Thursday, May 27, 2010

Embrace Life

Seat belts. Still people do not get the importance. Last week a very dear friend of my niece's was in a car wreck. No extinuating circumstances, no drugs, no alcohol, seasoned driver but a wet road a chain of events proved to be a dire combination. Four college age girls one minute out for an innocent drive, the next two girls ejected and one with so many broken bones and injuries she needed cpr from her friend to keep her life. Upon hearing this my college age son, who is about to embark on medical school to be a physical therapist rattled off the amount of recuperation time and therapy those injuries would require. This particular girl we were discussing had just graduated college and was about to start Pharmacy school and now will spend the next year learning to do the things she probably took for granted the day before.

Now you would think this would be a good lesson to the importance of seat belts and how in just the blink of an eye your whole world could change. I took that opportunity to reinforce my feelings and how fortunate this girls parents are that she is still alive. I felt good that at least this horrible tragedy was at least providing me with a teachable moment, that is until the following week when that very same son came home carrying a crumpled license plate. He then began to explain the crew he was working with was coming home on the highway pulling a trailer full of equipment when the tire blew. The steering locked up and the truck trailer proceeded across a lane of traffic and into the ditch where it hit two signs before stopping. Now, there were several variables that could have made this another tragic scenario, such as neither the truck nor trailer rolled, there was no opposing traffic and the signs glanced off the truck and went over it instead of through it. Instead the driver and all passengers were safe. After hearing of his harrowing ordeal, I said, "so you did have on your seat belt, right?" and to my dismay and chagrine, the reply, "no, I was in the backseat."

We can preach and teach but ultimately those we love have to come to their own conclusion that seat belts are important and save lives. Please pass this video on to those you love and maybe, just maybe it will make a difference and slowly we can saves lives, one seat belt at a time.

Buckle up. Embrace Life.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Murphy's Law

"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". - Murphy's Law

I have a dog. I have a dog I got for free. I have a dog I got for free because obviously the people knew she was retarded.

We named this dog, Murphy, and little did we know just how appropriate that name would be. Over the years she has numerous trips to the vet (not for free, mind you) to stitch, sedate, medicate, clean up, monitor and just general maintenance. She is the absolute sweetest dog, I sometimes wonder if she thinks she is a lap dog, which would be ok if you had enough lap to accommodate a 68 pound greyhound. Murphy does not get to leave the backyard without a leash because she cannot be trusted........she does not look both ways before crossing the street and she thinks she can run up to people full force and leap into their loving arms.......which is not really what a small child or an elderly person want.

Last week, Murphy and her compadre, Austi, made a break through a gate that was not fully latched and went on a big adventure. Although they were wrangled and put back in the corral within an hour, Murphy managed to find a way to injure herself. We don't know how but received a pretty major laceration to her upper rear hip. Well, seeing it was not going to heal itself, Murphy went to see the best vets in the world.......Apple Lane Animal Hospital.

She got to spend the night and I am sure she is just silly enough to think it was some sort of camp out and she made lots of new friends. I picked her up this morning to see her shaved and stitched. She did not have on the cone of shame when I picked her up, because she had ripped it off her head and eaten it sometime this morning. So they sent another one with a pat on the back for good luck.

So, now I have not only a beloved, mentally special needs dog but one that is spatially challenged and running into everything she encounters.......I just have to sigh and think, ya gotta love her.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Best Job In The World- Sorry, it's taken

So, I know I've mentioned that I think I have the best job in the world, but I'm going to say it again, I love my job. I work with some really awesome people that are doing some really awesome things in the world of education. I usually get to be involved on some level or another, and most often it means helping out on the creative end.......whether it be with a graphic or photograph or just picking my brain for some out-of-the-box thinking. For the last few months we have collaboratively been working on a collection of podcasts and resources targeted to teachers, parents and grandparents. My job has been to go take still photos of the process to be used for the websites, blogs and various projects. I have had such fun doing it and the last one I did was for Bentley Richert and his podcast "Labz for Kidz." You should definitely check out the site, My Kids Turn, it has some awesome ideas that will assist you as an adult to give a little added help to the kiddos as they learn. To date there are over 70 videos on the site. Some of the categories are Math, Science, Language Arts, Early Education, Art, Gaming......... and more are being added all the time.

And of course I have to have a picture of an animal of some sort.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rock Chalk Jayhawk - Graduate KU!

Well, this weekend was another milestone in the life of my family. My first born, my sweet little cherub graduated from college. Technically he still has his internship to finish up but classes and grades are finished. I watched with pride as he put on his cap and gown and walked down the hill and through the campanile which at University of Kansas is a tradition. He got this checked off his list but his scholastic journey doesn't end here.....after the internship - 3 more years of med school then we'll do this graduation thing again for Aaron Fast, Doctor of Physical Therapy. It just dawned on me that theoretically both my sons could graduate the same year, same time, same school next time.......Aaron and Brett with his degree in architecture. Wow, wouldn't that be something. I'd be a bawling mess, to be sure. But today I'm just beaming, ear to ear and dealing tear to tear as I recall the sometimes rocky road we've traveled to this point so far. You know when they are just babies and you are so proud when they do all those things.......learning to walk, to talk, to ride a bike........those are proud moments and then they move on to elementary and high school and they win an award, make top grades or just do something as a nice human being.......and you think to yourself, I just couldn't be any more proud of them and then they achieve some other accomplishment such as this and somehow, someway, they manage to squeeze just a little more pride out of you. Aaron Gregory Fast - your momma loves you and is proud of you.

The Campanile myth.

The myth around campus is that if you walk through the Campanile before graduation, you won’t graduate at all. This only applies to walking in one door and out the other, so if you want to see the inside but you aren’t interested in risking your degree, walking out the door you came in is a safe bet. If you follow this advice, it naturally leads to the next item on the list.

You don’t graduate at KU. You “walk down the Hill.”

At KU, we don’t call it “graduating.” It’s called “walking down the Hill” and it’s definitely unique to KU. All graduates from all schools line up at the top of the hill and process through the Campanile into Memorial Stadium.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Cinco de Mayo- Chicken Enchiladas and Guacomole - Olé

Cinco de Mayo can be celebrated in more ways than beer this year. Recipes, tradition and Cinco de Mayo's history are all aspects that can make May 5 different and not a holiday that is a common misconception. Cinco de Mayo is not an American or Mexican independence day. Viva Cinco de Mayo online explains Mexico's real independence day is September 15, 1810 when they declared their independence from Spain at midnight. May 5 is still a historical day that does involve Mexican heritage. Cinco de Mayo, 1862 was the day 4,000 Mexican soldiers fought French and a traitor Mexican army outside of Mexico city. The French were apparently coming to a collect a debt then were supposed to leave.

French Emperor Napoleon III planned on staying in Mexico however. The brought a Hapsburg prince with their fleet to rule in Mexico. This was during the American civil war, meaning Mexico was on its own.

The French Army eventually lost because of overconfidence. They chased Colonel Diaz and his cavalry but were stuck in muddy terrain, storms and stampeding cattle. America later became involved by helping with men, materials and weapons to fight off the French together.

Source: Viva Cinco De Mayo



  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded for less heat, if desired), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl, combine the onion, jalapeño, cilantro, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using the back of a fork, mash the vegetables until they begin to release their juices.
  2. Add the avocados and lime juice and stir to combine.

Chicken Enchiladas


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound tomatillos (papery skins removed), chopped
  • 1 onion (preferably white), chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 2- to 2 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack (5 ounces)
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Pico de Gallo or salsa


  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatillos, onion, poblano, garlic, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, add the cream, and puree.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, tomatoes, 1 cup of the cheese, ½ cup of the tomatillo sauce, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  3. Warm the tortillas according to the package directions. Spread 1 cup of the remaining sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roll the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place them in the dish, seam-side down.
  4. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with Pico de Gallo

Weird And Wonderful Hangover Cures

Different hangover cures can be found in different countries and here are some of the strange and curious ways to cure hangovers in different parts of the world.

The following are strictly to be taken tongue-in-cheek and you are solely responsible for the outcome of the following methods of hangover cures.
  1. Australia
    A big T-bone steak. If that fails then a chocolate milk shake.
  2. France
    Drink thick, hot onion soup the next morning.
  3. Germany
    Downing a sour herring with a beer chaser.
  4. Haiti
    Stick 13 black-headed pins in the cork of the bottle that gave you the hangover.
  5. Norway
    A heavy glass of cream
  6. Outer Mongolia
    Eat a pickled sheep's eye in a glass of tomato juice.
  7. Puerto Rico
    Rub a lemon under your drinking arm.
  8. Russia
    Heavily salted cucumber juice or black bread soaked in water.
  9. Switzerland
    A sip of brandy with a dash of peppermint.
  10. And my personal favorite..........don't drink too much in the first place.