them, you can't maim them (not that we would), you can't get rid of them. In fact, the next town over tried to prosecute a man for killing a goose that was attacking some woman in a parking lot. The town saw the error of their ways but it just illustrated the ridiculousness of protecting these creatures. Sunny Lake has a lot of these and where there are geese there is....

....... goose poop. I said poop, I am sorry. Excrement would have been a better word I suppose. Massive amounts of goose excrement. Littering the paths that we need to walk on.

Tip toe, through the goose poop. Check your shoes Don't you track that in here. Tip toe, through the goose poop with me.
(Sung to the tune of "Tip Toe Through the Tulips)

The other bird that we love to see is the Great Blue Heron. There are actually two of them who hang around the lake. They are the coolest things I can tell you.
They aren't the loveliest things when in flight, sort of puts you in mind of something from Jurassic Park. By the way, just as an aside, the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is WAAAAAAY scarier than the movie ever was. I just thought you would want to know that.
He let me get this close and no closer. Thank goodness for the telephoto lens.
"What are you looking at lady? You lookin' at ME!"

We spent Friday walking a tad slower because Mary Lynn brought all her pictures from their trip to Africa. An ipod touch is an awesome thing for storing pictures that you want to show to other people. But it is hard to walk, talk, look at pictures and take pictures almost simultaneously. Thank goodness I am good at multi-tasking.

This is Toby. He is walking with his owner almost every morning when we are finishing up. Toby does not like to walk, not at all. He walks then sits and won't go any further even though his owner urges him on in her lovely Scottish brogue. That is until Toby spots the ladies. Toby is a real ladies man let me tell you. He picks up the pace and head over to see us and have us pet him and adore him And he has us all wrapped around his little finger. Or his paw as the case may be.

OK, now I am done with this rather boring post. But at least the pictures were pretty. Well all except the one of the goose excrement. I do tend to take pictures of unusual animal excrement. I can show you the pictures of the bear poop if you want.


Well maybe later.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Look To Your Right Please

Look to your right, in the side bar of the blog. Do you see that section that says "Followers"? It looks like this:

Notice how much white, empty space there is in that place where followers should be. I feel very lonely. I feel unloved. I know that there are people out there that are reading the blog because my stat counter tells me that you are there. But, but, don't love me.

OK, I do have three followers and I LOVE them. In fact I read Flat Creek Farm, Watching the Grass Grow and luvtoknitandmuchmore all the time.

I want more followers doggonit! I know I am greedy and I hang my head in shame at wanting more followers. Shame, shame, shame.

So, please.....pretty please.....pretty please with sugar on top would you click over there and say that you stand with me.

We stand together in this blogosphere.

Raise your hands people and stand with me.

Knock, knock, knock....

Is anyone there?


Friday, September 25, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 40)

It is hard to believe that I have been participating in this little weekly project for 40 weeks. Where has all the time gone? Remember to click on the picture above to waft gently over to Conversion Diary to see what all the other "Quick Takers" are doing.

What is it about shredders that is so fun. I mean, it is just an excellent thing to stand in front of the paper shredder with a whole stack of stuff that has to be shredded.

Turn on the shredder, hear the lovely hummmmmmmm
Feed in the paper and hear the shredder do it's work Crunch, crunch, crunch
Or better yet! Feed in a CD and hear the machine go, "Nohm, nohm, nohm" as it chews through the disk.

Oh, it just gives me shivers. Perhaps I should be working for some company that needs to shred things. ACORN perhaps?

Random Things seen around town this week:
- a guitar pick on the ground by the gas station. Was someone strumming on the old geetar while filling up the buggy?
- one of those foam toe separators that you use when you paint your toenails. It was laying on the ground in front of the automatic sliding doors at the local Wally Mart.
- one flip flop in the middle of the road. How do people lose one shoe in the middle of the road?
- a discarded doll by the side of the road. My guess is that some child threw it out the window and mom never knew.

I am finding it very interesting to see new "Facebook friends" crop up on Shoe Queen's profile. That is the thing that happens when your kids go off to college. All of a sudden there are people in her friends that I have no idea who these people are. And then there are photos of her in places and with people that I do not know (don't worry, she isn't doing anything that she shouldn't). It is a strange and sometimes unsettling thing to see. It is a part of growing up and I am grateful that all three progeny "friended" me right off the bat, AND that many of their friends "friended" me as well. But strange none the less.

And may I say that if you have 1,000+ friends in Facebook you cannot POSSIBLY be able to manage that many friends. Or even remember who all your friends are. Overkill perhaps?

Do you have things in your life that you really don't like to do now, when you are an adult, that you really enjoyed doing as a child? Think about it and I bet you can come up with some. For me, the one that I can think of right off the bat is ironing. I distinctly remember ironing for hours on end when I was younger. Pillow cases, handkerchiefs, whatever I could and whatever my mom would let me. But now I will go A LONG TIME in between sessions of ironing. I just really don't like it. It is tedious.

Of course this doesn't apply when I get the iron out because I am doing some kind of sewing project. It is only when I have to iron clothes or table cloths or something like that. Which I have to go and do now.

And just as an aside. Polyester Barbie clothes DO NOT iron well. They tend to melt. I just thought I would let you know that fact. I learned it through hard and sad experience at a time long ago and far away.....and it wasn't even a Barbie dress that belonged to me. Not a good day or play session.

Do you have an ipod or some similar device? I love my ipod but my eclectic taste in music is a constant source of amusement to HHBL. What can I say, I have eclectic taste. The only thing I don't listen to is rap, everything else is fair game.

This is what came up on the ipod in the time it took me to drive home from a dinner meeting last night

Come On Get Higher - Matt Nathanson, Rock
Don't Rain on My Parade - Barbara Streisand, soundtrack of Funny Girl
Dooley - The Dillards, Bluegrass
In Her Eyes - Josh Gorban, yummy
Miracle of Hope - Michelle Wagner, Christian
Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye, so sue me I like this song
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - The Puppini Sisters
Sosban fach - Bryn Terfel, opera singer singing Welsh songs

Tomorrow starts the annual garden clean out, not my favorite aspect of having flowers and all sorts of other growing things. However, it must be done and I always feel better when it is finished. Isn't that always the way with things that we don't like doing. We know that it has to be done and it isn't something that we want to do. If we let it just stay undone it makes us unhappy and when we finally get it done it feels so much better.

Now if the rain that is predicted for tomorrow will just hold off until Sunday. I have worked in the garden in the rain before but I would prefer not.

Besides, we are going to a local "battle of the marching bands" at the high school and I don't want rain to mess that up. Stop looking at me funny!

Talked to The Engaged One this week. It always amazes me that we can call her cell phone and she answers loud and clear all the way in Uganda! She is having life experiences I can tell you. She is currently staying with a "host family" in a home that has three rooms. There is a main room where all the actual living is done. Then there is a bedroom where the three youngest children sleep. And then TEO sleeps in the other bedroom with the mother of the family. The father is not present in the home. They don't have electricity most of the time and only have meat once a week or so. She is certainly learning alot.

Have a great week everyone and go and take some pictures. I am taking my camera on my walk around the lake this morning and am hoping that the Great Blue Heron will be out again. If so then you will see the pictures!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And Then There are THOSE Days

Have you ever noticed that when you most want a dish to turn out......sometimes it just doesn't. There must be some sort of law, like Murphy's Law, only it relates to cooking and baking. This of course means that if you:

1. Have someone coming to dinner


2. Are making something that you haven't made in a while


3. Things will not work out as well as you had planned.

Is this Sour Cream Pound Cake not a thing of beauty. I bought strawberries at the store this week and when I knew that we were going to have a house guest this evening then I thought, "Ohhhhh, Sour Cream Pound Cake and strawberries for dessert. That would be excellent." And so, I started on making the pound cake.

Now I have to tell you that it has been a while since I have made this cake. And for some reason I couldn't find the springform pan that I usually use for this cake. I looked and looked but it has disappeared, taken a hike, gone to Bermuda. It is not here.

So scrounging around I found my bundt pan........

I just had to put this clip in. It is one of my favorites and since I was using my bundt pan it seemed appropriate.

I mix the cake, I liberally spray and flour the pan because the bundt cake has all those little indentations. The cake tastes yummy in raw form so I knew it would taste yummy when it was done. Yes I ate some of the batter. Baking has it's privileges.

I wait, I do some other things, I make Three Cheese Chicken Lasagna for dinner. And then "Ding" the timer goes off and I take the cake out and put it on the counter to cool.

Time passes, time goes by, the world turns. It is time to turn the cake out onto the pretty plate. And.......


This is why I don't like to use that bundt pan. Because it hates me and tries to make my day a miserable one by holding onto my cake with all of it's little teflon covered crevasses. It was bad.

I will tell you how bad it was. It was so bad that the dog retreated into his house because it was too scary to be in the kitchen, that is how bad it was.

Let's have another look shall we, at the disaster that became my Sour Cream Pound Cake. Yes, I know that it will taste good no matter what it looks like. Believe me, I am going to eat some of it and enjoy it. But......we have a dinner guest who is also staying overnight.......and he is a business associate of HHBL's ....and besides I just wanted it to look nice DOGGONIT!

And once again here is the disaster. Believe me, it looks better than it did because I dug out from the stooooopid bundt pan all the pieces that had stuck there and then stuck them haphazardly in place on the offending cake. That one glaring indentation in the cake, that crater in my lovely dessert. Well, I ate that piece. So sue me.

Now, where is the knife and the whipped cream.

Edit: I did forget to say that the cake was delicious. I had a piece for breakfast.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's Happening in the Garden

I love my garden this time of year. I love my garden at any time of year but this time for sure. Everything is all almost over grown and almost past it's prime. It reminds me of a little southern lady with too much blush on her cheeks, her hair done in a "big" style and lipstick that is slightly outside the lines. If you have ever spent time in the South then you have seen someone who fits that bill. You know you have!

Every once in a while I find a mushroom (or is this a toad stool?) coming up in the garden. They don't seem to last very long, sticking their heads out one day, full out the next, gone the third day.

My "Hen n Chicks" are going great guns after their deer haircut earlier in the year. I started out with just a few of these things tucked into a few spots and they have just gone crazy. What is it about these plants that I just love?

Ah yes, the fly in the ointment. The curdle in the milk. The ever present problem child. The Deer. At a certain point in the year I just throw up my hands, throw in the towel and say, "Eat away Bambi, eat away!" And that time has come. This is just one stalk of the hosta, minus it's beautiful heart shaped leaf. Take this picture and put it on an entire hosta plant. Well all except for the leaves that are closest to the ground. It sort of gives the hosta the look of a monk with a very bad tonsure haircut. Where do I come up with these things???

I love Alyssum. It has a funny smell but I just love it. These particular plants are coming up in the middle of my front walk because several years ago I had some alyssum that self seeded and now it comes up every year. I just have to be very careful when I am weeding in the Spring because the new plants look very similar to weeds. It helps to know your plants. That also applies to poison ivy. It helps to know your plants.

Another plant that I love the smell of. What is it with me and smells? At any rate, these are waiting to go into the ground or onto the front steps. Of course, once I do get them into the ground I will have to spray them with the stuff that smells like a vomitorium to keep the deer away.

Aren't these lovely! And in another few weeks they will be a wonderful red color. And at the moment I can't for the life of me remember their name. It will come to me....just wait for is on the tip of my tongue....Oh forget it.

Ferns, I love ferns. They are so cool and green and mysterious. I also love the word mysterious. It is one of those words that just rolls off your tongue.
And if you say it with a fake Russian accent it is even better. Or perhaps channel your inner Greta Garbo.

And again with the Rudbekia Debbie, what is it with you and the Rudbekia? Well, it is a happy flower, all sunny and bright. But look closer.....closer......closer. Do you see that thing sticking off of one of the petals. It is a slug, frozen in time, dried out in the act of trying to make a leap from the leaf to safety in the leaf clutter underneath. Sort of his own slug olympic dive that went horribly wrong.

And to end with here is a picture of one of my last remaining clematis blooms. I love these things.

And so, you can see, life is busy in the garden where I am enjoying the last of the blooming things and not looking forward to all the cleaning out that will happen in late October. For now, I will go out and smell the alyssum and look at the clematis and see if there are any more dead slugs on the rudbekia.

Someone has to do it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Whoooosh, Whooosh

Have you ever noticed that automatic sliding doors, like the ones at the local Wally Mart or the library here, are absolutely irresistible to little boys. Irresistible.

I happen to know this because I was at both of those places yesterday and observed "little boy and sliding door" behavior in both places. I am just wondering if it is something genetic?

At Wally Mart this is what I saw:

Mom pushing cart with small child in seat, older boy (probably 5 y.o.) trailing behind. The trailing part is important because you see, mom went into the store but son became fascinated with the doors.

Stand in front of the door.....Whoosh the door opens.....jump to the side.......Whoosh the door closes....repeat until the greeter by the door is about ready to come out of his skin and mom comes rushing back saying, "Bernard! Stop that and stay by me!"

OK, OK I don't know if the little guy's name was Bernard. But he LOOKED like a Bernard to me. And as he walked away he looked back longingly at the doors.....going Whoosh.

After the Wally Mart it was off to the library to pick up a book that had come in for me. My local library has not one but TWO automatic sliding doors. Little boy heaven I would think.

Again, standing in line waiting to pick up my book I observe Mom, daughter and son entering the building. Mom and sister walking along.....little brother running. Running up to the sliding doors and jumping in front of them......Whoooosh go the doors. Mom and sister walking through the next set of doors with brother hanging out there until the doors closed and then jumping in front of them and......Whoosh the second set of doors open.

And then he decides that he is going to run through those doors.

Have you ever seen the movie Ben Hur? And there is a scene in the movie where Ben Hur (Charleton Heston at his studliest) is in the slave ship and they are showing Quintus Arius how fast they can get the slaves to row?

"Ramming Speed!!!!"

Oh yeah, you can see where this is headed. Little brother runs through the doors, picks up can just hear someone saying, "RAMMING SPEED!" and he takes out his sister in the front of the library.

"Oh look Frank, it's Bowling For Sisters!"

Just another day in the life of a little boy and an automatic sliding door.

And just as an aside, can I say that YouTube must have everything if I could find the Ramming Speed clip from Ben Hur.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Can't Believe I Bought The Whole Thing

I....I....I....bought "some" yarn on Saturday. I just couldn't help myself.

I told myself, "Self, you are not going to buy any yarn because you have plenty in your stash and you don't need any right now."

And my Self said, "PFFFFFFFFT!"

You see, one of our LYS (local yarn shop to the uninitiated) is closing. Oh the weeping, oh the wailing, oh the clacking of pointy sticks. It was a sad day. But with the store closing there comes the lovely word "SALE". Oh yes, 40% off lovely yarn. And Miss Chickpea has some really lovely yarn. I say "had" because, after my group went through they were a lot lower in inventory.

So my knittin' buddies from Tri-County Knitaholics met at the store and started shopping. And you see (I seem to use that phrase a lot to justify things) we are sort of enablers when it comes to yarn purchasing. I am sorry to say that we don't tell each other to STOP! and PUT THAT YARN DOWN! and YOU DON'T NEED THAT!

No, we are all "Ohhhhh, that is great and you need that for the sweater you were talking about." Or, "Wow, that will be great for those socks." And then there is, "I don't know what you will make with it but you still have to get it."

Yup, enablers.

And so, in the name of full disclosure, and because the yarns are so yummy, I will show you what I got and you will be all jealous. Unfortunately you can't have the full experience because really, when buying yarn it is all about the touching and stroking and petting and feeling of the yarn. Hmmmmmmmm. I think I will stop with that line of thinking.

Just think of the next series of pictures as "Yarn Porn". I am sorry to have said the word porn but if you are a knitter then you will understand.

Oh yes, that is a whole LARGE bag full of lovely yarn.

For socks

Ohhhhhhh, look at the colors!

I don't know what these two skeins will become but I just couldn't pass them up. Berroco Ultra Alpaca is lovely.

Ohhhhhh, more Ultra Alpaca only this is the "fine". It makes excellent socks as Roots and Rings can attest (check out #7).

Not sure what these are going to be but it may be a shawl of some kind.

This....this will be a light summer sweater of some kind. I bought all that they had which was 10 skeins and it may just be enough. We will see. It is luscious (oh I love that word).

I hang my head in shopping shame at the yarn that I bought. Or at least I will....once I am done touching the yarn and putting it in with the rest of the stash, and thinking about what I am going to knit with it and.........

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Your Humor for the Day

For your viewing pleasure. I laughed so hard that I had to re-do my mascara for church.

HHBL and I do not go to the grocery store together.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


OK, so there is a reason that I am not an entomologist. And the reason is that in order to be an entomologist you have to study.....BUGS! And I am so not going to do that I can tell you.

So I was down in the basement today, and I look over towards the furnaces and....

Um, what is that on the floor?

Ummmmm, is it moving?

It is really big and it has legs and......I think it is a really large beetle of some kind.

And it was THIS

I have absolutely no idea what this beetle is nor do I really care to know. I know that it is dead and that is good enough for me. Also, I am not going to contemplate how he got down into the basement and if there are any of his relatives hanging around. I am just going to go on faith that this is the only one.

Oh please let it be the only one.

And of course, once he was discovered he had to be removed from the basement. And what did I do with him?
Why, I put him on my bookshelf of course. Where else did you think he would go?

And speaking of bugs, as we were. I was in the local Wally Mart yesterday looking to buy some mums. I went to pick one up and thought, "Huh, what is that on the flower? Is it some kind of leaf?"

Noooooooooo, it wasn't a leaf.

It was...........

A Praying Mantis!

Of course, I whipped out the trusty little camera and took a picture. I did not pick this particular plant to buy and take home. I left it for someone else. But doesn't it make you wonder how the Praying Mantis got there? Did he ride in on the truck or was he just hanging around Wally Mart? Picking up a gallon of milk for the Mrs. maybe? Enquiring minds want to know.

Friday, September 18, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 39)

Hey there, remember to click on the picture above to be whisked through the world wide web and over to Jennifer's site to see what all the other Quick Takers are doing. And now, on with the show...
So, I might have mentioned before that The Engaged One is spending a semester of study in Uganda. She has a blog and if you are at all interested in what she is doing and learning you can go over there to see. She is certainly having experiences of a lifetime. Just click on her name above and you will be swept through the vast world wide web to her words. Last week I shamelessly plugged Cartoon Girl's site and this week it is another progeny. Be glad that Shoe Queen doesn't have a blog!

And just like that they are gone.

Yes, the hummingbirds have "left the building" or at least the area. It is always such an abrupt thing that sometimes I miss it. They will be there one day, zooming around, tweeting at each other and sucking down the nectar. And the next minute they are all gone and my feeders hang quiet and forlorn. I am not sure what the signal is for them to go but they seem to all leave at once. I will leave the feeder out for another week or so just for any stragglers but I am fairly sure that I will not see any after this point until they show up in the Spring. I will take my feeders down, wash them and put them away for next year. And then, around April 15th, even though it will still be cold around here, I will put them back out. I won't see any hummingbirds for a while after that but then, one day out of the blue, there will be a male hummingbird who will flit to the feeder. The males always show up first, just to scout out the territory. Good bye my crabby little hummingbird friends. I will see you next year.

Oh this poor plant. Oh this poor, poor plant. It looks so bad and wilted.

Let me say right off the bat that I didn't make this plant all willty (is that a word? I say yes). I was driving past one of the neighborhood houses on garbage day and this plant was sitting out by the curb. I retrieved it from their driveway, slinging it into my car and hoping that none of the other neighbors were observing, and took it home. I figured it just needed a good dose of watering because the leaves themselves were still in good shape just droopy.

Well, I am stymied. I have watered and pampered and talked to it and droops. Does it have depression issues? Has it been listening to too much of the blather that comes out of Washington? Does it need potato chips? WHAT IS WRONG!!! I am good with plants but this one is just being recalcitrant. Don't you just love that word. Roll it over your tongue.


How small a world is it! So HHBL and I were at a dinner/meeting last night. We sat down at a table with several other couples whom we didn't know. Chat, chat, chat. Small talk, small talk, small talk. At some point we mentioned that our two younger progeny attend Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.

Blonde lady: Oh I know Wheaton College. I grew up in Wheaton.

Me: What! I grew up in Wheaton too! Where did you go to school? (always the first question that you ask)

Blonde lady: Oh I went to St. Francis. What year did you graduate? (always next question)

Me: I went to WCHS and graduated in 19-- (you didn't really think I was going to tell you did you?)

Blonde Lady: I graduated in 19-- too! Did you know......

and we were off talking about the good times. It is a small world.

At what age are you too old to wear an ankle bracelet? Or is it not age that determines whether you wear one with style but how your ankles look? I think perhaps the latter. At the diner mentioned above I observed two different women with ankle bracelets (and this was a small crowd so that was odd). It is hard to tell but I would think they were around the same age, 55-60, but the ankle bracelet looked VERY different on the two women. On one it was great and "hip" and on the other woman....not so much. It may have been that they had on, specifically their shoes, that made the difference. The "hip" woman had on great little mules with kitten heels (I just lost all the guys on that one) and the other woman had on VERY sensible "grandma" shoes. I say "grandma" shoes because they were just like shoes that my 98 year old grandma wears. I think that sensible shoes and ankle bracelets don't mix.

For that matter sensible shoes and toe rings don't mix and therefore I will be avoiding sensible shoes for as long as possible because there is no way that you are going to make me take off my toe rings. They don't come off very easily anyways.
Ignore the stubby toes please, that is just the way it is around here. I have stubby, sausage toes. Hey, how did we get on talking about my toes anyways?

Conversation between HHBL and I after we got home from the above mentioned dinner/meeting. I should probably set the scene for you. We walked in the door and looked into the laundry room where Maxwell's House is (get it Maxwell House, yeah I hate it too). Max is in his house, just sort of laying there like he thinks that we are goig to be fooled into thinking that he has been in there the whole 9 hours that I have been gone.

HHBL: Oh Maxwell, you have been a bad boy. You got into the garbage again. Hey Love of My Life he got your M&M wrapper out of the garbage.

Me: I didn't have M&M's today. In fact I haven't opened up that package of M&M's yet!


Me: looking frantically at the kitchen counter where my package of M&M's, my FREE package of M&M's had been residing, waiting for me to open them with my afternoon coffee tomorrow. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Yes, I know that chocolate is bad for dogs but who knows when he actually ate the M&M's and he seemed OK so like the uncaring humans that we are, we went to bed. But we let him sleep on the landing so incase he had to barf up something (on my oatmeal colored carpeting) we would hear him.

Do you sometimes sit down in front of your computer and then think, "I have absolutely nothing that I can think of to blog about!" It has happened several time recently and it was rather disturbing. But I got over it as you can see. That is why I general have a number of posts "in process" so I don't get caught with nothing to write about. Blogging is hard business.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yoo Hoo, I'm Waving

I love walking in my neighborhood. It is lovely and quiet in the early morning. We don't get a great amount of traffic as there are only 80 houses in our development and all the streets end in cul de sacs. It is a friendly place and we wave at each other even though I don't know a good portion of the people who live here. That is sad, I know. We used to have a great yearly neighborhood picnic but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. But, I digress, rabbit trail, take the road less traveled, wander aimlessly...Um, yeah.

So, Maxie Boy and I like to walk in the morning. Oh does he like to walk.
This picture may look like he is waiting patiently but it is only an illusion. When he knows that he is going to get to go for a walk he can be seen running back and forth to the back door, jumping and barking. He has to be on his leash before he can be walked down the driveway. He has an "invisible fence" and he has been trained that it is "safe" to go beyond the usual zap line only when he is on a leash.

Since I walk the neighborhood in the early morning we tend to encounter people leaving for work or school. We always wave. Well, I wave because Max doesn't have opposable thumbs and so waving is difficult for him. He is bitter about that but we are working through it.

And when I was waving at people as they drove by it got me to thinking about all the different kinds of waves we employ and what they might mean. Yeah, I have way too much thinking time on my hands I know, but work with me people!

So, the first wave that I employ is the "Hey good neighbor" wave. It isn't exuberant, it is just hey how ya doin'. The arm extends up, elbow at 90 degree angle, and the hand at shoulder height. And then you give one toggle of the hand, back and forth, at the wrist.
Friendly but not too friendly. Acknowledging that you have seen them. Perfectly adequate.

Then there is the "hip wave". You know the one. You are striding along, you want to wave but you really don't know the person all that well, not well enough to give them the "Hey howya doin'" wave. Hand goes up to hip level, index finger extended, toggle to the right and left and you are done. The variation on this is raising the hand up to the face level, sort of like you are saluting them....but not. Now if you are extending another finger and waving that one it sends an entirely different message. One that we won't be discussing here.

Then there is the head bob "wave" or acknowledgement. I employ that for the motorcyclists that I encounter. I don't want them taking their hands off the handlebars. Nod head in hello, they are on their way. Everyone's day is fine and dandy.

But then there is the full out, full on, hey I know you and I like you wave. That wave I reserve for my friend Jenna, who is the daughter of my friend Lauren (Lookleap) who does not yet blog but should. Can the neighborhood stand two bloggers who live 300 feet from each other? Only time will tell.

At any rate, I reserve my full arm extension, hand toggling back and forth madly, big smile wave for Jenna. Cuz she waves at me that way too. It makes my day.

Look! It's Paul Bunyan and his big dog Blue. What, Blue was an Ox? So what, Max sometimes thinks he is a human so we will just call it even.

I like walking in the morning because at some point the sun will be at my back and I will actually look tall. It is all in the perception, People. All in the perception.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recipe Cards Memories

I am firmly in the camp of recipe cards and recipe boxes.

There I have said it and I won't take it back. Neener, neener neener. I have dabbled in an electronic "recipe box" and chronicled about it here. But after seeing the light I went back to the "old ways".

As I was looking through my recipe box the other day it struck me that this simple box that my father refinished for me before my marriage low those many years ago is a repository of memories. That is just what it is.

There are many 3x5 cards in there that hold recipes that I have found over the years. They are favorites and I use them on occasion. They see the light of day occasionally when I am in the mood for one thing or another. I rarely keep recipes that I don't like. I weed those out. So the cards that are in the box are all ones that have been tested and approved.

But then there is, in the box, a special breed of recipe card. You can tell them right away.
They are the cards that are just a bit tattered. They have stains on them and perhaps the occasional "crinkle". They are worn, they are loved, they are special. They are usually special for a specific reason and that reason is often times tied to a person or an event.

This is my recipe for "Oriental Beef Salad". I will say right off the bat that this is yummy, oh so yummy. It originated from another recipe that The Chef (my SIL) whipped up one time when we were all together at The Cottage. Have I ever written about The Cottage? I will have to check. At any rate, the card is tattered, stained, well loved. It is a recipe that my daughters ask for whenever they are home. If I lost this card I would be up a creek without the proverbial paddle because the original recipe has been changed and adapted over the years.

This is my pancake recipe. As you can see it is stapled to another 3x5 card. Why is that you might be asking yourself? Well you see, years ago, my mother wrote the recipe out for me. I wanted the recipe in her handwriting. And I used the card so much over the years when the progeny were growing up that the ink faded and was stained and covered with all manner of things. So, I had her write it out again. But I didn't want to get rid of the first card so I stapled them together.

Another recipe that originated from The Chef. I have a fair number of these I can tell you because she really is a chef and she REALLY is a good cook. Notice the crinkled appearance of the card. It gets a lot of use, although I know the recipe by heart now. But when someone asks for the recipe I just get the card out and make a photocopy. I am lazy. I remember exactly where I was when I first had the deliciousness that is "Jana's DooDads". We were having dinner at Pilot Man and The Chef's house and she put these lovelies on the table. See, the memory goes with the card. But ignore the fact that I cannot seem to spell "Worcestershire sauce".

This is "Seafoam Salad". It is the only way that I will ingest lime jello. It is delicious. The card has seen hard use let me tell you. It has green spots (lime jello) on it. It has had cool whip and cream cheese spilled on it (more ingredients). It is all wrinkled and smeared. But that just means that it has been well loved.

Oh yeah, Miami Beach Cake. I have noted on the top of the card that this recipe came from a newspaper in 1959. NO I didn't cut it out thankyouverymuch. My mother did. This picture doesn't begin to show you the stains and use that this recipe has gotten. It happens to be my favorite birthday cake EVAH! And it is the prefered cake for several of the other members of the family. Made every single time with lots of love.

So, the next time you get out your recipe card file or box or whatever. And you pull out that treasured recipe and you think to yourself, "Hmmm, this is really stained. I think I will write it out on a fresh card." Don't Do It! Remember that all those stains and rips and worn places are an expression of love and a memory of a good time.