Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Case of the "Purple Pot Roast"

After having a few friends over for dinner last night, I found myself reminiscing about the very first dinner I made for company many, many, years ago...

My ex and I were a typical young, newlywed couple...I was putting him through law school while we were living on my teacher's salary alone. Everyone knows that teacher's are totally underpaid for what they, we were just getting by in those days.

We were new to the Birmingham community and had begun to make some friends, so we decided to have a couple of people over for dinner.

Being on a very tight budget, I remember going to the grocery store and looking for an inexpensive cut of meat to make roast beef for the next evening's meal. I had read through one of my wedding gift cookbooks and learned that any meat could be tenderized by marinating it overnight. So, I picked out the lowest priced beef that I could find that day and then went to the wine section to find my "marinade". Figuring that this was just going to be used to tenderize the meat, again I frugally picked out a very cheap burgundy wine.

When I got home, I excitedly covered the roast with my marinade---cheap wine, garlic, salt and pepper---and allowed it to sit in the refrigerator overnight while I had thoughts of this delicious, tender beef being carved at the table the next night while I glowed in pride.

I also remember thinking, "OK, I bet that the more marinated it is, the more tenderized it will become...." so, instead of draining it, I let it sit in the full bowl of wine the whole next day, too.

Moving ahead to that evening, the table is set, the roast is in the oven, and the aroma is heavenly. We all sit down to have dinner and the marinated roast is placed on the table to be carved with precision for all to see. As the knife went through the meat, I got a glimpse of the first slice. To my embarrassed shock, I saw that instead of a beautiful medium rare roast beef, the slicing was producing strange looking purple meat! Each piece that fell away from the roast was the exact purply, burgundy color of the wine.

Now, a better ending would be to tell you that, in spite of the purple meat, it was flavorful and delicious....but, truth be known, it was still extremely tough, very dry...and pretty much tasted like you would imagine "cheap wine meat"to taste....just awful! It was almost like eating chewy wine. aaack

We all had a good laugh about it that evening and still talk about it to this day.

I believe that the next time that I had company for dinner, I made chicken.... : )

Friday, April 27, 2007

It was an absolutely perfect day here today weatherwise, so my friend and I went to a local art show.

As an artist, going to a show like this is much like being a little kid in a candy store. I get so inspired by other's art in all mediums. I find it amazing how differently we all define our creativity. Whenever I leave a show I am encouraged to get my hands in the clay and start creating!! It is wonderful motivation...

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Because I love whimsical art, I find Betsy Mark's hand-crafted and hand-painted wooden art to be so much fun! Each of her creations is made from wood to resemble everyday objects made larger than life. They are really a site to see!
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Folk Art is very popular here in the South....almost childlike, each piece tells a story of it's own. Quilts are a popular medium for this type of art, but so are found objects such as a piece of wood, a chair, or even an ironing board!
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All in all, it was a great show and a perfect day for the artists as well as the patrons.
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Time for this artist to get to work!!

: )

My grandson, a fashion icon?

Wearing a t-shirt that says "Are these people really my relatives?", Owen looks pretty dapper in his patch madras pants!
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...and, what about this blue and white seersucker suit?!
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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Can you tell what this is?

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Can you tell what this is a picture of?

1) The latest closeup shot of the moon's surface?

2) Unusual chocolate cupcakes?

3) An appetizer tray?

4) Something indescribable found in the back of my refrigerator?

5) A mini-mushroom farm?

6) My latest pottery creation gone wrong?

7) Burnt biscuits?

8) none of the above?

Correct answer: # 7

This picture is actually going to be my "before" photo of a miniature greenhouse for my latest experiment: growing my own herb garden from seeds.

I love fresh herbs and have always had a large herb garden area in my backyard. I fill it with spearmint, peppermint, basil, different types of parsley, rosemary, dill, marjoram, onion, lavender, oregano and sage. All of these can get quite costly when I have to replant them every year. Some of them return year after year, but I haven't had much luck with this. This year I decided to try to save money and start some of my garden from seeds.

So, I purchased this little tray that comes with 25 packed dirt compartments where I have gently placed 2-3 seeds from two different herbs (basil and parsley). It comes totally flat until you add warm water and then each compartment pops up into a 1 and 1/2" pellets. The whole thing stays inside where you keep the lid on until the seeds begin to sprout...and when leaves appear, they are ready to be transplanted outside.

One possible problem that I might not have foreseen...I noticed Gizmo sniffing around near it this morning...hopefully, she will not mistake these baby seedlings for breakfast.

: 0

I might need to start some catnip seedlings soon...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Owen and Redbird

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I believe that my kids must have ESP.

I woke up this morning really missing my family...especially my new grandson.

As I went to read my emails, there was a Snapfish album with eight new pictures of Owen!!!!

He looks so cute sitting on his on his favorite chair with Redbird, the St. Louis Cardinal's mascot! (Jenny is originally from St. Louis, and her mom and dad still live there, so this kid will be wearing plenty of red as he grows up! It's okay with me, because red is one of Alabama's team colors, too.) : )

I must admit that my first thought as I looked at the pictures was: "Who is this kid and when did he get so big?"!!!!

Then I checked my time-line calendar (above) and realized that today marks only one month before I will be flying up to Minnesota to I will soon be able to see for myself how wonderfully grown up he is getting! I will be able to hold him in my arms and begin teaching him to say, "Grammie" so that he will know who I am even when we are far away. I will be able to observe his development first hand as we play together....and, the hugs and kisses will be plentiful!!

I can't wait....

One month never seemed so long...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Walking with Sharon...

"A friend is a person with whom you dare to be yourself." Frank Crane

My friend, Sharon, is just that person in my life.

She has been joining me on some of my morning walks lately. This is such a treat for me for so many reasons...most importantly, we always have a wonderful time with each other with our endless talking, laughing, and general craziness.

Today was no exception.

Usually our topics range from the reality shows that we watched the night before to our little "aging" complaints, health issues, the latest gossip...and, of course, our children and grandkids.

Today, our topic of discussion was a bit more intelligent and thought-provoking as Sharon began to talk about more worldly issues like the War in Iraq...the responsibility of the Rap artists concerning the language that they use in their songs....The Don Imus situation... political issues...and so on.

In the midst of this relatively serious discussion, Sharon suddenly yelled out, "There's my Dad!" This startled me because both of Sharon's parents have passed away in the last few years.

But, she pointed to a beautiful cardinal that was flying by and said, "...there's my Dad, Gus."

It turns out that Sharon truly believes that her folks have "come back" as birds. She feels that the two of them come flying around her on occasion to let he know that they are okay.

So, as we walked along the street, we now had Gus and Ruthie right there with us. It was kind of nice. : )

Eventually, our conversation got back to the more important things in life (!!), like what Sanjaya has been up to now that he is no longer on American Idol....and what was the bachelor thinking last night when he gave out his roses on The Bachelor reality show....Ahhh, this was more like it.

We ended our walk with a discussion about where we were going to be buried when we died. We decided that we should get plots next to each other. That way we could continue our wonderful banter forever...with two very special cardinals flying above us.

Monday, April 23, 2007

: ) Thought Provoking...

"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it." Henry Ford

Thank you, Princess, for honoring me with the "Thinking Blogger Award"!

When you are tagged for this meme it means that your blog is thought-provoking to the person nominating you. It is now up to me to pass this on to five bloggers whose writing makes me "think". Hmmmm.

This is so difficult for me to just pick out 5 because there are so many blogs that I love to read...and that I visit daily. Some are entertaining...some informative...many heartwarming. What I love about these blogs is that they are all so diverse and each one brings something so different into my life. They feel like family to me as I share their lives with them through their wonderful posts. Some of my very favorites are:

But, aside from these wonderful blogs, their are several that are so thought-provoking that I feel that I must 'tag' them for the "Thinking Blogger Award". They cover everything from dealing with a child with autistic spectrum disorder, to an author, a poet, an attorney with the Dept. of Justice, and, of course Mr. Bananas, who paints numbers in front of houses for a living and keeps me deep in thought always..... Congratulations to you five! : )

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A picture perfect day...

With warm temperatures and vivid blue skies, Dave and I headed outside for our walk today. We walked along one of the local country club golf courses and it was delightful and a nice change of pace from my neighborhood streets! The picture I took (to the side of this post) is one view of this lovely course that we passed by today. It looks so serene, doesn't it? I know that Dave would have probably loved to be playing on the course instead of just walking by it!

Getting some good exercise this morning was especially important after we had a highly caloric (and delicious) dinner out with two other couples last night. We ate at a small neighborhood eatery that we both was bustling and noisy, but we managed to have a great evening and playful conversations....most of which centered around the two husbands teasing me.

Which brings me to the real reason for this post today: To my dear friends, BG and Gary, Welcome to my blog!!

After unmercifully making fun of the fact that I not only have a personal blog....but that I write in it daily...I decided to dedicate my post to the two of them today. I hope that you both enjoy reading through it...

And, I must add: we have all been very good friends for many, many guys, if you aren't real "good", I may print some things about you both that no one else knows!!!

Watch out.... : )

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

One Day Blog Silence

Silence Can Say More Than A Thousand Words

On April 30, 2007, as a symbol of support for, not only the victims of the Va. Tech massacre, but for victims all over the world, all bloggers are being asked to observe a day of silence on their blogs.

So, spread the word and on that day just post the graphic (above) on your blog.


It's a perfect day.... lie in the sun. I hope that you are enjoying your weekend! : )
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Friday, April 20, 2007

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

Can you answer this question correctly? : )

5. How long is one regular term for a U.S. Representative? A. 1 year B. 2 years C. 3 years D. 4 years E. 6 years

This is just one question on a test that I took recently to see if I was as smart, or smarter, than a fifth grader. I confidently attempted the test knowing that I was an intelligent woman and this would be a piece of cake. After all, I had a college degree!

Well, I'm not about to tell you my total score (!), but, suffice it to say, it was eye-opening for me. And, I was a fifth grade teacher way back when....

When this new hit show first started, I must admit that I was quite skeptical. While the premise is pretty basic, I think that the real issue here is recognizing our own limitations when it comes to our general knowledge. The questions presented on the show are all on subjects that are based on a fifth grade curriculum and below.

OK, if you have a smirk on your face right now as you read this, I challenge you to go ahead and take the test. It is pretty humbling....but, if you are brave enough, let me know how you did...

Good luck! : )

(Oh, and if you want to know the answer to the above will have to take the test!)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've been tagged again!

Clara recently tagged me with a "Wikipedia Meme" with the following instructions: Go to Wikipedia, put in your birth month and date and find out the these three things:

Three events that occurred on my birth month and day: September 13th--

1814--Francis Scott Key writes The Star Spangled Banner 1922-The temperature in the shade in Libya reaches a world record 136.4 degrees F (58 degrees C) 1956--IBM introduces the first computer disk storage unit, the RAMAC305

Three people born on the same date:

1857--Milton S. Hershey, American confectioner (yum!) 1977--Fiona Apple, American singer 1916--Roald Dahl, British writer

And, finally, two people who passed away on that date:

1996--Tupak Shakur, American rapper and actor
1998--George Wallace, American politician. (a part of Alabama's prejudiced past)

All of the above was taken from the Wikipedia web site.

Interesting. : )

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

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A special day for my first born....

Dear Adam,

Thirty-three years ago today you entered the world so full of life and boundless energy.

While that little boy has grown up, you still possess all of those traits and more.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm". You, my dear first born, embody the word "enthusiasm"... and it can't help but touch everyone who comes in contact with you.

Watching you as a new dad has filled me with such pride and indescribable love. All I can think about is how lucky little Owen is to be the recipient of your incredible zest for life and your enormously giving heart.

Your "specialness" is evident in all that you do, Adam, and I am so proud of the man that you have grown up to be. As you continue to grow, please don't ever lose that little boy that is inside of you. Always keep that playful spirit and joyous nature.

Continue to follow your heart and all of your many dreams today and always.

Happy Birthday.

I love you,


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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Unimaginable Tragedy

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." Isaac Asimov

As I posted some new photos of Owen this morning, his sweet innocence was especially poignant to me in light of yesterday's horrific shootings at Virginia Tech University.

As I continue to hear more information about this senseless massacre, I feel a strange sense of vulnerability come over me.

As a mother, and now grandmother, my first thoughts go to the family's of the victims. How can one make sense of something that is so senseless? How can you trust again when you sent your child to a supposedly safe and secure place that suddenly turned into a battlefield? Agonizing.

The affects of this grievous situation will be far reaching. The students that were, thankfully, not physically harmed are going to have to deal with their emotional scars as they seek to find resolution and healing.

My mind gets tangled in the confusion of needing more gun control...vs. giving guns to people in authority as a means of protection. The latter idea scares me....but....I just don't know what to think anymore.

I can only hope that this violent time that we live in will be somehow different when little Owen grows up...and I pray for inner strength for the people affected by this heinous crime...and, more than ever I pray for PEACE for us all.

How many more things can I fit in my mouth?

Can you tell that I am teething?????
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Owen knows who's boss.... : )
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Monday, April 16, 2007

"Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." Nathanial Hawthorne

This new picture shows such pure happiness on my sweet grandson's face! (Owen at 7 1/2 months.)
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"Simplicity, carried to an extreme, becomes elegance." John Franklin

"Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough." Anon.

More of the Sights and Delights from my Trip

Besides the natural serenity of being in nature, the trip to Sheryl's lake house was enhanced by the charm found inside her home.

She has an array of fabulous collections all over her place. It seemed as if I discovered something new each day. Everywhere you looked there were messages like the "Simplify" pillow shown above or the "Cherish Each Day" pillow on my bed upstairs. These were constant reminders that this was the place to slow down, breathe deeply and relax.

There was a grouping of antique tin thermometers hanging on the wall as we entered the well as a wonderful collection of walking sticks in the corner of the great room. Sheryl's art that was scattered about was unique...most of it "folk art" that she has been collecting through the years.

And then there was the hand-painted armoire in her bedroom that had fishing rods for "knobs" was even featured in a magazine...what an amazing piece of furniture.

With camera in hand, I caught some interesting sights when we ventured to downtown Clayton, where I enjoyed browsing in the old-time hardware store for well as sipping a freshly-squeezed orangeade in the local drugstore while Sherri enjoyed her fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Some of the pictures that I captured are below.

Thanks for letting me share another glorious trip with you...enjoy!

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The walking sticks with the message: "Walk in balance on Mother Earth".
The incredible hand-painted armoire....Posted by Picasa
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