Friday, March 30, 2012

Festive Friday

The food I must be buying for the feeder must be that good.  I heard a ruckus out there this morning.  The feeders were filled on Wednesday afternoon.  Now, they are nearly empty.  Silly birds just looking for a handout.  

Today the bread bakes with chia seeds in them.  Don't confuse them with Chia Pets (AS SEEN ON TV!).  But that makes me wonder if it is simply chia seeds that have sprouted!  I bet so!  Anyway, the package lured me in at Costco this week.  "Chia - Ancient Grains - Superfood of the Aztecs".  I haven't seen many sick Aztec people.  But come to think of it, I haven't seen many healthy Aztecs either.  But I'll be full of omega 3's and fiber if nothing else.  

Last night I nearly needed a schedule during my after school commute.  There were three children with three different activities in three different places at three different times that actually were overlapping.  I decided to drop off one child about 20 minutes early to the destination in order to save about 1/2 hour in the car.  (At least he had a sandwich along!).  I take great pride in our lack of a busy schedule at times.  But yesterday was nothing to be proud of.

Pinterest.  The whole concept seems very, very scary.  It looks like an abyss of time wasting.  It looks like picture perfection in crafts, clothes, decorating, foods, you name it.  I peeked at a few boards this week and realized how very, very far I come short in creativity, beauty, and ideas.  So I got off since I was getting overwhelmed.  

A storm moved in early this morning.  And Lisi did the unthinkable.  She took matters in her own hands and snuck up the stairs and laid down next to daughter #1's bed.  She has never done that.  Ever.  The irony of it all is that daughter #1 spends the least amount of energy and affection on the dog.  Yet when the chips were down, that's where she wanted to go.  Interesting.  And naughty.  

Our van is at the dealership.  Three squeaks that need to be looked at.  I'm very certain they won't find the rattles since cars are mean like that.  So Mr. Seventy-something shows me the shuttle for my ride home.  A friendly face that absolutely loves his job.  I have always wanted to drive those little carts at the airport.  But maybe driving shuttles for a dealer would be fun too!  I digress.  Anyway, he had on a local talk-radio guy when we got in.  He quickly changed it (probably thinking I didn't want to listen to such nonsense).  He immediately switched it to "Oldies Radio" since he thought it might be something I might enjoy more.  **sigh**

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Musings

Not much has been mused the past while.  Lets see where this goes.  Just back from a walk.  The Weather Channel says it is 41 and feels like 34.  It felt colder than that after simmering in the 80's last week.

On my walk I was noticing a few things.  The brisk wind for one.  Another was the fact a gentle rain can make brown grass turn to a lovely green nearly overnight.  Another was watching Lisi race as fast as she can by me and I realize it is the UPS man again.  They have a love affair going.  And finally, something about nature.  I spotted a pair of mallards, cardinals, and robins.  All of the 'guys' look much prettier than the lady versions.  I wonder if that's why there are so many Estee Lauder counters in department stores and aisles and aisles of makeup in every other.  I don't know much about any of that fanciness because... well, I'm more like a mama mallard I guess.

A Chairman in Malaysia is in big trouble I reckon.  I got a hit from there by someone searching for "the right of Chairman of company".  Oh-oh.  I think someone stepped out of bounds down there.  

Do you fondly remember the sweet little kitty we just were watching?  Well good thing it was then and not in a few weeks because my hunch was right.  She's gonna be a mama!  Question is:  should we get a kitten or not?  Just remember no matter which way you comment, it probably won't sway our decision (which probably would be 'no').

Today I stood by an open grave.  Being in the presence of a cemetery always gives me pause and I'm thankful for that.  This lady lived a long life.  One thing very interesting about this classy and sweet lady was that she married and then her husband died just five years later of a massive heart attack.  Some would tease her through the years about maybe getting another feller and she would always respond, 'no one could be like Henry'.  He must have been something very, very special.  But it took a toll on him for sure...

This week will be a 'special' one!  We really look forward to this week for quite some time.  A visit and also a special day on Sunday.  Hoping it doesn't snow...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday's thoughts...

My birthday is the first week of May (start sending your gifts now!!!  Or not).  What I'm getting at is the landscape, trees, shrubs and whatnot look like it is early May on the calendar.  I even felt a little frustrated yesterday on my walk that I felt so hot.  In March mind you!

* Kitty cat left us a night and a day ago.  I keep secretly wondering if they are taking good care of her.  If she's been fed properly.  If she misses me.  I even heard her phantom 'meow' a few times.  I told someone once that I could never foster care children (even though I have the highest regard for those that do).  I would go absolutely berserk in missing them and thinking I was the best caregiver ever.  

* I started using fabric softener.  Out of the blue the other night the Chairman said, 'my shoulders have been really itchy lately'.  I giggled.  "Itchy" is such a funny word.  I'm thinking his shoulders don't like the fabric softener.

 * I didn't strike out last night.  But it was close.  I occasionally post recipes that have been a huge hit at the Chairman's Chalet.  Last night wasn't a hit.  Beef Stew.  You would think you couldn't ruin it.  But I did.  

* The newspaper wants my business back.  I thought the price was a bit steep, so I kindly told "Andrea" from the paper this morning to go ahead and cancel.  Now I can renew on-line as a new customer in a week or so and save a few bucks.  Is that cheating?

* Last fall I saw a lot of weeds in some flower beds and just thought I'd let them go through the winter and deal with them in the spring.  Well it is spring and I should have dealt with them in the fall.  I learned a lesson that goes beyond the natural.

* We started with a new lawn care service that has "Shark" in its name.  Well Mr. Shark Service came to the door this afternoon and a tattooed shark was lurking under his shirt sleeve which was slightly distracting.  Which came first?  The tattoo or the name? 

* I wasn't truthful when I mentioned awhile back that I don't really have hobbies.  I pulled up my google reader and read these stats on myself.  From your 76 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 436 items, clicked 24 items, starred 0 items, and emailed 0 items.  Since April 10, 2008 you have read a total of 20,830 items.  Wow.  With stats like that, I would have to call blog reading a hobby of mine.  That's a lot of things to read.  But I like it and that's what a hobby is I guess.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Weighty matters

A few thoughts have popped into my smallish brain that I will put in writing of tricks that have worked for me regarding health and weight control.  Maybe one or more might be of a help.  However, I do recognize that genetics play a big role in your overall weight, structure, and girth.  And being slender is not a big goal or near as important as other qualities in life.

* Get a dog!  Or not.  Having a large breed pooch that loves walks motivates me to walk every.  single.  day.  I go in rain, snow, sleet, hail, and sunshiny days.  There are rare occasions that I don't get out there.  But they are rare.  How long and how far?  My typical route is about 45 minutes.  If I have someone with me, it often is longer.  I go at a reasonably fast clip and sometimes listen to something to make the time go quicker.  If you choose to do DVD workouts, yoga, exercise classes, or run stairs, all power to you!  Walking is my thing.

* Besides walking, stay active.  If one of the MYP ask to play ball or race or go on a bike ride, I try to drop what I'm doing and go.  The benefits are more than just exercise.  If in a building, take the stairs.  Park a bit away from the front door of a store.  Simple things that add a few steps.  They add up.

* I eat at regular times.  Even if I'm alone, I set up my plate and eat what is on it.  Today's lunch consisted of leftover Italian wedding soup (that was fantastic btw) and a little Babybel cheese, some whole grain crackers, an orange, and a couple Girl Scout cookies.  Not sure why you needed to know all those details.  I don't snack between or eat before bed.  That works for me.

* I eat everything.  I don't limit carbs - but I do try to choose whole-grain alternatives.  Bread, waffles, pancakes, etc. are made with whole grains at home.  I purchase whole grain tortillas, crackers, etc. I'm not afraid of fats.  Just limit the amount you put on.

* I rarely have soda - regular or otherwise.  My personal opinion is that it is dreadful for the body.  Have at it if you enjoy!  I just know when I cut all soda out of my repertoire, I immediately lost weight.  I very much limit  purchasing processed food to make at home.  I like to know what I'm eating.  And we don't eat out all that much.  I think eating out gives you a bazillion calories that you hardly realize you are consuming - not to mention the fats and sodium.

* Portion control.  I fill up a plate and eat what is on it.  And then I'm done (usually).  If the first portion tasted really good, the second would taste the same, but be unnecessary extra calories.  On packaged products such as a cookie, cracker, or chips, I usually peek to see what they think is a serving size and go with that guideline.

* I drink skim milk almost every noon with lunch.  The extra protein seems to tie me over longer until suppertime.

* Water!  I had a kidney stone three years ago.  The pain was just simply awful.  But it taught me the importance of hydration and as a result, you feel fuller with a lot of water in your system; not to mention the benefits of healthier looking skin.  I drink several tall glasses between meals.

*  Weigh often.  Yes, at first it is icky.  But if you regularly weigh yourself, you can kinda keep yourself in check.  If I go up a pound or two due to a vacation or eating out or whatnot, I just scale back (pun intended) the next day or two.

I read a little quote that I often think of when I'm before a loaded table, buffet line, or potluck.  "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels".  Yes, being thin isn't everything.  But it is one aspect of my life that I can control! And so I'll do it the best I can.

If you have any tips that work for you, please share them!  I am sure many of you have ideas far better than mine...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Musings

My mind whirls, so I will pen it down.  Happy sigh for a very early spring!  Yesterday, I had the lofty idea to walk to the nearby quaint little town area as the girls wanted to bike there.  About half-way through I'm thinking that this is a very, very long walk.  If it was the Chairman's idea, I'm afraid I would have started to mutter and mumble and eventually flat-out protest to why we were walking so far.  But it was mine.  And we continued on.  In the 81 degree heat.  Without water.  But we made it!  Lisi found several items to eat along the way including an approximate 1-year old taco yet in the bag and some innards of a rodent.  ick.

The cat almost got her walking papers yesterday.  She's could have lost one of her nine lives.  Son #1 comes to me looking very serious and said 'it's bad mom'.  Then proceeds to lead me to the garage where I had shooed out the cat for some new space to explore.  I failed to think it over that cats like to climb and they don't think about things dropping off high shelves.  If you know the Chairman, you might know that he likes cars.  Nice, shiny, clean cars.  Well cat knocked two planters (one filled with dirt) off the shelf and they crashed all around the front end of the nice, shiny car.  Mila's guardian cat angel was acting quickly as the pot juuuuuuussssst missed the front end of the car.  Only dirt managed to hit the glossy black paint.  The Chairman was about to have a stroke until he surveyed the scene.  Whew.

A few days ago, we gathered together a group of lady-friends to go out for lunch to celebrate some spring birthdays.  There were 12 of us around the table.  You might have nice people where you live and all... but I must say, the friends I have here are a wonderful combination of spiritual, sensible and silly - in that order.  Lovely ladies each in their unique way.

We were with a sweet family of relatives last night.  They have three young boys.  You don't realize how big your own boy is until you see him around other younger ones.  No wonder the jeans are running a little short these days and the shoes seem to hardly outlast the big toes.

The apple didn't fall far from the tree.  As I was stuffing clothes into my washing machine this morning, I started to feel suspicious.  Several shirts looked folded.  Upon further inspection, lots of shirts were still folded.  A pair of PJ's....  hmmm.  She didn't even wear these!  At about the exact same age, I vividly remember stuffing my own stack of clean clothes down the clothes chute.  Betty came bounding up the stairs with a bee in her bonnet.  "YOU DIDN'T WEAR THESE!!!"  My mostly nice older brother wasn't being so nice and thought it was a delightful distraction to his otherwise dull day.  He has reminded me of my mis-judgement many times through the years.  I'm sure he's done something wrong too you know.

Speaking of Betty.... my mom and dad are celebrating 52 years of wedded bliss today!  A shout out to them for continued good years ahead!  I would reckon they like to sit around count their blessings of their Faith, friends, and family.  Especially their youngest child...(or not).  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday's thoughts...

And so yes, there's a resident cat for the next six days.  So far, so good.  Lisi has been a very patient, accepting, and gentle galoot.  She's doing well, but I've come to realize I can't burst out into 'HERE KITTY KITTY KITTY' or she will go into high alert looking all over for the kitty in a very possessed way.

Cats are not dogs.  They are curious.  Sneaky.  Stealth in their quietness.  And solitary to some degree.  I needed to run out this morning for a bit.  I came back.  Lisi was overjoyed with glee.  "My sun, moon, and stars is back!  I love her so!  Oh boy!  Now she's even going to pet me!!!'.  The cat?  I opened the door to the confined room she was in.  She blinks sleepily and looks the other way.  I think there's good in both, but I kinda like feeling wanted!   I do reckon there will be tears when kitty leaves.  She's worked her way into the hearts of the MYP very quickly.

Have you seen the price of gas or beef lately?  Egads.  They say cows have lots of gas and could ruin the atmosphere by all their flatulence.  But I don't think it's the same gas...

I went to REI this morning.  You know the sporting goods store that sells kayaks and bikes and serious-looking expedition things for granola crunchers.  I just could feel myself sucking in my belly and trying to look all fit and active while I was in there.  I saw Mr. and Mrs. fortysomething Granola Cruncher buying brand new little Keens for "Fletcher" who was just shy of two.  It was very cute and close to $40.

Due to the record heat-wave hitting Dairyland, the screen porch was cleaned top to bottom and is open for business about a month earlier than normal.  Happy sigh!  Nothing like sitting out there in the warm, spring breezes at night and hearing the coyotes howl!

Cat got your tongue?

No, it didn't get mine.  That blasted fur ball....

Hello there! This of course is Lisi.  The Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway kept looking my way yesterday.  Once in awhile she'd say "nice kitty" in a soothing way.  I'd get all excited and look around wondering where that nice kitty was.  Well lo and behold, it appeared right after lunch.  I like her and I hate her all at the same time.  Big Lady was quite amused this morning and was taking some pictures.
See?  I'm trying to be nice
Rotten cat... I wonder how to get her out of here

For the life of me, why do people think cats are cute?
She seems dumb to me.  She watches the fish a LOT.  

Sits in doll houses...
And thinks about catching a bird...
I'm not sure how long this cRazYnESs is going to last.  The small people around here are completely smitten with her.  They walk right past me and keep saying "Mila!  Mila!" and "here kitty kitty kitty" like I don't even exist.  Lucky for me, the Big Lady still showers me with attention.  Takes me on walks.  And sneaks extra treats when I'm being sweet to the rotten cat.  I doubt she stays long because the Big Guy yelled this morning about the cat being on a shelf.  He wasn't impressed.  And I try not to be.  But she keeps coming by and rubbing her head against mine.  She meows softly.  And even laid down next to me.  With all my power and will, I'll try to not like her.  But I don't think it is working...  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Musings

The birds chirp.  The breeze blows softly.  The dampness of the awakening grass.  Ahhh.  Spring feel today!  I see a very ominous-looking cloud on the radar that says I need to get my shoes laced up and out the door before it becomes some serious rain.  I haven't walked for two days (gasp!).  It feels really, really awful.

We changed the time to "spring ahead" again.  Every time we do it, I think of a lady in Iowa that said that she never felt rested up until she gained that hour back again in the fall.  I'll probably remember that for the rest of my life.

What's that quote?  "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray".  We were making plans to go have some fun this weekend.  It was somewhat spontaneous.  But the $$ raised up to $$$$ basically overnight.  Major disappointment and some tears and a promise of another time and we ended up doing something else.

First a sleepover.  Then a trip to the mall with these sillies.  They are 12, 11, 10, and 9!

Then a trip south to the adjoining state for a special day!  It lived up to its name in every way.  Special indeed!

I realized something yesterday.  About compliments and how they are received.  We saw someone that is extremely talented in playing the piano.  In fact, she is a teacher and more so.  Not only is she talented in music, she's beautiful and fun-loving, and helpful.  I digress.  Anyway, I wanted to compliment her on how her music was in inspiration to me and how it also caused our son #1 to be found listening to Scott Joplin rags on Pandora.  So I did.  And instead of saying, I'm not really that good.  I wonder why people really even like to hear me.  I wish I were better... she said with a bright smile :  "thank you!"  And that was that!  She allowed me to say something nice.  She accepted it with graciousness.  I felt better.  She (I think) felt better.  I love life's little lessons that come like that.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A stitch that eats time...

Her name was Ethel.  But to me she was Grandma Anderson.  These grandparents were unique.  They were loving, supportive, funny, and loved the present as much or more than the past.  I loved spending every moment with them even as a gangly teen.  During college, I would drive for weekends down to see them in my '66 Chevy Nova.  I looked forward to it as much as they did.

Grandpa was funny.  Loved a good laugh.  And loved to tell a good story.  Grandma was a teacher before she married in her mid-20's.  She gave wonderful advice that has stayed with me.  She knew I struggled with math and made it her mission during one visit to SD to get me to recite the multiplication table rapid-fire.  She encouraged me to figure out who I was myself before rushing to find someone and settle down.  She urged me to go on to college.  And she told me to learn a craft so that when I'm old, I'll have something to do with my time.  She didn't know about Facebook!  heh heh.

Twenty-seven years ago, she helped me get started on a crocheted 'granny squares' baby blanket for a very special baby coming.  I was in my first year of college and got the moniker "Grandma" as my nickname because I crocheted.  That was my first and last project.  Until....

Now... twenty-seven years later... I recently saw my slightly older sister teaching one of the MYP how to crochet.  It stirred something.  So instead of just sitting there playing Words with Friends for the umpteenth time or checking the live feeder to see if anyone else's life is more interesting than mine, I am crocheting!

Since Grandma or my slightly older sister isn't right close, I replaced them with You Tube.  It is a marvelous teaching tool.  And so, I have begun my first pot holder project.  It was slightly disheartening last night after 35 minutes of hard work to hear the lady quietly say that what I had just done should have taken five minutes or less if you were an accomplished crocheter.  I guess that wouldn't be me yet!

It is wonderful with one caveat.  I am compulsive.  I like things completed.  And so I woke up at 5:19 this morning with the feeling that something wasn't finished.  My crocheting project!  I got a few things started in the kitchen and got down to business.  The MYP were curious like little kitties.  Then one piped up and said, 'I sure hope you don't forget to make us bread today'.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bad to the bone...

I've got a reputation to keep.  You see I heard a rumor that
this dog thinks I'm well behaved. Well for starters, I've never met the guy, so he only has heard good things from his Big Lady. She's a nice Big Lady and all. But I don't think she knows the half of it. You see people like to have the quality of remembering the good and forgetting the bad. Maybe that's a good thing if you are a person. But we dogs like to remember things like the smell of rotting rodents, garbage juices, and even a good sniff of someone's business. Gross is good!

I want to clarify something.  I'm Bad to the Bone.  
Even though I passed all my obedience classes with flying colors, I like Big Lady to remember that I'm just your average mutt.  I like a good cat chase.  I like to greet people with more enthusiasm then they care to receive.  I like to take off with my ball when I'm supposed to be retrieving.  I like to jump on mail or UPS trucks.  And I've even been known to rip up little scarecrows and dig mammoth holes to keep my Bad Bone reputation going.  

So Mr. Snowstorm or whatever you are called down south,  don't forget my naughtiness.  And hopefully some day, we can meet and share stories on how we really tested the patience of these Big Ladies of ours.  I'm guessing yours doesn't yell half as loud as mine does.   

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings

I'm glad you can't see me.  Facetime and Skype and those other devices scare me sometimes.  Because people can really see what you look like.  I don't want to ruin my squeaky-clean reputation.  But I'll let you in on something.  I'm still sitting in my bathrobe and it is nearly 10:30.  I've been working.  On this:

Don't mind the monkey.  He just happened to be next to the pictures.  With MYP, things like that happen.  Anyway the pictures.  The dreaded pictures.  I have been sorting the massive amounts that I printed out.  And let me tell you... it's no picnic for someone that is compulsive about chronology.  These are the moments of our lives.

Remember Beanie Bart Junior?  

I was just about ready to send him on a one-way ticket to visit our septic system.  Then I read lots of betta sites and spent a bit of money on a heater and nicer tank.  He has rewarded us by becoming a very active, happy, and starving fish.  He's like a retriever of the fish-world and stays near the top hoping and hoping we drop just one more pellet into his little domain.  I have to admit, the slimy little thing has grown on me.

Once again this past weekend, we were faced with another dilemma in parenting.  It gave me pause.  You see when you are a parent, you can't just throw up your hands and say, I don't like it, I don't want to do this, I don't know what to do.  That isn't an option.  But parenting MYP (or one for that matter) is a huge lesson in humility.  The MYP have never been at this point before.  And we haven't either for that matter.  And life is a lot like that.  Today is here and we haven't faced this one before.  And no one else has for that matter.  That's why life is so mysterious and wonderful and yet leaves us humble wondering what will come.  We can be thankful for the assurance that help will be given if we just ask.

I am helping coordinate a meal drive for a dear person facing a battle (that she is winning I might add).  I am utterly touched by the outpouring of food and care for her.  It is a thrill to see how people want to serve.

Speaking of food.  Son #1 asked the other day if we could make homemade french toast sticks.  I told him I wouldn't buy the kind you can get in the store that are processed this and that.  So we looked up a recipe and it was a marvelous hit.  He did a lion's share (why do they choose a lion for that saying?) of the work.  I found it post-worthy.
photo isn't mine... although the dish is pretty!
French Toast Sticks

8 to 10 thick slices of bread (homemade is best you know!)
2 tablespoons melted butter
5 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  

In a bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, milk, and vanilla.  Beat well.  Cut thick-sliced bread into three 'sticks'.  Dip into egg mixture and place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or coated with parchment paper.  Drizzle leftover egg mixture over sticks when finished.

Bake for 30 or more minutes until it has reached a nice light brown color.  Turn half-way through.

Cool slightly.  And enjoy.

To use for later, flash freeze on a cookie sheet and place in a bag when frozen.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday's thoughts...

I'll pen some thoughts this Thursday because that's what (I usually) do.  My weeks are a bit mixed up because two ladies switched their schedule from Wednesday to Thursday nights.  That makes me confused more than usual .

The Chairman called.  He wasn't coming home to eat with us.  So then why do I immediately put the lovely four-course meal back to the fridge/freezer?  It was (MYP request) cheese pizza, mac&cheese (hey!  we're from dairyland!), canned beans, and a medley of grapes, blackberries, and raspberries.  Healthy?  Not really.  But it fed them and tomorrow I have supper ready to roll!

I forgot to mention my Keens on the favorite list.  I must have forgotten since it is winter and not the spring/summer/fall season when I wear them..  They look like this
 and I wear them all the time.

I need to get my Asics on pronto as I made a dreadful mistake yesterday.  I made caramel/pecan sweet rolls and I have eaten four of them since they came out of the oven.  These aren't little delicate things.  They are real big rolls (that will soon be rolls on me) if I keep at it.  Ugh.  But is it worth it?  Yep!

Speaking of food.  I finished my second gig at the concession stand.  The tournament is soon over and I am not scheduled for more time.  I did come to the realization that the big cans of bright yellow nacho cheese sauce are just. plain. gross.  And no, I never licked my thumb when I got it in those little cups.

One of the MYP that I won't identify has been taking some preemptive strikes.  You see the child has been served up far too many black beans and has well, had... you know.  PU.  So to make certain that the classmates of this child doesn't realize it is him/her - shortly after the event, he/she will immediately wonder who had the problem.  That way he/she doesn't get accused.  Is this bad?  Yes.  Is it kinda clever?  Yes.   Should we be serving less beans?  Probably.