Tuesday, October 31, 2006

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from OWEN !!!!

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Sometimes all of this posing can tire a fellow out! Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 30, 2006

Computer

It's a small world after all....

As I sit at my computer and share my thoughts in my blog, I have come to realize what a wonderful tool blogging is.

To me, it makes the world a smaller place as it brings people of all types together through print. We all give a little piece of ourselves as we post our thoughts, lives, pictures, families, hopes, fears, dreams, etc. I have learned so much from reading various blogs...most importantly that we all share so many commonalities as we go through our life's journeys. We all have such different stories to tell, but our hearts are connected through a similar goal of finding happiness in our lives and for those we love...

Since I started blogging, I have met some of the most interesting people and formed lasting friendships with so many. I try to visit all that I can daily. Here are some of my favorites:

There is Claudia's (Moobear) blog full of her downhome wit at: http://myday-claudia.blogspot.com/ She has had to deal with some health challenges in her life, but always gets through them with grace and dignity.

My blogging buddy Gattina writes from Belgium...a fellow cat-lover : ) who writes many wonderful tales: http://gattina-writercramps.blogspot.com/

Another favorite: Clara from Tennessee's interesting photos and posts...She has taken me on some journey's to places that I haven't ever been to....http://clarascorner.blogspot.com/

The ever-entertaining Bert from http://bertbananas.blogspot.com/ never ceases to amaze me. I look forward to his zany comments...

I get an intellectual fix from this wonderfully interesting blog called: http://www.empathicrationalist.blogspot.com/ This gentleman is an attorney with the Dept of Justice and a student of philosophy and I find his blog thought-provoking.

Teresa, in Tennessee, always has something to say that is worth reading at: http://oldageisnotforwussies.blogspot.com/

And, I have learned a lot...especially that drinking a lot of water is of utmost importance from That Cleaning Lady (yes, that is the name she goes by!) on her blog: http://hatescellphones.blogspot.com/

Some other worth giving a visit to: http://findingafairhope.blogspot.com/

following a cancer survivor's journey at: http://jacscommunique.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_jacscommunique_archive.html

http://misssnark.blogspot.com/

http://blog.thesilentk.com/

and, finally, I get all of my movie reviews from Bob at: http://moviebob.blogspot.com/

So, if you have time, give these blogs a visit....you might learn a little something that you didn't know! : )

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Aunt Sherri comes to visit!

The last of my sisters arrived in Minnesota last weekend. She flew from the Florida 80+ degrees to the Minnesota 20 something degrees. But, I don't think that the weather was what she came for as this was her first time meeting her new grand-nephew!

I think that she fell in love with Owen...just like the rest of us.

...And, word has it that the feeling was mutual... : )

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Posted by Picasa Come back soon, Aunt Sherri.....

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday Night Carving

It has become a yearly tradition now for me and Dave.

With knives in hand, we get ready to do our "Annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving".

He takes this very seriously as he goes online and prints out several pumpkin face possibilities. I always encourage him to just start cutting and see what happens.

When I start out, I just know that mine is going to be a goofy, smiling face. The neighborhood kids have enough frightening things in the world to deal with....so, I figure that a friendly pumpkin face is just what they need.

So, the Friday night event begins.....

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The lids have been cut off, the insides cleaned out and the faces have been carved. Mine is the happy one on the left and Dave's is the more serious one on the right.

I have removed the seeds from the stringy "inside" stuff, salted them and roasted them in the oven for later snacking.

Eating the seeds entails a lot of work....removing the shell for a very small seed... but if you have the patience...they are tasty (and healthy, I might add!) This is a long-standing tradition, so I make them every year.

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Posted by Picasa roasted pumpkin seeds

The Moment of Truth....

The pumpkins are put out on the front step, the candles are lit....the lights are turned off........

BOO?!? : 0

Posted by PicasaHappy Halloween!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rainy

Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain

"Sometimes the wind makes a sudden change ...And some days are made for rain." Aaron Neville

We had heavy downpours all night that are continuing this morning here in Alabama. It's the kind of weather that entices one to stay in bed all day long curled up in the warmth of the covers...with permission to not come out until the sun is shining again.

And then, reality hits and we drag ourselves out to face the day ahead.

After my walk on the treadmill, I will head down to the dungeon (as I affectionately call my basement studio) and get back to work.

The pieces that I had carefully formed with the wet clay are now dry enough to paint with underglazes. After I put the final touches on these pieces, they will be headed to the kiln for their first firing. The kiln will reach temperatures as high as 1000 degrees for this bisque firing as the earthenware's chemistry changes from dry clay to a solid substance. Below is a picture of some pieces that are ready to go:

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After this firing...I will cover them with three coats of high gloss glaze and put them back in the kiln for the second firing. Pictures of the finished products to follow...

Well, time to get my day going.....Have a good one yourself!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Halloween Dilemma

Trick O' Treater Costume

I am faced with this decision every year.

What kind of candy do I buy for the trick or treater's????

As I roam the aisles I am enticed by the super-sized bags of candy in mini-sized packages. Everything from candy corn to every chocolate confection imaginable is out there for the taking.

My dilemma is: Do I buy the candy that I like (M and M's, and anything else with chocolate as the main ingredient!) in hopes of having some left over after the last costumed child has come and gone?

Or, do I think about all of the weight that I could put on by doing that and instead reach for the bags of candy that do not appeal to me at all? This way I wouldn't be tempted by all of the sugary delights in my home that would be available for my consumption.

Well, this year I decided to go for the candy that I like. My thinking was that with all of those M and M's individually wrapped in small portion packages, I could just limit myself to one package a day. Then, this would be a little treat instead of a big indulgence. I am satisfied with this decision as it makes perfect sense to me.

.......So, tons of "little individual small portion packages" later.....I am having to go back to the store to purchase some additional candy for the kids to replenish what I have already devoured.

After all, I don't want to run out and have the possibility of having my house 'tricked', do I???

Maybe next year I will purchase the candy that I don't like....

But, I doubt it. Smile

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh Oh Owen

Could Owen be a guitar-playing baby at 7 weeks?!?! ha ha

My sister took this video this past weekend while Adam played the guitar and Owen danced (?) to the music. The kid's got rhythm! : )

Another "Grammie Moment" to share!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Late Afternoon Walk......

"There is nothing like walking to get the feeling of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast." Paul Scott Mowber

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." John Muir

With camera in hand, I headed out for a walk late this afternoon. My busy morning kept me from going out earlier...so I took advantage of the late sunset and headed out. With daylight savings time coming this weekend, I won't be able to do this again for a while.

It was perfect walking weather...mid 50's and clear skies..with the sun just starting to set...

Here are some pictures of October in Alabama...enjoy.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Meatball "Wars"

I love to cook.

Yesterday I went a little overboard as I spent a great deal of the day in the kitchen whipping up a few things.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were playing the Atlanta Falcons at noon and Dave was pretty much in his "football watching position" for the day.

So, first I baked one of his favorite snacks: Baked Salami. You cover the salami with chili sauce, Gulden mustard, and some brown sugar and slowly cook it in the oven at a low temp. (I'm too much of a health nut to eat it...but it looks delicious as the outside gets a little crusty while the inside stays soft)

Anyway, on to the next snack.

I decided to make filo wrapped asparagus. We had eaten this at his niece's wedding and they were great little appetizers with buttered** filo dough sprinkled with parmesan cheese, wrapped around asparagus and baked until crispy. **Of course for this I use my Smart Choice "magic healthy butter" (!) that is supposed to actually lower your cholesterol. It says so right on the lid. Who am I to argue with that?! : )

I found myself with several sheets of filo left over so I decided to chop up some fresh apples, add some cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg and make some little apple tarts for dessert. After they baked, I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and they were ready to go! Mmmmm

Confidently moving on I decided to make a big pot of soup as the weather is finally going to start getting cooler here. I chopped and diced onions, celery and carrots....added some fresh garlic while I sauteed....and then put in beef broth, tomatoes and water along with the Pasta Fazool mix filled with beans and herbs.

After a trip to Pittsburgh to visit with his brother, Dave raved about his sister-in-law's homemade meatballs. I don't eat red meat (and haven't for over 30 years) so this isn't something that I generally would cook. But, I decided to attempt to make this dish for Dave. Now, this is where things started to get serious.

The meatball challenge was on! : )

I went through a myriad of cookbooks to find the perfect recipe. Unsatisfied, I went online and seached the web for a spaghetti and meatball site. I chopped, diced, blended, and then formed "The Perfect Little Meatballs" and popped them in the oven.

After they simmered in the sauce for an hour, the meal was ready to be served. I coaxed Dave out of his "football watching position". I poured myself a glass of red wine. The moment of truth began.

I watched his every bite and awaited word on how my meatballs stacked up to his sister-in-law's.

Here is how the conversation went:

ME: So, how are the meatballs?

DAVE: Good.

ME: Just GOOD?!??!? Not great? Not as good as Marie's?

DAVE:(sweat now forming on his brow) Well, they are good. Would I be eating them if they weren't good?

At this point, I realized that my meatballs were actually in (gulp) second place. Dejectedly eating my pasta fazool soup, it became very clear to me that:

The "Meatball Wars" had begun.

Any great recipes out there in blogging land for some unbelievable meatballs?

: 0

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Happiness" List Part 1

Months ago I did my first ever list of gripes. It was a great release getting to vent in that way! However, today I decided to post my first ever list of things that make me happy. Here is my simplistic "feel good" list:

1)Autumn leaves

2) Giggles

3) Chocolate

4) Opening a new jar of peanut butter and getting the first taste

5) Warm bread

6) People who wave you on to go ahead of them in a traffic merge

7) Sitting by a fireplace

8) Toasted marshmallows

9) Nice smelling cologne on a man

10) Having room for my favorite pillow with me when I go on a trip

11) Soft, well-worn jeans that I've had forever

12) Hugs

13) My cat purring when I stroke her

14) Celebrations of any kind

15) A wonderful glass of wine

16) Crisp, cold weather

17) Bubble gum

18) Kindness

19) Romantic movies

20) Deep conversations

21) Long walks

22) A smile from a passing stranger

23) Hallmark card commercials

24) Dave emptying the dishwasher for me

25) Free food samples at stores

26) Chinese food on Sunday night

27) Cooking a big Thanksgiving turkey

28) The way the house smells all day while the turkey is cooking!

28) Red M & M's (don't ask...I just think that they taste better!?)

29) Winning money on the quarter slot machines

30) Rod Stewart singing the old classics

31) Pedicures with bright red polish

32) Blow pops

33) Friendly neighbors who watch out for me

34) American Idol

35) Being silly for no reason

36) Going to the beach with "The Girlies"

37) Giving "happy gifts"

38) Having the mailbox full of good mail

39) Holding hands

40) Sneaking food into the movies without getting caught

41) Thick, soft socks on a cold day

42) Stuffed animals

43) Being surprised with some fresh flowers

44) Playing games such as Rummikub, Uno, Scrabble

45) Making a big pot of soup

46) Back rubs

47) Being understood

48) Creating a wonderful piece of pottery

49) Good hair days

50) Sunday mornings

(ahhh....going to go read the paper and enjoy my Sunday morning right now. Have a nice day! : )

Friday, October 20, 2006

ImageChef.com - Create custom images

Well, I knew that it would have to happen sooner or later.

In 22 days (but, who's counting?) I will be heading down to S. Florida for my 40th High School Reunion!

So, how does one prepare for a reuniting of old friends?

Friends from that mysterious time in our growing up where we threw caution to the wind...where going steady was more important than world events...where decorating the homecoming float took precedence over our studies....where who you sat with in the lunchroom meant more than what you were eating that day....where football games were your life.....when a date to the local Howard Johnson's was cool....when "hanging out" was what we lived for...when wearing a circle pin held many different (and secretive) meanings...Actually, that pin made quite a statement and from what I remember, that little circle pin could make or break your reputation back then.

This was a very sheltered time where we seemingly had no cares other than passing our driving tests, getting a date to the Prom, or winning a Student Government election. It was probably a very self-centered time in our lives, even though we didn't see it that way at the time.

When I left for college after graduation, I remember this sense of leaving all of the past behind and starting a whole new era in my existence. It seemed then as if I never looked back...even though I did think about a lot of the people who meant so much to me in those high school days.

So, now I will finally have an opportunity to see so many of those people again....to possibly reestablish old friendships and maybe, even make some new ones.

I am curious to see the direction that everyone's lives have taken as they left the high school days behind. OK, in all honesty, I am anxious to see how the Homecoming queen looks now... how successful the class brain has become...and what about the captain of the football team...where has his life journey taken him? I am sure that it will be a time of sharing photos, stories, and dreams as we all try to make sense of where the 40 years have gone.

I have found myself perusing the old yearbook lately and studying the faces of the people that I shared those magical years with. What if I don't recognize a dear, old friend? What if they don't recognize me? Will we be directed to wear a name tag with our old yearbook photo? Aagh. How about those hairstyles back then? We thought that we looked so cute. Puleeeze. And, what were we thinking with those loafers with the penny stuck inside? Who can forget bleeding madras? ...probably our mothers who had to make sure and wash them separately so that they wouldn't run and turn the rest of the laundry a multitude of colors!

With the ability to email, I have reconnected with several dear friends. It has been a little preview to what the reunion will be like...and, it has been wonderful.

One friend has already warned me that when I walk in the room at the reunion I will think to myself: "Who are all of these old people?" I had to laugh as I realized that I will blend right in with them.....40 years later but still feeling like that giggly high schooler.

...Well, I guess that it is time to try and find that old circle pin again.... : )

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Compliments

A guy walks into a bar and notices he's the only one there, apart from the bartender, who's on the phone. The bartender signals him that he'll be with him in a minute. The guy nods and bellies up to the bar to wait.

Suddenly, he hears a little voice say, "Hey, you're looking pretty sharp today. New suit?"The guy looks around but can't see anyone else in the place.

He hears the voice again. "Seriously...you are looking good, man. Have you lost weight?"The guy looks around again and still doesn't see anyone.

"Hello?" he asks. "Is someone speaking to me?"

"You bet! I just had to say that I thought you were looking just super!" A bunch of other tiny voices suddenly rose in agreement.

The guy realizes now that these voices are coming from a bowl of beer nuts on the bar in front of him. He stares at them as the bartender comes over to serve his only customer.

"What'll you have?" asks the bartender.

"What?... Oh, a draft beer, I guess", mutters the guy, still staring at the nuts.

He finally looks up at the bartender drawing his ale. "What's the deal with these nuts?" he asks.

The bartender brings the guy's beer over and sets it before him.

"The nuts? Oh,they're complimentary", he shrugs.

(My apologies if you have heard that joke before....)

After receiving a lovely compliment the other day, I found myself hurriedly trying to disprove the flattery. This happens quite often and it made me stop and think about why I react this way. Why can't I just graciously receive praise from person? I think that a lot of us naturally do this when faced with accepting compliments.

If you watch a conversation between two women, many times you will hear something like this: "I love your outfit. It makes you really look slim."

Reaction: "Oh, this old thing? I've had it for years. I like it because it does a great job of hiding all of my ills and there are plenty of them, believe me!"

Even if we do secretly think that we look great in the outfit, we almost become defensive as if to say, "How dare you say something nice about me!"

I love the book, Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather. It is full of great insights that have helped me think through things with 'different eyes'.

Here is what he has to say about compliments:

"There is something about compliments that scares me.

Part of the reason may be that I am afraid of getting something that can subsequently be taken away. I put myself in the hands of this other person if I let my emotions lean on his statement.

Another reason: I am being put on the spot and now must watch my actions to keep him thinking this way about me. There is a part of me that knows I am not as good as his compliment implies."

The more that I thought about how I reacted to the lovely statements made to me yesterday, I wished that I had just been able to kindly say,

"Thank you so much."

Maybe next time...

: )

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

I stepped outside today and couldn't resist taking a picture of this little tree in my backyard.

The vibrant colors herald the beginning of autumn and the cool, crisp days ahead.

The birds are happily enjoying the seed-filled feeder as they get ready to prepare for the long, cold winter.

Pumpkins were picked out yesterday as I anticipate carving them this weekend with Dave. Halloween will be here before we know it.

I have started to put away my summer clothing as I replace it with clothing more appropriate for this time of year.

So, what is wrong with this picture??

IT IS 86 DEGREES OUTSIDE!!!!!!

Even the pumpkins are perspiring.

...Ah, autumn in the South.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oscar and Owen

I can already see so many changes occurring in Owen and it is absolutely torturing me not to be holding him in my arms and watching him up close and personal.

But, until they move the states of Alabama and Minnesota much closer together, I will just have to be patient until the next time I can get there.

So, for right now, I am having to view my new grandson's goings on through either photos or webcam views.

These latest pictures of him tell a great story.

Here he is enjoying his colorful play pad with all of its colors, sights and sounds.

Well, it seems that as Owen is having a fun-filled time on his mat, Oscar the dog decides to stop by and visit.

I am sure that Oscar is still filled with curiousity over this new little being that has come into his territory.

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Oscar's inquisitive nature gives way to getting a little closer to Owen to observe firsthand what this new little human is up to.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but I am surmising that he is going to try and affectionately lick the baby.

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Recognizing that he probably won't be getting a "kiss" (lick) back from Owen... Oscar makes a decision to make himself comfortable alongside his new little buddy.

...it seems as if Oscar is saying:

"IF YOU CAN'T LICK 'EM, JOIN 'EM!"

: )

Monday, October 16, 2006

Doctor appointment

Well, today I spent over an hour in the examination room awaiting my doctor's appearance.

I couldn't get upset though, because I knew that when it was my turn, she would give me her unhurried attention as she listened to all of my symptoms.

So, what can one do in this little room, sitting up high on a fresh sheet of white, crinkly paper?

Naturally, my eyes went directly to the display on the counter filled with wooden tongue depressors, blood pressure cuffs, a myriad of needles, and other assorted medical 'tools'... leading me to wonder what they would each be used for... OK, enough of that.

I decided to read through some of the medical pamphlets displayed before me, learning (more than I really wanted to know) about a variety of health disorders.

As I sat biding my time and listening for the doctor's footsteps, I found out the causes and treatments for a potpourri of maladies. I even viewed some three dimensional exhibits of the human body and what can go wrong.

Suddenly, my sore throat seemed rather unimportant and insignificant compared to all that I was reading about..

Finally, the doctor knocks on the door to get my permission to enter. (I can't help but wonder if any patient has ever answered "no" to her questioning knock?)

Anyway, after discussion and examination, the verdict is in: sinus issues...swollen glands and extremely red throat....Diagnosis: Pharyngitis....Prescription: to take it easy along with a strong dosage of antibiotics and, of course, lots of liquids. (Hot tea and honey, I presume!)

A quick stop at the store to purchase some ingredients for a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup and I am on my way home to start cooking and, hopefully, feeling better.

: )

Well, I thought that I could ignore it, but I can't.

Several hundred (ok, exaggeration here) cups of tea with honey and lemon.....and countless throat lozenges later, I am still feeling under the weather.

This annoying sore throat of mine has continued throughout the weekend so I am heading to the doctor this morning to check it out.

More later...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Will the real GEORGE please stand up?

This is the image of George Washington that most of us grew up with. Strong, determined and decidedly, not the most handsome.

HOWEVER....according to AOL today and thanks to the latest techniques in forensic reconstruction...they are now saying that good ole George actually was quite dashing...looking more like:

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