Friday, February 27, 2009

7 Quick takes (Vol12)

Where does the time go each week? Here it is Friday and 7 Quick Takes has come around again. I just didn't believe my mother when she said that time flies when you get older. Well I guess in the ONE instance she was right. Go on over to Conversion Diary and check out all the other weekly entries.

Do you ever consider that some of the things that we buy and think are so convenient really aren't and are actually costing us money. Case in point, tuna in those "convenient" pouches. Now, first off I have to tell you that I only bought those things because 1. they were on sale at the grocery store and 2. I had a coupon to make the deal even better. I haven't ever bought them before and I don't intend to buy them again but what the heck, just once won't hurt. So, I bought two of them and got the third one for free. If it is "free" it is always a good deal, right? So, I open one yesterday to make tuna fish salad for lunch and let me tell you, those pouches of tuna that are so convenient are also a great big rip off. There is barely enough tuna in one of those things for a very skimpy sandwich, and I even put chopped up celery in the mix just to give it a tad more bulk. The cost for one of those pouches is almost twice what a regular can of tuna is at Walmart and held only about a third of the tuna in one of those cans. Rip off! Sorry, I just had to vent there. It just makes me sad to think of all the people who are buying those things thinking that they are convenient and getting ripped off in the process.

I don't mean to be critical, well I suppose I do actually. When I am at the grocery store I just want to tell all the people who are buying "convenience items" that they aren't doing themselves any favors, really they aren't. I do understand that many women work outside the home and I am sure that they think that the prepared lasagna (just for illustration purposes) saves them time and money. But studies are now showing that those convenience main dish items (and other items as well) don't save you money and don't save you a lot of time. The studies find that people who buy those items tend to then put more food items on the table at a meal, thereby spending more money and as a side "benefit" ingesting more calories, salt and fat. And besides, those things just aren't good for you no matter what the packaging says. AND they just don't taste good. Cooking from scratch isn't difficult people. You don't need to produce a bechamel sauce every day (although those are EASY to do).

OK, done with the rant. On to the next topic. This probably could have been an entire post on it's own and it may be when I think it through some more.

Look what is coming up in the back garden. Two days of above 40F weather and things start appearing. I just want to lean down and tell these someday lovely daffodils that it is WAY too early for them to be sticking their heads out to see what the world is like. I love daffodils and look forward to their arrival every spring. I also love tulips but you won't see any of those in my gardens. No, planting tulips in my neck of the woods is like ringing the dinner bell for the local deer population. They just snap the heads off right before they bloom. Grrrrrrrr.

I am off today to spend almost two days scrapbooking with a bunch of crazy friends. I can hardly wait! Who knew that 6 years ago, when I asked my friend Esther what scrapbooking was I would become involved with these wonderful, cultish women who speak of cropping and journaling and creatively chronicling your life. I just wanted to know what it was, I wasn't looking to be assimilated into the collective mind (sort of like the Borg only without all the implants). I have spent many hours this week and last getting ready, I am all organized and should be able to produce an album, that is 45 pages ladies, by tomorrow night. I may not have all the journaling done but you never know. I will let you know next week how it went and I may even post a picture if I am so inclined.

This is the time of year when I start looking outside and yearing to work in my gardens. I can smell spring in the air, it is almost here. Yes I know that the ground will be way to wet for a long time to come and there will undoubtedly be more snow fall but I just can't help it. I love working in the garden. The only thing lacking in these particular gardens is vegetables. I just don't have enough sustained sunlight to manage it, believe me I have tried. I used to have a large garden at my previous house and produced more tomatoes, beans, zucchini and other veggies then we knew what to do with. But not here. However, I can indulge my obsession with clematis and hostas. Come spring come so that I can dig in the dirt and weed and genereally enjoy growing things. I can sit out in the back garden in the late afternoon or early evening and just enjoy the sounds of nature.

Hmmmmmm, a new study says that taking that horse pill, I mean multi-vitamin every morning might not be helping my health one bit. Can I stop now because I really don't like taking them at all. I haven't felt any more "healthy" since I started taking them. I eat a lot of fruits and veggies anyways and I don't sit around and eat bon bons, well most days I don't. Something to think about.

Did you watch the Oscars last Sunday night? I didn't watch any of it and I can tell you that I didn't feel any great lack in my life. No rip in the time space continuum because I didn't spend three hours (or more perhaps) watching over paid, under talented people pat themselves on their collective backs. Not a nice thing to say I know but it is what it is. I also hadn't seen most of the movies that were being honored and it just didn't matter to me. We keep saying that we need to get out to see "Slumdog Millionaire" but it doesn't happen. We did see "Gran Torino" and thought it was great, at least I did. I guess we also saw "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and were seriously underwhelmed by the whole thing. Am I the only person in the world who thinks that Brad Pitt has little acting ability and only one facial expression. I digress. I didn't watch the Oscars, I watched the Cleveland Cavaliers win yet another basketball game and I had a much better time I am sure.

Went to my local yarn shop yesterday, or as I like to call it the "Yarn Candy Store" and of course, spent twice as much as I had intended and I only bought TWO things. I did have a gift certificate to spend but still, I spent money I hadn't really intended to. That must be why I try to stay out of there unless it is absolutely necessary. And really, it shouldn't be necessary at all because my stash is growing faster than I can knit and I really do have all the needles that any one person could possibly need.......maybe. Repeat after me Deb, "You must not go into The Knit Shop, You must not go into The Knit Shop." I don't think that is going to work. Oh well. The one good thing about the visit, OK other than the cool sock yarn that I purchased, was that I met TWO women who are on Ravelry. TWO, that is so cool. A mother and daughter, the daughter lives in the next town north of me. Of course we exchanged info and are now friends on Ravelry. If you are a knitter you really should be on Ravelry. The best place in the world.

and an unofficial #8: today is the birthday of one of my favorite songwriters/performers, Johnny Cash. The man who sang one of my favorite songs......."A Boy Named Sue". Here you are Dad, just for you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Happy Birthday Dad!!! I was thinking this week about what I would write for this day and I have to say that I like my post so much from last year that I am resurrecting it for this year. So below you will see what I wrote for Dad's birthday last year. I think that everything still applies so.......

I have the best dad in the world. If your father is great too then we can debate that at another time but I am just telling you that my dad is the greatest. He is a man of many talents, sort of a Renaissance man if you will. He knows a lot about a lot of things and if t here is something that he doesn't know about then he does the research until he gets the answer. Very organized, very thorough, very funny. That is probably what made him a good doctor. Nothing much got by him. Believe me, I would know because it was very difficult to get away with anything.

My dad is the fellow who took me to the doctor every month when I was so sick in High School. He drew my blood for my weekly blood tests and made sure that it was as painless as possible. He made sure that I understood what the tests were that they were going to do and what they meant. He never conveyed to me how worried he and mom MUST have been over a blood disorder that it took a year to diagnose.

My dad is the fellow that drummed safety into us.... and then stuck his hand under the running lawn mower to clean out a clog. Not smart, not smart at all. He still has all his fingers but it was rather disconcerting to see him do the "pain dance" as he poured alcohol on his profusely bleeding hand.

I received many things from Dad. My love of books and reading, obsessive organization, my temper (sorry dad but it is true), love of photography, love of food. More things than I can list in one post.

He is the man who:
- loved to pick up any comb that he found in any parking lot
- has an ongoing battle with all critters who would dare to eat his landscaping or dig holes in his lawn.
- did in his knee while skiing in Colorado...but saved his camera from harm. Excellent priorities!
- coined our family phrase "lower eschelon drone" while trying to straighten out a problem with some tickets ordered but not received.
- is a closet pyromaniac. Loves to play with large bonfires at the cottage. Loves to play with the small flames on candles. You get the picture.

I could go on but you don't have the time to read all my memories and Blogger might kick me out for such a long post. Anyways, I love you dad!! Have a great birthday. Eat a lot of cake and have a good glass of wine.

Your little Bookworm

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who Are Your Heros

I was struck recently by a quote from George Carlin. It reads as follows:
Aren't you sick of being told who your heroes oughta be? Being told who you oughta look up to? I'll choose my own heroes thank you very much.
I was struck with how true that statement is and how sad it is that so many people list as personal heroes people who are so unworthy of that title... Paris Hilton, anyone associated with Hollywood, various rappers, the latest "it" person that the media says we should emulate, the list is endless. We are such a media driven, visual culture and therefore we list as heroes those we see, not necessarily putting into place any thinking about whether those people are "hero worthy". In almost every case that I can think of those who are held up for adulation and hero worship are not hero worthy by any stretch of the imagination.

So, this little quote got me to thinking about who my "heroes" are. Here is my list. You may not agree with it, you may not know the people on the list. But it is my list and since the blogosphere is basically one big narcissistic love fest where we all think that everyone wants to know everything that we think, you are just going to have to endure it.

This list is in no particular order, just how they came up in my seriously odd brain.

1. The men and women who serve in our military. Now this can't be a surprise to you guys. Come one, I have given enough hints on this that it should be absolutely obvious. We have an all volunteer army folks. That means that these people say yes to the military because they choose to do so, not because we are drafting them. They are intelligent, dedicated people who keep us safe. They serve in the far flung areas of the world, leaving family at home.

2. my husband Dan (awwww, isn't that sweet). No really, he is. He is a man of integrity who does what needs to be done, even if it is painful for him. I have seen many times when he has put the interests of his employees above himself. He is a loving and caring father and husband and he makes me laugh.

3. my closest friends Dottie, Heather, Sue, the other Sue, Carolyn and Lauren. All these women have walked through one trial or another in the last few years and have done so with grace. Their love for the Lord is obvious and they have been an inspiration to me. I want to be just like all of them when I grow up.....if I ever grow up that is.

4. my mom, dad and brother (another awwww moment). My dad for his commitment to excellence, my mom for her heart of hospitality and my brother for his humor and also his commitment to excellence and being a man of God. There are a ton of other reasons but those are at the top of the list. I had great growing up years with loads of laughter.

5. My Grandpa Pringle. I miss him every day, I think about him every day. His heart for education and helping young men and women to be all that the Lord would have them to be infuses all of my childhood.

There are others I think, and I may do this again at a later date but these are the top. No pop culture icons (heaven forbid!), no idiotarians from Washington. Just ordinary people. That is who your heros should be I am thinking.

Friday, February 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 11)

Make sure that you go over to Conversion Diary to check out all the weekly updates. I love this thing!

I don't care what Punxsatawny Phil says, it smells like Spring out there. It sounds like Spring out there too. The birds are singing and the snow is melting. Of course, we can always get more snow. In fact, I would think that there is 100% chance that we will. But it still smells like Spring.
OK, so I actually wrote this first entry on Wednesday and then on Thursday......we had large amounts of snow.

Do not do things in a hurry. Repeat after me, do not do things in a hurry. Remember that Deb! When I do things in a hurry I screw them up and sometimes in a big way. Must remember not to do things in a hurry. If I write it 100 times on the blackboard (if I had one that is) would that help?

I scrapbook. Have I mentioned that before? I might have. I am soooooooooo behind on the albums that I want to do. So far behind that it sometimes seems that I will never catch up and I am a fast and efficient scrapper when I get going. But, next weekend I actually have two days of scrapping with friends. I can hardly wait. Of course, that means that I have a ton of preliminary work to do because I have to have everything ready to go. There is no way that I could gather up all the scrapbooking materials and transport them to the place where I will be staying. I mean, I have an entire area that is only scrapbooking if you get my drift. That is what comes from being a former scrapbooking consultant for a major player in the industry. I have A LOT of materials. Really I shouldn't have to buy any more materials ever again. But we know that I won't be able to resist. Sigh. So, today I will be scrapping. Fun.

I have been in a "trying new recipes" mode for a while now. Not sure when it started but I am hoping that it stays around. When the girls were younger there wasn't too much experimentation going on. We stuck to the tried and true (and cheap to produce) recipes in my recipe box. You know, the standard casseroles and chicken dishes, endless hamburger dishes and things like that. My girls are not picky eaters for the most part, they all have things that they aren't fond of but there aren't too many things they won't consume. However, introducing too many new and innovative things always brought a chorus of cries of "What is THIS do we have to eat it I am sure that I don't like it can I have something else!" (the run on sentence was just the way they said it). But now, 2/3 of the girls are out of the house so I can give free reign to my inner chef. Sometimes the recipes don't turn out as well as I thought they would but I still try. Now all those years of watching PBS cooking shows is paying off.

On the food vein, I am trying to make wiser choices about food these days. That sounds like I eat a lot of junk food and I don't. I do most of our cooking from scratch. I don't drink any pop (except my once a month SMALL coke from McDonalds). I eat fruits and veggies. I don't consume a vast amount of sugary things, well except for the M&M's that come from the never ending supply on my desk. I am a model (cough, cough) of good eating. But you see, I love bread and butter. I love it like nothing else. I would eat it all day long if I could....but I can't. That is just the way it is and it is so unfair

About a year ago, when the doctor said, "Decrease/eliminate the caffeine or expect to stroke out" I realized that I just wanted to be healthier in general. I had already started to work out on a regular basis but still needed to make some food eating changes. The thought/drive to be healthier has only become more urgent for me because I believe that in the coming years, if our President and the idiots in Washington manage to shove Nationalized Health Care down our throats, it will be harder for those who are in poor health going into "older adult stage" to get treatments. I want to enter those years in the best health that I can. So that means that I get to have oatmeal with raisins this morning for breakfast rather than the Wolferman's English Muffin with butter AND peanut butter on it. Thank goodness I love oatmeal and yes, I am making it from scratch. But I really want that English Muffin.

Do you sometimes obsessively check your blog to see if anyone has looked at it or commented on a particular post? I finally added a counter just so that I could see what kind of minimal, and I do mean minimal, daily traffic that I get. I was ridiculous at first, checking all the time. It seemed like forever, well it was forever, before someone actually commented on anything that I wrote. I mean, there are people like Dooce who get HUNDREDS of comments when she puts up a post. I can't even imagine having that many people read my blog on any given day.
I am not particularly good a goal setting. I am not sure why that is because I am an organized and motivated individual but goals are just beyond me at times. However, I have set myself one goal this year and that is to read through the Bible. Nothing like being ambitious right. I am using this particular plan. Where I found it I cannot remember but I think it was from a blog that I found through Conversion Diary. Of course, I am already a week behind in the schedule but that really doesn't matter. I am just reading, not reading with a commentary in hand (like I usually do) or any other interpretive materials. I am just reading and referencing in the Bible alone....and it is great. I know that my day goes better when I have consistently had my time with the Lord first. Amazing isn't it. Now, I haven't gotten to Leviticus yet so I may be dragging through that part but I will persevere....I hope.

See you next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Book Meme!

I love these kinds of lists. Yeah, yeah, I know I love lists in general. I was the kid that read through all those books with lists in them. I am a book nerd. I am also occasionally a book snob, I am sorry to say. That is probably why I like these kinds of lists because I can say that I have read a fair amount of the books on the list. Not all of them but a fair amount. This particular list came from Percival Blakeney Academy (now what book did THAT name come from? I know, do you?) and I know that he got it from some other blog. That is how these retched things get started. So, this is what you do:

) Look at the list and bold those you have read (films don't count).
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Tag somebody if you like (I don't think I have enough readers to go around tagging people. But give it a try if you want to).

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible: I am working my way through this year. Wish me luck.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 1984 - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (a few but definitely not all. The bard and I are just getting to know each other)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce: nor do I have any plans to ever read this one.
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (in French no less, but don't ask me to do that now)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I don't think that I did too badly on that. I have read 59 of 100. But that just means that I have a ways to go. I had better get started.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One Year Anniversary

Wow, how the time has flown. How can it be that one year ago today my little blog and I started going together. She was such a little thing, so small and fragile. Now look at her, she is "strong like bull" (said with a slightly odd Eastern European accent).

I have enjoyed the experience a whole lot more than I ever anticipated. I have met some "internet friends" who bring me laughs. I have had a forum in which to bore all the rest of you with my slightly whacky thoughts and memories. I have had a place to spout my political rantings. The dog is thankful that I have a place to talk about politics. The hubby says that when I talk politics at the dinner table I get a certain "tone" in my voice and the dog gets up quietly and goes to hide in his crate. I don't know he is talking about, just because all the people in Washington (with the exception of a few like Tom Coburn) are idiots! Ehem, sorry about that.

So, now I enter a second year of throwing words out in the blogosphere. Thanks Al Gore for inventing it. Perhaps you could go back to tinkering with those kinds of things and then we wouldn't have to deal with all your global warming hysteria.

Digression again sorry.

Who knows what I might talk about this year. I have a whole list of things that I am thinking about. You will just have to see.

Happy Anniversary to meeeeeeee
Happy Anniversary to meeeeeeee
Happy Anniversary little blooooooooooooooog
Happy Anniversary to meeeeeeee

Break out the champagne and chocolate!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

They Are Loathsome Yet I Cannot Look Away

Oh, I have neglected you my little blog. I am so sorry but the blog muse has been visiting somewhere else, Hawaii perhaps, and I have been voiceless and therefore blogless. I grovel. I also digress, which seems to happen frequently.

Do you have any TV shows that you watch that you know are worthless pieces of fluff but you just can't stop yourself? Come on now, you know that you do. It is just us, you can tell me. Oh, you want me to tell you first? Well, I guess that would work. If you are sure that you don't mind me going first. OK.

Well, I don't watch a tremendous amount of TV, I just seem to have other things to do. I don't watch "American Idol" or "Desperate Housewives" or "Battlestar Galactica" or "The Office". I just don't. If I watch TV you will usually find me watching something on Turner Classic Movies or the History Channel or The Learning Channel. I like to learn things so sue me. I love Masterpiece Theater and that kind of stuff.

But..........and I hang my head in shame to say this.......there are several shows that I absolutely love but know that I shouldn't. They really aren't my kind of thing, which runs more towards "How It's Made" or "Trauma: Life in the ER". My current favorite trashy show to watch is......"The Housewives of Orange County" or it's East coast equivalent "The House Wives of New York City". There, I have said it and I feel better (slightly dirty but better). I know that they are fluff and I know that they are stupid and I JUST DON'T CARE! It may be because I look at these women and go, "How stupid can you be? How shallow can you be? Oh, THAT shallow and stupid!" Do I like these show because they show how glamorous and wonderful it is to spend money like a drunken sailor on shore leave? Do I like them because these women don't seem to mind airing their often dirty and salacious laundry to all of the rest of us? No, it is because watching these shows are like watching a train wreck or some other disaster. It is loathsome and yet I cannot look away.

Before these shows I am sorry to say that my dirty little secret was "The Girls Next Door" (you know, Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends). That didn't last long though cuz I just don't have the stomach for the kind of idiocy that is shown in a woman who would be the girlfriend of a man who has other girlfriends living in the same house and is freakishly OLD and wrinkled. "Let's all be friends and cohabitate with the same guy." Yech!

Before Hugh and the girls it was "The Osbournes". Now, I think that show really should be a must viewing for any person who thinks that doing drugs and alcohol is cool and won't do lasting harm. Ozzy Osbourne is a poster child for scrambled brains. And the kids aren't much better.

So, I will continue to watch all that high brow stuff that I watch. All that stuff on TLC or the History Channel or Discovery Channel. I will expand my mind and be able to blow the doors in Jeopardy! But, I will still watch "The Housewives of Orange County" because, you know, the brain has to be on autopilot some time doesn't it? Hey, it's Tuesday! That means that "The Housewives of Orange County" AND "The Housewives of New York City" are on. YES!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 10)

Oh how the time doth fly (I have been reading too much in the King James Bible). Look it is Friday already and time for 7 Quick Takes. Check out Conversion Diary for more pithy tidbits.
Oh look at these beauties.
I can tell you that they tasted even better than they look and the recipe was very easy to produce. The recipe for Sunday Brunch Cinnamon Buns came from one of my very favorite cooking sites, Baking Bites. I will tell you that I made some slight changes to the recipe. I use instant yeast almost exclusively when I bake yeast breads instead of packets of yeast. That means that you add the yeast directly to the dry ingredients and don't "proof" it in heated liquid first. I also substituted softened butter for the milk wash when you put the rolls together. I am hungry just looking at these. Don't be afraid of yeast breads. They are really easy to do and the end results are so worth it.
What is it that my dog finds so interesting to bark at out there in the dark. It is early in the morning here and he is madly barking at something in the woods (and we have A LOT of woods). He and the dog next door will bark at each other from afar and it always reminds me of that scene in "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" where the dogs have a communication line where they share news by barking at each other. Yeah, whatever as my 18 year old would say.
I have to plan a short "Civil War Battlefields Trip" for the hubby and I. Just 5 days. Besides the obvious trip to Gettysburg I am still stumped as to which way to take this thing. I know, it screams history nerd but that is sort of what I am. Remember the thing about all the kings and queens of England in a previous Quick Takes. So, I just need to get this thing done. Any suggestions?
I am spending several hours a day this week scanning pictures into my computer. I scrap book (that sounds like I am confessing something at a "scrappers anonymous" meeting) and I have three children and I want to use the same pictures in all their scrap books. Since I didn't start using a digital camera until 2002 that means that my vast collection of pictures prior to that time have to be scanned if I want to duplicate them. It is tedious let me tell you. But, there is a silver lining. I may be sitting in front of my computer too much but I am having a blast looking at all these pictures. Too much fun.Are they not the cutest girls. They spent hours and hours in dress up clothes. Of course, now they are all adults and have in general better fashion sense but this is one of my favorite pictures.
If you have children do you have "pet" names for them? I don't know where or when it started but at some point in time we created nicknames for all of our children and even though none of them are teenagers or little anymore we still call them by these names. In fact, I think that I use the nicknames more often than their "real" names. And the names are varied and in some cases have absolutely no connection to their real names. Why is that?
I just realized that today is Friday the 13th. I don't believe in the concept of "luck" so most of the time the concept of bad luck on Friday the 13th, or at other times for that matter, just goes sailing over my head. I believe that all things in my life are ordered and ordained by my Lord and Savior and that luck has nothing to do with it.
I am off to my monthly breakfast with my prayer group. I love these women (which I might have mentioned before in my ramblings). For so many years when the girls were little I had no close female friends. After the birth of my youngest daughter I went through a period of profound depression and I remember at one point literally being on my face in my living room and crying out to the Lord. Asking for one friend, one female friend who would understand and be there beside me. I can tell you that the Lord answers prayer and abundantly when we cry from our hearts. He gave me friends in abundance. They are different as different can be, some of them know the Lord and some don't. But I am blessed beyond measure by their presence in my life.

Have a great week. See you "same time, same station" next week. Sorry, I indulged in some YouTube watching this week and what I indulged in was old reruns of Batman.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


OK, I just have to get this off my chest so to speak. We all know that I like politics. I am not sure how it happened but it is what it is. I just have one question for the loonies in Washington who are going to ram this "stimulus" package down our throats. How do you think some of these nutty provision are going to possibly stimulate anything that will help the average person. Look at this list and then you tell me what you think. These examples are straight from the package that, as I write this screed, has just passed in the Senate. Thank you to OK Senator Tom Coburn's website for doing all the work so I didn't have to wade through the whole thing. I have not listed all of the "wasteful and non-stimulus spending provisions" because I just ate lunch and it might make me nauseous. I love Tom Coburn and really wish that he was my Senator. Go to the website and look at all of them.

  • $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film. Do they think that somehow this is going to stimulate anything other that more bloated movie productions of "Scary Movie 23: the Geritol Years"?
  • $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters. I have great doubt that any massive gov't building project can come in at or under budget. And by the way, any company that doesn't employ all union workers need not apply because another little measure in the stimulus would make it so that companies employing non-union labor will not be awarded any gov't building contracts.
  • $248 million for furniture at the above mentioned Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters. Listen, I have someone who can get all that furniture for a much better price. If anyone in the gov't would like I will be glad to give them Sal's number. Now THAT would stimulate someone's bottom line.
  • $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD's. Um, what does this stiumlate?
  • $1.4 BILLION for rural waste disposal programs. I guess that they need this because we are having to wade through so much "waste" in this thing.
  • $75 million for "smoking cessation activities". How come Nancy Pelosi thinks that providing funding for abortion and "reproductive services" will help the economy by making sure that there are less children born but she wants to get those who are smoking to stop smoking there by making them live longer and be a drain on the economy. Hmmmm.
  • $6 BILLION to turn Federal Buildings into "green" buildings. Listen, if they would let me get the green paint for them I bet that I can get a better price. Oh, you mean that is "green" as in global warming green. Well, I haven't drunk the global warming kool aide so this is just ridiculous.
  • $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas. HELLO! what does this have to do with stimulus. Am I missing something?
  • $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees. Oh for the love of PETE! give these people some kind of incentive to buy these vehicles themselves. A tax cut, a tax incentive, something other than just buying the vehicles. Then when these people leave the gov't they take the car with them and the people replacing them will then be urged to use the incentives to buy their own hybrid cars.
  • $850 million for Amtrak. Make this thing PRIVATE. Stop throwing money at it, it is bleeding and isn't going to get any better. And besides, again HOW does this stimulate anything, other than frustration because Amtrak trains only run in certain portions of the country, to ride isn't cheap and most of the Amtrak stations are in less than desirable places in cities. Trust me, I wouldn't want to hang around the Amtrak station in Cleveland. I have been there and it is scary when it is dark.
  • Requiring a gov't study on the impact of minimum wage laws on the Northern Mariana islands and American Samoa. My head may explode at this one. Notice they didn't even put a dollar amount on this one. It will probably cost $1 billion and will actually be two people asking questions.
There are a ton of other provisions. Check them out. President Obama wants us to know that "ONLY gov't is the only entity left to jolt our economy back to life". I would counter with a quote from my favorite President, Ronald Reagan. This comes from his first inaugural address.
You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we're not bound by that same limitation? We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding: We are going to begin to act, beginning today.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I am What I Have Eaten.

I suppose that opening phrase sounds like I am going to write some tome on how I regret something that I ate. I am sure that I could do that after what I consumed the other night at Buffalo Wild Wings but that is not what I meant by "I am What I Have Eaten". No, what I meant by that phrase is our food memories, what we loved and hated growing up in some way make us what we are (in my case a tad overweight).

What brought this strange phrase to my mind? Well, they were these lovely beauties.
What are THOSE you might be asking yourself, if you don't know the answer already. Well, these yummy little puffs of eggy goodness are popovers. And these are what got me thinking. You see, I made popovers for the first time this week. In fact I made them twice this week I liked them so much. It isn't that I haven't ever had them before, it is that my grandmother used to make them for me.

So, I decided to do a list of "I am" pertaining to food. A silly thing I know but you know me, I really like silly. I think that it is a very good exercise to do, to think of the things that you ate as a child that made memories for you as an adult.

I am Popovers: because I ate them first at the Cosmos Club in the company of my Uncle Kenneth. And my grandma learned how much I loved them so she learned how to make them so that she could make them for me.
I am Pickles: I grew up eating pickles of all descriptions. If it could be pickled then Grandma Pringle pickled it. Dill pickles, sweet pickles, watermelon rind pickles. I love pickles today because she loved them.
I am Pot Roast on Sundays: we ate at Grandma and Grandpa Pringle's house on Sundays alot and we almost always had pot roast. I make it the same way today and that first taste puts me right back at the table.
I am a hater of Liver and Onions: Mom made this once a month. I ate it once a month. I hated it every day of the year. Enough said.
I am Apple Pie: There is no one who could make apple pie like my Grandma Pringle. I use the same pie crust and filling recipe but it doesn't taste the same. But I love it.
I am Iceberg Lettuce: When we would visit Grandma and Grandpa Amsler she always made sure that she had a head of lettuce all washed and ready for me when I walked in the door.
I am raw Green Beans: Grandpa let me pick and eat them right out of the garden. That went for the tomatoes too.
I am Liverwurst sandwiches with sweet pickles and mayo: Stop that gagging, I know you are. There is nothing better than on of these sandwiches. I want one right now.
I am Kellogg's Concentrate Cereal: Kellogg discontinued this cereal long ago. Oh how I wish they hadn't. Little flakes of sweet goodness that when married with milk and blueberries make a perfect breakfast.
I am saltines with butter on them: this is what my mom always made me when I was sick in bed. They just scream comfort to me.
I am hot tea with sugar and milk: This is the way I drink my hot tea even though I drink coffee black. This is the way my mom fixed it for me when I was growing up.

I am sure that there are a bazillion other things that I could put on this list but then you would wander away to do something else. Put your mind to it and do your own list. It is fun.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This video will make you cry. It is about 5 minutes long and worth the watching.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 9)

It's Friday again and time for Quick Takes. Make sure that you go over to Conversion Diary and see what everyone else is saying.
Ever have one of those weeks where you just can't find your "blogging voice", if you blog that is. Well, this was my week. The old blogging muse packed her bags and took a trip to Bermuda or somewhere. I am hoping that she will be back soon.
Have you ever heard of a 50x50 list or a 60x60 list? It is one of those lists that you make for yourself that are things that you would like to do or accomplish by that date. I have a number of friends who have now done one of these but I am not sure about this. As we all know, I love lists. I love making them, looking at them, contemplating them and crossing things off of them. But, I am not sure that I want to do one of these lists. If I do one and then it gets close to the time when I turn 60 (MANY years from now) will I be depressed that I might not have accomplished everything? The other thing is can I come up with 60 things that I really want to accomplish by the time that I am 60? What do you think?
I was struck this week by a comment made by the late George Carlin. "Aren't you sick of being told who your heros oughta be? Being told who you oughta look up to? I'll choose my own heros than you very much." Sometimes George Carlin really hit the nail on the head. I think this will most likely show up as a longer post at some point. I haven't spent much time thinking about who my heros really are, which is sort of sad to say. I think this will be a good exercise for me because I think I need to articulate who are my heros and why.
I have been in the mood lately to trying new recipes. I just felt in such a rut, using the same recipes all the time. When the kiddos were younger being creative in my recipes wasn't always good. My girls aren't all that picky as eaters but you just don't want to rock the boat. So you make the same things month by month. But now we only have one still at home and so I feel that I can branch out and it is really fun. This week I tried popovers for the first time and they were awesome. I will post a picture later along with the "popover post". You can't imagine an entire post on popovers but it is coming so be ready. I also figured out a recipe for Raspberry Balsalmic vinaigrette and it was REALLY good. Oh yeah, and we had home made Chicken Pot Pies which turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.
How in the world did my house get filled up with all this stuff. No, I am not a hoarder so don't worry that we are wending our way around the house using small aisles inbetween all the stuff. I just have more stuff than I need or want. We are going to be moving in the next year or so and I am trying to weed through all this stuff and make the decision what goes with us. But that also brings another problem for me. What to do with the stuff. I try to give most of it to Good Will or find someone who needs it but there are some things that may need to be sold somehow. I hate garage sales and don't think the money that I make is worth the cost in time in getting ready and actually having the sale. So, I may have to find a friend to glom off of. Anyone want to volunteer? I will bring cookies.
I have had a life long, or at least adult long battle with my weight. Looking at cheesecake makes me put on weight. I love bread and butter more than just about anything. Potato chips are little slices of heaven. Get the picture. But almost two years ago I had an epiphany that if I didn't get a handle on this that I would enter middle age in very poor health. My knees were already barking in the morning. So, I joined the local Curves that is right around the corner. I really like Curves and it has been a great help, I have lost about 15 pounds in the last two years and managed to keep it off. But now I seem to have reached some sort of immovable plateau. I could work out every day and the weight doesn't budge. Plus I don't think that I am getting enough endurance training. So, I am trying to rethink the workout plan. Curves 3 days a week and treadmill 3 days a week? Then when it finally gets warmer I can walk outside 3 days a week. The other alternative is to cancel the Curves membership and move across the street to Snap Fitness which is open 24/7 and where I can make use of a personal trainer. What to do, what to do.
Because I am stumped for a #7 you will get a little "what happened on this day" history lesson. So, on this day in 1952 Elizabeth became Queen of England upon the death of her father George VI. Aren't you impressed and interested. If you want I can tell you all the Kings and Queens of England from George I and forward. It is just one of those odd facts that I seem to be able to pull out of my head. I know that some day it will be the thing that wins me big money on Jeopardy!, that I can tell you that it was George III-George IV-William IV-Victoria-Edward VII-George V-Edward VIII(who abdicated)-George VI- Queen Elizabeth II.

See you next week.

Sitting Down at the Table

As I posted here, I love sitting down at the table with my family. It is important, that being together and talking. Getting to know what has happened during the day, getting to know each other. Being at the table for a meal is also a time of healing and a deepening of our knowing each other.

But, I was struck recently that it is the same thing when we sit down at the Lord's table. Some of us partake in communion every Sunday, some once a month. But never think that partaking in communion is just one of those things that you sometimes do, because it isn't. Communion is sitting at the table with the Lord, our Father, our Daddy. It is a reminder of Jesus body that was broken and his blood that was spilled so that our relationship with God could be repaired. So that we can come to the table and get to know our Lord and Savior on a deeper, personal, family level.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh, oh, oh I am SOOOOO excited. I have never been, to my knowledge at least, tagged in another person's blog before. Chris I actually did a little happy dance. Thank you so much. Chris just happens to be a fellow blogger who lives in the next town over from me. We "found" each other on the blogosphere, how cool is that.

So here are the official rules:
1. Copy the award to your site
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers
4. Link to those on your blog
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

1. Kim and I "met" through Conversion Diary where we both participate in the "7 Quick Takes" on Friday. We are also Ravelers. So, if you are a knitter that is a good place to hang around. Check out her blog, you will enjoy it.
2. Heather who, for a "20 something SAHM" (stay at home mom for those you who have never seen that little acronym), is a whole lot wiser than I was at that age and stay at homeness.
3. Amanda is another "7 Quick Taker" whose wisdom I enjoy.
4. Amy makes me laugh. Sometimes I just need that.
5. Veniteadoremus - just goes to show you that you never know who will pop up on your blog. Go over to her site and ask her what she is going to be doing come next summer. I bet you can't guess.
6. Sara @ Coffee Randoms has a great take on life. And her father makes the most amazing carved wooden fans.
7. Bookworm (just her her name made me love the blog) comes all the way from the UK. Don't you just love the blogosphere!

Now go check out all these blogs and have fun!