Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What a Beginning . . .

Do you suppose it means I'm just overly tired, or losing my mind?  Yes.  This morning after standing under the wonderfully warm water spray of the shower I grabbed the shampoo bottle and promptly washed my face.  Then I realized my mistake and took it on up to the top of my head and washed my hair as well.  My usual routine is to wash my face with my face cleanser, not shampoo.  I almost panicked, fearing that my eyelashes would lose their curl--what little there is--because I was using a shampoo that is supposed to reduce/relax the natural curl in one's hair.  I don't know why I was worried.  It hasn't prevented the dippsie doodle waves that have been plaguing me for several months now.

I've always been so proud of my hair for cooperating so beautifully--up until recently.  It's begun this maddening tendency to do "S" waves here and there, but especially right around my face and it bugs me to no end.  I'm not, after all, living in the 1920's, for Pete's sake!  (Give me nine or ten more years and I'll be a full century off!)

As I continued with my shower and thinking of stinking "S" curves on female heads, I remembered Miss Phoebe Whiting from my 7th grade Home Ec Cooking class.  Back in 1961-62.  At first, I and my classmates had difficulty knowing what to do about Miss Whiting.  She had an austere demeanor and looked like someone from an old Victorian movie.  She was probably my current age--early 60's--and dressed with high collars, (I remember some filigree white ones)  long sleeves, mid-calf or slightly longer skirted dresses with fitted bodices and often with belts--maybe?  I think I remember her wearing a watch pinned on her bodice, but don't quote me on that.  Her hair was dyed black and worn in a bun at the nape of her neck ... and she had "S" curve waves (flat around her face) on either side of a middle part. 

She was a large woman and had obvious jowls, which were carefully painted (along with the rest of her face) in a foundation lighter than her apparent more olive complexion.  Her eyebrows were black and I think penciled in a bit of a half-moon shape over each eye.  Little pink circles of rouge dotted each cheek.  Her mouth was one of those little rose-bud kind, painted a dark red.  Her hands and feet were tiny and disproportionate with the rest of her body.  Her black shoes were of the previous era as well.  They were laced up to her ankles, and had a one or one-and-a-half inch solid heel.  (Some of today's shoes aren't too far off.)

She was very precise in her directions and I don't ever remember her raising her voice--even working with a classroom of giggly 12-13 year-olds.  She loved sweets and rich foods.  I still remember some of the recipes we made the 1/2 year I was in her class.  Oh, she also love canned, evaporated milk and we used it in every possible recipe we could.  We made chocolate pudding, from scratch.  (Actually all our recipes from scratch!)  Tomato soup, Welsh Rarebit, and Rice Krispi Treats.  So THAT'S where my love affair with Rice Krispi treats began!  (She told us that when we were mothers and our children didn't want to eat their cereal, we could sweeten it up with the marshmallow/butter coating to make it more appetizing!  We all dropped our jaws on that one!)  I don't remember other recipes, but I do remember having fun.  After getting to know her better, I came to love her.  She commanded respect, but did have a sense of humor and she was kind.  She's one of four teachers I fondly remember, and only one of two that I remember first and last names of.

I'm grateful to have known Miss Phoebe.  I'd been cooking for about four years before being in her class, but I learned some things from her.  And I'm glad for the memories.  Even with my kind memories of Miss Phoebe, I still don't want my hair to do "S" curves around my face. 

And even though I shampooed my face today, I didn't note any appreciable change in the curvature of my eyelashes--or anything else.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Couple Things. And a Couple More.

First and foremost:  I'm not dead.  Yet.  Hear loud celebratory noises.  Yes?  No? Okay.  It's good for me, if not for anyone else!  Perhaps God still thinks I have work to do.  (Read:  I still have time to repent and straighten up!)  That's a good thing!

We've been dealing with what lots of others have at this time of year:  Hot days (in the 80 degree range) followed shortly thereafter with cold days (as in it was 29 degrees this fine morning when I got out of bed.)  Hence and therefore, most of us in this household have struggled with varying degrees of misery due to  head colds/sinus infections/allergies/ear infections/bronchitis--any combination of which is so pleasant, if not downright debilitating.  I'll not plague (cough, cough) you with whom had what and when, because we've had what so many others have had and still have.  (Occasionally we seem like the walking dead but seem far more grouchy, you know.)  Thank Heaven, the FLU seems to have missed us.  That dreaded miserable stuff.  (Knock on wood.)  And somehow, I'm not grieved by that fact.  Imagine!

So, now on my second antibiotic (the first was no picnic and only seemed to "take the edge off", and this far more expensive one (I thought of explaining that this newest antibiotic is over a130 times more expensive than the last, but then I remembered a foundational rule about multiplication:  zero multiplied 130 times still equals zero.  Oh well!)  had better do the trick!  I have many things to do!!!  I have high hopes of having energy, well-being, etc. to proceed with the hundred tasks my list is growing to for this fine month of December.  I'm very hopeful, if nothing else, of getting the house CLEAN and decorated for the coming of Christmas--with all children and grandchildren in attendance!  Yes.  Little Baby Cakes will be here to bless us for her first ever Christmas celebration, and maybe a slightly early First Birthday celebration, as well!  Much to do.  Much to do.

Our recent Thanksgiving celebration was wonderful. It was not fancy, but all in attendance, including small grandchildren, contributed to either cooking dishes of goodies, preparing the dining table for eating and/or cleaning up after the celebration of feasting took place.  I was so exhausted after all that cooking (my portion), and eating  (Yes.  I did eat too much, thank you.) that I went to bed for a 2 hour nap, and left the cleaning up/storing left-over goodies to everyone else!  One of the more-or-less wanted (more less, I think) I think I've gained back the 5 pounds I lost from the recent surgery/hospital stay back in October.  Oh, darn it!  (To quote one of Little Britches' more favored expressions to express his displeasure.)  And I just bought a new pair of size 8 jeans! Darn it!  Again.

One day--whenever I get on top of everything else--(I'm full of faith that I will, one day, be on top of everything.  Well, okay.  When I'm to a point of deciding that everything else can be put on hold, once more. while I blog a little.)  I plan to post a recipe I made a couple of weeks ago:  Mexican Black Bean Soup.  I don't think I've included it here previously, but with the way my mind works . . . it could be a duplicate.  Hope you all have a great holiday month, and a great Christmas celebration at your house!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weeks and Weeks Behind

Halloween was what?  three weeks ago?  And my last post was what?  about, well over a month ago?  So, I'm progressing backwards at an alarming rate.  My heart is ticking faster, but somehow the rest of me is moving slower or something?  Maybe the clocks and calendars are mistaken.  Yeah.  Maybe that's it!  Or, maybe I've just always been behind and I'm getting behinder.

At any rate, I took some pictures the other day of a pot of soup I was crafting and downloaded them to my computer.  (Or is that referred to as uploading?  I never am for sure about computer-eese.)  Anywaaaaaaaaaaaaaay...I found a few photos from Halloween.  That day about three weeks ago.  Thought I'd share a few pictures to let you know that although I'm apparently close to snail speed, I can still manage to go forward some of the time.  In small units of measure, whatever they might be called.

Here are the pictures.  I enjoyed taking them before we took the grandkids to the Halloween Party.  It was fun!  And about the biggest event I'd attended since my surgery.  I saw so many friends there who asked about me and hugged me and told me they'd been praying for me, it just made it all worth the effort to go even when I didn't think I could manage.

 Miss Noodle put her costume together on her own.  She was a butterfly, magic fairy princess--in case you couldn't tell.
Now she's having fun posing.

Meet Luigi--aka Little Britches

Little Britches (ah, Luigi) and big brother, Blue Eyes, or Professor Scientist, fully into their respective roles.

"Once again, the evidence of my research clearly shows . . ."

The party was held outside in the country with a little fire--not a big bonfire--probably because it was mostly for little children.  Shortly before leaving for home--after the children traveled from vehicle to vehicle to "trunk or treat" filling their buckets with sugary booty--I looked up into the crystal clear, chilly night and was nearly brought to tears!  The very dark blue sky was glistening with a jillion beautiful stars!  And the Milky Way!  (I have too many trees and street lights close to the house to often see much of the stars, and to have a night clear enough to catch the Milky way . . . )  It was soooo beautiful and awe inspiring.  It was refreshing to see God's handy work--again--in the beauty of His mind-boggling creations!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You Never Quite Know What's Around the Bend

Last week about this time I was struggling with a serious lack of energy.  An even PRONOUNCED serious lack of energy.  I thought about my daily schedule--which is often full of things to keep me busy; sometimes not getting to bed quite as early as I should, etc.

A reasonable look at my schedule might not be alarming.  I usually get up between 6 and 6:30 am, help get the grandchildren up for school, make their snacks and pack them in their lunch boxes while their Mom oversees them dressing and seeing to their basic hygiene needs.  I prepare breakfast for them.  I see to it that Little Britches gets his meds, my husband gets his, and I make my husband's lunch and set out his "stuff" for his own breakfast, etc.  Then, there's dishes, laundry and all the regular housekeeping I can get to, and some I can't.  On Wednesdays I usually have choir practice at Church.  I have, of late, been teaching Sunday School each week in the Gospel Doctrine, adults' class.  And since we lost our Ward Chorister, I've been leading the music in our congregation's Sacrament Meetings each Sunday.  I know people older and far busier than myself, so I just figured I was a little "out-of-tune" with where I should be.

But I was conscientiously working to improve where bad habits are concerned.  Yet, I still felt drained.  No pain.  No discomfort.  Unless you recognize discomfort as having little energy to do anything.  Tuesday I took my blood pressure to kind of "get a fix" on what might be going on.  It wasn't terribly abnormal.  My norm is around 120/70, pulse 60.   A week ago today, it was off:  something like 112/98, pulse 58.  And even after eating and resting (for 2.5 hours!) I still felt completely drained.  I wasn't alarmed, I just figured I was a lazy bum as usual.

Tuesday night, however, when I was saying my prayers, I asked the Lord to guide me in how I should approach this dilemma:  "If this is nothing and will soon pass, good.  But . . . IF this is something I need to seek medical professionals about, please let me know."  (I really hate running off to the doctor for nothing, and avoid (read:  Protest loudly) going to the ER in nearly every instance, except for when I had no other recourse.  That wasn't life threatening, just precautionary.)  And then I thought back a few weeks when I had a whole week of this dreaded feeling of being "excessively physically empty" inside.  I had taken lots of naps to help me through and seemed to come out of it--for the most part, until the first weekend of this month.

Last Wednesday I awoke about 5:45 am to bathroom.  I felt really weird.  My heart was racing approximately 102 beats a minute, just taking it with my fingers.  I prayed again for guidance and the word "pacemaker" came to mind.  Well, my husband does have his own special pacemaker/defibrillator, so you know, but I feel strongly that it was the answer to my prayer--I needed medical attention.  Now.

I went back to bed and told my husband I needed him to get the children up and let their Mom know I wasn't able to assist this morning--and could he please get the blood pressure machine and take my BP.  He did all the above--with great concern for my well being.  Our daughter came to check on me and said, "Mom, I think you need to go to the ER."  For the first time ever, I replied, "I think you're right.  But I don't want to go here in town, I don't want to go to the one 30 miles away, I want to go to Cabrini in Alexandria.  I'm more impressed with that ER than any other I've visited--as the "caretaker" to the person(s) there to be seen.  Plus, my husband's cardiologist is attached to that particular hospital.

Before the grandchildren left to catch their school buses, they with their Mom and Grandpa knelt around the bed and each offered a pray for me.  It touched my heart.  Nothing beats the simple, humble prayers of little children!  I felt better by the time we left the house.  Not by any means ready to skip and dance, but with more energy than I'd felt for several hours.

Before noon, the results of my EKG, the continuous monitoring of my heart rate, pulse, etc. (where my pulse dropped repeatedly into the 30's), blood work and X-rays were in.  The PA said, "Well, it looks like you need a pacemaker."  I just laughed!  It was, after all, no huge surprise, having been warned not that long before that might indeed be the case.  Then I asked, "You're kidding, right?"

The PA was surprised at my response.  "No!  I'm very serious."  I then explained to her that I'd thought about that very thing not many hours before.  Later, one of the ER nurses mentioned that I was taking the "news" much better than most!

They ran me through some other tests before they got me to a room in the hospital.  Dr. Hawthorn had come in to see me first to ask me about family history in the cardiac vein (pun intended, I guess!), etc., etc.  He said he'd schedule me for the following morning.  I don't know why I was surprised about that, but it was so SOON!  So QUICK!  And, he said, when I asked, "How long will I have to stay in the hospital?"  He said, "one night after the surgery."

Thursday morning came early.  I was conscious during the surgery, which was interesting.  He asked me from time to time how I was doing.  I don't think it took too long, either.  BUT, when he was through, my head began to itch like fire!  When they released my once restrained arms, I began scratching like mad!  Something, including benedril was administered IV, and I went soundly to sleep.  According to my husband, after returning to my room, an echocardiagram was performed.  Later the Dr. told me, "Your heart valves are  pristine and there are no blockages anywhere."  It's a total electrical problem.

Oh, and yes, I forgot to mention.  While inserting the lead for the pacemaker into my heart he nicked my lung.  Tiny nick.  My veins are really small--which I've know for some time--and I remember hearing him try a few time to get the correct lead to go to the correct spot--while it was happening.

I mentioned to him on his post op visit that I was having terrific muscle spasms in my upper back, left side.  I was taken for X-rays which showed a little "air" where is wasn't supposed to be.  That night at about 11 PM I was taken to another spot to have a drainage tube installed to drain any air/fluid that might accumulate.  It was painful for a moment, but not too bad.

Sunday, we were headed home.  Now, I've just got to take things easy for a bit and get more X-rays done tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bubble Blowing Skills

Yesterday and today Blue Eyes and Little Britches (and Miss Noodle.  She was inside doing her homework like a good, industrious girl should while I had the camera out!) got into bubble blowing.  The weather was superb, though the breeze did manage to make the task at hand a little more challenging.  Blue Eyes figured out the best way to make BIG bubbles.

  Little Britches struggled with the skills of older sibling.  He tried blowing fast and furiously, which availed little more than frustrating disappointment time and time again.  That was yesterday.  Today, however, evidence shows that someone developed greater patience and skill.

Look at the concentration!  Look at that success!!  Yay!  Little Britches, you rock!

Look at that level of concentration.

Blue Eyes:  "See, you have to concentrate . . ."

Little Britches:  "Like this?"

"I got it!"

Grandma tried various spots in the yard:  In the sun; In the shade. Close up.  Further away.  It didn't seem to matter much.  I missed so many bubbles by the time the shutter clicked.  (I had to practice a little patience and skill improvement, too!)  But, I'm glad I got the few I think are pretty good.

It was good recreation out in the wonderful fresh air and sunshine!  I'm thinking of investing in about a gallon of the bubbly stuff!

Friday, October 1, 2010

First of October

Today I traveled with my grandchildren so their mother, who was at school, would have a little easier time in delivering them to their dad later today for their weekend visit.  It was a BEAUTIFUL morning.  The temperature was in the high 60's by the time we left the house.  We had a fun ride.  We discussed how beautiful (and essential) sunshine is for all life to exist after Blue Eyes mentioned that he loved the sun today.  That led to a discussion of how EVERYTHING is possible because of Jesus Christ, God's Son.  That Jesus explained in the Bible (more than once) how He is the Light of the world.

Then, one by one I asked the children to tell me what they were thankful for.  Their lists (which I added blessings I'm thankful for, too) were lovely and long.  We're all thankful for our family, for the beauties of the earth--including the trees, flowers, bugs (yes, bugs were mentioned a time or two), other animals, our house to keep us sheltered from the storms, comfortable beds to sleep in, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins.  And I could go on and on.

They were so sweet and were attentive to the rules I'd expressed for safety when we moved from my vehicle to Mom's.  No fussing or fighting.  It was good.  I'm thankful for that!

As I drove back home, I noticed that the sky was a beautiful blue.  Not a cloud visible anywhere.  The trees were glistening in that sunlight Blue Eyes had noticed.  Even in a world of constant flux and turmoil there are many things to remind us of God's ever constant care.  I'm so thankful for that.  And more.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gecko Food Fest

I thought it might be getting too cold for the geckos now that our temperatures have dropped from formidably hot to cold enough in the mornings to require a jacket!!!  And...especially since I saw their favorite menu item in quantities I've never seen before adorning my kitchen window now.

Well, that was what I thought until I began noticing the "shy" creatures snatching and gobbling up those little tasty moths that ventured too close to the waiting jaws of the reptiles hiding hither and thither.  Apparently temperatures aren't critical--yet!

What entertainment items do you find attached to your kitchen windows?   (Which are, no doubt, more translucent than my own that need a good Windexing, hosing down, scraping, etc., etc.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rub-A-Dub-Dub--OR--When Is A Swimming Pool Too Small?

"Last day for outdoor water sports, kids."  **Translation**  "Kids, you better get the heck out of the house and play now that the temperature has become reasonable for outdoor recreation!"

Mom and Grandma knew that it was time.  It is no longer prohibitively and excessively hot for children frolicking about outdoors.  Besides, children confined to the inner sanctum of their living quarters tend to get short with one another.  That's what happens when one (two and/or three) don't have plenty of time to release their energy in the out of doors.  As much as they normally enjoy and long for such outdoors-ness, we've notice a lack of enthusiasm of late.  They've apparently misplaced their memory of the joys of such activities and needed an enticement to remind them of the joys therein (or is that, there-out/their-out??).  At any rate, the inducement to go out and "Have fun, or else!" worked.  See evidence below.

There they are all happy and tucked into the smallest (perhaps) swimming pool on record for three normal sized children.  I'm really not sure how they managed to arrange themselves so that they fit, but fit they managed to do.

There was whining and weeping and wailing from each individual for one reason or another, and the final blow was that there was going to be one man out!  Noodle was in with Little Britches and Blue Eyes was devastated that no one would give up their favored spot to allow him in.  There was much howling as to the genuine fact that there simply was NOT enough room for ONE MORE PERSON!

All that was, however, prior to the authoritative command of "Stop whining and fighting and figure out a way to work together!"  When no one budged, and new whining set in, that same authoritative voice strongly suggested that they all stand and try a new arrangement.

Since they've all inherited a large degree of engineering skills, an arrangement was made conducive to all three miraculously fitting in the very tight, but still nearly full of water arrangement you see above.  Since it worked so splendidly, they received another command, from said authority, to stay put while the camera was located and put to use.
Make what you will from these expressions.  Engineering ingenus?  Or children can amaze adults when pressed to do so.  Or not.

It was inferred that the reason everyone wanted IN the water was because goose flesh and chattering teeth claimed their own whenever these three were not immersed in the water.  Eventually, after much too much endurance in such cramped quarters made traveling back in-doors essential, the moaning, and groaning began anew.  "I'm too cold to take a bath!"  "I don't want to get ready for bed yet!"  "I'm too cold to walk."    (It was 80 degrees outside.  And, since they've been used to near 100 degrees, I guess it WAS kind of freezing!  In the full sunlight, etc.

When the hot bathwater was drawn, scant minutes later, everyone (though not bathing in the hotter tub at one time) finally expressed gratitude for the relaxing relief and settled down.  Then we ate supper and all was well in the world once more.  For a few minutes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For Just a Few Minutes It Looked Like Niagara Falls!

Only moments ago I heard the throb of thunder.  I suspected precipitation soon to follow.  Then . . . It Looked Like Niagara Falls outside.  I checked the rain gauge.  Within 10 to 15 minutes we had .5 inches of rain!  And coincidentally the temperature dropped as well from 83 to 73 degrees in about the same time period.

It has slacked off pretty much now.  I'm not sure if more will follow, but we'll take it!  (Ha!  What choice do we have???)

Nonetheless, I'm so grateful for the rain!!!  Hooray!  And I'm so grateful for the cooler temperature, too!

How's your weather where you're located?  Share how quickly it's changed, or how long you've been blessed/endured whatever circumstances you've had placed on your plate!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bangkok Restaurant Review

Saturday some of the family (#2 daughter and #1 son) accompanied me to a Thai restaurant in Alexandria, LA, interestingly called the Bangkok Restaurant.  My daughter, has been to Thailand and loved it there.  She is very particular about Asian food--actually about all kinds of food from around the world--so I follow her lead when visiting such restaurants (most of the time) when ordering.  She ordered Pad Thai--which was delicious--and Beef Curry (the red variety).  Son ordered a Thai Pork Fried Rice dish. We also had fried Spring rolls.  It was all delicious--except for the beef in the Red Curry.  It tasted a little old. 

The personal favorites of mine were the Pad Thai and the Red Curry sauce.  Very yummy!  I will go back.  Oh, and by the way, the lady who waited on us was originally from Thailand.  My daughter always tries to learn if those preparing whatever kinds of Asian food at the restaurant we plan to eat at are authentic to the cuisine offered.  Koreans for Korean food.  Japanese for Japanese food, etc.

There was an Asian grocery attached to the restaurant so my daughter checked it out while we waited for our meal.  She was VERY impressed with the freshness of their produce and meats as well as the variety of other commodities for sale.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

They're Multiplying!

Tonight the grandchildren returned from the weekend with their dad.  Little Britches and I were checking out the gecko activity on the kitchen window.  A small moth--the likes of which seem to be a favorite meal of these geckos--was tantalizing and teasing each of the three little reptilian critters I saw by flying close and getting missed as it passed by each of the predators.  Two of the star-toed fellas were on the top half of the window as the third dashed from top to just below mid-way on the bottom section with a near miss for said moth, when suddenly a fourth fellow skulking in the bottom left-hand corner snatched the winged meal for himself.

Now I've got to wonder:  are these geckos multiplying and hiding out all over my back yard?  Jeanie, in Paradise, has hinted that they multiply quickly. (You can check out her experience at jeanieinparadise.blogspot.com.)  It might be alright if they could manage to eliminate a large portion of the  mosquitoes and other unsavory insects lurking about us--like the blight of stinging red wasps and some kind of hornets that have attacked us in recent days.  My husband has sprayed the apparent hidden nest of red wasps and we keep finding remnants crawling now (rather than flying) around our front door.  (These suckers are about 2 1/2 inches in length--with attitude!  And when they pop you, you know it for sure!)

Heretofore I've been in the habit of catching them live (when they are IN the house) and tossing them outside.  I may have to alter my modus operandi.  We're all just slightly wary of entering and leaving by the front door now!

So . . . are we under attack?  Being overrun with wildlife once again, or still?  I'm beginning to wonder.  Again!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Love, Love, Love

New photos showed up for me to "oooo" and "aaaahhhh" over.  The youngest of my adorable grandchildren has been sitting in front of a camera once more.  There's no way I can describe how this little bundle of joy fascinates me.  She just makes me giggle with joy when the opportunity to see her up close and hold and snuggle her arises.  Not often enough, I assure you!

But here are some pictures of this adorable little babe.

One of my very favorite pictures of our little Baby Cakes.  That's her very pretty Mom holding her.  (I think Mom looks like a movie star.  What do you think?)

She is such a kick!  This is another of my all-time favorites.  New, but still an all time favorite!

I imagine that she's singing Gene Kelly's version of "Singing in the Rain."  Or, maybe she's singing the Beatles "Love, Love, Love."  
I'm sure her PopPop would argue that she's really cheering on the football team of his choice that's playing on the TV behind her.  (PopPop has a Super Bowl ring or two from the days of his professional career in football.)  Anyway, I can hear her singing in this photo, I don't care what anybody else says!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Caught Two of Them

In my previous post I mentioned a trio of geckos lurking about my kitchen window, my dirty kitchen window.  I don't exactly remember why I was walking into the kitchen just a few minutes ago, but lo and behold!  I saw all three geckos attached by their little starry feet to the upper portion of said window.  Racing upstairs to snag the camera I tried to get back in time to catch them as if they would be waiting for me.  Yeah.  Well, the illusive little critters were still lurking about, but not so much within camera view. 

I tried to catch them w/o flash.  Got double images.  Blurry double images.  Tried with the over-the-sink light on.  Forget that!  Tried with only the kitchen (florescent) light on.  That was problematic, as well.  But, nonetheless, I did see all three at once, or at least parts of them not hidden from view and snapped a few frames.  I'll include a couple of them--if you promise not to snicker about how utterly filthy my poor kitchen window is.  Please.

I may try another evening to do better--with cleaning the window and/or taking better photos of the reptilian critters.  Are they reptiles?  I forgot to look that up!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Geckos on Kitchen Window

For several weeks now we've been watching a trio of geckos that like to congregate on our kitchen window in the evenings snatching up moths, at least, and possibly other flying critters attracted by the light over the kitchen sink.  For the longest time I thought there were only two, then I noticed three one evening a few days ago.

I'd have pictures except for two very simple reasons.

1.  My kitchen window is in dire need of washing.
2.  When I thought I'd just suck it up and forgo the window washing and just try to take a picture, well, you guessed it:  the gecko anti-paparazzi informant was on alert.  Yep.  There was nary a gecko to be found when the camera showed up.

So, I can rest now that you'll not be exposed to how much in need of a cleaning my kitchen window is.

Until last night, I never saw anything but the underbelly view of any of these little critters.  All I saw before was a kind of soft, pinkish little critter (or three) with long whip-like tails and the cutest little feet that look like stars.  Their digits fan out from the center and make me think of sparkly stars.  It's a very scientific term.  You should look it up, of course.  But last night . . . I saw the dorsal view.  It's striped.  The color is kind of light tan with thin, dark stripes down the entire length of the body and tail.  Don't recall the head being striped or not.

So, last night I actually saw one of the trio that was clinging to the bricks that form the sides of the window.  I nearly missed it.  They are somewhat illusive.  If you watch them too long they seem to realize that they're on display and they hide behind the window where top and bottom sections meet (where I can raise the window) or just above or below the window.

I've often wondered where they habitate during day-light hours.  I have a large aloe vera plant in a clay pot close by.  I wonder if they find refuge near, under, around, or in said plant/pot.  I should read up on their habits.  They get a little snappy at each other on occasion for some reason or another.  Perhaps there aren't enough of the right moths and/or other insects they prefer to ingest and competition is involved.  Perhaps they're not all the same gender?  Perhaps they're not acquainted with the lovely Geico Gecko and his gentlemanly manners.  Who can say?

I'll try again at photographing them.  Sometime.  When their guard is down.  Maybe.

P.S.  I'm editing the post:  I went back downstairs and noticed a head sticking out from the edge of the bricks.  When I moved to get a better look . . . it disappeared.  I'm not convinced that they're shy.  I think, well I'm not sure what I say to describe their feelings of being watched.  Maybe they're just creeped out.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And Then It Poured

Yesterday morning we woke to the blessed sound of heavy rain.  I don't exactly recall the last date that we had rain--a week or so ago--though it was minuscule.  But yesterday, we received the mother-load.  Before the day was out, we had 4 inches in the rain gauge.

I am SO GRATEFUL for the blessed rain!!!!!!!  And cooler nights, to boot!  Our poor grass was getting crunchy it's been so hot and dry for so long--even though we've tried to water.  Now it looks green and fresh and not nearly so thirsty!  So happy are we . . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

If Something's Broken, We Gotta Fix It

This morning Little Britches and I were heading out to do a few errands.  We heard something like a chain-saw not too far away.  Then we heard a heavy "thump". 

Little Britches:  "Gramma, what was that?????"

Me:  "I'm not sure, but it sounded like a chain-saw.  And maybe a big limb fell down."

Little Britches:  "Huh?  What they doin'?"

As we started to leave the neighborhood, I noticed a guy or two and some trucks parked on the side of the road and a neighbors huge pine tree lying down--away from their house--in the yard.

Me:  "See that big tree on the ground?"

Little Britches:  "Um, yeah.  Why they do that?"

Me:  "Looks like the tree was dying and they probably were making sure it wouldn't fall on their house."

Little Britches:  "Why?"

Me:  "Well, if a big tree like that falls on a house, it wrecks the house and they can't live there any more."

Little Britches:  "It would be breaked?"

Me:  "Yes.  A big tree like that falling on a house would break it in pieces."

Little Britches:  "Oh."  Hmmmmm.  "If somethings breaked, we gotta fix it."

Me:  "Yes.  That's a good idea."

Little Britches.  "Yes.  We have to get some sticky tape to fix it back up."

Me:  "Yeah . . . maybe, so."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jerk Chicken Knock-off

(Check out the very poor quality photo.  Shouldn't have used a flash.  Poor rice pile looks ghostly! And the black beans?  What's up with them.  But if you could only SMELL it all!!!)
A couple of weeks (or so) ago I needed to fix supper and had no clue what I wanted to fix.  I picked up a couple of recipe books/magazines from the plethora of cookbooks, etc. we have around here searching for some kind of inspiration.  I found one.  It was a Jerk Chicken Casserole.  I thought it sounded kinda weird--as a casserole--but the ingredients seemed interesting so I tried it.  Well, I kind of blew it because I transpose numbers and I don't remember things I've read six seconds after reading them . . . sometimes.  So I tripled the amount of cornstarch and had to do some fast foot work to compensate for that near fiasco.

My family seemed to like the meal.  I did like the chicken part and the sweet potato part and I love black beans, but I didn't exactly LOVE it all as a casserole.  So today, I got creative.  Oh, I didn't have the spice named "Allspice" for the first go round.  And, forgetting being what I do so well, I didn't have any today either, but I bunted.

[I'd like to try some REAL Jerk Chicken one day--the very spicy, hot kind, but in the mean time, I'll share my knock-off version, of a knock-off version.]

I began by thawing four large chicken breasts.  Next I made up a "rub" using ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, garlic, salt (Kosher, of course), brown sugar, thyme, red and black ground pepper and brown sugar.  I coated each thawed piece of chicken with the rub and covered it to marinate in the refrigerator for an hour or two.  If you want a more original version, you'll have to add some hot peppers.  We have a little person who does NOT like spicy foods like the rest of us do. So this worked for everyone.

In the mean time (between trips to move the garden hose from shrub and tree to the next shrub and tree, and keeping an eye on the grandsons) I finely chopped some onion and sauteed it in a small amount of olive oil then added a can of black beans, cumin and chili powder and let that mixture simmer.  (This is NOT part of the recipe.  I just put this in to let you know how/what I fixed as a side dish.  (*Sphew*  I almost had you wondering, didn't I?)

When it was time, I sauteed more chopped onion in a frying pan coated with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil  then removed the onion when done to a casserole dish sprayed with vegetable oil.  Next, I browned the chicken on each side .  The chicken went on top of the onions in the casserole dish where I added some peeled carrots (cut in chunks) around the chicken pieces (because someone else had used the sweet potatoes earlier).  If you try this recipe (or another knock-off of your own design, please DO NOT use baby carrots.  Use the biggest, fattest, deepest orange carrots you can find instead.  The flavor is SO much better!  Unless of course you actually use the sweet potatoes suggested by the original (knock-off) recipe.

To the drippings left in the pan after browning the chicken, I added the left-over rub + juices, as well as a mixture of freshly squeezed lime juice, equal amount of honey, a little water, a little less soy sauce, and not quite enough cornstarch.  I ran out.  I thought.  I stirred all of that over medium heat constantly until it thickened--which, due to the lack of enough cornstarch it didn't quite thicken enough!  That mixture was poured unceremoniously over the chicken and carrot chunks and popped into the 375 degree oven to simmer and get yummy for the next hour.  I did baste it from time to time, as well.

In the mean time (again) I did proceed to move the garden hose another time or two and work on fixing some frozen corn and heating up left-over rice.

I was in a time crunch since choir practice was getting closer and closer and I had to finish my preparations, feed the little childrens and get myself ready to go!  I then rinsed a handful of cilantro and pulled off the leaves to add to the finished meal for each person to add or not, and also sliced green onions for the same purpose.

After loading up the kids' plates with food, I thought:  "I ought to get a picture of this and post it on my blog."  I really like the way it turned out, and so did my family.  I think.  Well, they did eat it and said it smelled really good.

Since I had about 20 minutes to load my plate, take a couple of quick shots, gobble what I could before running off to Choir Practice (and because I'm anything but a professional, or regular kind of photographer) the picture I'm hoping to add to this blog post looks as amateurish as I figured it would.  Too bad you can smell/taste it from here.

If I haven't scared you off by now, I'll add the recipe just in case you're really brave and want to give it a try.

(It is NOT the spicy version.)
4 to 6 chicken breasts (I used boneless, skinless--you can use what you like)

 2 tsp salt
2  tsp cinnamon                                                           
½ tsp nutmeg
½  tsp cloves                                                            
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ tsp thyme leaves                                                     
1 tsp ground red & black pepper  mix
½ tsp ground ginger                                                      
½ tsp garlic powder

1 Tbls vegetable oil  
1 small onion, chopped 
 3 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato (or carrots) 

THE SAUCE:                    
3/4  cup+ lime juice                           
3/4  cup honey
1 - 2 Tbls soy sauce
2 Tbls cornstarch
¼ cup water                                                                                

3 or 4 sliced green onions 
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1.   Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 2 quart, flat baking dish with oil.  In a small bowl, mix salt, brown sugar and spices.  Rub mixture on all sides of chicken and marinate an hour or two .  In a 12 inch  skillet, heat oil over medium-hi heat and saute chopped onion; remove to the baking dish.  In same skillet, cook chicken 2 – 3 minutes per side, until brown.
2.   Top onions with browned chicken pieces and sweet potato or carrot chucks.  In small bowl, mix honey, lime juice, water, soy sauce and cornstarch.  To the drippings in the skillet add what's left of the rub and the lime juice mixture.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Pour over chicken.
3.   Bake 45 min. to 1 hour or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut and sweet potatoes (or carrots) are fork tender.  Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro, if desired.
4.   Serve with rice, black beans and corn--only if you want to.  Because I did!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I Found

I thought I heard Blue Eyes reading to his brother, Little Britches.
Yep!  I was right!
Can I just say how much I enjoy being a Grandma?!!!

I Should Already Be In Bed

I'm tired.  I had a full day, starting at about 6:15 am.  Before 9:00 am I went to the Elementary School where I worked for about 3 years, like 14 years ago, so my #1 grandson, Blue Eyes, could be "evaluated" before starting Kindergarten at the end of this week.  He's already reading.  He does math in his head and knows insects by their scientific names in more cases than I do.  (Okay.  So I DON'T know their scientific names.  I confess.)  (But then, his Mom [not me] studied insects for years and has a large collection of them that she donated to a museum on the campus of BYU, where her college career began.)  Today was her first day of school--in a few years, and she's excited, too. 

Little Britches, #2 grandson, is also looking forward to his first year of school.  He too, unbelievably, can read a few words.  He continually confuses gender pronouns, but we're about to figure out that he does it intentionally.  When he was mad at his Mom for some imagined injustice the other day, he declared that he was changing her "she" status to "he" status.  She nearly cracked up over that one. He's quite the pistol.  And he's our most continual entertainment here at home.  There's a large, pink rubbery, stretchy frog toy that he's affectionately named "Seaweed."  Little Britches is highly incensed if we chuckle or tease about "Seaweed's" abilities to do things.  I've been admonished for insensitivity.  "Grandma, you not bein' nice.  You hurt "Seaweed's feelings."  His comments were accompanied by a very sad demeanor and tone of voice.  I did have to muffle another chuckle.  I did not want to bring wrath down upon my head, if you know what I mean.  Seaweed has been known to lash out from time to time.  Not sure if said frog intends malevolence, but the little guy slinging him around by one appendage or another knows the damage said rubber amphibian can create when wielded in that manner. 

Big sister, Miss Noodle, started 1st grade last Friday.  She's happy and doing well in her own reading skills and though complaining loud and long about the injustices of the huge workload at school AND having to do homework as well . . . was delighted to learn that she could accomplish said homework assignments in 5 minutes.  Mom and Grandma encouraged her to contemplate the great rewards diligence and hard work provide and the corollary that lack thereof has its own deleterious effects.  Mom also tried to soften the blow by telling her daughter that she (Mom) had her own pile of homework, homework that would take many times more than 5 tiny minutes.

I miss being in school.  I always loved learning--formally--though I must admit I did complain about some of the teachers I had to cope with along the way.  For the most part, I loved many of my instructors, and as an older student about 13 years ago, I found a lot more common ground with them.  I still learn what I can about a lot of things, and don't ever plan to stop!  There's so much more I want to know!!!

And because of the late hour, I think I will do a little reading and then hit the sack.  Nite, all!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Things That Happen Along the Road

My family and I traveled from Louisiana through Arkansas (even Little Rock, just so you know, Bob), Missouri (probably not too far from you Mary P) and even managed to nick through extreme southeast Iowa and into Illinois.  It was an exhausting trip in some ways.  The Illinois visit was in Nauvoo, a very historic spot for LDS folks, and a sweet religious experience for me and my two youngest daughters.

The temperatures were blindingly hot everywhere, but somewhat tempered by the tremendous gift of air conditioning in the vehicles, homes, etc. where we spent most of our time.

On our first and last nights on the road, we got to visit with my second oldest brother and his family, which was a wonderful blessing.  It's been too long since we've been able to visit face to face.  Three of their daughters and their children were so kind and fun to be with.  The grandchildren/cousins had so much fun together.  We're not going to wait so long before visiting again.

The scenery along the highways and byways was, for the most part, very beautiful and interesting.  THEN . . . on the last leg of the trip home, somewhere along I-30, east of Texarkana, I noticed a vehicle parked on the shoulder with a young guy in a white T-shirt and jeans with his back to the road and a young gal on his left, facing traffic, with her cell phone at her ear.  I was a little shocked when I realized that white T-shirt boy obviously didn't learn from his Momma that it's in very poor taste (??) to relieve oneself on the side of the road in full view of on-coming traffic.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

In a similar vein, however, my daughter and I found ourselves in dire need of facilities to properly relieve ourselves (sorry I'm so blunt) a few miles further down the road.  At that point, there were no facilities for nearly another 30 minutes or more.  (In all fairness, maybe T-shirt guy knew this fact and just didn't care to be even slightly discreet.)  We were getting more miserable by the moment--and silently praying the Lord would bless us with some kind of business (on a Sunday evening) where we could find respite.  And then . . . we found our answer.  It was a liquor store (with a gas pump or two in front) just outside of Ida, Louisiana barely south of Arkansas' southern boundary (and according to Kelly, Bob would classify it as being in LA--Lower Arkansas.)

After availing ourselves of the courtesy of the lovely lady (probably a few years past her 50's) working the counter, I mentioned to her that this place of business was an answer to prayer (I didn't mention how fervent or frequent in the last 1/2 hour).  Her expression was one of dismay, perhaps even shock.  It seems she'd never heard such a comment from those not coming in to purchase alcoholic products, but she eventually smiled.  She was so polite and understanding, it was an even further blessing to us.  We purchased a few bottles of nice, cold water--since that's all we'd drink from their stock, and moved on down the road.

I'm so grateful for good people everywhere.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Whenever Laundry Overwhelms You

Even with all the modern appliances we have today to help us with our daily chores around the house, keeping up with the laundry seems a daunting task much of the time, particularly if you have a few little children around--or even older children . . .

As I cleaned off the refrigerator this evening, an OLD item there (a bookmark someone gave me years ago stuck up there with a magnet) caught my eye.  I thought about how much we take for granted and decided it might cheer someone up who struggles with mountains of laundry these days. This is it:

Washday 1916

Years ago a Kentucky grandmother gave a new bride the following "receipt" for washing clothes.  
It appears below just as it was written, and despite the spelling has a bit of philosophy.

1.  Bilt fire in backyard to heet kettle of rain water.
2.  Set tubs so smoke won't blow in eyes if wind is pert.
3.  Shave one hold cake lie soap in bilin water.
4.  Sort things, make three piles.  1 pile white, 1 pile collored, 1 pile work britches and rags.
5. Stir flour in cold water to smooth, then thin down with bilin water.
6.  Rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, then bile.  Rub collored don't bile, just rinch in starch.
7.  Take white things out of kettle with broomstick handle then rinch, and starch.
8.  Hang old rags in fince.
9.  Spread tee towels on grass.
10.  Pore rinch water in flower bed.
11.  Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
12.  Turn tubs upside down.
13.  Go put on house dress, smooth hair with side combs.  
Brew cup of tee, sit and rest and rock a spell and count blessings.

Hang this above your automatic washer, and when things look black, read again.
Mrs. Gray McDaniel
Pinedale, N. C.

I'm so grateful I don't have to "heet a kettle" in the backyard and do my laundry there.  Especially not in the heat we've been having!  I do, however, miss the wonderful clean fragrance of laundry dried on a clothesline outside!  Yet, I'm grateful for my automatic clothes dryer and fabric softener!

More Weather News. (Yippy Skippy.)

A very welcome change in the excessive heat wave (that has smitten us for a few weeks) occurred yesterday.  We had rain.  Indeed we did.  Nearly a whole inch--dumped unceremoniously in probably 30 minutes, I think. (And dropped the temperature to a more easily tolerated temperature around the low to mid 70s last night!  *sigh* :-) )

You can't imagine (or maybe you can) what an inch of rain can accomplish to an otherwise parched and dying lawn.  (Despite our attempts to keep it watered and still be able to buy groceries.)  When I walked outside this morning the grass was a lovely, lively GREEN (not crunchy, faded, nearly-brown green).  AND, it had grown a good 1/2 to 1 inch.  It did, too!  It didn't need mowing on Friday morning.  But this morning.  Um hm.  It did.  Does.  The rest of the vegetation on the property looks equally refreshed, if not growing at such a phenomenal rate.  Rain is good for the soul.  I like it.  I'm grateful for it--especially when it's not flooding the country side--but enough to freshen and enliven life all around.  Except for the obnoxious insect population.

Besides, I think the heat index was back up to 106 F this afternoon. Proof that both sides of the coin still exist in nature.

Okay, okay.  Along with the blessings come the trails.  I mean trials.  Kind of like the corollary, "along with the trials come the blessings."  It does seem to work both ways.  Though maybe not expressly that close together time-wise.

I'm closing this now.  Before I sound more like a space cadet than I do now, at this moment.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . .

On the same theme as my last post . . . When I got up this morning, it was still darkish.  And hot.  Before t he sun was even resting on the horizon, the temperature at my house (outside) was registering 83 degrees.  The humidity was between 85 and 90 per cent.  Yeah.  Today's gonna be another tough day temperature wise.

But . . . I bought ice cream yesterday.  Yes, I did.  And I'm happy about that!

(Except for the pounds it'll add.  And inches around my middle.  What can a person do?)

Friday, Aug 6 addendum:

(Bob--close your eyes for a few minutes.)

Yesterday afternoon, I thought we somehow shifted our place of residence to the Amazon!  It had sprinkled a little and the temperature was 90 something.  The humidity was around 90%+ and the windows were steamed on the outside!  It felt like a sauna.  Seriously.  Sorry to grouse so frequently, but I'm just tryin' to report the facts.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Weather . . . Is Soooooooo HOT!

I don't ever remember summers like this one.  Usually, our top temperatures are in the 90s, maybe the high 90s toward the end of July and into August.  Occasionally, we have those really hot, sultry nights when the low is 80 degrees and the humidity is 80% and you think you're going to die . . . particularly if you have a huge thunderstorm and it knocks out the power and you have neither fans nor air conditioning to cushion the blow.

Well, we knew we were in trouble last month when the high temperatures started creeping toward 99 and then touching 100 here and there.  Today our forecast high was (at one time) 100 degrees.  Then they changed it to 98.  When I looked at the thermometer I have outside, in the shade, I might add, it said 103.  The advertised temp on "the weather channel" web site said it was 98 with heat index of 113.  (Or 45 C.) 

It is currently 86 degrees in my bedroom.  The A/C is on.  The fans are running.  The humidity is registered at almost 70% and the outside temp (according to the professionals) is also 86 degrees.

I was not built to endure this kind of heat and humidity.  Seriously!  I was born during a record breaking blizzard in Salt Lake City, after all, and I loved----L O V E D----cold weather and snow.  So now you know.  I've melted all over the place.

Yet . . . I somehow have managed to acclimate.  I know.  It shocked me too!  A couple of weeks ago my daughters friend was flying in for the weekend and before she got to the house I HAD TO SWEEP the front porch, sidewalk, patio, etc.  It was 1:00 in the afternoon and about 99.  Not sure what the humidity was, but it was definitely there.  When I walked outside to fetch the broom, I thought:  Dang!  I'm going to die out here!  And that's without even starting to get to work!  

Well, I sucked it up, and began my task with determination that whether or not I died of heatstroke, I was going to get my porch, sidewalk and patio swept clean!  (Someone had mowed a couple of days before, then it rained and, you know.)  As I got into the sweeping, I noticed that it was getting hard to see clearly, but I stuck to my task.  Perspiration was dripping into my eyes.  My head was dripping wet, but I kept at it.  I had to wipe my brow occasionally with my sleeve, but I continued to sweep.  The spot between my thumb and forefinger began to feel like that recurring blister was developing--since I forgot to grab my gloves--but I didn't give in.  Then it was DONE!  Eureka!  I had not expired.  I had conquered the beastly heat and grass clippings and  leaves and all that nasty stuff.  Even the miserable heat!  The blister was a doozie.  It formed.  It burst and most of the skin pulled free.  (I medicated it.  I bandaged it.  I moved on.  But it did hurt.)

*Sigh*  I want to buy another leaf blower, really, really badly!!!

So, when I came back inside, it was a lovely cool.  My face was the color of beets.  My hair was plastered to my head from the perspiration.  And I was thirsty.  I drank copious amounts of cold water.  (Don't tell me you're not supposed to!)  I did.  And it tasted wonderful!  Then I showered in COOL water.  It was glorious.  Then I dressed, grabbed my suitcase, and other necessaries and left for my oldest daughter's place to spend the night because I was catching a flight at dawn-thirty, or rather fifteen, to go see my youngest daughter.  And you already heard about some of that adventure.

Oh, even with all the complaining about the HOT weather.  I still DO NOT buy into the ridiculous (false) theory of "Global Warming".  Sorry. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Eating Out

(I must be in some kind of time-warp or something.  Maybe the "or something."  I thought I posted my visit to a Chili's in Orlando, FL right after I got home.  Time warp?  Mind warp?  I dunno.  Anyway, I couldn't find it.  Perhaps I only THOUGHT about posting it . . . Hmmmmmm.)

Any way, I went to Orlando three weeks ago to spend a special day with my youngest daughter, her husband, their precious daughter, Baby Cakes, and son-in-laws parents at the LDS Orlando Temple.  It was a wonderful experience--even though it was exceptionally hot that afternoon!

As we traveled to the airport for my return flight--the in-laws had other obligations to attend to--the rest of us found a Chili's restaurant to feed our hunger.  Daughter and I chose to split a "Caribbean Chicken Salad" that sounded good.  Let me tell you, it was REALLY good!  The chicken marinade was excellent, not overpowering, but very tastey--like lime juice, maybe brown sugar, and other seasonings that when grilled, was better than I expected.  Add to that the pineapple, mandarin oranges, and cherries, cilantro, scallions, some salad greens--and honey/lime salad dressing--VERY yummy.  I want to eat it AGAIN!

OKAY!  I'M POSTING MY DISCLAIMER:   I'm not a professional food critic.  (Shock!)  Not a gourmet. (Double shock!!)  Just so you know.  (Now I know you all feel better knowing I'm just a regular person who's picky about what she finds at restaurants.)  No claim to culinary training or special knowledge of the culinary arts.  I just like to eat good food.  (But, I like some junk food, too, so there you have it!)

Tonight, my sweetheart took me out to eat on our regular Friday-Night-Date to "Hana's Japanese Sushi Bar and Grill" in Natchitoches, LA, a new-to-us place.  The decor was pleasant.  The meal, okay.  We each began with miso soup and a salad (iceberg lettuce, a whole "baby" carrot, one cherry tomato  with ginger salad dressing--left a lot to be desired) before our Spring Rolls.  They were passable, but I've had much better.  I had shrimp and vegetable tempura.  The flavor was not bad, but it was warm, not hot.  Rather than being light, it was heavy and greasy. The presentation, however, was attractive.  Husband had chicken terryaki served in a cast iron skillet on a bed of sliced onions with barely steamed broccoli florets..  The chicken was tender.  Each item was passable.  Not impressive. 

Of course, since we lived in Japan and had the "real deal" there . . .  we might be somewhat biased in our views.  However, we've had the privilege of  eating some excellent Japanese food in various places over the  40 years we've been married (as of tomorrow). And this meal didn't qualify/measure up/impress us.  Sorry, Hana's.

Chili's Caribbean Chicken Salad = **** (or 4 stars)
Hana's Shrimp Tempura and Chicken Terryaki dinners = * (or 1 star)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Once Upon a Time . . .

There was a little old lady, at a little old desk, typing on a little old keyboard, looking at a little old monitor, thinking she had so many little old things she could write about that she was rather overwhelmed and decided to call it a little old night.

And may each and every one of you have a good night.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week Before Last

FamilyThat's mostly what we did for a week plus.  And it was GREAT!  I don't get to see much of my kindred (my Mom and siblings and all the attendant family members therein) on much more than a yearly basis.  So it was very nice to get to hang out with various family members and eat with them!  (Eating is always good.)  And we told stories.  Fun, silly stuff we remembered from when we were all ages younger.  It was a good time.

I loved the scenery as we drove to and from Utah.  And the cooler, dryer temperatures that were further out west.  Past Texas.  In Texas it was H-O-T, hot!  And the wind blew.  Gales.  It seemed.  In Childress, Texas, it was H-O-T, hot AND the wind blew hot, too.  Whew.  (Now we're back home and just melting in the near 100 degrees during the day and 80 degrees something right now--just before midnight.)

In contrast, I was absolutely SHOCKED by the lush green in Price Canyon Utah.  In all my 60+ years, I don't remember EVER seeing such lush green vegetation in June in that canyon!!!!!!!!! Usually there's lots of brown, dry grass, bushes, stuff!   It was green, beautiful green everywhere!  Everywhere except where the rocks were bare.  Of course.  And I'm sure I've mentioned once or a jillion times how much I LOVE to see the Rockies.  Something in my very blood just swells at the beauty of those mountains and valleys, the rivers, the ancient lava cracks and flows here and there beside the road.

Nature just fascinates me.  One of these days I got to take some geology classes--in the Rockies, naturally.  There is such variety in types of rocks . . . the color of rocks, solid rocks, smooth rocks, crumbly rocks, cool layers of sedimentary rocks with what looks like veins of black coal, or green oxidized copper, or red sandstone, and on and on.  It's overwhelming.  And yet, I remember hearing someone say to me after her second trip to the mountains out west:  "I don't know what the big deal is.  If you've seen one rock, you've seen them all."  Ouch!  My perspective is so very different! 

I have a picture of the clan, or a small portion thereof, that my SIL took one evening as we gathered. (That's all of us that were together that evening.)

Mom's hair is its natural color with just a little white close to her face.  Just so you know.  She's very proud of that fact.  She's the oldest of 5 and ALL her siblings were solid white years ago.  In fact, her baby sister began going white at 17 years of age, and was solid white by 35.  My older sister and I are the only girls that let our "white hair" be white.  I'm not sayin' if either of the other sisters is white or not.  I don't know for sure.  I think some of the brothers are showing a little white here and there, however.

My Sister-In-Law was so sweet to take such good care of us while we stayed at their house and she organized and took all the fun fotos!

This one includes my Mom, me, my Oldest Younger Sis, one of her grandsons, and that's our Baby Sis hiding behind her hair.

We are a silly bunch, as you can see.  On the sofa you see Baby Sister, Next Older Sister, Mom and Me--I'm the shortest of us all, in case you're wondering, #2 in birth order and Sisters.  Oldest Brother and Youngest Brother (Baby of the Family--which he loudly and consistently disclaims) are behind we women folk. There are 2 more brothers missing and the Oldest Sister, not to mention all the Step-siblings and the vast array, i.e. multitude of offspring related to all of us!  I've lost count of how many of us there are.  It's well over 100 and includes 5 generations.  Aren't we a good looking lot, though. ; P  Family is great!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Something New, Something Blue

Okay. I'm trying out something new. And it's blue. Change is good . . . Right? Well, change is always happening around us, so here I go. I'm changing the looks of things around here. That's it.

Oh, and I'm getting a brand new refrigerator on Friday. I think. I absolutely hate to let the old one go. I mean, it's been part of this family longer than three of my four children! Seriously--and we're talking more than 30 years, okay?

I've coaxed it, cleaned it, called the repairman about once a year for the last three years or more, but it was so faithful for so long--and it's actually larger than the one that's replacing it. On Friday. Sigh. My children tell me I have to learn to let go. Hmmmmm. I wonder.

I've let each of them "go" out on their own. Every last one of them. And at some time or another, they've each come back. Hmmmmmm. Does that mean . . . that this fridge will follow that pattern . . . you know . . . since it's been in the family longer. No. Nuh, uh. Surely not. There will be no room for it. And, and, and, well. You know. It's NOT my CHILD, after all.

Old refrigerator friend, you were outstanding. You kept tons, tons of food cold or frozen for over 30 years. Except, you know, for those few times I didn't quite get you defrosted like I should have when the frost-free coils froze up solid. Then I had to deconstruct your freezing compartment and melt the built-up ice with my hair dryer and reconstruct your innards, or some of them and you'd perk along nicely, until about a month ago. I suppose you just got tired. You've be resting for two weeks now. Oh, how faithful you have been. Thank you from the bottom of my heart--and pocket book. That less than $300 we invested all those years ago were worth far more than than we could have possibly imagined at the time.

Now if appliances were designed and built to last like you were. What a wonderful world this would be. We'll miss you. *Sniff*

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Look Who Came to Grandma's

This precious little package, "Baby Cakes" according to her three cousins, came to visit along with her Mom and Dad a couple of weeks ago.
None of us will be the same! She was just delightful.

Little Britches here is trying to share his most favorite lovey with her. That's a serious indicator of his affection for this tiny, sweet cousin of his. And his big sister, Miss Noodle, loved every opportunity afforded her to "mother" her baby cousin with loads of affection.

See how happy Miss Noodle is to "babysit"?

Grandma will never be a professional photographer because she clicks the shutter just before or after the cutest expressions. These pictures might not do Baby Cakes justice. (And, of course, I'm not prejudiced in my thoughts of how cute and adorable my grandchildren are. Never. Ever.)

Grandpa is performing his familial duty--a tradition of the grandfathers in his family--giving the grandbabies their first chicken bone to gnaw. I've never seen one who didn't relish the treat. It works so well for teething babies. Baby Cakes wanted more. Her Auntie, mother of the older 3 grandchildren, had done such a good job of removing most of the goodies from the bone, that little but great fried chicken flavor was left for BC to enjoy.

"Grandpa, it's yummy. Thanks. But, I want more.
My tummy IS NOT getting full, just so ya know!"

Can you tell how much BC's mom adores her? Well, it pretty much a mutual love.
We can testify that they love each other. Bunches.

Missing male cousin, Young Chef, and BC's daddy are floating around in the picture folders somewhere. I'll try to fish them out one day . . . soon??? Or maybe not so soon. My calendar is so full. But I love them both very much! They just didn't get in front of the camera much.

Currently all grandchildren have left us to weep and wail at their absence. We miss each of them so much when they're gone. The quiet is refreshing, but also a little empty. *Sigh*

Monday, May 3, 2010

Make Up Your Mind Already!

What is a person to do? On the very same day I received two pieces of mail. They were conflicted. One was from "The Scooter Store" with a "hook" line on one side: "Feel like yourself again."

Strange, but I think I normally "feel like" myself. I should ask my husband to give me a hug, maybe and see if he thinks I still feel like I usually do. Did. Once did 10, 15, 20, 40 however many years ago. I'm sure he would begin with one of those questioning, brows-knit-together kind of looks. You know the kind I'm talking about.

Then, the second piece of mail was from Gerber Life Insurance Company. Their "hook" was on the front: "Help secure a brighter tomorrow for you child today." As all my children are adults, and each has their own set of issues to deal with in this strange economic, wild, weird political world we live in, I surely would like to "help secure a brighter tomorrow" for each of them, but, HEY! They're adults. It's they're job now, doncha think?

Another thought flashed in my mind!!! Oh, no! Does Gerber Life Insurance Company know something I don't know? Is there a possibility I'm pregnant again? I mean, the other day when I was having x-rays, the tech did ask if there was any possibility of my being pregnant.

What's a woman to do? At my age, with children in their 20s and30s, it COULD be possible. I did meet and visit with a woman who gave birth to only two children--who were 34 years apart . . .

Should I go buy an EPT kit now? Should I wait for Mother Nature to give me some sign? Stranger things have happened, I've been told.

The ad people should just get together and stop trying to make me conflicted. Am I so old I need a scooter to get me from place to place? Or am I so young that I need to consider buying life insurance for a new baby? I don't know what to do!!! Is the sky falling? Would I need a scooter if I had another baby? For me? For the child? For my poor husband who might have a virtual heart attack if I told him we're going to have another baby? (It was weird enough being pregnant at 48, let me tell you. It was a "blighted ovum" so we don't currently have a brand new teenager. I probably would need a scooter or something to get me through each day, if that were the case.)

Should I panic? Have a day at the spa to sort through all this advertisement overload? (Not that I've ever been to a spa, but who's asking?) What would you do? Buy the scooter AND the baby life insurance? Help!