Friday, November 27, 2009
Only one small problem with this plan. You end up imitating a block of cement placed carefully on the couch and covered with a blanket. I enjoyed all of Thanksgiving this year. I was with family I enjoy, next to the fireplace, eating a turkey that had been alive earlier that morning (holy cow!) and looking through ads.
However, I almost fell asleep during dinner and toward the end, during the chatting and nibbling I like so much, my ability to string words into sentences began to disintegrate. Shortly thereafter, chatting became a challenge when thoughts in my head came out of my mouth in ways I didn't fully expect.
Due to a pesky medical procedure earlier this week, which has been one of the reasons I wasn't blogging (sorry), I had some of the marv-a-bet pills on hand. The night of surgery I took one and it didn't put me to sleep at all, so I thought I would be fine on Thanksgiving Day.
Clearly I was wrong. But I want to express my gratitude for the restraint of family members who could have loaded me up with clown makeup or a funny hat and taken photos while I slept through the Hilarious Mayhem.
Here's to Thanksgiving! Let's all have many drug-free holidays to come!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Disclaimer: You just know that with this many breaks, Blogger just has to mess it up. Go figure. No work inside the html is going to fix the mess below, so be of good cheer! Drink a beer!
Why can't you take a turkey to church?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The only meme I participate in is Nature Notes/Signs of the Seasons and this week due to being tired, busy and just plain stupid, I got all wrapped up in myself and I didn't label my post as a Nature Notes because although Michelle kindly said it could have been, I didn't think it was in the right vein.
She's really a sweetheart.
Visit Michelle at the very greenNature Notes Thursday Meme for a list of the best bloggers in the natural world. Check out Thursday's post with the woodpecker and then Friday's post for the bloggers.
Last Thursday she said she just wanted us to write about how we think green and she gave us all a lovely award. My first:
So here I am, days late, to tell you what I do that's green. I have read some of the posts and I assure you, I am seriously lacking.
1. I drive a hybrid car that uses electricity and saves gas.
2. I now enjoy recycling because our city gave us this huge bin that is the same size as the trash can and every other week they pick it up. Our trash can is never full anymore, I don't have to sort anything, just wash out the icky stuff.
3. I don't drive as much as I did, but I do try not to skimp when I do things for the kids. They live downtown and I live in the suburbs, but they're worth it.
4. I run the dryer consecutively to keep it warm instead of letting it cool off. Same with the oven.
5. I grow a vegetable a year. Last summer was leeks. I think, if I can figure out how, I may go with kale this coming year.
6. I don't fertilize or do anything but weed the garden. I just let it grow. This may contribute to my lack of success, but I also like that my leeks and rhubarb are unaffected by chemicals.
7. I take my own bags to the store - grocery store, Target, KMart, you name it. I do not always remember, but mostly I do and I despise those stupid plastic bags. You almost have to wonder if the cashiers get paid by the plastic bag. (HEY!) Maybe Howard will explain this to me.
8. I don't buy chicken unless I get it from a farm. I suppose if I have to, like making a special dish for a friend, I will, but 99% of the time, I do not want a molested, abused, stuffed-in-a-cage corporate chicken on my plate. I buy organic, but not religiously. I buy the milk without hormones and sub-therapeutic antibiotics, but really prefer the outrageously expensive non-homogenized, low heat pasteurized milk. Like, for Christmas, just get me a gift card from HyVee so I can buy some milk at $3.99 a half gallon, I ask you.
That's about all I can come up with right now, but I honestly think there's more than this. Thanks for asking, Michelle!
Ya'll might want to join up with Nature Notes. Obviously (as you see by my inclusion) you do not have to be a birding blog or photography blog, etc.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Today I made sausage and kale soup, which is the soup you get at Olive Garden. It's delicious and easy to make. It's easy to eat, too. I'm on my second dish.
I have three big sweet potatoes in the oven baking right now. I'm going to make a yummy sweet potato soup tomorrow. I make a lot of soup every winter. I also bought the ingredients for beef stew, so watch out!
On the topic of movies (I'm so glad you brought that up), this afternoon I watched Here Comes the Groom with Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman. It was very good, not superb, but very good. The ending was the most fun in the whole movie. This guy is a bachelor and he takes two French children home from post-war France, but the law says he has only five days to marry or the kids have to go back. Seems even then they thought it was strange for bachelors to take children home.
Right now I am watching a movie called Rafter Romance. Ginger Rogers is in this one from 1933. She was a very good actress and she excelled at humor. This must have been an early attempt. She's OK, but not par. This movie seems to be a version of Pillow Talk. What I like about old romantic comedies is how they are all the same. Every one of them has material in something that came before. Really, Pride & Prejudice, The Taming of the Shrew, It Happened One Night, even a less-known, not-so-great movie called Rafter Romance all feed the romcom work Hollywood does now. I think that's sort of neat, but I guess there's nothing really new under the sun.
What old movie or romantic movies do you enjoy? Or tell me what sort of soup I should make this winter.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The caterpillar is entirely my own invention. Yessir, I showed it off, too. Aaron took it home.
Today is Nature Notes and I am missing it for the first time. I know exactly what I wanted to discuss, but I have been swamped at work, trying to stay active, going to choir and sleeping (whining) so I am totally unprepared. I was even considering a haiku on my chosen topic, but my haiku skills are pretty weak. Let's practice:
Squirrels nest high
Dark dots in the blackened sky
Um yea. I'm stumped. Earlier today I had a 5-syllable line there but it's gone. I really like how the bare trees expose all those nests.
And lastly, in the midst of this whirlwind of living, my Uncle Gene died this afternoon. I can't say I will miss him, for many reasons we won't discuss (I only saw him once in the past 17 years). But I care about my cousins and losing a parent just plain sucks no matter what.
Monday, November 16, 2009
That made me think of my grandparents. I can't imagine what I would be like without them. First of all, I inherited physical characteristics, like my hips and my hair and my nose. I once saw a photo of one grandmother from her childhood and I saw myself immediately. Granted, not every photo is like that, but this one was and just one photo is enough to warm my heart and make me feel a part of her family deep down inside.
I inherited personality from my grandparents, too. Maybe a lot of it is from my environment, I'm not sure. I do things and say things and maybe even think things that they thought or the way they acted. I can always think of a couple things right off the top of my head that come from one grandmother. The other grandmother taught me things - how to do things like crochet, knit, sew (I'm not good at any of these) and she taught me how to make candles. Plus, I think she is the first adult who let me use a knife in the kitchen.
I wanted to cut a cucumber. She said, "You won't cut yourself, will you?" I shook my head and said no.
Naturally, I cut myself. She handled it extremely well. Let's face it, she knew I was going to cut myself, didn't she?
A good part of all this is that here I am at 44 (and for the rest of my life) still rolling around in the warmth and love and bliss of being their granddaughter. They're all gone now, but I blog about my grandpa shouting at the television, watching Hee Haw at their house and how one decorated Christmas trees and the other wouldn't.
When my last grandparent passed and the house was cleaned out, my precious late father brought to me two old, chipped and completely useless (from use and age) cereal bowls. He thought I would want them. To you, you'd see junk. Bowls you can't eat out of anymore.
Me? I see my grandpa eating breakfast on a Saturday morning.
Eight years ago, I went on a trip and stopped to see my father's cousin. She told me stories about my grandmother, her favorite aunt, that I hadn't heard before. And before I left, she gave me one piece from my great grandmother's china set. One piece! One of the best plates in the world, that. I was so happy that night, I could hardly fall asleep.
Yesterday, I went to a flea market with a friend and I found a sugar bowl and creamer from my grandma's china set that she used for every day. I snapped that up in my hands faster than my brain could process the thought. I would have paid almost any price for it, too. I got both pieces for $8.95.
And what is that all about? That's grandparents for you. I was a cherished granddaughter and you could never convince me otherwise. I never stop wanting to draw all four of them close to me, soaking them into me, into who I am for the rest of my life.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
So I sang in the choir and there are only four other women: two sopranos and two altos. And me? I'm with the men singing tenor.
I sat next to an alto in practice two weeks ago and for all I knew, she could have been scraping paint off the ceiling in the Sistene Chapel. Those were some seriously high notes and I was really confused, thinking for sure she had said alto and I was left wondering why she was singing soprano. Then I listened for the sopranos and EGADS! Those women sing so high it makes my throat ache. Seriously, it makes my throat constrict. It makes me insane.
So I am a little self-conscious about singing tenor like a moron girl who has NO idea what she's doing ( the truth hurts ) and what is the first thing anyone says to me afterward?
"Were you singing tenor up there?"
Thank you for noticing.
So I spent the entire day with my girlfriend and although I wanted to go for a long walk, shop and go swimming, we ended up shopping, eating and drinking. And now? Now I have heartburn. Do you know that for my entire adult life I didn't know what heartburn was? And now? I have had it all day. Potatoes give me heartburn. Overeating does, too. Score points for both today.
I never really thought this would ever happen to me. Heartburn, I mean.
And on that burning note, I bid you good night.
Friday, November 13, 2009
But I am in bed being lazy. I have had a cold all week and although I feel mostly OK, I feel mostly drained. It's like a 50/50 split. I feel slightly weepy and am getting misty-eyed at Snapple commercials, but I'm not hacking up a lung or running up the stock at Kleenex either.
I've taken it easy all week and refuse to do so this weekend, so here I am still lazy and not at work. I took the afternoon off. I did work this morning and got some things done. It is unusual for me to have time off to spare this late in the year, but I have it and I had no pressing reason to be at work.
I am reading a blog lately called In Purple I'm Stunning 2.0. The link is over there, to your left, in the sidebar. Now that the holiday shopping season is upon us, you might like to give Howard a read. He works for Walmart and when he talks about his job, it is pretty interesting. His other stuff is also good. He is going to think the only reason I started reading is because of Walmart, but it isn't true.
Yesterday, he did a meme that is on Thursdays and you answer various questions. So I figured I could ask myself fascinating questions and be absolutely riveting in my responses. Feel free to join in.
Q. Your mom wants a small, inexpensive hand mixer for Christmas. In red. What do you do?
A. Spray paint. Red appliances are abnormally expensive, has anyone else noticed this?
Q. Your favorite television show has a British version and an American version. Which do you watch?
A. I used to like the British versions of things, but it's like having friends who are your own age: they know all the culturally relevant things you know from childhood forward. For instance, make the same joke with a Canadian or a person who is 20 years younger than you are. It isn't that they don't get it, but it isn't quite so funny to them. I laugh more with the American. I enjoy British humor, but appreciate the home-grown stuff a bit more.
Oh, here's a story that always makes me smile. I worked for a crappy company and lived in a cube farm. I was surrounded by people and they were all my age. I don't remember the set up for why someone walked up and asked for money, but this person came up to someone and was overheard saying, "I want my two dollars." A moment's silence was followed by four people quiety laughing. We realized we were all laughing, which of course made us all start to guffaw and shout, "I want my two dollars!"
Does ANYONE know why this was funny? It was just a good moment. Take your guess in the comments section.
Q. Someone tells a joke or a story and although it is amusing, it isn't as funny as they think it is. What do you call that?
A. I call that a location joke, which stems from another job I had way back in the 80s. I'll spare you the origin of the phrase, but a location joke: you had to be there. Get it? On location.
Q. Sandra Lee from the Food Network says, "Bam!" Are you amused or irritated?
A. I'm irritated. Why am I watching her show, anyway?
Q. Speaking of British humor, what makes you laugh the most other than (obviously) Monty Python?
A. The Vicar of Dibley is hilarious. I highly recommend it. If you have Netflix, treat yourself.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Visit Michelle at the bat-flappyNature Notes Thursday Meme for the sweetest baby photos you've seen all day.
This is one of four hotels for small grey (or brown!) birds. My magnificent peony bushes are left all dried up for the winter. They are swarmed with small birds all winter long.
double space is not what I want
fix it or I scream
OK, that is a bit aggressive for Nature Notes. Here's my grace in small things:
1. feral cat houses to keep them warm in the winter
3.heated bird baths
4.peony bush hotels
I grew up in an Army family from the time I was in the sixth grade. If you grew up military, you know the mixture of pride and fear family members feel. If you grew up military, you know it is never just the soldier, sailor or marine that fights the wars or goes to work every day in that uniform. There's an entire family behind them.
Heroes. Going to work every day so others may live. It's really an amazing thing.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Maggie went to the doctor and the drainage tube was removed. The wound looked heinous [huge, bloody, bright read hole in a tiny cat butt] last night, but much better today. She hasn't done anything but sleep, which is what is best for her recovery.
As for me, I laugh in the face of sleep apparently. I fell asleep early last night and then around midnight, my brained switched on and I couldn't really get back to sleep. I should have gotten up and gone swimming, but I thought I could get - what? like an extra 20 minutes of SLEEP in a sleepness night? Why does my brain do things like that? I would have been better off going to the pool.
We both know it.
I was reading one of those running blogs with the food and the photos and all the [WHY DON'T I RUN 18 MILES] competitive testosterone any group of women can muster. One of them is offering the 2nd annual Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge from November 23 to January 8. You get points for things like every mile you run and every 15 minutes of cardio and every day you eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables and so on. But I immediately felt defeated. How to compete for prizes against a group of women who
1. have time and inclination to photograph what they eat every day
2. run 18 miles every weekend
3. have gym memberships
4. weight train and remember to do their yoga (I think about yoga a lot)
5. the leader of this pack now lives in Florida
OK, number 5 is just me whining. I now live in the dark cave of the upper Midwest. I want to compete, but I am not sure I want to be any more humble than I already am. Why take on a competition in which I have zero chance of doing anything except bringing up the rear?
So I feel left out and I want all my normal friends to say we'll do our own (realistic, watered-down, less insane, more likely) challenge so they don't gain weight over the holidays. Actually, in real life all my friends are normal. I think most of my blog readers are normal, too. I don't have friends who run 18 miles.
Oh, crap. Does that mean I'm the one who isn't normal?
I'm off to teach people a language I don't really know very well. BWAHAHAHAHAHA
Monday, November 9, 2009
I either get bored or they don't fit, so I take them back. It's my contribution to clothes recycling, I guess.
I got to the interstate overpass and instead of going straight, I got in the left-hand turning lane. At the very last moment I decided to go home and get outside. I have been feeling sort of down lately and I do really enjoy activity and sunshine.
I felt like it was best to combine the two today. I've been doing that for a couple weeks - going home at lunch and running. I only have a short period of time, so I do that couch to 5K thing I've mentioned. Today's was to walk briskly for 5 minutes and then run 25 minutes. In the back of my mind a little voice said, "Just walk whenever you want, don't worry about it."
You see, I have never run for very long with the exception of 5k events. But today? Today I did it anyway and walked/ran for a total of 2.76 miles while raising my eyes to the sunshine, willing it to wash my soul.
I got back in the pool this weekend as well. It was about time. I had been telling myself that I was too worn out to go or that the pool would be crowded and there would be no room for me. I showed up yesterday, jumped in and spent 30 minutes smiling and wondering what in the world was wrong with me for getting out of routine.
I spent most of the day on Friday at Junior Achievement's BizTown with a group of fifth graders I really enjoy. That was a lot of fun. I was invited by Aaron, whose teacher said I was welcome. They had already trained their volunteers, but I could hang out and help the kids get their tasks done.
I walked in the door and they fell on me. A mother had had to cancel due to illness! Could I take over the technology business! Well sure and I had a blast doing it.
A heck of a way to spend a day off, huh?
I also realized I didn't post about the 5k results. The Fairgrounds have some incredible hills and I think we climbed all of them. It was ugly, but I managed. I had to walk a bit to compensate for a minor breathing issue (minor until you start running!) and even so I crossed the finish line in 30:44.
I was very pleased with my time! I got home and later that afternoon I put my bib in the collection and wrote my time on it. Then I flipped through my other bibs and do you know what I saw?
Saturday's run time was my best 5k time ever. How about that?
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Last night Maggie didn't eat and she seemed like she was in a bad mood. OK, that's not entirely out of the ordinary. But this morning, she was nowhere to be seen and wouldn't come when called. When I found her, it was evident she wasn't well. We've been down this road before and quickly diagnosed the problem. Read on, dear reader:
This photo is my girl's booty. Very sad. She got a bite from another cat. It had to have happened when we were at work. She was bitten last November, too. I hope this isn't a trend in the making. It's an expensive trend. And I can't look at her without cringing and wincing and feeling my tummy flop.
She has a long drainage tube sutured into her haunch. OUCH AND OUCH. That will help it drain and to keep her from chewing on it and pulling it out, she's in a cone. Poor, poor Maggie. She just can't make it work. She walks straight into a wall and just stands there.
It's funny, but it's sad. See those big eyes?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Visit Michelle at the finger-snapping Nature Notes Thursday Meme for incredible photos of the season and a tale about a baby turtle.
Today I bring to you my Fireworks Tree Update and my hotel for small, snowy birds.
Well, that was my plan. It is now too dark to take a photo of the hotel for small, snowy birds. You'll just have to come back! :)
I took this photo on the way to work. It's my fourth snap of this house. [shifty eyes] I think the tree has figured things out. It cleaned itself up, too. Do you see how tidy the yard is?
I hopped out, snapped the shot and took off like a criminal! I didn't think that maybe the photo wouldn't turn out so well. But I laughed and thought that I will do it again if we get a heavy snow or an ice storm this winter!
Grace in Small Things
1. I am grateful for bright sunshine
2. I am grateful for the full moon's light
3. I am grateful for crunchy leaves underfoot
4. I am grateful for colorful leaves hanging on
Now you know what to look forward to.
Right now, I am in either a bad mood, a melancholy mood or a sad mood. I'm not sure which, but I do think a huge tankard of beer would help adjust things and set me straight. No, that isn't really true. Beer never helps with any mood adjustment for me. See, last night I thought I would be nice and go to choir practice at church, but it turned into a nightmare and I wish I hadn't gone and I can't sing and I'm not good at it and I feel stupid.
To tell the truth, I need to go for a long walk in all of this sunshine.
And then drink a beer.
Making matters either 1. better or 2. worse, I have been on Amazon browsing through songs to add to my iPod Christmas playlist. I'm looking for some good Perry Como Christmas material. I know there's one song I want and I just listened to a snippet of it, but I can't remember the name of it and I will probably never find it again.
Just kidding. I hope I can find it again because I want to download at home and I am at work right now. I found out Alan Jackson and George Strait both have Christmas albums. That's good to download.
I am very excited to discover that Harry Connick Jr released a third Christmas album recently (last year maybe?) and I have to buy that because I have all of his holiday music. Nothing beats the first one, When My Heart Finds Christmas, but even so the collection must be complete.
I may download the green album by Andy Williams. I was too cheap last year and only got the red album because the red album is Christmas music defined for me.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
unity of topic. heh. I just made that up.
I ran on the treadmill this morning and then came home at lunch and ran. I am still doing the couch to 5k program. I'm having some trouble breathing and hoo boy does it affect me during my run. When I got back to the house at lunch I really sounded like I was in danger. I wasn't. I just sound awful and it is a bit labored. It's a problem I have had before. The doctor checked me out and sent me to specialists and at the end of it all, they decided it was stress. Go figure. I never see a relationship between my breathing issue and stress. It seems random to me. Whatever. I'm good. It's been going on since I moved to Des Moines.
I am running in the Fairgrounds 5k this Saturday morning. There's a huge hill. I ran long, slow inclines today at lunch and have the sore booty to prove it. We will have to wait to see if I run the hill or walk the hill. I don't have the feeling that the hill is a goal for me. I feel pretty ambivalent about the hill. I'm going with that. It's just for fun. I am more concerned about wanting to whine about the cold and not having anyone there to listen to me whine about it.
Not that the cold will stop me.
OK, I have nothing else. Amazing. How can I be so full of ideas and not have anything come back to me? Doesn't anybody have any ideas for me to blog about??
It just dawned on me that I did achieve unity of topic. Woot!