Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gratitude A to Z

I am grateful for :

A: America. Our freedoms and opportunities are unlike any others.
B: my three brothers, they drove me crazy growing up but I know I can count on them.
C: my camera, so I can capture the special moments and people in my life
D: my dad, he died too young. I miss him and his unwavering interest in my life.
E: excitement every once in a while, the highs balance out the lows in life .
F: my family, my husband and kids are the very, very best.
G: my dear Grandma Violet
H: the heat in my house in this cold, cold winter.
I: the in-laws. My father in-law, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law. My brothers and sisters have made some very fine choices.
J: my job. It's challenging and secure.
K: for the kindness of others.
L: love and grace. There is nothing I can do to make God love me any more and nothing I can do to make God love me any less. He just loves me.
M: my sweet, generous mom, I love her more the longer I know her.
N: my hoards of nieces and nephews - each one unique and lovable.
O: oatmeal bars with raisins. I eat one most mornings.
P: PD my sweet, playful dog.
Q: quiet moments in my day.
R: relaxing days at the lake in the summer.
S: my three sisters, I can't imagine a happy life without them in it.
T: talks with my family and friends. My favorite times are chatting and laughing for hours.
U: understanding.
V: validation for a job well done.
W: wine, a glass or a couple.
X: x and y coordinates can show me where I am, or where you are.
Y: each new year -- another chance to start again, another day of grace.
Z: zen moments of peace that occasionally manage to find me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Batman and the Sushi hostess

I love Fridays. Done with work and on to the weekend.

My husband and I went out tonight. First to a local pub for drinks and appetizers and conversation with friends. Then we headed out, just the two of us, for sushi. When we got to the restaurant, there was a short wait so the hostess was going to put us on the waiting list. And here's where it gets interesting.

Hostess: Your name ?

Husband: Batman

Hostess: silence, the look on her face said she wasn't easily amused

Husband: You can put it under Jay

OK... so she doesn't find it even a tiny bit funny when a 40 year old man says his name is Batman.

After our meal (which I enjoyed, even though I always get a little stressed by chopsticks - they make me nervous because they aren't my native utensil) we got up to leave and on our way out something funny happened.

The same hostess who was not amused by my husband on the way in, said to him on the way out "So, did you enjoy your meal. Batman?"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Coffee set for a cause

I'm don't often buy things on the spur of the moment.

But earlier this week, I did just that. When I found these, they made me smile, and then I bought them.

It's a coffee set. I'm not sure when I'll use it. But it makes me want to invite my neighbors over for coffee and a bundt cake.

I just love this little girl.
I found this set at a thrift store that supports Hospice. Hospice is a organization that cares for patients who are in the final stages of terminal illness. They offer many services for patients and their families.
It's impossible to have guilt about this frivolous purchase when I think so highly of the organization the store supports. In fact, writing this post makes me feel bad I didn't buy those pretty, old wine glasses at the store.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

My husband and I have talked over the years about taking a dance class together. We finally took the step and he signed us up for ballroom dancing classes. They start next Tuesday.

I'm really nervous.

You see, I don't have much of a sense of rhythm. If people around me are clapping to music, I often have to sneak a peak to see if I'm keeping up time. I don't go to many places where hand clapping to music is expected. I'm Lutheran and we don't clap much in church. I'm thankful for that.

I'm afraid since I can't master hand clapping to music, I'm going to have some issues getting my entire body to work together in a dance move. I don't want to be the woman who holds up the entire class because I can't get the simplest move on the first night. I don't want to be the woman who causes eye rolling and sighing by class five.

Still, I'm crazy excited about stepping (even if clumsily) outside my comfort zone and taking this dance class. I'll be sure to update you on my progress. I have no shame.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Craigslist find

I've been looking for a very long time for the perfect buffet for my dining room.

I'm somewhat (OK, a bit more than somewhat) picky.

Size mattered. I wanted something long, but not too wide. Not leggy. I didn't want to wipe out my life savings but I was willing to pay for the right piece. It had to fit the style of my grandparents walnut table that I'd had refinished but not be too matchy- matchy.

I'm also patient. I wasn't going to buy something just to get by, I'd rather have a bare wall than something I didn't really like.

I've looked at furniture stores, antique stores, garage sales, ebay, etc... I've also been checking my local Craigslist. I hit the jackpot this week. I found the perfect buffet for my dining room and it was less than I thought I'd spend.

I'm so excited about redoing my dining room now. I moved the buffet in and it was perfect.

I'll post some before and after pictures of my dining room when I get it done. For now, here's a peek at my Craigslist find.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just in case

January 16, 1988

I was awake at 1 in the morning. By 3, I had curled my hair and had a full face of makeup. Getting ready took longer than usual because my contractions were only a few minutes apart. I came to realize later how unnecessary 3 shades of eyeshadow and big hair were for giving birth. But, it was the 80's and I cared about things like smoky eyes and the power of Aqua Net hairspray then.

I had been cold all week, my husband of just over two months got up every couple hours to start our 1979 T-bird so that would start when we needed it. We were both nineteen and about to embark on the adventure of raising a child. Not just any child, we "knew" we were having a little girl - don't ask me how, no medical person had ever suggested the baby was a girl. We knew in the way 19 year-olds know things. We'd chosen a girls name. We discussed that if on the remote, off chance, we were wrong we'd call him Justin Case. "Just in case" it's a boy.

We were parents before noon.

Welcome to the world Justin Case.

Three days later when we filled out the legal forms, we put a "y" on the end of his name. Our "just in case" became Justin Casey.

I call him Sweet Pea most of the time though.

And today he is 21. His dad and I will buy him his first legal drink. A full-fledged adult.

My sweet baby, my favorite tow-headed boy, my frustrating pre-teen, my pasty white legged wrestler, my homebody teenager, my goofy buddy, my science lecturer, my goodness it's been fun to see him grow up.

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boiling Water Trick Warning

After I posted the Cold Weather Boiling Water Trick last night, I found that I should have included a warning so here it is:

Warning – Boiling Water is hot and can cause burns. Do not throw boiling water against the wind as boiling water may fall on exposed skin causing pain. Throw boiling water with the wind so that big droplets will be blown away and will not fall on exposed skin, causing pain.

I thought this would be obvious but apparently it is not.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cold Weather and a Hot Water Trick

I wish I liked cold weather. I really do. It would make winter so much bearable.

It is supposed to be 31 degrees below zero tonight. I don't do much when it's this cold. I go to work and come home. My fingers never get warm on the drive .

It seems to be a common theme for people everywhere to complain about weather. A woman on a discussion forum I frequent complained about her winter weather; she had no snow and it was well above freezing. I told her that she elicited the same sympathy from me as when my sister complains her size 6 pants are feeling tight. Seriously. I guess it is a matter of perspective. No matter where you are, 20 below zero is really, really cold.

I heard that if you throw a cup of boiling hot water up into the air when it is very cold (-20 to -30) it will freeze instantly in midair and create a ice crystal shower. So, I tried it. It was amazing.
This isn't a picture of me but this is exactly what it looked like when I threw the boiling water into the air.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How to field dress a deer

The following pictures and instructions are of a graphic nature. The content below will explain and show images of how to field dress a deer. If you are offended by graphic depictions of field dressing animals, I strongly advise that you do not continue.

I'm a country girl, I grew up with a hunting family. I believe it's important to pass these skills to future generations.
Start from the breastbone area. It is important to remove the "voice box" portion of the deer. Often the removal of the voice box is the catalyst for the kill.

It is occasionally difficult to remove some of the entrails; you may need to use some force to do so. That is OK. It will look worse before it starts to look better.

It's important to completely remove all of the entrails from the deer.

Most hunters leave the entrails at the site of the kill. (The hunter's mom cleans up the mess)

I hope you've learned a new skill tonight. ( I apologize that Rudolph happened to be the deer in this particular tutorial - many animals are killed in this home; it was Rudolph's turn tonight)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Losing things

I've been known to lose things. Usually it's my keys.

I once lost my keys and after looking for a week, I posted a reward poster on my fridge offering a twenty dollar reward for the return of my keys. I hoped that it would encourage my kids to try to find my keys. I found them two weeks later, less than 3 feet from my reward sign, under the fridge.

I once lost my keys in a store. I found them by retracing my steps. I had put them down on a pile of rugs I was looking through.

I sometimes lose my car in the parking lot and wander around looking for it. At least I realize it's lost and don't call the cops to report it stolen.

This lastest incident of losing something is quite unusual. I got home from work today and went to the mailbox to get the mail like I do most days.

I can't find my mailbox! I know it's in there somewhere. It was there when I went to work this morning.

I was going to look for it but it's 5 below and windy.

I think I'll put a reward poster on the fridge and see if my husband will take out the snowblower to try to find it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Initial Art

I have a thing for initial art.
My last name begins with P.
I have a big "P" in my kitchen above my kitchen cabinets. The P on my wall is paper mache; I painted it with flat, black, spray paint. It is surrounded by descriptive words.

I have a little friend; he is three years old. Every time he comes to my house, he points out the "Big P" on my kitchen wall.

My late mother-in-law had a P on her wall. I didn't realize this until I saw a picture of my husband's high school graduation party. There on the wall, was a letter P. It was in my mother-in-laws kitchen, just like mine is in my kitchen. She had wicker baskets hanging around the walls around her letter P. My mother-in-law and I had the same first name; we were both "Mary" and I took my husband's last name when we married so my mother-in-law and I had the same last name too. Apparently we both liked to use our initials to decorate our kitchen too. If she were still alive, I would like to ask her how she decided to put a P in her kitchen.

Today I was at the thrift store. I found a darling little gold frame. It was only fifty cents. It had a picture in it that looked like it came from the front of a post card and was in need of a good cleaning. I thought it would look cute with a P in it. I printed a P on a piece of parchment paper from my computer and put it in the little gold frame. I'm not sure if I will hang it on the wall or find a small easel to post it on in my entryway.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Welcome Home

My dog, PD, is a mix of breeds, part Pekingese, Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, and Jack Russel Terrier. I've never thought of myself as a "dog person" but I probably am. This Christmas, I was looking at slides of myself when I was younger and in many of the pictures I had a dog in my arms. I do love my PD.

I'm not sure that a dog owner could ever have low self esteem. Dogs seems to have endless and unconditional love; they always think you are the best person in the whole, wide world.

When I walk though the door each day, PD is there to greet me. He can jump like he's got springs in his legs and he does when I come home. It doesn't matter if I've been gone 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days. He's always excited to see me. It doesn't matter if I'm growly, sad, or grumbly, he's is happy to see me. PD can tell if I need a little extra cuddling and he's willing to oblige.

PD's excitement extends to everyone he knows and loves. He's a protective little furball and once he gets to know you, he is loyal forever.

My mom stayed with me for a couple weeks in the winter last year. PD was about 5 months old then and he really likes my mom. He bonded. She's not really a dog person.

To this day when my mom comes to visit, PD gets so excited he can hardly control himself. In fact, sometimes he can't. Sometimes he pees a little because he's so excited. Once he even peed on mom's leg.

Sorry mom.

And that's why I love PD, he's thinks we areall so wonderful that he sometimes can't control himself.

Now, honestly, where else can you get that kind of devotion?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


One of the things that has gotten popular lately is the concept of "repurposing" items. Instead of throwing things out, you use the item in another way. One example of this is to take old Christmas cards, cut out the top into a star shape and use it as a gift tag. I've been repurposing since I was young.

When I was in fourth grade, the toilet in our home started acting up. Apparently the flapper in the tank wasn't making a tight seal. My dad started fixing the toilet. In the course of fixing the tank, he took off the chain that went from the flushing mechanism to the flap that opened up to let in the water and replaced it with a new one.

The chain was left on the bathroom counter and I quickly spied it. I asked my dad if I could have it and he said I could.

I wore it around my neck as a necklace for most of fourth grade.

I just like to think of myself as "green" before it became cool.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Manic Monday

Today was the first Monday back to work for 2009.

There is something about Monday's that I don't like.

Is it having to get up to the alarm clock?
Is it an e-mail box full of messages to read?
Is it knowing that I have to do the same thing all over tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day?

Remember that song Manic Monday by the Bangles.

I love that song...

Six o'clock already I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin' Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream
But I can't be late 'cause then I guess I just won't get paid
These are the days when you wish your bed was already made.

It's just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
'Cause that's my Funday
My I don't have to runday
It's just another manic Monday......

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I've put off writing about my New Year's resolutions as I have some mixed feelings about making resolutions. It seems like every year people make the same resolutions over and over. I found a list of the top ten most common resolutions.

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
Fit in Fitness
Tame the Bulge
Quit Smoking
Enjoy Life More
Quit Drinking
Get Out of Debt
Learn Something New
Help Others
Get Organized

Of this list, about half of them are ones that I don't feel a burning desire to do or a need to change. It feels good to have success before I've even started!

I won't resolve to spend more time with family and friends (#1); which isn't to say that life and work don't get in the way of my time with family and friends but I am usually pretty comfortable with my work/life balance. I also enjoy my life a lot(#5). I won't resolve to quit smoking (#4), since I don't or to quit drinking(#6), since I drink very moderately. I don't have to resolve to learn something new (#8) because as a naturally curious person, I'm continually learning and trying new things. Finally, and I don't want this to sound bad, I'm not resolving to "help others." (#9). I now do what I can and I'm not heaping guilt on myself for not doing more.

So, that leaves some things on the list that I would like to improve in 2009. My resolutions encompass some of the remaining items on the top ten list but are much more specific. I am writing them out as goals and also writing out the small steps I need to take to accomplish them.

I don't believe that resolutions are something you make, break, and give up on. My resolutions are ongoing goals for the year and even if I don't complete them perfectly, working toward them will put my in a better place personally, financially, spiritually, socially and careerwise.

One day at a time. I will make a change. If I fail, I will make the same change again tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I recently read a book called "Snoop" by Sam Gosling, PhD.D. It's a book by a psychologist and his research of people by examining the things we own and the way we arrange them.

Dr Gosling can tell a lot about a person by looking at their bedrooms, web sites and ipods. Dr Gosling calls it the art of snoopology. There was also a short personality test in the book that measures the big five personality traits. The big five traits are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. When I took the test, I found out I was pretty normal!!! The one scale I was pretty low on was neuroticism, which basically means I'm more laid back than most.

There were certain things that observers can use to make judgements on a someone's personality. Formal Dress indicates conscientiousness; refined appearance, friendly expression, self-assured expression, and extensive smiling all indicate extraversion as do relaxed walking, swinging arms when walking, loud and powerful voice, and not avoiding the camera. To find someone agreeable, look for soft facial lineaments and friendly expression.

If you are looking for any easy read and interested in sharpening your perceptions, I recommend this book.

Friday, January 2, 2009


The amount of snow in December was record breaking for our area. Our mailbox was completely covered and had to be dug out with the snowblower before the mailman could deliver our mail. Poor Chuck, (that's our mailman) he's got a tough job in the winter

I love the snow when it is all white and fluffy and stays for 3 days.

I found an interesting web site about snow. It is The author has a special microscope on his camera and takes close up photos of individual snowflakes.

Aren't these lovely?

Makes you looks at the piles of snow in a whole different way, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pomegranate Martinis

Happy New Year!

After the decision to make Hoppin' John for New Years Day (which was very good) , I decided to check out what other foods are traditional and found that pomegranates are also supposed to be lucky so I decided we needed to incorporate them into our New Years Day meal.


Pomegranate Martini's are a favorite of mine at a neighborhood restaurant so the choice was obvious. I found a recipe and headed off to the markets to get the ingredients. I used this recipes to make the martinis.

Pomegranate Martinis
4 fluid ounces pomegranate juice
2 fluid ounces cranberry juice cocktail
2 fluid ounces raspberry vodka
2 fluid ounces orange-flavored liqueur
1 fluid ounce grenadine syrup
1 cup crushed ice
Combine pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, raspberry vodka, orange-flavored liqueur, grenadine syrup, and crushed ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously to chill. Pour into martini glasses, and serve.

I love how the outside of the shaker gets all frosty when you shake it.

I wanted to incorporate some real pomegranate seeds into the drink so I also picked up a couple of pomegranates.

Did you know there is a really easy way to separate the seeds from the membrane or "pith" (the white stuff is the pith and I used this word in scrabble last month and my son didn't believe it was a real word!) When you open the pomegranate and start to peel the pith from the seed, you do it in a bowl, underwater. The seeds all drop to the bottom of the bowl of water and the pith floats to the top where you can remove it easily.

Wow, those little pomegranate seeds are juicy and yummy. I added lots of them to my martini, where they floated to the bottom, beckoning me to finish my drink and gobble them up.

When I started looking up information about pomegranates ,I was really surprised to learn that grenadine, the syrup that is often used in drinks, is made from pomegranates, I had absolutely no idea. There are many interesting facts about pomegranates, they go back a long, long time; they are even mentioned in the bible . In history, it's a symbol of fertility (so not something I am interested in!) and they are supposedly a nutritional powerhouse too.

I think they taste great, especially when mixed into this cocktail.


Let us welcome in the New Year, full of things that have never been.