Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day…

2008 Memorial Day Poster #3.

What Heroes Gave

Each donned their uniform to be
Defenders of our liberty

Their mission sure, their spirits bright
Guard freedom’s home, be brave to fight

One final day each faced their call
Each gave their best enduring all

We’ll never know what they went through
But know they loved this country true

Deep down inside we should all feel
What heroes gave, their cost so real

We must stay thankful, grateful of
The gift of freedom through their love

Their loved ones bore the gravest pain
What we can’t know, some now sustain

To God I pray their pain will cease
And each will find long-lasting peace

Remember this from year to year
What heroes gave – shan’t disappear

We’ll never let their special day
Their time for honor slip away

These brave fought for a nation free
If not for them, where would we be?

©2004Roger J. Robicheau

"Flags-in"

Each year for the past 42 years, the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) has honored America's fallen heroes by placing American flags before the gravestones and niches of service members buried at both Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery just prior to Memorial Day weekend.

flags in This tradition, known as "flags in," has been conducted annually since The Old Guard was designated as the Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948. Every available soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry participates, placing small American flags one foot in front and centered before each grave marker.

During an approximately three-hour period, the soldiers place flags in front of more than 260,000 gravestones and about 7,300 niches at the cemetery's columbarium. Another 13,500 flags are placed at the Soldier's and Airmen's Cemetery. As part of this yearly memorial activity, Old Guard soldiers remain in the cemetery throughout the weekend, ensuring that a flag remains at each gravestone.

American flags are also placed at the graves of each of the four unknown service men interred at the Tomb of the Unknowns, by the Tomb Sentinels. All flags are removed after Memorial Day before each cemetery is opened to the public.

 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

And please, while you’re toasting the beginning of summer, won’t you also take a moment to remember those who have served our country? Thank you.

 

Friday, May 28, 2010

It’s a bug’s life…

I never really understood that saying - “It’s a bug’s life”. Does it mean they’re taking over the world and one would be charmed to be a bug? Well, except for the ones who hang around the interstate.

On my recent trip, I not only encountered plenty of interstate bugs (and can someone tell me why, in the huge of expanse of windshield, they have to land right in front of the driver’s face?) but also some new (to me) bugs. Oh, allow me to share.

First there were the bedbugs. We stayed one night in a motel in northern Maryland and that is where I believe to have been brutally attacked by bedbugs. The bites did not show up for a day or two, and by then, we were long gone. It was my admirable deductive skills, and Uncle Google, that led me to that conclusion.

No, I did not see the bedbugs because of course, at the time, I was not looking for them. Once bitten and five days spent scouring every bedbug site in the world wide web, I look for them all the time. Every. Night. I know you have questions, so let me help: Yes, they can be seen, if you know where to look. More often you will find evidence of them before you actually see them. They are about the size of a tick, but move faster. The leave a mess where they live that easily looks like mold or a bit of mildew. This would be found along the seams of the bed and in the cracks.

You might see the bugs there, but most likely, not. They hide in wood, in holes, cracks and in severe infestations, even under the pictures in the hotel rooms. But for that type of infestation, it would take a long time at a really dirty hotel and we don’t stay at places like that.

Even a few will bite and that’s what I believe happened. It was not a dirty motel, in fact, it was cleaner than some named hotels where I’ve stayed. Speaking of bites, the sign that it’s bedbug bites and not mosquito (for whom I am also a delicacy) is the linear pattern. They only bite the part of you that is exposed. Now it comes in handy that I like a room to be quite chilly when I sleep. If your arm is sticking out, they will eat, move along, eat some more and move along. You cannot feel them, as they wait until you are quite sound asleep. By the time you wake up, they are long gone. Let me tell you, compared to ticks (for which I was a magnet when I was young), who hang on until they explode, I am thankful for this.

So, you might now have a long line of small red, blistery looking bites on your arm. They itch like crazy. I honestly believe it is what caused people to go mad centuries ago. Isn’t there a saying about being crazy as a bedbug? See? You can put anti-itch lotions on and take Benadryl, but it’s up to your own body whether that works. However, speaking from experience A) putting on every single brand of anti-itch cream at the same time does not work better than using just one, B) taking Benadryl and using the cream that has diphenhydramine (Benadryl) in it will cause you to OD and sleep for a day and a half, but at least you can’t feel the itching. C) it’s almost easier to tell people you have chicken pox than to admit you were bitten by bedbugs.

After coming back from New Jersey, we had an evening at Auntie Narmie’s where I went for a horseback ride with my uncle. I met the horsefly. They are big, loud and punishing. When they land on you, they hook on and won’t get off, causing one to scream and wiggle and scare the horse.

And last, but certainly not least, was another interesting little critter. It’s really small, you can hardly see it, but because of my acute bug sense (and the fact that I am now bug paranoid) I happened to see it. Of course, I ran to the computer after killing it, sure that it was another blood sucking, take over the world kind of bug. I found out that it is a very good bug to have in your house because it eats bad bugs (how can they tell which of their species is bad??) Like I said, it’s small. A little bigger than an ant.

Guess what it’s called? Go ahead…guess.

IMG_3833

                      Pseudoscorpion

Unfrickinbelievable.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who replaced Dr. Spock?…

I saw something interesting the other day.

A woman was jogging, pushing one of those jogging strollers built for two kids. But that wasn’t what was so interesting. She was jogging along in the middle of the muggy, hot afternoon with only one kid in the stroller built for two kids. Again, not all that interesting.

It was the kid in the stroller that held my attention. Now, mind you, it’s been 20 years since I had a little one, so I might be off on the age, but I do know it was not an infant. This child looked to be about four years old. That alone was not all that interesting. The kid who looked to be about four years old had a pacifier in his mouth. Okay, still not that interesting? How about the fact that he’s holding a portable DVD player, so he can watch a movie while his mom is spending quality time jogging with him in the muggy, hot outdoors in the middle of the afternoon, in Texas?

If the child is young enough to have a pacifier, then he’s too young to be sporting a DVD player, because he should be an infant, right? Or if he is old enough to choose a suitable movie for jogging in the swelter that is Texas, then he is too old for a pacifier, yes?

I am so confused.

I used to love to ride my bike with a kid in a seat on the back. Apparently, they don’t use those bike seats anymore, as I never see them. They have probably been deemed dangerous, but somehow all three of mine managed to survive a bike ride with mom. Anyway, when I had the kids on the back of the bike, each in turn until they were too big, we talked and laughed and pointed at stuff. We bonded. Now when I see a parent on a bike with kids in tow, it is literally that. The bike towing a covered sidecar looking contraption with the kids zipped up in it.

And they are probably watching a DVD.

Parenting sure is different these days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Did you know….?

…that in New Jersey, attendants pump your gas? Always.

…the sight of dairy cows can cause Wow to crave ice cream?

…there are a lot of dairy farms along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and very few exits?

…that bedbugs can be found in even the swankiest of motels?

…New Jersey pine trees bloom in May and people who live in Texas are highly allergic?

…that someone else’s grandbaby is almost as much fun as your own grandbaby?

…the bite of a bedbug is neither contagious nor life threatening, but itch to the point of distraction?

…that Bugles are commonly found next to the peanuts in most convenience stores?

…dogs don’t really like to talk on the phone?

…the smile of a new baby makes you forget about your stuffy nose and itchy arms?

…that 45 minutes is not long enough to catch a connecting flight in Houston? Even when it’s on the same airline?

…the thought of missing a flight can cause perfectly normal people to break into an OJ airport run, no matter how stupid it makes them look?

…that lack of a wireless signal can cause internet withdrawals almost as severe as that of nicotine withdrawal?

…most restaurants in the suburbs of New Jersey are BYOB?

…that two seniors need more bathroom stops than bathrooms on most turnpikes?

…that pharmacists are not doctors, and sometimes think bedbugs and scabies are the same thing?

…Canadians are invading New Jersey? Okay, maybe just their geese, but still.

…that spending time with family is priceless?

…that I experienced all of the above at some point in the last two weeks?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Say cheese! Tiered cheese!…

 

I made this recipe before I left on this adventure, because I know my boys like it. CGMan had the Skater over for dinner after I left and was supposed to serve this as an appetizer. I’m not sure if it made it past the first round of golf.

This is an easy, make-ahead, appetizer. It looks so pretty on the plate and you can serve it with any type of cracker.


Let’s get the  ingredients together, there aren’t many:

IMG_3779

 

 

 

Two packages of sliced cheddar cheese, a brick of cream cheese (softened), dried cranberries, chopped pecans, Tabasco and a dash of salt.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3781

 

 

I love my Kitchen Aid mixer and sometimes will look up recipes just to be able to use it. However, for one little brick of cream cheese, it’s over-kill. A small hand mixer will work perfectly for this recipe. Sorry, Kitchen Aid, maybe next time.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3784IMG_3785

Put your softened cream cheese in the mixing bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Next, chop up 1/4 of cranberries (I love  craisins. But not as much as I love my Kitchen Aid). I find that straight out of the bag, they’re a little big, so I just chop them down. While you have your knife out, go ahead and chop 1/4 cup of the pecans. Unless you’re using the cookie size pieces of pecan, they’re too big, too.

Add all that to the mixing bowl and …. mix! Get a load of this action shot!

IMG_3788

When it’s all nicely mixed together, grab a piece of aluminum foil, and place two slices of cheddar cheese, side by side.

IMG_3790 

Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture across the slices of cheese. Make sure you go all the way to the edges. It will be bumpy, but that’s okay. Place two more slices of cheese on top of that, then add another layer of cream cheese. Continue this until you’re out of cream cheese.

IMG_3792 

 IMG_3793

 IMG_3795

IMG_3796

Wrap the brick tightly with the foil and put in the fridge for at least four hours. You can even make this a couple of days ahead of time.  (I know you know how to put something in the fridge, but I was pretending I had my own cooking show. I love how they go to the fridge and everything they need is... right there. I want a fridge like that.)

Just before serving, take the brick out of the fridge and open. Using a sharp knife, slice the brick length-wise. Then make 1/4 inch slices along the wide side.

IMG_3808

IMG_3809

IMG_3810  

Place on your favorite serving platter with some crackers and you’re done! See how easy that was?

IMG_3756

Now that I have entertained you with my mad cooking skilz and witty banter, it’s time for me to go visit the grandbaby who is not my grandbaby.

I absolutely love holding her and helping her mommy with changing and feeding and all. But what I really, really love? Yawning and saying, “Oh, look at the time. I’ll see you tomorrow. *smoochie-smooch*” and leaving for the night. Man! Grandbabies are great!!

I know there are some women my age, 44, who feel a twinge to want to have another baby when they’re around a newborn. Let me say right here and now, I have absolutely no such feelings. I have three wonderful children that I enjoyed as they grew up. I don’t need to do it again.

Besides, when I look around at all the stuff  Ella has, I realize I couldn’t afford another baby! They sure have a lot of gadgets. No, I think I’ll leave the babies and all that comes with them to the younger generation. But that doesn’t mean I can’t stop in and play for a while!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday…The Ella Edition

ella

happyella 

 istillgotit

cellphoneselfportrait

 

Sorry I’ve been out of touch, but as you can see, I have a good reason. Who would want to put down a sweet smelling baby girl to write a silly old blog? Not me!

I have also been suffering horrible allergies. Whatever was blooming in Texas a couple of weeks ago, is just now blooming here. And I must be allergic to the East coast version of whatever it is, because I have been miserable since we got here. My face aches, my throat scratches and makes me cough which causes the rest of my head to ache. It’s a never ending cycle.

Ella has definitely been the bright spot in all of this! Her folks, my brother and sister-in-law have been so fun to visit with, as well. It’s not all about the baby. Okay, it is, but at least they’re good sports about it! It has been so fun watching the new parents as they experience the wonder that is their baby. They are enthralled with her, as is her Grannie Wow. It brings back a lot of memories and reminds me how many years its been since I’ve held a baby. It all comes back, just like riding a bike.

Knowing I would be enamored with baby Ella, I prepared a couple of posts before I left. Since I can’t be bothered to let go of her, I’ll post the recipe tomorrow. It’s a cheese appetizer. Here’s a peek:

tieredcheese

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I live with a man…

CGMan lives with me now. I know, I know, most husbands live with their wives. But we’re not most couples. Anyway, while he was overseas for a year, I had the house to myself. It was actually pretty nice (and the envy of my friends with husbands). I could keep it as cool as I liked, I could have on as many lights as I needed. I figured since I never turned on the television, the power saved there could burn 20 of my little squiggly light bulbs. Not a dark corner in this house!

It has actually been nice to have him home, though. He is very helpful around here. He carries in the groceries, prunes the trees and even takes the dogs for an invigorating walk every morning, so I can sit here and read about other people and their every day lives write my blog. He is bartender every day at 3:30  5 o’clock. Who doesn’t love a man who can fix a mean vodka tonic? Let’s not forget the chivalry! He has been known to carry me with all the finesse of George of the Jungle Superman across a deep puddle.

And friends, he never leaves the seat up. Ever.

 I know it’s a good thing, and you’re all envious of my well-trained husband, but let me tell you…
be careful what you wish for…

 coldonbutt

  …this is not funny in the middle of the night.


Today, I leave for another great adventure. I’m going on a senior trip. Not the Let’s-party-till-we-drop! kind of senior, but the drop-and-break-a-hip kind of senior. Truth be told, they act just like a couple of teenagers when you get them in the car together. I am taking Wow and Auntie Narmie on a two day road trip to see Wow’s seventh (seventh!- not that I’m counting or anything) grandbaby, Ella. Oh, and Ella’s mommy and daddy (*snort*-- as if!)

I’ll check in when I can. Don’t be surprised if it’s sporadic, because I’ll be busy smooching the new baby and trying to figure out how to sneak her home with me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ramblings in suburbia…

Every morning, as I’m waking up, I have these great ideas for a blog. I get up with a spring in my step, with the thoughts of a particularly clever post. Then I brush my teeth, turn some lights on (yes, it’s still dark when I get up), let the dogs out, start the coffee, feed the dogs, pour a cup of joe and head to the computer. When I get there, all I can think of is why did I get up so dang early? That’s right, I cannot remember one single idea. Oh, and they were good ones, too, I assure you. Full of witty repartee and amazing photography of the dogs.

I sit, staring at my computer screen, wondering if other bloggers have the same problem. I remember sweet Twisted Susan and how she wrote about farting in front of a lady at the grocery store. Then there was Jenn at Perspective Required who is out saving the wildlife, one chipmunk at a time (but a bit of a segregationist when it comes to squirrels). Oh, and Cupcake Murphy over at Odd, Good, True who spends her Saturday mornings being a detective.

It was then I started to realize our lives certainly don’t have to be exciting to write about them. There are some people who like to read about our everyday happenings. I, for one, enjoyed reading June at Bye, Bye Pie! as she was on her deathbed over the weekend, but still  managed to edge the yard and take the dog to the park. In case you missed it, here is the reenactment. I also got a kick out of what The Zadge was going to do in bed over the weekend.

So really, I suppose I shouldn’t worry about writing something scintillating for you to read every day. I could just focus on the mundane, because someone out there is going to think it’s funny worth reading (Hi Daddy!).

Well, would you look at that? I managed to help you waste some time execute a noteworthy post, after all.

My work here is done.