blackbird

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Where has the time gone?

Well, 2009 is heading out the door with 2010 nipping at it's heels. Where has the time gone? I guess the major event would have to be that my baby graduated from high school and left us with an empty nest. I can't say I'm sad about that - I mean it's kind of the goal in raising kids, to actually make them functioning adults. Both boys seem to be happy and well-adjusted so I am comfortable with the success of my parenting skills.

What to look forward to in 2010? HMMMM, when one reaches this age I suppose health would be a good wish. You look around and start to really take notice of others who are battling with health issues. We have been fortunate and feel thankful we have not had to stand toe-to-toe with any of those tough issues.

I wish for you all to have a healthy and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

ARUBA, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take ya.........

Once again Aruba....... I love that place. It is so sad that it has gotten a bad rap since the Natalie Holloway thing. I am sorry that happened - I'm sorry when a crime like that takes place anywhere - but Aruba is not to blame. Sure, things might have been handled differently but unfortunately that kinda of stuff happens even in the US.

Aruba is hands-down my favorite place to vacation. But my idea of a perfect vacation is probably different than other peoples. I've been there and done all the touristy things (of which there really aren't that many) and so now when I go, it all about relaxing. Laying on the beach, whether in the sun or under an umbrella, and doing nothing. Reading books, reapplying sunscreen and worrying about where to go to dinner, now that's a vacation. My schedule consisted of go find a beach chair, lay in the sun, read a little, sleep, read, eat, lay in the sun, move to the shade, read, go get ready for dinner - and maybe somewhere in there have a drink with a little umbrella in it. FAN-FRICKIN-TASTIC.

We did go snorkeling one day, I absolutely love doing that also. I love being in the water with the fish and visiting their world. I fed the fish and that was fun, I had a wadded up piece of bread in my hand and the colorful fish were swarming around me, it was wild. If I held my hand right above the water a few of those little rascals would jump out of the water toward my hand.

Didn't take too many pictures - most of the time was spent laying in beach chairs with drool running out of our mouths so really not picture worthy............but I have a couple of pictures that I really loved.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

AESA- Austin

OH MY GOSH! Where does the time go? My last post was in September.....tsk, tsk, I'd say I'm going to do better but .......... I won't. I decided to write a bit about AESA - Association of Educational Service Agencies - Conference in Austin. I was there December 1 - 5 and it was a great experience. I had an official duty of conference photographer and also to help with the slides of aforementioned photos during lunch and before and after keynotes. I learned so much! Being backstage was a total trip, in the dark with monitors everywhere. I even got my own headphones and mic....... woo woo........... cue camera one, cue slides and GO! I was amazed at how syncronized and organized it all is. We had rehearsals and everything. Long and exhausting days but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My job as photographer required me to take photos during the vendor reception and in the halls and rooms before, during and after the sessions. Now it always amazes me how I can be scared to death of being in front of people and put a camera in my hand or some sort of service assignment and I blossom....... ok, maybe blossom is really not the right word, but I do ok, i seem to be able to bury that shyness and fear.

I was also thrilled because in making the templates for the photo slides I wanted to use a cowboy theme, I mean, Duh, Austin...... anyway I found some really nice cowboy art by a man - Nelson Boren from .... I believe.... Idaho..... www.nelsonborenart.com I contacted him and he was very gracious and gave me permission to use any of his art as backgrounds and watermarks for my slides. woo hoo squared, I was SOO excited. So I have included a copy of the Friday slides so you could get an idea what I did.


Next year the conference is in Savannah, I hope I am chosen to work that one. I want to go visit Paula Deen!


video

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bierocks..... Yummy!

Tonight I wanted to make bierocks. It is said to be a german food, however the origin is somewhat sketchy. I am not going to tell you specific amounts because I didn't measure anything. For me, cooking is creating, not science so if you are a recipe kinda person, sorry.

I used Frozen bread dough because I am too lazy to wait on my own. I just thawed it in the refrigerator for about 2 days beforehand.

For the filling: Onions sauteed in butter, Hamburger, Cabbage, garlic seasoning, course ground black pepper, cumin and a little cheese. Most bierocks do not have cheese, but I am a firm believer that just about everything is better with cheese. : )

I cooked all my ingredients until the cabbage was tender. I made little mini pizza type dough crusts and put the ingredients inside. I pulled up the edges to cover all the filling and placed them seam side down on a cookie sheet. Baked at 350 until golden brown.



Mighty tasty.
sehr schmackhaft




Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tat2



About 10-12 years ago I got a tattoo, now at the time (like most people at first, I suppose) I really liked it. Then slowly the color faded and the lines started running together and I noticed that since it was small the details were lost and it just started to look really crummy. I had always thought it was too round, aesthetically it just was not pleasing to me.

I decided it needed sprucing up, and thought about what to do. I thought maybe if I went in the tattoo guy could brighten it up and maybe add something else to it. My friend Julie suggested a guy named Matt at Red Seas in Wichita. Julie and I along with my friend, Kim, drove over to see what he could do. He said he would not recommend just adding to it. I would just be adding a new pretty one to a mess. He also said "brightening" it was not really an option either. Although not really what I was hoping to hear, I was very thankful for his upfront honesty. He suggested either completely covering the old with something new or placing a new one somewhere else.

Well, I had the advantage of the old one being quite small so to get a new one to cover it up wasn't really an issue for me. I told him I had been thinking of a blue bird and we came up with a design. We a few adjustments here and there to the drawing we were ready to roll.

Although it looks like Matt was doing a mad scientist approach, he was very professional and gentle.....- well as gentle as one can be while scratching ink beneath their skin, over and over and over and over... well, you get the point.


About an hour later I had a brand new tattoo and the old one had disappeared. Although I must admit I wasn't anticipating leaving with that big of a piece of art on my shoulder, I am pleased with the result.

After - no visible remains of the old one!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Super Freak

This week the state fair is in town. Usually visit at least several times. Tonight we went after the gate was free and just walked around. Now people are talking about the side show, freak show, whatever you want to call it. Word on the street that it is so cheesy and far fetched it's funny. Now I am the type that doesn't want to support the exploitation of someone's deficiencies so that kind of thing does not appeal to me. However, we ponied up our 3 dollars a person or whatever and under the big top we went. All around the inside of the tent were displays of different oddities, more like a Ripley's Believe it or not than a freak show. Now since I use Photoshop everyday I have become very cynical and don't believe anything I see and this was not exception. Although disbelief was not a difficult concept. In one case was the "snake man" it was a poorly simulated python with an even more poorly simulated man's head attached. It screamed of hokiness. Then there were the little viewings of people. One was spider woman - a woman's head poked through the curtain with spider legs attached. One was gorilla woman. A woman in a box, lots of smoke, voila, a gorilla suited person jumps out. Lame. What made all of this even worse is they kept using the same girls in each stunt. The only thing that was even somewhat amazing was the sword swallower guy, he was kind of cool. But everything else was kind of stupid, only not as stupid as us for wasting hard earned cash to see it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fame and Fortune


From my posts you would think I have chinese food all the time, but that isn't true, really, it isn't. But today I did and this is what my fortune cookie said - "Now is the time to try something new." HMMMM, what do you suppose that means? I have a hair appointment today, should I do something totally radical? I am learning a new computer program at work, does this mean I will be successful? Maybe I should take up skydiving or square dancing. I have been talking about learning Spanish, maybe now is the time, maybe my old brain is ready to absorb some new knowledge. I wonder what is the time frame for this cookie? Was it too soon yesterday? Will it be too late tomorrow? Is there an expiration date on fortune cookie advice? I also wonder, should I only try one new thing? or is this offer good on all new things I try. Who knew a fortune cookie could bring about this many questions. Maybe they should have the rules and restrictions listed inside also............

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fête du Raclette

Do you ever do something and then just have to laugh because it seems so stupid? Of course you do, we all do. Well, here's my stupid thing for the week. And yes, I do only allow myself one stupid thing a week. Because it's all about portion control.........

Anyway, a few months ago I had a garage sale. My mother-in-law brought over a few items and after it was over said to send it to the GoodWill store. She had this thing, she called it a grilling stone, I didn't think much about it but when I was packing stuff to take it away, I thought maybe one of the boys might like that at college. Anyway, I packed it away and shortly thereafter was discussing it with a friend who mentioned it was called a raclette. I came home, pulled out the instructions and sure enough, it was called a raclette. Other than most of the instructions and paperwork were written in German and some other language, I didn't think much about it. Well, being the geeky person I am, I eventually looked it up on the computer, and read about how in other countries, this is very popular. You grill stuff like meat and vegetables on the top and it has these little paddle things that you melt cheese on while they heat underneath. I liken it to fondue of sorts. A whole lot of work, that's probably why it isn't popular here in the US. we are lazy and want things easy.

Well, my sister was here this weekend and we were discussing HGTV and cooking and the raclette came up in conversation. So we pulled it out and made plans, we were going to this, we were going to have a raclette party for two! So after a very busy day of going to the fair, going to Wichita shopping and general running around, we went to the store and purchased what we wanted for our raclette party. We got 2 filets, an onion, some mushrooms, asiago bread and cheese. The cheese ending up being the most confusing because neither of us had any idea of what kind to get. We opted for a melting cheese like you would find in a mexican restaurant. At least that sounded good to us. There was a lady standing and staring at the cheeses just like us and we decided to ask her opinion. After she moved closer and started talking it was readily apparent she was in no condition to help us. Let's just say that if we had administered the field sobriety test right there in aisle 4, she would have flunked. So we thanked her for her slurred advice and moved on.

We took all our goods and came home, ready to get going. First we made Caramel Rice Krispie Treats for dessert - I know - very weird choice. We got all of our supplies out and chopped and cleaned, I had some polish sausage and potatoes we had cooked on the outside grill left over from the other night thought that sounded good to add also.

After all the prep, I went to plug in the raclette grill to start heating and much to my surprise there is a problem, a MAJOR problem. Now it is very obvious that when one has an appliance made for another country, one should check the plug in. They are not universal, no ma'm they are not. Well after rolling on the floor laughing hysterically at the whole situation - it was very reminiscent of Ethel and Lucy if you can picture that- we put all the supplies in ziploc bags and went out for chinese food.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Caramel Rice Krispie Treats, YUM!




Today Kelly and I went to the Kansas State Fair. We went through the buildings, saw some exhibits, checked out the photos and ate a corn dog. We saw lots of good food but just weren't in the mood to eat our way through it. Tonight we went to the store to buy supplies for our big "raclette party" (more on that later, and decided to make something that is extremely yummy. It's a rice krispie treat to the next level.

Some of the things we bought were kettle corn, and cinnamon rolls.

Then we made the caramel rice krispie treats.




















UMMMMM> YUM!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

OH, do you know the muffin man.........

I love to bake. I love to cook in general, but it seems I don't really have the time. Today I decided to bake something to send back to school with Brett. Something he could

just pop in his mouth quickly and not have to have a plate or silverware . It needed to be somewhat nutritious so I opted for banana muffins.Now, for any of you that know me, it would not surprise you that I simply could not make a plain old banana muffin nor could I go by someone else's recipe. Following someone else's rules, I just don't have it in me. I went on line and found one that sounded good. Call me adventurous or crazy, (both are applicable), I've made a version of banana muffins at least 50 times and I don't think I've ever done it the same way twice. I added a few ingredients necessary according to my palate and this is the result. Pretty? maybe not so much. Yummy? most definitely.


Banana Sour Cream Muffins


For
muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2- 1 cup mashed bananas
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg


For topping:
1/4 cup softened butter

1/2 cup (or so) brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
few dashes of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 4 minimuffin tins or line it with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix egg and add sugar. Add the melted butter in two or three additions. Mix in the sour cream in two additions, followed by the mashed banana. Add the vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients; gently fold with a spatula, being careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are lightly golden.


Makes 48 mini muffins.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Furniture!



Do you suppose it is strange to love the smell of leather in the morning? Well after a month of looking and fretting over what to get we finally decided on a leather sofa and loveseat in the color called "spice" - let's be honest - it's brown. We ended up finding it in Tulsa, Oklahoma at a store called Mathis Brothers. Loved that store, reminded me of Nebraska furniture mart with tons of choices. We had a very knowlegable salesman named Charles that was wonderful. The boys were with us and were more than happy to "try out" all the furniture. As a matter of fact they both fell asleep on the set we ended up buying so that was a selling point for me.

Well, it seems picking it out was the easy part. We agreed to have it delivered and were promised it on the next Wednesday. That morning the store called and there was not room on the truck, look for it the following Monday. I stayed home from work on Monday - ALL DAY! and finally it was discovered, oops, not today either. They apologized and refunded the entire delivery charge. Ok, that helps. Then told me it would be here on Wednesday. Wednesday comes, no furniture - alright, enough is enough already, give me the furniture or not but quite yanking my chain. "Well, Mr. Fast, we are very sorry it was a computer error, would it be acceptable to deduct another $180.00 from the price". Well heck yes it would be acceptable. What's another day? Maybe before long we will end up getting it free, we already have had a total of $400.00 deducted!

Thursday comes and the furniture does manage to get here, YEAH! I love it. The dogs hate it, double YEAH! I got material that day and made curtains and throw pillows. It looks great.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I am the new Marlin Perkins

You know if I keep having these animal rescues, I might just very well get my own tv show. I mean Marlin Perkins (come on you old people, you remember - Mutual of Omahas, Wild Kingdom, it came on tv right before Walt Disney?)

I had not been asleep long, before that I was playing several rounds of Bejeweled Blitz via my Facebook page. That has become a favorite pastime of mine. Not because it's stellar intellectual stimulation, not because it hones my lightning quick visual skills but because I have the need to be at the top of my friend list in the score total. Don't lie, that is the only goal of this game, beat your friends -a virtual nod to the challenge. I had just achieved an ok score, at least enough to put me above my friend, Michelle, so I could rest peacefully. I was somewhere deep in REM sleep when Murphy, who is kenneled in the kitchen area started barking (which is highly unusual) and then woke up and started Austi (who was sleeping in our room) barking. Well after this 21 kinds of H*^% broke loose, someone needed to get up and check what was going on.

Greg kindly let me check on it, so after donning my pink robe and taking my scared -of-everything dog as protection, I set out to find the cause of this disruption. I went from room to room turning on every light in the house warning the intruder I was on my way and it would be best if he just left before facing me. Of course, any self-respecting robber would have run away screaming after coming face-to-face with me and my scary out of control hair. They would swear they faced Medusa herself.

Well, not seeing anything or anyone, the dogs were jumping to go outside, I flipped on the patio light, bracing to see the cause, but there was nothing. I opened the doors and the dogs flew out with a plan in mind. I heard one yelp and went out the door and saw (with my limited middle of the night sight and no contacts in) they had something, a bunny? no, didn't look like that, a cat? perhaps but I heard no yowling, a possum? it really didn't look that creepy. I went out and yelled at them, I was afraid to out to the yard where they were but I got their attention and they let go of it. I got them to come in the house and then had to decide what to do.

I went and put on shoes because I need to see what this beast is, it could be a rabid animal that would sit and wait until morning and attack again, it could be a wounded animal that might die and stinketh out back, or it could be some sort of animal that is wounded and needs my assistance. When I returned and went out back it was very apparent what the animal was, a really cute older calico kitten. A very slobbered on, quite stunned and frightened kitten. I went out and with a towel picked it up, and other than mental trauma, it seemed fine.

I put it out front under the bushes along with a dish containing a torn up hamburger patty soaking in milk. Mother Nature - do your thing.

Well, in doing this I notice Brett was not home yet and it was well after his curfew time. I called him and he informs me there is a meteor shower and he and some friends are at the park watching it. Part of the conversation went like this:

Me: Where are you?
B: At the park with friends watching the meteor shower.
Me: Oh, which way do I look?
B: lol, mom, look up silly.
Me: Oh, yes, I see one, cool.
B: Yes, it is.

OK, I know it was a dumb conversation but it was 2 freakin o'clock in the morning!

SO, I didn't want to get up, I didn't want to deal with the cat, but I ended up getting to see a light show from God himself. Cool. Unintended consequences, sometimes a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WOO HOO KU

Well, I have recovered from my black eye and are now on to the bruised heart. No, no accident, it's just both boys will be leaving to go off to school. Empty nest. My feelings flucuate between pride, sadness, and pure joy. I mean, I am happy they have progressed to almost adulthood and moving on to the next phase of their lives, but they do keep life interesting. I am also happy to have moved to a new level or phase in my own life. One back to just the two of us at home, not worrying about cooking a square meal to keep SRS away. Maybe having time to take a few classes or start a new hobby. Maybe even leaving in the morning with a clean house and returning in the evening and it be as I left it. Maybe cooking with icky green peppers and onions. I don't know exciting? yes - scary? a little - an new adventure on the horizon? - most definitely.

First up on the agenda, clean house.

Rock Chalk.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Red, White, Black and Blue

I know, I know, it is not right to have 2 posts in one day but I have another story to tell. And I DO love to tell stories. Yesterday, my husband was trying to do the husbandly thing and help out around the house a little. (I think it was just guilt for him going to be gone to Waynoka riding all day today) He knows I struggle to get the slip covers back on the sofa cushions because it fits so tightly and was trying to of help when calamity struck. I use safety pins all along the zipper because the fabric pulls and I don't want the zipper to break or come apart. He was putting a safety pin and I pulled on the fabric but when I did it yanked his hand and he sliced himself with the safety pin.

Now at this point you are probably thinking, "what a big baby, getting sliced by a safety pin, get over it". Well that is not the point (ha ha) of the story. He reacted by yanking his arm back in full force and unfortunately my face was in his direct flight path. He cold cocked me square in the eye socket with the back of his hand and his wedding ring making complete contact. I managed to stay on my feet but was reeling somewhat. We both must have had complete stunned looks on our faces. He tried to blame the whole thing on me until the black and purple set on then he kind of started saying he was sorry and it was an accident, no ones fault.

Anyway, staying close to home today to avoid the stares and people thinking I'm some sort of gang banger or something. You know, there is never a dull moment here......

Oh yes, I did go give a little attention to the old eyebrows after viewing these pics.

His Eye is on the Sparrow......

OK, does anyone else think it's weird that dumb wildlife crisis happen to me all the time? This time a sparrow was in my house. He wanted as desperately to escape as I wanted him out. Murphy, the blonde greyhound was trying her dead level best to assist but only achieved scaring the poop out of the little bird. The black greyhound watched all the hubbub from her Egyptian Lion pose as if to be nothing more than amused by our scramblings. The bird flew right by her head and she looked at me as if to indicate, "I am retired, I will not chase the bird for you, and I am getting annoyed".

Finally, armed with a mixing bowl and a straw basket, I managed to corral the frightened bird and set him free into the wild of the back yard.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There should be some sort of manual......

I knew getting ready for graduation would be somewhat stressful, I mean, I had already muddled through Aaron's so I was kind of up for what to expect with Brett's. I did not, however, remember that the whole invitation thing was such a big deal. Maybe to the average bear it's just another piece of the puzzle but to me, this was very definitely the single biggest brain drain of the process.

I mentioned earlier the stress of the "perfect" invitation but I think we've all agreed that is just a personal problem I have and it does not affect others across the grad planning board. Another part of the invitation thing that totally messed me up and caused WAY more worrying and fretting than it probably should have was the guest list or not. I personally hate getting invites from people I don't know or barely know or I know the parents but wouldn't know the kids if they were selling magazines on my doorstep. With this type of thinking, I tried to be selective on the guest list. If the person in question had never had at least 2 meaningful conversations with my son or if I had not forced them to hear about him on a daily basis, see pictures until they would be able to successfully pick him out of a line up or if I hadn't told of his accolades and/or cried over his mis-steps, they were nixed from the list. I tried not to send them to every relative near and far I could think of and keep it only to those that were immediate in location or bloodline. I thought I was being very considerate for others. I did tell Brett to invite any of his friends he wanted to the party - I really didn't want anyone to feel pressured to bring a gift or send one, and I hoped by him just inviting them they might alleviate some of that, and I think it did to some degree.

Well, you know when you get a Christmas card from someone that was not on your list and you quickly get one sent back to them? That kind of starts to happen with party invitations. I didn't do that though, I guess some might call it bull-headed (NO, MOI?, no way) but I drew a line in the sand and did not reciprocate. We go ahead and attend a couple of parties that we didn't invite them to ours, but we took a gift- oh, let's call it like it is - a card with money- to those parties. It became somewhat awkward when they asked about our party and I hope no one got offended but if I had a third child I think I would do the party thing a little differently.

I would include the phrase- no gift necessary the we would simply like you to share in the happiness and celebration of this occasion. Then send it to anyone and everyone we know. Those that want to give a gift can, but no one would feel obligated. But I don't have a third child and I don't have the opportunity to try something different so I hope any persons that felt slighted by no invitation let that pass quickly and understand we did leave people out intentionally but because we didn't want to include them, but that we didn't want to put any additional pressure on anyone.

If you were given as much paperwork with a child as you are when you purchase a toaster, this would be included in the manual they give you when you bring a baby home from the hospital.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

OK, OK, several people have asked about the cake balls/truffles and I know most of them could look it up on this newfangled thing they call the “internet” but just for kicks and giggles I’ll share the whole process here. First, the recipe:
Cake Truffles
* 1 (18.25 ounce) boxed cake mix
* 1 (16 ounce) can prepared frosting
* Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating or the melted chocolate of your choice.

Prepare and bake the cake mix according to package instructions.
While warm, crumble the cake into a bowl to a fine texture- I just rubbed it gently between my hands. I took the “skin” or outer layer that didn’t crumble quite so nicely and chopped it with my chopper or you could put it in the blender. For me, the chopper was WAY easier to get to and I am all about easy. Mix in frosting to make a paste.Using a melon baller, your hands, or a 1 inch scooper, form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place the balls on wax paper; freeze at least 6 hours. (I used 4 different cake mixes and got 50 balls out of every cake.)











Almond Bark Coating is a funny thing. It almost has to have the goldilocks test and be “just right” to work properly. I tried several different methods and what I like best was 3 squares of bark melted in a small bowl for about 2 minutes. After that I stirred it until smooth and added with a bit of vegetable oil. Working in small batches remove the balls from the freezer and roll the balls into warm, melted almond bark coating or confectionery wafer coating, using toothpicks or forks or a dipping tool to manipulate and completely cover the balls.

Remove the balls.
Place balls on wax paper to harden. I used a rack the first round and decided that was a dopey idea, the cakes stuck and pulled off the coating. After spending that much time putting the coating on, I sure didn't want it to come back off! Idea rejected - new plan - plain old wax paper.


Although this recipe was fairly simple, it was pretty time consuming. I was not very happy with the way the first few rounds of finished product looked but my son assured me they tasted fine and I could say he was the one who put the coating on them if I was ashamed. You can tell he’s really growing up, willing take the blame to protect ole mom's ego. I decided that it didn’t matter any way - I was doing all of this for him anyway - that’s the ony approving nod I need. Bon Appétite.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free at Last, Free at Last or adventures in frogland

Free at last, free at last, thank frog almighty, he's free at last.

This morning I had an adventure, I wasn't planning on an adventure but....... anyway, I normally do not take my son, Brett to school. He is 18 almost 19 and has a car of his own. He will graduate in 4 days and generally does not require my assistance in this area. However, his car is in the shop getting the air conditioner fixed so I was going to drop him off on my way to work. I was excited because I haven't gotten to work this early since I stopped taking him to school. Everyone was going to be shocked.

On the way to school, Brett informed me that he thought there might be some sort of animal in his basement window well. He had heard thumping noises in the night and wondered if it was a toad. I asked if he thought it could be a bunny or larger animal and he said the noise was pretty loud and could be. He did mention he got up and making sure to brandish his ceremonial machete he got on a missions trip to Mexico, he made sure it wasn't a person and after deciding it wasn't, went back to sleep.

Now, I had a decision to make, - go ahead and go to work and worry about it later or go back home and see what's up or in this case, down. I did the usual internal discussion that went something like this,
Me: What if it's a bunny and you go on to work he might die, then when you get around to cleaning out the window well of the leaves, you will find his bones, very sad.
Me2: No, you won't because it will start to smell long before you get the leaves cleaned out, you will find a bloated carcass.
Me: Hmmm, that is only about 10 feet from the outdoor grill, not a very appetizing thought. I should go and see.
Me2: or you could wait until after work and maybe he's still alive.
Me: but what if he is very weak and so near death, you have to watch him take his last breaths in a towel lined cardboard box.
Me2: Yes, I should go check.
Me: But what if it's something you don't want to find, like a rabid skunk or opossum?
Me2: If I can escape the spray, I call animal control - but then I have to wait and instead of early - I'd be really late. Still, I should go check.
Me: But what if it's something slithery - some sort of venomous asp or long-fanged viper? What if it is hidden beneath the leaves and when disturbed leaps out of the 5 foot deep hole and attacks? Then I'd be really late for work and it would probably mess up Brett's graduation festivities. But..... I should go check.
Me2: Yes, you should.

So, I go home, pull the cover off and find a frog. A very scared-looking frog. As the dogs and I peer into the hole, I try to figure out how to get him out, because I'm NOT going into that hole, no way. I get a broom, however when one touches a bull frog with a broom, he jumps - he does not sit patiently on the broom waiting for you to wisk him to safety. So, plan B. I go to the garage and look around - no, no frog rescue equipment here - but wait! I think I can McGyver something, I'm a resourceful type of person. And besides I hate to lose a battle - so let this frog die?- Not today - not on my watch.

I decide to fashion a frog rescue bucket from a plastic basket, a swiffer dustmop, and some leather cord. After I figured out that getting the frog in the basket was only half the solution, I learned I had to cover the basket with the broom and raise him out of the hole.After a few tries, operation wild animal out of the window well, was a success.


And I made it to work by 8:30.
Frogs WELL that ends WELL.
Hope you find victory today as well.














Sunday, April 19, 2009

Obsessive or Thorough?

My youngest son will be graduating from high school in approximately one month. While most parents would play the game and order the announcements and accompanying paraphernalia from the designated vendor, I just can't seem to follow the norm. I look at all the cookie cutter graduation announcements and think, I don't want to be like every one else. I want my kid's to stand out in the crowd. (As if refrigerators across the country will be so laden with graduation announcements that my kids' will have to fight for recognition.) I seem to have this innate drive to be different, to not be like all the other lemmings headed to the sea, which is quite astounding since I find myself wanting to blend in when in a crowd and not be the center of attention. Anyway, I have been working steadily to come up with an announcement worthy of the .42 cent stamp. I'm sure I could tweak and revise until my grand kids graduate but I finally had to just say good enough. I wanted a certain kind of paper - not because of the grand way the print looks but the way the paper feels in my hand. Weird? probably but I found what I wanted - sort of - not exactly but does feel good in my hand - it is a water color paper. And I am happy with the outcome so I will claim that as a victory.

I also am working on a digital scrapbook for Brett for his graduation. Boy is that ever time consuming! I started in the fall and have 72 pages done. Going through pictures and scanning them in, you know people told me to keep them organized from the beginning - I should have listened.

The next thing on my list to is figure out the menu. Do we want substantial food or snacks or what? I think we have it narrowed down to a mexican flavor but we'll see.

So obsessive or thorough? Call it what you will, I know what I want and am determined to get there or at least make an honest attempt. Oh BTW, Brett is happy with the results as well, so I'm really not being one of those freakishly controlling moms. Really, I'm not. For real.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wear an ugly shirt day

Last Thursday was "Wear an Ugly Shirt" Day (or the alternate choice was to wear your easter bonnet) at our office. I thought about making some sort of KU bonnet but didn't get it done. As I pondered what I was going to wear, it dawned on me that I could potentially choose something that someone else considers quite lovely. It was definitely an aha moment. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Message to track team




Sorry about this I was going to just post these on facebook and for some reason - probably me - they won't upload. So I'm going to give this a whirl. I tries several different ideas with the pictures you sent but these were the only ones I liked. See what you think and give me some feedback.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Getting back in the swing of things

Wow, time sure has a way of marching on. My last post was done just before Aaron was to leave for college. Now here I am writing again and Brett's almost to graduate. All of the old ladies of days gone by were right, it'll be gone before you know it. We had a major snowstorm here yesterday, and when the flakes cleared we had about 18 inches of beautiful white pennies from heaven. I say that because in my husband's line of work - snow is included - but not budgeted, so it's like a little bonus. It is decidedly an earned bonus though. Not some cheapened AIG-type bonus. Greg and Brett will work their buns off today moving that heavy white stuff and hopefully bring home a little extra green when it said and done.

That leaves me to answer the phone here on the home front and do a little cleaning. But now that I'm bored with that, I thought I'd do a little updating. Have my main course for lunch all prepared. It's actually kind of fun to cook when you haven't worked all day. But as usual, I didn't really have anything in mind when I went to the store so in order to make a real dish, I will have to be creative. Well, by golly, I am creative and I can do this - so let's do an inventory of the cabinet.

The only meat I seem to have is chicken breasts or meatballs. I'll save the meatballs for when I'm really in a pinch. Chicken.... some sort of casserole would be good. It will have to be something that can be reheated tomorrow (or tonight if the guys are hungry when they come in). I have a few egg noodles but probably not enough for anything. I have rice but I made jambalya last week, I don't want rice. Spaghetti.... ummm, cheesy chicken spaghetti - or as my friend Bob likes to call it - Bobalinos Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti. OK - Chicken, spaghetti, velveeta, onion, and then the recipe falls apart - no Rotel, no cream of chicken soup. That's ok, we're big kids let's make it up.

I am going to boil the spaghetti while I am cooking the chicken. First I put about 1/4 butter in a pan and dice up about 1/4 - 1/2 c onion and saute. I had (about 4) boneless skinless chicken breasts so I just cut them in small pieces and tossed in with the onion. I sprinkled with salt, pepper and little cumin, a bit of a cajun spice I had and a little Lipton onion soup mix. While that is cooking I will melt a large block of velveeta in the microwave. While all of this is happening I am going to find substitutes for the rotel tomatoes and the cream of chicken soup. What I found was a new jar of Pace black bean and corn salsa and some sour cream - however I also had a sour cream based dip that was a tex mex. Sounded interesting so I pulled it out of the fridge. After the cheese was melted, I added about 2/3 of the jar of salsa, a can of black beans and a can of white corn (both drained). Stirred in about 1/2 - 1 cup of the dip and stirred well, added the chicken and onion mixture and poured it over the cooked, drained spaghetti in an 11x15 baking dish. I gave the whole thing a few pokes to make sure it got down into the spaghetti and baked it for 25 minutes at 350. UM,UM, I like it just as well as the other recipe.
I'm going to call it TexMex Spaghetti Casserole