Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Fish, Two Fish, Dead Fish, New Fish

So, I got to work this morning and was faced with the task of disposing of my beloved red betta, Max. (Yes, I know there is a joke in there). Max had not seemed well for a few days and evidently succumbed to the watery grave during the night. I loved Max, or at least as much as you can love a fish. We did have a way of communication, I swear he responded to me and I'm sure it wasn't only because I had a pinch of blood worms for him. I said my proper goodbyes to Max as he was swirled out to sea. I decided I could not let my grief consume me and promptly cleaned out his bowl, then immediately drove to Petco and got another one. Not a replacement because.....oh ok, it was a replacement, a newer, younger, smaller red Betta. So now I am working on training Finley and I'm sure soon he will know all the tricks and will be a great workplace companion.
My new podmate, Finley

Sunday, March 25, 2012

No need to tiptoe through these tulips

Ahhhh, Botanica. I had an opportunity to visit yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. No, not surprised at the beautiful tulips EVERYWHERE but at the changes since the last time I visited. They were having an event called the Tulips and Fairies Festival. I wasn't quite sure about the Fairies part but I was not at any time accosted by a Tinkerbellish creature. Upon arrival, I was a little surprised to see so many children but after some exploration I discovered that Botanica now has a wonderful children's area. There were crafts to be made, an education center and an extensive play/exploration area. And judging by the amount of happy screams and the absence of crying, I'd say the kids were loving it. One little girl made me chuckle, I heard her say, "MOM! over here, we haven't smelled this one yet!" We should all take that old adage to heart a little more often, you know the one— Stop and smell the roses, or in this case, tulips.

I didn't take any pictures of the children's area (what was I thinking!) but I did snap a few of the gorgeous tulips. So now you can grab the kids and a friend and you can experience nature at it's best, I suggest a visit to Wichita's little treasure, Botanica.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Senior Pics- Carson

This past weekend I journeyed over to Webb City, Missouri, to visit my sister. While I was there I had the opportunity to take a few (ok, truthfully it was 592 pictures, thank goodness it wasn't film!) senior pictures for Carson Powell.  I had never met Carson before but he was a natural and made the process so easy. Of course his mom and my sister both had some ideas on what we should do and go and that made it less stressful on me. All I had to do is find a good angle and let the camera do all the work.

We may or may not have trespassed in a place or two, but only for a short while. After a couple of hours of a practically pain-free photo shoot, we went to Mucho Mexico for a yummy little lunch.

It was a nice weekend, look forward to seeing my sister in a few weeks as I am to be her date for a wedding. She just wants me for arm candy, I'm sure. ;)

Here are a few of my favorites of Carson. (mostly untouched and straight out of the camera, except the one that I experimented giving it a bit of a warm wash.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hoop It Up! It's March!

Well, it's that time of year, one of my fav's, is it because I just love basketball so much I can't seem to get enough and want to OD on it like a back alley crack addict? No, it's because I get to pick my brackets. So here we go with the first round. My methodology is quite simple, it's whichever team makes sense using Lori logic (which oddly enough many people think it's not logical at all).

OK, buckle up, here we go—
Kentucky/Western Kentucky (I pick WK to beat Miss Valley)- I go with Western Kentucky because Lexington is known for it's whiskey distilleries and during  the aging process the alcohol that leaches into the barrel is called the "angels share" so truthfully can you depend on a band of drunken angels in a big game? I think not.

Iowa St/UConn - Iowa State, because UConn reminds me of dcon, the rodent control product, and anything to do with rodents is icky.

Wichita State/VCU- Wichita State because it's fun to say.......WUUUUU Shock

Indiana/New Mexico State - because it makes me think of Indiana Jones, seriously Harrison Ford as a hot Archeologist and adventurer, ummm yah.

UNLV/Colorado - last time I was in Las Vegas I saw a Last time I was in Colorado I saw a Moose with a baby grazing near a stream, Colorado wins.

Baylor/S. Dakota State - Baylor because the word Baylor reminds me of Bayer the company that makes those little tiny baby aspirins that tasted like orange, I loved when I got to take those as a kid. SO because of nostalgia, Baylor wins.

Notre Dame/Xavier - Xavier because that name reminds me of Excalibur, and of course if you have the power of the sword, - you win.

Duke/Lehigh - The name Lehigh reminds me of "knee high to a grasshopper" my Uncle Charlie used to say that and he smelled of moth balls and nyquil so Duke wins.

Michigan State/Long Island - the win goes to Michigan State because Long Island makes me think of Snookie, just sayin'

Memphis/St. Louis - I've always liked the song "Walking in Memphis" so they win

New Mexico/Long Beach State - Anything with the name beach in it makes me smile.

Louisville/Davidson - can't beat the sound of the crack of the bat (Louisville Slugger) but the sound of a loud Harley Davidson makes my ears hurt. I'm going with Louisville.

Murray State/Colorado State - I have a friend with a dog named Murray and he's pretty cute.

Marquette/BYU - Marquette reminds me of marionette which is a puppet, which kinda creep me out, so I pick BYU

Florida/Virginia - Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus, your present will be beating Florida

Missouri/Norfolk State - Norfolk......makes me think of old folks and I think Missouri could at least beat a team of octogenarians

Syracuse/UNC Asheville - Syracuse reminds me of taking a cruise, and who couldn't use a vacation?

Kansas State/Southern Miss - Although I'd like to just pick Southern Miss because of Sandra Bullocks accent in Blindside I will pick Kansas State

Vanderbilt/Harvard - I pick Harvard because the thought of the ivy leaguers playing basketball in argyle sweaters makes me chuckle.

Wisconsin/Montana - because I would rather eat cheese than mountain goat

Cincinnati/Texas - because I never really like the sitcom WKRP

Florida/St. Bonaventure - makes me think of adventure and I'm always up for a good adventure

Gonzaga/West Virginia - sing along. - Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong, West Virginia mountain mama, take me home. Oh yah, John Denver.

Ohio State/Loyola - Loyala reminds me of crayola and what person cannot open a box of crayons and be transported back to the first day of school and opening that box for the first time of the year? Good times.

N. Carolina/Vermont - N. Carolina because they are known for their carpet mills and I would like to have new carpet, so it makes me smile.

Creighton/Alabama - Alabama because my Grandpa loved those little Bama pie things

Temple/S. Florida - Shirley Temple singing the "Good Ship Lollipop" which reminds me of the lollipop guild in the Wizard of Oz and who doesn't like to try and sing like them?

Michigan/Ohio - Ohio reminds me of Oreos, my older son's favorite cookie - I should call him.

San Diego State/NC State - Have you been to the San Diego zoo?

Georgetown/Belmont - George, George George of the jungle......

St. Mary's/Purdue - makes me think of, You sure got a purdy mouth

Kansas/Detroit - Detroit makes me think of  the phrase 'Heavens to Murgatroyd' from Yogi Bear, and I've always held him in low esteem because of his thieving behavior

Friday, March 09, 2012

Dishwasher surprises and one of them is SALMON! What?! Who Knew?!

I subscribe to e version of Real Simple. I just love the variety of tips, tricks and general info I get, when I choose to get it. We chuckle in my office at the seemingly absurdity of some of the articles (7 festive trivets, 12 holiday gravy boats, or 8 charming egg cups)  but it does make us laugh and that in itself is worth something. But today I read an article (Surprising Uses for Your Dishwasher By Sarah Stebbins) that I felt was worthy enough to share with the masses, ok, with the 13 people that actually read my blog. Be sure to check out the link for the full article and list.
Here are just a few of the items that CAN go in the dishwasher:
Plastic toys - smaller ones in a mesh bag on the top rack, however as mentioned in the article, unless you want Barbie to experience the ultimate bad hair day, she will have to just endure the occasional sponge bath.

Ceramic cabinet knobs- perfect for removing the grunge and pb&J  build up. Best when placed in the silverware basket

Hair brushes and combs (the drain will appreciate all hair to be removed first) however, wooden handles and boars bristle brushes should not take the spin bath.

Some athletic protective equipment - such as mouth guards, shin guards baseball helmet and knee pads.

Light fixture covers -as long as they aren't enameled, antique or  painted.

Potatoes (loved this one!) - top rack, no detergent of course, rinse only cycle

And turn about is fair play, here are a few things that perhaps you thought could go in the dishwasher but probably shouldn't.

Cast-iron, enameled-cast-iron, and copper pots and pans - Why? Cast iron rusts; enameled cast iron chips; copper dents.

Sterling silver - if you do place it in, make sure you do not mix in stainless flatware, the chemical reaction will cause the silver to discolor.

Crystal glasses- Food particles can etch them; heat can cause cracks. After hand washing (it’s usually safer than using the china/crystal setting), dry with a cloth that hasn’t been laundered with fabric softener, which can leave a film.

•  Insulated mugs and containers -they vacuum seals, which can be destroyed if water seeps in.

And just a couple of questionable but acceptable dishwasher occupants

Computer keyboards- although some techies swear by it, it is not recommended. BUT if you must,  place the keyboard facedown on the top rack, don’t use detergent, and skip the drying cycle. Afterward, unscrew the back, if possible, or pop off the keys (take a picture beforehand so you remember where they go). Air-dry two to five days. Pray the Computer Fairy is looking down on you, then reassemble.

• Broom Ends (and Dust Pans, Scrub Brushes, and Vacuum Attachments)- Shake loose dust into the trash first, Stick brushes and attachments in the silverware basket and broom ends and dust pans on top. 

•  Salmon- yes, the fish........ - why? because you can, and seriously.....who do you know that has tried it? The  food editors at Real Simple tested this “recipe,” and though the fish did cook, the dishwasher reeked afterward (shocker).  

Bob Blumer's Dishwasher Salmon Recipe

 So the dishwasher is not just for washing dishes, it can also double as a high priced steamer.

Check out Real Simple, I think you'll love it too.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Reflection and Realization

I thought I was coming on this trip as just a little vacation, a time to visit with family. But funny how things sometimes turn into something we never even saw coming. I knew I was very dependent on my access to networks, whether it be connected by phone or internet. BUT when both of those connections are tested and tried it forces one to disconnect.  OK, I’ll admit it wasn’t like being in the wilderness of the Congo but it was definite downtime for me. I love my Sprint phone but travelling through Oklahoma my phone worked about 30% of  the time (yes, I’m too cheap to put it on roaming) and I had no wireless access for my computer. My time here in Florida has not proved much different, service is spotty and I will not have computer access until I get to the airport in Tampa. (I’m writing my blog posts and will upload when connection is available).

The positive thing is I have had plenty of time for self-relfection and thinking.....lordy be, LOTS of thinking! Without getting too personal I’ll share a bit of what I have discovered.  I have found myself at a time in my life where changes are being made, some by my choice, some thrust upon me, but my reaction to those changes is completely up to me. Starting with the visit to the butterfly farm, seeing the butterfly and relating it to my life. The butterfly has no choice, it is going through it’s life cycle doing what it does, just sustaining itself, then it is thrown into the rigors of change, it has no choice, it is enveloped by the chrysalis, a dark, almost suffocating place where it must just wait. Then suddenly, the confining sac pushes away and it will emerge, it is transformed from the frumpy caterpillar to the beautiful butterfly, actually more fragile but more flexible. Ability to fly and seek out what it desires. It’s life cycle half over and yet now free to fly and explore it’s new character.

It’s funny how the most simple encounters can effect us, for instance, I have long said, I cannot make a decision. I don’t know why, I used to think it was because things just didn’t matter to me, so therefore if a choice was importatnt to someone else, then they should make it. BUT although I still do subscribe to that vein of thought, I also think that maybe I was always a little worried about someone else not being happy. I’ve come to the realization that I deserve to make decisions that will make ME happy, yes, I deserve that too. WOW, did I just say that? I am valuable enough to do what I want. ............I think I hear trumpets. :) I know that this is something that is built into the fabric of my being and will not change overnight.....and truthfully, I don’t necessarily want that to change, I kinda like the flexible side of me, but now that I’m seeing it in a different way, I want to channel it in an alternate direction. Instead of asking a waiter what they recommend just because I can’t decide, I want to LISTEN to what they are saying and even if it isn’t what I would choose, or even necessarily LIKE, I want to try it, experience it, not be afraid of new experiences. The experience at the cajun restaurant brought this concept to light, I could have been safe and ordered a steak but decided to step out a little and was pleasantly surprised.

Another character trait that I have been evaluating is that I seem to place my value and worth directly on the words of others. I found that I am overly concerned, maybe even consumed by what I think, feel or hear others saying in regard to me. I have decided that I am going to just be confident in myself, and as long as I’m not a B* word, then that is enough. I am very worthy just as I am. I am funny, strong, witty, intelligent and dog gone adorable ok, maybe adorable is pushing it. I cannot and should not depend on anyone else to give me my confidence, it is spring fed from my brain and pools in my soul.

Not a complete transformation but I feel like I’m making some changes and change is good, right?

Springtime in Florida

I’ve been looking forward to my trip to Florida for a while now. Going to visit my mother and step-dad in Hernando then on to Orlando to watch my niece play softball in a huge tournament. Molly is in her senior and final year playing for Purdue and I really wanted to see her play.

My trip started with a car ride to Bartlesville, Oklahoma to visit my aunt then on to Tulsa to catch a flight to Tampa. I was greeted in Tampa and picked up curbside and then went on the hour or so ride to Hernando, Florida. The next day was an indulgence to my nature loving side. First up a trip to the Homasassa Butterfly farm.
Monarch Caterpillar and Chrysalis

A very unassuming place, very inexpensive but our guide, Bobby Vigliotti, was a great host and the whole experience - starting with the short film to the guided tour of the educational facility was extremely informative. After the tour we went to the butterfly house and got up close and personal with several types of butterflies as well, as a few creepy crawly lizards and even some button quail wandering around.
Button Quail
Button Quail eggs

 I took way more photos then really necessary but they were just soooo pretty. If you are in the area, I suggest you pop in and visit.

Next stop was the Homosassa Wildlife park. A little mini-zoo of native are wildlife. WELL, except for the hippo, not really sure how he came to being a resident but he looked happy in his own little lagoon.  The park was nicely layed out and clean and inviting. I enjoyed seeing the manatees and remembered fondly my swimming with them when I visited a few years ago.

Manatees, not flamencos....there are no castanets

After the afternoon of wildlife, we went to the local restaurant, Neon Leon’s, a little cajun joint with live music and exceptional food. The understated little building was named for Leon Wilkeson, the bassist for Lynrd Skynrd. The music ranged but was mostly cajun with a blues undertone. The food - mostly cajun-esque. I am not a big seafood fan but when in Rome....... so I had the Jambalaya. Now I think I make a pretty decent Jambalaya, but I make it according to what I want so I was a little nervous, but it was absolutely delicious! Even the huge shrimp in it, they weren’t too fishy tasting at all. I sampled the Gumbo as well, and although not my favorite was very pretty tasty.

Our next couple of days were filled with softball.  My main reason for coming to Florida was to be able to watch Molly play. The tournament had teams from all over the country, most of the larger schools were there and we watched some awesome games.

Molly and her endowment scholarship benefactor
Kelly and Mickey at the home of the (winter) Braves.....
Molly with Grandma Joanna and Grandpa John
Lori and Molly