14 December 2009

double dipping

Holiday party season is upon us and for many that means dips and chips.  We've all been told NO double dipping by our parents, spouses, significant, other, etc., but seriously does anyone really pay attention?

I didn't.

Well, I didn't before.

At home I've been guilty of it, but I figure the people eating the dip with me are going to get good night kisses anyway, so what's the big deal, right?

Out in public, I don't do it.  At all.  Ever.  Ever.  Ever.

But it never entered my mind that the huge spoonful of dip I just plunked on my plate might have been double dipped by someone else. 

It's gross thinking about swapping spit with strangers.  I know *I* don't have cooties, but that guy over in the corner with the slicked back hair, cheesy smile, wearing the "I think I'm sooo cool, all the ladies will fawn all over me" office party outfit might!

This morning I watched the morning news and Steve Spangler was on sharing one of his experiments.  For those of you who don't know him, Steve Spangler is the guy I wished I had had for a science teacher.  He does really awesome experiments and makes science actually look fun and interesting.

So anyway, back to Steve's experiment and what it has to do with double dipping.  Watch this video and I bet you NEVER double dip again.  'Cause if you're doing it, you know someone else cruising the buffet line is too!

09 December 2009

my thoughts on Tiger

Only because I can't get away from Tiger this and Tiger that, am I going to comment on the whole debacle.

First let me say that I am not a close friend of either Tiger or his wife or any of the many women who are claiming to have bonked Tiger, so I can't confirm any of what's been reported.

That being said, if Mr. Woods was soooo stupid and naive to believe he could bonk a multitude (the number is up to ten even as I write this) of women and expect not to be found out, he's one taco short of a combination plate.

Again, I don't personally know any of the women involved but the majority of them seem to be in professions that I don't perceive as being especially discreet.  Porn actresses and Hooters waitresses, among others.  Are you kidding me?  I'm sure they all have their redeeming qualities, but morals and decency don't appear to be among them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with working at Hooters.  If you have big boobs and don't mind being perceived as bimbo-ish, then I'm sure it's a great gig.  Someone has to schlep all the food and drink to the discerning clientele who are there for the top notch cuisine. Yes, I'm aware that their buffalo wings are supposed to be quite tasty.  Having eaten there many, many, many years ago, I can only hope they've improved on the quality and taste.  Let's just say, I didn't get the impression that the wings were the real draw for most of the diners.

As for choosing to be a porn actress (I hesitate to use the term "star" since I'm not familiar enough with the industry to know if these women had achieved that status or not,) I'm at a loss.  Perhaps someone could enlighten me on why a person chooses this profession. 

My first thoughts were, did he really expect all these women to keep it quiet?  And did he really think none of this would ever get out?  Is Tiger Woods really that brain-impaired?  If so, then I think we need to get to the bottom of this and have him fess up and fill us all in on who conked him over the head with a nine iron! 

I guess out of all of it, those questions are the ones I want answered.  I don't care why, when, or where he did it.  I want to know if he honestly thought he could go on with his life after all these little trysts or affairs or whatever you call them and NOBODY was going to find out.  Seriously, Mr. Woods.  You may not have the common sense of a bag of rocks; but you can't think all of your friends, family, and fans were as dense too?

04 December 2009

kitty & doggy cams

I just read an article on data collected on what cats do during the day when their owners are at work.  Friskies people had collar cameras attached to 50 cats.  The cameras took a photo every 15 minutes, and interestingly enough, the data found cats don't sleep all day.  In fact the cats only spent 6% of their time sleeping.

It kinda makes me wonder what my pets are doing when I'm not home, but I'm fairly certain it doesn't involve hours of sleeping.

Sometimes it's fairly obvious.  You know, such as when I walk in the living room and there is pillow stuffing strewn wall to wall, on table tops, under tables, hanging from the ceiling fan – well you get the picture.  Or when I discover knick knacks or papers that were on shelves or counters when I left for work are now squirreled away under the kitchen table or the recliner in the living room.

The incredible exploding pillows along with furniture covers that suddenly develop HUGE gaping holes in them, I'm 99.9% sure is attributable to the dogs.  Doe, Willa, and Izzy are more the curl up on, in, or under pillows and blanket types, rather than the MUST KILL PILLOW/BLANKET NOW! type.

The dogs have also taken to playing with the cat toys.  Well, playing may not be entirely accurate.  More like dismember.

Funny story...
     On walking into the living room I saw Fallon chewing on something that didn't resemble any of the dog toys, so I scooped it up.  It was what had at one time been a cute little giraffe cat toy.  It had a cute little head and cute little body and cute little feet that had been attached to the body with thick bits of thread, which were the "legs."  Sadly, the little giraffe was missing a couple of feet, but I figured they'd probably appear in the back yard at some point in the next 12 - 24 hours if you get my drift.
     Cut to a couple of hours later...
      On the floor, I see what looks to my trained eye something that suspiciously resembles cat turds.  I heave a huge sigh and prepare to do the EWWWW!!! chore, and head over with paper towels and carpet cleaner.  As I lean over to do the dreaded deed, I realize it's not cat turds after all!  It's the cute little feet off the cat toy.
       Now why it didn't occur to me that it might be something other than cat turds is beyond me, since my cats have NEVER used anything but their cat box for their bodily functions.

Everyday when I get home, I'm greeted by five *starving* pets.  The overzealous reaction when I walk in the door, I know, is not their happines at seeing me, so much as knowing food is forthcoming.  The cats have kibble out for them all the time, so I'm not sure what their story is.  I *know* they aren't starving!  In fact, this is another clue they haven't been sleeping all day, because generally the full bowls of kibble are now empty.  Unless the dogs are getting on the couch and climbing over the bar onto the kitchen counters (which while not completely out of the realm of possibility, is highly unlikely,) the cats are the ones who have noshed to their heart's content.

So, even without a camera attached to Doe's, Willa's, Izzy's, Kyna's, or Fallon's collar, I can say with great certainty there isn't an all day sleepfest happening while I'm at work.

It would be kinda fun to have the camera - maybe even one of those live web cams, so that I can watch them while at work.  It would even be more fun to have some sort of speaker system rigged up so that if I see one of my little darlings doing something illicit, my voice would resonate throughout the house, "NO!  STOP THAT NOW!"

Hmmm....I might have to consider this some more...

30 November 2009

Books, books, books - On Yellowstone National Park

I just finished a book titled, Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park by Tom Cahill.  This is the first book of Mr. Cahill's that I've read, and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to reading some more.

He describes some of his explorations in the park in a very humorous, yet sensible voice.  He makes no apologies that his book is not a guide to the park or a book on hiking trails.  His stories are amusing and made me laugh out loud at times.  It's a relatively short book and a quick read, but I suspect it will be one of those I go back to again and again.

I knew I was going to like the book when in the introduction Mr. Cahill describes a conversation with one of his hiking/exploring partners and well known Yellowstone photographer, Tom Murphy.  Mr. Cahill asks Mr. Murphy if he had ever been lost in Yellowstone, and Mr. Murphy responded, "No, but there were times I didn't know exactly where I was."

This is my kinda guy!  In all of my life, I've never been lost.  Off track maybe, but not lost!

Reading this book got me to thinking of all the books I've acquired over the years on Yellowstone and surprisingly enough many of the books I own are on his list of books he suggests as great resources on the park.  Either this means I'm really good at picking out resources on Yellowstone, or he and I both have the same tastes and reading style.   I suppose it could be both.

Other books I've read on Yellowstone are Death In Yellowstone Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee H. Whittlesey.  This book describes all manner of stupidity that visitors to Yellowstone display.  I have firsthand experience in witnessing this stupidity.  It amazes me how many people just don't get that Yellowstone is  wilderness area and it's not some Disney adventure park.

Some of the deaths described in the book are truly horrific.  For instance the man who dove head first into Celestine Pool to rescue his friend's dog that had escaped the vehicle.  Celestine Pool, according to the book, measured at 202° F.  The man suffered third degree burns over 100% of his body and died the next day.  Sadly, the dog did not survive either.  Apparently the literature the two men were given upon entering the park extolling the dangers they could possibly encounter was still in their vehicle.  Unread.

My advice to anyone heading to Yellowstone for the first time, would be to read this book.  If you learn something from reading it, then head on to the park and enjoy all the wonders Yellowstone has to offer.  If you think it's a bunch of malarkey and the rules don't apply to you, then please stay home and spare the rest of us your stupidity.

Another book Mr. Whittlesey is a contributing author on is The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery.  This book is very informative (and has some great photography) that describes many of Yellowstone's waterfalls and even directs people on where and how to find the various falls.  The authors took many years to explore the park looking for waterfalls and do advise the reader on the level of difficulty to get to each of the falls, as well as whether it is even prudent to attempt to reach some of the falls.  Now, I've done a few of the hikes to see some of the falls, and I'm smart enough to know that if the three men who undertook this endeavor, and for all intents and purposes, are "experts" in the field of surviving in the wilderness, say "don't go there," then I'm not going there.  Unfortunately, there are some folks who don't have the desire to see another waterfall on another day, and will attempt getting to the most difficult to access falls.  Maybe one day, they will be chronicled in Death in Yellowstone Vol. II.

Other books I would recommend on Yellowstone are:

Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone by Bill Schneider

Peterson Field Guides: Rocky Mountain Wildflowers

And just because if there's poop to be found, I *will* find it, I include, Who Pooped in the Park?  Yellowstone National Park by Gary D. Robson and Elijah Brady Clark

25 November 2009

THE Trunk

Stashed away in my basement is our family history.  It's stored in THE Trunk.  Well, not all of the family history is in THE Trunk, but a vast majority of it is.

You might be wondering why it's called THE Trunk.  Well, growing up my parents had a trunk that was kept in their bedroom.  In THE Trunk was a plethora of mementos of their lives.  On rainy days my sisters and I would ask (sometimes BEG) if we could go through THE Trunk.

I always felt as if I was being allowed in on some really cool family secrets when I got to go through THE Trunk.

I do know it was great fun to sort through all of the treasures my parents had packed away.  There were my parents' military uniforms and letters from friends and family after they had both gone off on their own into the world.  The handwriting in the letters was a bit hard to read as a youngster, but it gave me hours of wonder and insight.  There's something thrilling, even a bit illicit, about reading letters to someone other than you.  I got to see my parents as others saw them; they weren't just  "Mom" and "Dad," but were *real* people.

There were photos and cards.  Seeing the photos of my mom as a young woman and my dad as a young man, made it kinda hard to reconcile the people in the photos with the two people that sat across from me at the dinner table every night.  In the photos they looked young and vibrant and happy.  They didn't look tired or burdened by life's responsibilities.

There were their yearbooks and scrapbooks.  There were drawings my mother had done.  Why did she stop drawing and painting?  Did being a mom and homemaker preclude pursuing her artist dream?

There were some of our baby clothes and blankets, and there were our baby books.  There were art projects we did for our parents for various holidays and there were school papers.  Of course the school papers were only the ones with the best grades.  Who wants to keep a quiz your child did that only garnered a 24%?  There were the silly poems and drawings we would sneak into their room and leave on their pillows to find when they went to bed at night (we didn't think them silly at the time; in fact we were very serious in our 6 and 7 year old sentiments.)

At the time I didn't realize I was learning more and more about my parents each time I got to explore THE Trunk.  From the photos I saw that my dad at one point had been a chubby fellow.  By the time he got out of basic training from the Army Air Force, he was downright skinny; his uniform literally hung off him. 

My mom drove big trucks while in the Army and was a mechanic.  I have the photos of her in her coveralls standing on a ladder leaning into an army transport truck fixing something or other.  I'd think to myself, "Wow, she can fix trucks!  I can barely change a tire!"  There were also photos of her in her dress uniform snuggling with a kitten that had been found wandering the base.

Over the years, along with my parents' artifacts I've added some of my own letters and cards and photos.  Also packed away now are chunks of the Berlin wall I chipped off while in Germany when The Wall came down, pressed wildflowers that I smuggled into the country from my many sojourns to Ireland, a certificate "proving" I was at the demilitarized zone in Korea and another thanking me for my "undying support and understanding" while my then husband was off working intelligence in a bunker in the side of some mountain in the middle of Germany during the first Gulf War.  (I was home alone with a three week old colicky baby.)

Instead of me, Heather was the one who would ask to go through THE Trunk on cold rainy days.  I can still see her as she would sort through the family treasures and the expression of wonder on her face as she learned things about "mom" that made her a *real* person and not just Mom.

Over the past 18 years, I've added art work Heather did for me and some of her school papers, as well as her not-silly-at-all poems and pictures she'd leave on my pillow for me to find when I went to bed.  All of them hold some sort of special meaning to me.  Each of them represents a step she took on her way to becoming the beautiful young woman she is now.

One day THE Trunk will be tucked away somewhere in her home.  Maybe her kids will squeal with delight when they get to rummage through all of the treasures THE Trunk holds on a cold rainy afternoon.  Maybe Heather will sit back and watch and remember the days when she would spend hours enthralled and in awe of all the precious pieces of our family history.

20 November 2009

Izzy's Thanksgiving letter

Dear Mom & Dad,

Doe, Willa, Kyna, Fallon, and I thought it would be totally awesome to write you a letter to let you know the things we are thankful for.  Kyna and Fallon were totally clueless about this whole Thanksgiving thing, but after Willa, Doe, and I explained all the great food mom makes and that we get to share some of it, they got on board with it real fast!  Man, they say these dogs are smart, but when you have to explain about mom's cooking this HUGE meal and letting us have some of it, it makes me think they're really not so smart.  I guess maybe it's because they've never been with a family that let them come inside and be a part of the family.  And Kyna's so skinny, I guess she never got enough food to begin with, much less yummy people food like turkey and gravy and whipped cream! 

So, anyway, we all came up with some things we're all thankful for.  Some of the things Kyna and Fallon came up with seemed pretty lame to us cats.  Then again when Doe, Willa, and I were talking about some of the things we were thankful for, the dogs just rolled their eyes.  Whatevah!

Anyway, here's our list of what we're thankful for.

  • All of us are thankful we're not in a cold, dark, lonely cage or out on the street anymore.
  • We all are so happy to have plenty of good food to eat – especially the food that comes off those flat round things you use.
  • All of us think it's brilliant that we can sleep wherever we want (I can't tell you all the places 'cause you might not be happy.)
  •  We all really like all our toys (I really like the ping pong balls, especially at 2:00 in the morning.  They sound so awesome on the tile when it's really quiet in the house.)
  • We're all very glad we don't have to clean out our cat box or pick up the yard (well, Kyna said if you'd take the gate down into the laundry room, she'd help with the cat box, but I told her you all think that's gross.  She rolled her eyes at me.)
  • Kyna and Fallon get really happy when they get to play in the snow (this is one of those things that makes me think the dogs really aren't that smart.  Who'd want to roll around in cold, wet snow when you could be snuggled up on a blankie in front of a warm fire?!  Dogs are so clueless.)
  • We're all thankful nobody yells at us when we pull the curtains down.  (Fallon said she only does it when she's trying to lounge in front of the sliding door and it's not *her* fault the curtains are too long.  Willa says she only does it when I'm chasing her so it's not *her* fault, but I don't think it's *my* fault either because if Willa didn't run and hide in the curtains we wouldn't get tangled in them.)
  • We're thankful we have a really cool doctor and his helpers that seem to really like us  (Doe even admitted that he doesn't mind staying with them as much as he used to when you go out of town because everyone there gives him lots of attention and makes a fuss over him.  He's not as cranky as he likes people to think he is.  Kyna and Fallon think it's funny you sneak treats out of the bin and let them eat them when the doctor goes out of the room.)
  • Kyna said she's thankful you are so patient with her and understand that she's just a puppy still and that you don't get too upset when she doesn't do what you tell her to do (and she's glad you're teaching her how to play.  I guess living in a shelter all her life she never learned, and that's just sad.)
  • Doe's thankful for cat nip and his pink poodle and his Bo-Bo, and he's glad mom will get down on her hands and knees and get his toys out from under the bed for him.
  • We kitties are thankful for the window ledges we get to hang out on when the windows are open on warm sunny days (we'd be more thankful if the dogs wouldn't come up behind us and stick their cold wet noses on our butts!  Doe's lucky he has his own suite and doesn't have to share with Kyna and Fallon!)
  • We're all thankful when our Heather comes home for a visit and gives us lots of attention and love (we sure miss her now that she got all grown up and went to that away school.)
  • I'm thankful the dogs like kitties and that they let me play with their tails.  They're a lot more fun than a feather duster!
  • Kyna's thankful for Fallon's ears.  She says they're fun to chew on.
  • Fallon says she's thankful she was born so patient because if she wasn't Kyna would get her butt kicked because Kyna's always chewing on her ears
  • Willa said she's thankful she was born so patient because if she wasn't I would get my butt kicked for trying to steal her food everyday.  And she told me I had to write that down or she'd kick my butt.
  • I'm thankful I'm fatter than Willa cause if she tried to kick my butt, I'd just sit on her.
Finally we're all thankful for all the rescue groups, humane societies, shelters, and volunteers who take care of animals like us before we get to go home with people like you.  Without them we'd still be out there starving or being abused or neglected and then we wouldn't have *any* thing to be thankful for.

Izzy, Willa, Doe, Kyna, and Fallon

16 November 2009

on becoming an adult, hopefully.

As most of you know, my daughter graduated from high school this past May.  In August she headed off to college, and after a couple of bumpy weeks she found her groove.  I knew she would.  She's smart and sensible, and while it's scary being away from home, on your own – for the first time – it does get easier.  In fact, most folks learn to enjoy the autonomy and freedom of being away from home.

Some not so much.  The world is too big and too scary.

Sadly, while my daughter has started to progress and grow, some of those close to her have not.  It's sad actually to see the demise of what used to be very close friendships.  But honestly, I'm not surprised.  It's hard for high school friendships to survive when the people involved go in such divergent directions.

It's even harder when one of the friends does not appear to grow or mature, but in fact shows signs of regression.  Add to that comments such as, "people who go to college are wasting their time," and it makes me think that perhaps someone is feeling a bit insecure and left behind.

My daughter is hurt, and even a bit angry that she is being mocked and being treated as if this is somehow all her fault.  As her mother, it hurts me too, but this is something that she is handling quite well on her own.  After trying to communicate and being bombarded with nasty responses, she's decided what the best way to deal with the angry and mean messages is.  She's ignoring them.  Sometimes you just have to let it go. 

My daughter may be young, but she learned at an early age that there are some people you just shouldn't argue with.  Some of these people see themselves as they want to be seen, not as those around them see them. 

And maybe that's not such a bad thing.  Eventually, some (but not all) of these young adults learn the hard way that the friendships they broke in the name of "being more mature and adult" and "leaving high school drama" behind them was due to their own immaturity and their own desire to continue with the high school drama.  It's scary growing up, so it's easier not to.

Over the course of the past few months, my daughter's friend has severed many friendships.  My daughter's friend has said many times that she's left the high school drama behind her and is a mature adult.  Many times.  Many, many times.  To the point where one begins to suspect maybe the only person she's trying to convince is herself.

I actually experienced the same exact situation when I went off to college.

One of my best friends and I went away to college together.  A couple of weeks into classes she became so homesick and overwhelmed with the work load and with having to do things for herself that she quit.  She moved back home, but I stayed.

On going home to visit, it became obvious to me that she was still stuck in high school.  Her treatment of me was confusing.  She was angry and belligerent and petty.  Frankly, it was very hurtful.  What had I done?

Then it dawned on me.  I had grown.  I was moving on.

She was "stuck" in the same podunk town, in a dead end job, and didn't see any way out.  After many attempts at rebuilding the friendship and failing, I realized that our friendship was irrevocably damaged.  The problem was my friend would see me and how I had made new and different friends and I was doing new and exciting things and learning new and different things, and it just reinforced her perception that she was a failure.  Until she figured out the problem was within herself, there was nothing I could do.

I had reached the point where I didn't want to do anything more for our friendship.  I was tired of trying to make our friendship work.  I was tired of being made to feel as if the whole breakdown of our friendship was my fault because I chose to stay in college.

I've heard of her now and again, and she seems to have turned out OK.  Perhaps she was just someone that was content to stay in our hometown and raise her family.  And there's nothing wrong with that.

But I wanted more.  I wanted to see the world.  Go places and do things.  And I did.

And my daughter will too.

13 November 2009

stealing from a co-worker

OK, this is going to be a lazy ass blog today, but I had to share.

I work with this really awesome woman who has the best sense of humor and can make just about ANYthing funny.

The following was posted on her profile on a social networking site which will remain anonymous in order to protect the innocent.  Or my co-worker.  Or both.  Or something.

Have a great weekend!!

"You know the drill. Substitute your own answers! Or, mock me thoroughly in comment form for posting this at all! It's your choice really.

I didn't tag anyone because it only lets you do 25 people and I didn't want to make anyone feel left out.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Dried seaweed, it's biodegradable! And stinky! Really deflects the peekers.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
I reject your realitree and substitute my own. (OMG THAT WAS SO DUMB.)

3. When do you put up the tree?
When I get tired of it mocking me for my laziness.

4. When do you take the tree down?
When I get tired of it mocking me for my laziness. (My tree & I have a complex relationship.)

5. Do you like eggnog?
Yes, with rum preferably!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
The gift of a family history and memories, which has led to me creating the same for my daughter. HOLY CRAP WAS THAT SAPPY OR WHAT????

7. Hardest person to buy for?
Boys. They buy themselves everything!

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Me! I always seem to know what I want. It's like a miracle.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Not on me, no, but I know where you can find one...

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
I prefer skywriting myself, but it's a personal choice!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received -
Anything that's been given to me has been appreciated, even if only for the thought of giving me something!

12.Favorite Christmas movie?
Home for the Holidays; there's something so inherently dysfunctional about family holidays, but it's a comforting dysfunction.
Oh, and White Christmas, it always makes me cry at the end. Shut up!

Anything store-bought ends up coming from Amazon the month before the holiday, otherwise I end up hiding the stuff away, and then I can't find it again! I suspect gnomes in that regard. Other than that I end up making most of my gifts (it's not CHEAP it's THOUGHTFUL so there).

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I admit I have... I just didn't have any use for that pair of parachute pants.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Anything made by someone else, but in particular cookies. I'm not a cookie person, but December 10th rolls around and suddenly I have this impossible craving for anything with a thumbprint or royal icing on it.

16. Lights on the tree?
Yes, and I've always secretly wished I had the nerve to make them sync up to the music in my head, but I figured it would only confuse people.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Mele Kalikimaka!

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Depends on the circumstance, really... are you cooking? Then I'm coming over.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's?
Spanky & Alfalfa & Nick & Nora & Sid & Nancy & Fred & Ginger & John & Marsha. And Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
A star, although which one depends on their fee that year. Last year it was Amy Winehouse, which got awkward during dinner.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Usually family gifts on Christmas Eve, and then I make

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? 

Malls. I really can't even be a smartass about that, I just don't get near them if at all possible.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
Handmade is my favorite!

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Chicken Enchiladas. No I'm not kidding.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Last year I wanted an electric tea kettle, and got one thanks to my whining. An Electric Boogaloo tea kettle would have been even cooler, but I think they stopped making those.

26. Who is most likely to respond to this?
To what? Oh, THIS? Hm... You?

27. Who is least likely to respond to this?
Taylor Swift. She's busy."

04 November 2009

are people really that gullible?

We've all gotten them.  You know those FW: FW: FW: FW: messages warning of us some imminent danger or offering something too good to be true, and we're asked to pass it on to 100 of our friends so everyone will be safe from whatever it is that's going to end civilization as we know it.

What amazes me is how many of my friends, who I consider to be somewhat intelligent, send me these things.  Are you for real?  You really think these messages are legit?!  Granted some of them almost sound plausible, but I'm fairly certain that if Pizza Hut was giving out 1 million free pizzas at 2:00 on Wednesday morning, they're not going to be spreading the information via some viral e-mail message.  I could be wrong, but somehow I doubt it.

Here are some of the most recent warnings (Danger Will Robinson! Danger!) and too good to be true messages I've received from people of above average intelligence.

  • Ericcson T18 & R320 Laptop Promotion:  All I have to do is forward the e-mail on to 8 of my nearest and dearest friends and Ericcson will send me a FREE LAPTOP!!!  Sadly, if I did that not only would I not receive a free laptop, but I would probably lose 8 friends.  Do people really think that Ericcson is giving away computers in order to boost their brand presence?  Hellloooooo people!!  There would be no need for you to BUY an Ericcson computer if they were giving them away.  BTW the Ericcson T18 is a cell phone, not a laptop.
  • Onions Placed Throughout Your House Will Fight the Swine Flu Virus:  And garlic wards off vampires.  The onions supposedly act as sponges and suck up the virus.  Go ahead and decorate your house with onions if you want, but your best bet is to just wash your hands well.  And often.
  • CitiBank is Updating Your Records:  Apparently due to a large number of identity theft attempts, I need to click on a link and update my account information.  Ummm.  Yeah.  Right.  Sure I'll just click any link that comes sneaking into my inbox and pass along my private information.  Surprisingly enough, some people do.  Besides I don't even have an account with CitiBank!!!
  • Swiffer WetJet Deadly to Pets:  If I use the Swiffer WetJet to clean my floors, my pets will die.   Actually, no, they won't.  Even if they lick the floor while it's still wet, they won't die.  It probably doesn't taste so great, but it's not going to hurt them.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to let my pets drink the Swiffer fluid, but I'm not killing them by mopping my floor.
Perhaps I should start spreading falsehoods myself.  It might be a way to keep myself amused, and maybe I'll see one or all of them on Snopes.com!!

  • "Eating Five Pounds of French Fries a Day Will Increase Your Life by 50 Years!!!"  Scientists at the Idaho Institute of Potato Technology have completed a 15 year study and discovered that if a person eats five pounds of french fries per day, they can increase their life by 50 years!!!  The study was conducted on 6,234 randomly selected individuals found frequenting McDonalds and Burger Kings in over 200 cities.    Dr. Imma Tater was quoted as saying, "The study revealed that eating potatoes cooked in other processes did not result in the same longevity.  We suspect the results are due to the high volume of Polyethylsucrosetrateizine that is used in keeping frozen french fries from spoiling." (Dissasociated Press) 
  • "Working in Front of a Small Computer Monitor for More than Two Hours Causes Baldness!!!"         People in Kyrgystan have been reported as going bald from working in front of a small (less than 30 inches) computer monitor for more than two hours per day!!!  The people protested to their government and a law was passed making it illegal for a company to have employees work in front of computer monitors smaller than 30 inches.  All businesses have been ordered to replace computer monitors by the end of the year!!! (Society of Silly and Stoopid Scientists)
  • "Centipede Living in Hippy's Dreds!!!"  A Boulder woman found a centipede living in her dreadlocks.  Oh man, this is gross!!  She told her friends that she had had dreds for like three years and she thought she wasn't supposed to ever wash her hair so she didn't.  And then she felt something in her hair and it was a centipede!  Her name was Bluesky Flower and she said she and her friends had heard that centipedes liked living in dreadlocks but she didn't think she had any.  Her friends started looking in their dreds and they all had them too!!  Spread this around so people with dreds will know its dangerous to wear them!!! (HippyHappy.com)
  • "Petition to Make Summers Longer"  A group of concerned citizens are petitioning to make summer longer.  The summers are too short and they want more warm and sun, so please sign this petition and pass it on to everyone in your e-mail list!!!  If there are 6 gazillion signatures by noon tomorrow the President will have to declare summer to last at least 10 months and will allocate $587 Billion to the military to change nature so that the temperatures are hot and the sun shines from June to April!!  Please help us make summer longer!! Pass this on!! 
  •  "Cookie King uses sand from the Sahara in its Brown Sandie cookies!"  Don't buy Cookie King Brown Sandie cookies!!!  The company imports sand from oil producing countries and supports terrorism!!!   After a little girl ate a box of the cookies she said they tasted "funny" and "dry."  Her mother bought another box and took it to the police to have them test it for a foreign substance.  The police didn't have the proper laboratory equipment available so the cookies were sent to The University of What's Happening Now for testing.  Following the testing, which took six weeks due to the complexity of analyzing the ingredients in the cookies, it was determined the cookies contained sand from the Sahara Desert.  When presented with their findings, Cookie King representatives were perplexed.  The company spokesman, Dusty Phoode, released the following statement, "Our company has always used Sahara sand in our Brown Sandie cookies.  The sand from West Texas does not possess the highest qualities we require for our product.  We are sorry Ms. Canteetjusone was upset by the taste and texture of our product, but we only use the highest quality ingredients.  If she prefers her treats to be tasty and moist, perhaps she should try our Gloopy Globs!!!" 
Hurry pass these on!!!  If you don't pass these on to at least 10 people in the next five seconds you'll go bald, your teeth will fall out, you'll grow warts on your butt, and you'll still have ten friends!!

And yes, the use of multiple exclamation points is mandatory in these messages.  It emphasizes just how important and time sensitive these messages are!!!

20 October 2009

life happens

Whoa!  It's been over two weeks since I posted a blog.  I guess that means I've been busier than usual.

Mainly with the two dogs we adopted from the Colorado Great Pyrenees Rescue.  Yep, two.  Not one.  Two.  Were we mad?!

Fallon likes leather recliners


Kyna on her "new" bed.  She prefers the love seat.

In all seriousness, having two dogs *is* a lot of work.  It's like having two 3 year olds running amok in the house.  And I do mean amok.  (cue scene from the movie Hocus Pocus, "...Amok!  Amok!  Amok!")

So far we've lost:
  • Two throw pillows – one from the couch and one from a chair
  • One blanket – one of Heather's favorites as a child but in bad need of being used for something else... like a furniture cover
  • Two pairs of shoes  – Well, actually only two shoes.  They just happened to be from two separate pairs of shoes.  Both Ted's.
  • The brand new stuffed animals we got for the dogs to snuggle with – I guess flamingos and giraffes weren't their favorite snuggle bunny type thingies.
  • Two harnesses  – Supposedly guaranteed to survive extra large dogs.
  • One collage photo frame  – Fortunately, the photos were unharmed.  The wood and glass, however, did not survive Fallon bouncing herself off the laundry room wall.
I'm sure other things will go the way of those in the list, but that's OK.  They're just things.  And as I have stated repeatedly to Ted as well as myself, "If you don't want it chewed on, torn, ripped, shredded, broken then make sure Kyna and Fallon can't get to it."

One of our new doggies is having anxiety issues and it's manifesting itself in a most unpleasant way.  We are effectively having to house-train a two year old dog.  This requires a LOT of work, time, and patience, but we'll get it sorted out soon enough.  The other dog seems to suffer some separation anxiety and has decided she does NOT like to be in her kennel.  The first few days, both girls were perfectly content to be in their warm, comfy kennels.  Now not so much.  So, along with house-training one dog, we are also kennel training the other.

So, if I seem a bit tired, distracted, frazzled, neurotic (or more so than usual) it's due to the "New Mommy" syndrome.  It's been a long time since I've had to deal with a 3 year-old mentality.  And the first time I've had to deal with a 3 year-old mentality in a 90 pound body.

Both Kyna (KEE-na) and Fallon (FAL-un) seem to be starting to enjoy the easy life.  And I'm happy knowing they are well cared for, loved, wanted, and safe.  That's worth everything we've gone through so far, and everything I know we'll be going through in the future.

you gotta love The Girls

02 October 2009

dream life

It's been quite cool and windy the past couple of days.   This morning it was below freezing.  This does not make Ruth very happy.

The other day though, I realized that I can tolerate the cold much better than the wind.  At least with the cold I can bundle up, light a fire, snuggle under a blankie with the kitties (maybe even a big furry dog,) and so on.  The wind I can't do much about.  This of course, led me to think about my dream life.  Where would I really like to live?  Of course nothing is that simple.  There are all sorts of "restrictions," "caveats," "but only ifs" that go along with a dream list.  But here goes what I came up with so far...

Australia in January & February.  Preferably in the Queensland area somewhere along the beach.  Of course from October to about March or April is box jellyfish season and you don't really want to go in the waters then.  But I suppose I could deal with just hanging on the beach if it means I avoid cold and snow here.

yep, I could live there

In March or April I could do Tucson.  Tucson is gorgeous that time of year.  The cactus are blooming, it's warm, and no snow!  Trips to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum & Saguaro National Park are awesome this time of year.

hedgehog cactus

A beach house on a deserted stretch of the Florida panhandle coast would be nice in May.  Unfortunately, there really aren't any deserted stretches of beach in Florida anymore.  I'm sure I could make it work somehow.

this could be my sidewalk

Ireland in June & July.  More specifically the west coast of Ireland or in Northern Ireland along the Antrim coast.  It's awe inspiring to sit outside watching the water at sunset at 10:30 at night.  Ireland is one of the few places I've visited that actually feels like it could be "home."

little bungalow in the valley and I'd be good.

Yellowstone National Park during the summer months would be sublime.  OK, you can't really "live" in the park, but if I was a ranger I could. In a previous posting I explained how that might be problematic for me; I'd have to be in an area well and truly away from stoooopid people.

how could you not be in awe?

September and October are hard months to sort out.  The autumn colors are gorgeous, and I wouldn't want to miss out on that.  Perhaps I'd just travel the United States taking in the colors for those two months.  Visit the Rocky Mountain region then head east to places like Vermont and New Hampshire.


The next dilemma is what to do during November & December.  A cruise around the South Pacific?  Back to the beach house?  Both?   Thanksgiving I wouldn't mind spending some where cool-ish.  Thanksgiving is an "Autumn" holiday, so I could deal with a few weeks of cooler weather for the sake of a good meal.   And since I'm the one that is usually cooking the meal, I'll be in the kitchen where it's nice and toasty anyway!

Snow at Christmas is kinda cool.  Maybe a mountain house blanketed in snow.  Maybe do Yellowstone in the winter for a few days or a week.  Yellowstone is supposed to be absolutely breathtaking in winter.

makes me think I could deal with the cold just to see this!

My dream locations.  In my perfect world.  One day maybe.  One day.

Happy weekend everybody!!


28 September 2009

restaurant review

This past weekend was Family Weekend at the University of Wyoming, so Heather's friend, Amy, Ted, and I went up to do all things Family Weekend related.  Come to find out there really weren't any events that 1) we were interested in or 2) didn't involve handing over wads of cash.  I figure they're getting enough of our money as it is; I'm not going to pay extra for the joy of climbing rocks or learning how to read a map.  Huh?  Yeah.  Those were some of the choices.

In any event, we got to spend time with Heather and the weather was gorgeous and the town was deserted because everything pretty much closes for football games.  Who knew?  Obviously, not me.

We did go out to eat on Saturday night, and I must say it was the biggest cluster *$%# I think I have ever experienced in a restaurant setting.  The first indication of trouble was the whole reservations process.  Knowing it was Family Weekend and also knowing the restaurant selection in Laramie, I thought it smart to make a reservation.  I found this place called The Cavalryman Supper Club that had some mixed reviews, but for the most part they were positive.  The few negative reviews seemed to be from "city folk" who really didn't understand the whole small town, down home concept.  I wasn't expecting fine dining Denver style so much as something a step above Chilis.  I digress.

Last Wednesday I made a reservation through the restaurant website and got a message letting me know the reservation wouldn't be confirmed until I got a phone call or e-mail.  I waited patiently for either.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Friday evening while waiting an hour for our 30 minute wait for a table at Chilis I rang the Cavalryman Supper Club to check on our reservation.  Much to my surprise we did indeed have a reservation but no explanation on why it wasn't confirmed.

Saturday we show up at the restaurant about 10 or 15 minutes before our now confirmed reservation time.  Little did I know this was really going to throw the operations of the entire restaurant off for the entire evening.  Now, having worked in the restaurant business, I know there are a few options for when a party arrives prior to their confirmed reservation time.  We could easily have been seated at the next available table or we could have been asked to wait until our reservation time to avoid over seating a station.  Either of those would have been perfectly acceptable.  Instead the two hostesses had an intense discussion on what to do in this situation.  I'm guessing we are the first guests in the history of the restaurant to actually show up early.  It took several minutes of looking at the empty tables and the empty sheet of paper and conversing in a whisper for them to decide that it would be OK to seat us.

We are shown to our table and I get my first good look at the place.  Now again, I wasn't expecting the Flagstaff House or Tavern On The Green, but the place appeared to have been decorated by someone who had a preconceived notion of how a "fine" restaurant should be decorated, yet while trying to maintain the "cowboy" feel.  Crystal chandeliers combined with recycled fence post frames around photos of cowboys in various poses on their horses.   The line of potted plants that separated the dining room from the hostess station was draped in black table cloths.  I suppose that was more attractive than the pots, but not by much.  I'm still not sure about the tomato plant seedlings in a trough as you come in the front door.  Future fruits for their salads maybe?

So, we are seated and I've taken in the ambiance.  Southfork meets The Ponderosa.

We wait.

And wait.

And wait.

There is one server shuttling among the other tables in our area, but he refuses to make eye contact with anyone at our table.  Maybe he's thinking we're aliens with laser shooting eyes and were going to incinerate him if he looked our way.  After waiting 10 minutes I finally say, "Excuse me?"  The horror of it all.  He actually had to acknowledge us!  I asked if he would mind finding us a server and he apologized and said he'd get one ASAP.  A girl comes rushing up to our table and starts to apologize profusely for ignoring us, but "nobody told" her that we were her table.  Nobody told you?  You don't know what station you're working?

Whatever, we finally have a person to bring us food and drink.

Or so we thought.

She takes our drink order and leaves and we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

I notice the bartender on his hands and knees in front of the wine rack and I say, "I bet she comes back and tells me they're out of the wine I ordered."

Yep.  They ran out last night.  She tells me the bartender had offered up another suggestion, of which I'm not particularly fond of, so I choose another.

So, now we have our drinks and we proceed to order some starters.  I can't wait for the baked brie and roasted garlic!  Heather, Ted, and Amy ordered spinach, artichoke, and king crab dip and are anxiously waiting for that to appear.

We wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Seeing a pattern here?

Finally, our food comes and we dig in.  I'm thinking I had better order another glass of wine because by the time I actually get it, I'll be ready.  Alas, our server has disappeared.  Again.

After our appetizers have been pretty much devoured, Becca (that's her name - you have been warned should you choose to dine at this place) returns to take our dinner order.  Heather and Amy order bacon wrapped filets and Ted and I order bison ribeyes.

In the meantime other people have come in and other tables are being served.  I'm hearing lots of "I'm sorry they ..." or "I'm sorry you had to wait" or "I'm sorry this isn't what you ordered but thought you might want it rather than wait."  What?!?!

By this point, we are all pretty much over this place and just want to eat and leave.  If only our food would show up.

We wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Becca comes out with a tray of food and we all eagerly lean forward, poised and ready.  Except it's not our food.  In fact, Becca has no clue whose food this is.  She's standing there lost.  She gets it sorted out in her brain and takes it to wherever it's supposed to go - or maybe not; we'll never know.  As she walks by she apologizes again and says they are starting to work on our order.  Starting?!  Are you kidding me??

By this point, I'm getting quite agitated about the whole situation.  A manager type person seems to have finally arrived on scene and comes over to apologize, and because it has some bearing that none of us are savvy enough to comprehend, tells us his name is Tim and he came from Colorado and is late.  He then says for all our trouble he is going to comp two of the meals.  Yay.  I'm so very happy.  I'm overjoyed.  Thrilled.

Completely and utterly unimpressed.

You mean we're actually going to get to eat?  What a concept.  In a restaurant, no less.

He asks me if I would like another glass of wine, and I'm tempted to tell him to just bring me the whole damn bottle.  Off he goes to get my wine.

Becca *finally* comes out with our dinners and asks us to cut into your steaks to make sure they are done correctly.  They all appear to be done perfectly.  Dinners come with seasonal vegetable, which on this past Saturday was four - yes, FOUR - small stalks of asparagus and choice of "starch."  (Who wrote their menu?  Choice of "starch"??)  I opted for the roasted red potatoes with garlic (I overheard another server describe them as "poached."  Huh?)  The number for the night apparently was four.  I got four quarter sized red potatoes to go along with the four spears of asparagus.  OK, I realize I'm not paying for the side dishes; I'm paying for the meat, but seriously folks.  Other tables were getting baskets of bread but apparently we had been seated at the "no service, no wine, no bread table."  After delivering our dinners, Becca disappears again.  I'm thinking I really want that other glass of wine, but manager man has disappeared.

Let me take a moment here to describe "manager man."  Tall, stocky, greasy ringlet mullet.  Smarmy is the word that came to mind when I first saw him.  Kinda scary actually.  GREASY RINGLET MULLET! 

Finally greasy haired manager (GHM) shows up with a glass of wine.  He tells me that due to the delay in our dinner, he is going to not only comp two meals but I will get to taste three of their "best" wines.  GHM explains what this particular vintage is all about and how it has spicy undertones, and I'm thinking, "No dude, that's all the hair grease running down your face."  GHM will personally make sure I get the wine in a timely fashion and will bring the second freebie when my glass gets "down to here."  Imagine 3/4 down a wine glass.  Yeah.  Right.  Sure I will.

We are eating and I look over at Ted's steak and I look at mine.  Look at Ted's.  Look at mine.  Guess who didn't get the bison ribeye?  Got a ribeye, but it ain't bison.  Is there nothing this restaurant can do correctly?!  Rather than risk starvation, I choose to just eat what's been put in front of me and deal with the price issue when the check arrives.  We finish and decide it's just too much bother to even try for dessert.  We just want to leave.

My wine glass has long been empty, and GHM hasn't "personally" noticed. In fact he's leaning against the bar chatting up the hostesses.

So we wait for Becca to come back.

And we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Finally, I've had it.  I get up and Ted asks me where I'm going, and I tell him I'm going to get our check.  I walk up to GHM and say, "Excuse me, but would it be possible to get our check now?  We're kinda tired of being here."

*blink*  *blink*

More apologies that by now I know are hollow and have no meaning whatsoever.

Back at the table we wait for the check to appear.

And wait.

And wait.

GHM slinks up to our table and apologizes AGAIN, and tells us our entire dinner is comped.  They can't find our check.  GHM keeps going on and on about how it's an off night and how they were busier than they expected it being family weekend and all.  Frankly, I have no sympathy, and tell him, "I've worked management in the restaurant industry.  I've worked management in the retail industry.  As a manager it's your responsibility to plan for busy times and to make sure you have enough staff and food and drink.  Family weekend happens every year, just like Christmas.  The crowds weren't unexpected, YOU were unprepared."  And we leave.

We know at some point this is going to be funny, but it wasn't yet.

Driving down the highway back into town, a car comes speeding up behind us, and Ted being quick on the thinking says, "Oh shit!  It's Greasy Haired Manager and he found our check!"

At least we got a laugh out of that.

25 September 2009

odd ball thoughts

It's Friday!!  I get to see Heather this weekend.  *boing*  *boing* This weekend is Family weekend at University of Wyoming.  I paid $45 for three of us to partake in all the festivities but we probably won't.  Ah well, it's still going to be fun!

So, to get you through the weekend I'm going to just leave you with a few random thoughts from my somewhat off-center brain.

So, you see signs all over for "World's best ..." How do they know it's the "world's best?"  Driving through small town America, you invariably come across some little cafe in Podunk Nowhere that is touting, "World's Best Coffee!"  Do they have a full time employee traveling around the globe tasting ALL the coffee in the world?

New and improved is another one.  How can it be new AND improved?  If it's "new" then it's never been done before, right?  How do you improve on something that's never been done before?

1st Annual.  Huh?  If it's the first it hasn't ever happened.  Annual implies it's been done on a yearly basis.  What if something happens and they can't hold the event the following year?

World Famous!  Again seen on small town cafes.  Because someone from Canada ate there makes it "World Famous?"

Very unique.  This one drives me bonkers.
Definition of unique: existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics: a unique copy of an ancient manuscript.
Now I realize languages change and morph and whatnot, but how can a single thing be "very" unique?  If there's only one, there's only one.

Just for grins and to continue the randomness of this whole exercise are some funny signs seen around the world.  My guess is they are the "world's best" funniest signs, possibly even "new and improved" over a previous version, not to mention due to my posting some of them will now be "world famous," and all of them are "very unique" in their own right.

do you pay prior to touching the wires?


the church is so helpful, no?


crocs waiting for their nom noms


which is it, dead or slow?


think s/he still works there?


yeah.  right. about that.


make up your mind, will ya?


sale for those not looking for a bargain


Have a great weekend!

24 September 2009

food on the brain

Over the Christmas holidays, Heather and I are going on a cruise to the eastern Caribbean.  In an effort not to scare small children while in a bathing suit (me in the bathing suit, not small children,) I'm making a very serious effort to lose some poundage.  So far I'm doing really well.  Eight pounds gone and only fifteen more to go.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'll make it.  I love food.  I mean I LOVE food.  All kinds.  Well, mostly all kinds.  Liver and lima beans will never cross the threshold in to my home.

Moderate sized sandwich, don't you think?

It's natural when you are watching what you eat to want all the things you shouldn't have.  You notice I didn't say, "can't" have?  I'm not going to tell myself I can't have anything.  Otherwise I'll torture myself.  If there's something I really want, I could allow myself some in moderation.

Chocolate isn't my thing.  In fact sweets generally aren't my thing.  Unless it's pie.  I love me some pie!

Salty foods are what I'm craving the most.  I have a full tube of Pringles in my desk drawer at work.  It's left over from our trip to Yellowstone earlier this month.  It's still not opened.  As long as it stays sealed I won't be tempted.  But once that puppy's open, all bets are off.  I know.  I know.   Moderation.  I don't have to eat the whole thing.

Can't eat just 16
Seriously, how many of you reading this can eat just one serving of a food you are desperately craving?  A single serving of Pringles is 16 "crisps."  16 seems like a big number, but in all actuality 16 Pringles is nothing.  Especially if you eat them the way I do.  Two stacked concave side down on my tongue. Crunch!  Weird, I know.  It's a texture thing.  Foodies will understand that concept.

There are six servings per container.  Any of you manage to get six servings out of one tube of Pringles?  Impossible.  Two.  Three.  *Maybe* four.  Six?  No way, José

So there they sit.  In my drawer waiting for me to have the willpower to eat just one serving.  They could be there awhile.

That's OK though, in a few short weeks, I'll be able to put on a bathing suit and soak up the Caribbean sunshine without fear of scaring small children. 

Can't wait!

22 September 2009

no summer for me...

I turned on the news this morning, and our always happy and chipper weather girl (OK I admit that's probably sexist, but I'm sorry she looks like she's *maybe* 14 AND she's a girl talking about the weather) gave me the news that there is a possibility of snow tonight and into tomorrow and our temperatures are going to be "crisp" and "chilly." 

This is just wrong.

  • NO one should be happy and chipper at 5:00 in the morning.
  • Snow?!  Whose bright idea was this?
  • "Crisp" and "Chilly" describe foods, not weather.  Chips are crisp and go really well with salsa and a nice chilly margarita.  French fries are crisp and are awesome with a nice chilly beer.  Weather should be "warm" or "balmy" or even "hot" as far as I'm concerned.
Alas, I did not really get my summer this year.  I got spring that went on for six months and it looks to be followed immediately by winter.  Maybe we'll get an autumn.  I can kinda deal with autumn.  After all there are pretty colors and it's not always "crisp" or "chilly;" autumn can be downright toasty.  Winter I'm not looking forward to so much.

Lots of folks really enjoy autumn and cool cold days and nights.  Cold for me is anything under 80 degrees.  These folks will go all nostalgic on me and talk about walking down a trail with leaves littering their path, the delicious aroma of apple pies baking wafting through the air, the exciting nip in the air that is just a precursor to the winter ahead, the sounds of children out laughing in the field picking the perfect pumpkin for their Halloween jack-o-lantern, and so on and so on.

First off, I don't know about this whole leaves littering the path thing.  It's more like my yard is shortly going to be covered in leaves and I'll have to get them all raked and bagged.  Or I could just leave them and let them blow into the common area across the street or into the neighbors' yards.  Not very neighborly of me, so I'll rake 'em and bag 'em.  Or hire someone.  The leaves are pretty.  On the trees.

from a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park

Second, assuming anyone is really taking the time and energy to bake an apple pie, the houses today are built so airtight there is no "delicious aroma wafting through the air."  Unless you're inside and you're the one baking the pie.  Honestly, I don't know that many people that actually bake anymore. Except me, but I'm trying to watch the calories, so there's no apple pie baking going on at my house.

Third, as far as I'm concerned there is no "exciting" nip in the air.  Unless it's coming from a fanged beast, then it goes way beyond exciting and really doesn't have anything to do with the weather.  The nip in the air is nature's way of telling me, "HA!  I found you and now I'm going to torture you for the next few months with cold and snow and wind and more cold."  Gee.  I can hardly wait for that.

 what is known as "winter driving conditions"

Children out picking out the perfect pumpkin is kinda neat.  They do get so excited and take it very seriously, so I can't really fault that little bit of nostalgia.  Its' cute to see a little tyke trying mightily to pick up the "biggest" "bestest" pumpkin in the field - and the thing is as big as they are!  I like jack-o-lanterns.  I like carving them.  I like seeing all the little kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes.  It's fun.  But that's only one day out of ~90.

where's the candy?

I guess I'm just sad that I missed out on summer.  I kept waiting and waiting for those 90 to 100 degree days, and they never showed up.  Hearing that it's going to be "crisp," "chilly," and there's a chance of snow just means  that summer is well and truly over.  And I'm going to have to wait until next year for a summer.  I'm really hoping we get one.

18 September 2009

I want to be "some tomato"

Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies, and now that I'm a full fledged homeowner, I get to do just that.

The only issue I'm facing is my sister did landscaping that was easy for her to keep up with and didn't require a lot of attention or time, but that she could just enjoy.  But it just isn't conducive to my style of gardening.

The back yard is pretty much river bed.  While it's beautiful in its own way, it does not lend itself to planting flowers, or more importantly vegetables.

I will spend the fall getting the back garden cleaned up and possibly have the rock removed.  That will leave me the winter to plan and design my garden.

The book I've used in the past that has served me well, and is what I refer to as, "my bible" is the Sunset Western Garden Book.  My last one was so old, worn, and tattered; I had to find a replacement.  I will spend countless hours poring over each page, putting the garden together like a live jigsaw puzzle.  I'm looking forward to this to get me through the long, cold, dark days of winter.

All of this garden thinking made me remember a poem I read in a book called "When I'm an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple."  It's a great book – if you haven't read it, you should.  Mary-Louise and I laughed and cried our way through that book, and in her words, "This is so YOU!"

Here's the poem that is "me." 

Post Humus

Scatter my ashes in my garden
so I can be near my loves.
Say a few honest words,
sing a gentle song,
join hands in a circle of flesh.
Please tell some stories
about me making you laugh.
I love to make you laugh.

When I've had time to settle
and green gathers into buds,
remember I love blossoms
bursting in spring.
As the season ripens
remember my persistent passion.

And if you come in my garden
on an August afternoon,
pluck a bright red globe,
let the juice run down your chin
and the seeds stick to your cheek.

When I'm dead I want folks to smile and say...
"That Patti, she sure is some tomato!"

If it is read for me, I think you can replace "Patti" with "Ruth."  Hopefully, she won't mind.

11 September 2009

Just for fun

So, in order to start the weekend off on a good foot, I thought I'd share some funnies with you. I'm sort of having a writer's block thingy here, and yes, it's probably cheating, but it's my blog and I can do what I want.

My daughter sent these to me. I'm sure they've been cruising the ethernet for years now, but they're still amusing to me.

10 Words That Don't Exist, but Should

  • AQUADEXTROUS (ak wa deks'trus) adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub tap on and off with your toes. 

  • CARPERPETUATION (kar'pur pet u a shun) n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance. 

  • DISCONFECT (dis kon fekt') v. To sterilize the piece of confection (lollipop) you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, assuming this will somehow 'remove' all the germs.

  • ELBONICS (el bon'iks) n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater (or on an airplane.) 

  • FRUST (frust) n. The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug. 

  • LACTOMANGULATION (lak' to man gyu lay' shun) n. Manhandling the "open here" spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the 'illegal' side. 

  • PEPPIER (peph ee ay') n. The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want fresh ground pepper. 

  • PHONESIA (fo nee' zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

  • PUPKUS (pup'kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it. 

  • TELECRASTINATION (tel e kras tin ay' shun) n. The act of always letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when you're only six inches away.

09 September 2009

Yellowstone National Park - You Gotta Go!!

A couple of weeks ago, I made a spur of the moment decision to head up to Yellowstone National Park over the long Labor Day weekend.  At the time there were no accommodations available in the park, so I reserved a hotel in West Yellowstone, MT.  Staying in the park is much more appealing to me, but I considered myself lucky to have found anything within a hundred mile radius of the park.  A few days before the trip, I scored big time and found a couple of cabins in the Canyon area of the park.  Yippeeee!!

Canyon Cabins

The cabins were "rustic" but clean.  In reading some reviews on these particular cabins, I noticed people tended to complain on the lack of amenities such as televisions, telephones, internet access, etc.  There were also many complaints on the cabins being old and rundown.  I found all of this quite amusing, especially having seen all of this information on the Xanterra website over the past 8 or 9 years.  Xanterra is the company that runs all of the concessions in the park, including food and lodging.  They are brutally honest about the amenities provided, so there should be no room for doubt on what to expect.  They state specifically, "In Yellowstone, televisions, radios, air conditioning, and wireless internet is not available.  In-room phones are not available at all locations.  Cell phone coverage is very limited throughout the park.  Swimming pools are not available."  Pretty clear, no?  Apparently not.

Their website also informs the reader that these cabins were built in the 1950s and have only undergone "basic" renovations in the past several years.  Read that again, "basic."  Some of the other cabins in the park were built in the 1920s, so you know we aren't talking 5 star resort/spa facilities.

Frankly, for my purposes, the cabins are perfect.  They're in the park, they're clean, and the beds are comfy.  Staying in the park cabins just adds to the ambiance of being in one of the most beautiful and rugged areas of our country.  There's a lot to be said for ambiance.  *I'm* not looking for five star resort quality accomodations in a national park.  I'm looking for someplace clean and dry to lay my head after a long day of hiking, photography, sightseeing, and avoiding large furry animals in the road.

He can take out a large car; I've seen it happen.

I love Yellowstone Park.  My dream job I think would be to a park ranger.  In Yellowstone.  In the summer.

My only issue would be trying to control myself while dealing with people who are ignorant of the fact that Yellowstone is a wild and potentially dangerous environment.  Worse yet, would be trying to deal with the people who are aware of the dangers, yet choose to ignore them.  Each time I visit the park, I am amazed and dismayed by some of the things people do.  For instance, this past trip, we came back to our cabin after a day out exploring and were greeted by a couple with two small children.  They were very excited about a bison that was lounging in the grass in front of another cabin just down the road.  They felt we really should go see this, and they proceeded to tell the children (the oldest being *maybe* 7 or 8) to LEAD US TO WHERE THE BISON WAS RESTING!  What?!  Are you kidding me?!  They were happily sending these kids off with complete strangers AND asking them to lead us to a very large, unpredictable, and dangerous animal.

Four people on average are injured by bison in the park each year.  That may not sound like very many, unless you are one of those four.

So, I'm not so sure it would be a good fit if I was to have to deal with that sort of stupidity on a daily basis.  As most of you know, I don't suffer fools well.

Yellowstone has got to be one of the most beautiful and amazing places on earth.  The landscape is so varied that it's very difficult to describe.  How about some photos instead?

Lake Yellowstone

Lower Falls

Mammoth Hot Springs

Hayden Valley

Norris Geyser Basin

a bird that joined us for a picnic

It's essential to plan ahead if you're wanting to stay in the park; especially if there is a particular area you are crazy about.  My favorite place to stay is the Lake Yellowstone Cabins which are situated, oddly enough, near Lake Yellowstone.

Lake Yellowstone Cabins
These cabins have been refurbished over the past few years and aren't quite as rustic as the cabins in the Canyon area.  It's an easy walk to the lake to watch the sunrise or sunset (take someone with you); and deer, bison, bear, and coyote frequent the area, which is why you don't want to wander off alone. 

All in all, I think it's the best location in the park.

I can't wait to go back!  In fact, I just booked another week long stay for next August. 

Only 332 days to go.  Not as if I'm counting or anything.