Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Did you know…?

…that I had insomnia last night?

…that insomnia causes severe brain farts, so even though you think you’ve gained a couple extra hours, you can do nothing productive?

…I’m leaving on a two week road trip in the morning?

with the two dogs?

…that one of the dogs has the nickname of Farty McFarterson?

…that I have 2937562 things to do today?

…and this really isn’t one of them?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Each man is the architect of his own fate. And maybe his wife’s…

The other day, CGMan and I were driving through town, headed to our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. There was a small storm brewing, which is not unusual for Texas in the middle of summer. No rain, just a little thunder and a couple strikes of lightning lighting the sky. All in all, I felt pretty safe, considering my fear of being struck by lightning while in the car.

We were having a fairly boring conversation about this and that, but mostly that, when all of a sudden he tempted fate. He threw caution to the wind. He became a daredevil, if you will, with his life, as well as mine, since I was right there next to him. I couldn’t believe he would do such a thing.

This man, who vowed to protect me and keep me safe… told a boldfaced lie.
In the middle of a lightning storm.
While we were in the car!!

I don’t know about your mom, but my mom told me I would be struck by lightning if I told a lie. It’s true that I may have told a fib or two, thirty, hundred okay, I’ve lied before and have not been struck by lightning. Yet. I mean, really? How many do you get, before the big guy says you’ve reached your fib limit and must be taught a lesson? At this stage of the game, given how many fibs I might have told in my youth, I’m not willing to risk it.

But let me tell you, if I was going to tell a whopper, I surely wouldn’t do it in the car, in the middle of a lightning storm! That’s just kind of asking for it, don’t you think? CGMan must feel he has some fabrications left to tell, but honestly? Knowing how scared I am of lightning striking the car, you think he could have saved that particular falsehood for when he was standing in the parking lot.

You know, about 50 feet away from me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You’re an emblem of the land I love…

There isn’t too much that bugs me. I’m a fairly open-minded person. If two people want to get married, they should be able to get married. If those same people want to adopt a family, they should be able to do that, too. Who am I to say whether it’s right or wrong? If you want to ride your bike to work, go for it, but I’m going to ride in the A/C comfort of my car. Yes, I know it runs on gas. Not all of us can afford to buy a new hybrid. Although, in my humble opinion, I think that should be the choice for the next generation of cars. If that’s only what’s available, that’s all people will buy. Right? Just like big screen TVs.

Anyway, my point is, there are few things that get me riled up.

Our flag is something I take very seriously. And by our flag, I mean the national flag of the United States of America. The Stars & Stripes, Old Glory, or even the Star Spangled Banner. It’s a flag we all know by sight. But one we don’t see often enough.

Some of you may remember my foray into the retail world last year, to purchase a new flag for my house. It’s time again to get a new one. I had no trouble this year, as the blue store with the smiley faces had a whole section with a wide variety. They even offered the one with the 20 foot flagpole, which I’m not allowed to have in my neighborhood. Damn HOA.

No, what has me all riled up today is this:

flag2

Excuse me??

Since when is the flag that represents our nation referred to as “the Fourth of July” flag? When our veteran’s are honored, are we supposed to raise the Fourth of July flag? When a new president is sworn in, does he promise to defend the Fourth of July flag? Does this mean we can only be in the Olympics in July? Or the UN can only meet in July? For the other months, how will anyone know this is the United States of America?

Anyone on the planet can recognize the American flag.

It’s a shame one major retailer in America…doesn’t.

I’m sorry bull's-eye store. You have just lost my business.

 

"If anyone, then, asks me the meaning of our flag, I say to him - it means just what Concord and Lexington meant; what Bunker Hill meant; which was, in short, the rising up of a valiant young people against an old tyranny to establish the most momentous doctrine that the world had ever known - the right of men to their own selves and to their liberties." ~Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father’s Day!

It is not unusual in today’s society to have more than one father in your life. Mine is no exception. They each, in their turn, have given me something for which I am eternally thankful; their unconditional love. What more can a daughter ask?

I started out with the “traditional” father. By traditional, I mean he was married to my mom and they created me. He is great! Not only did he give me unconditional love (and boy howdy! let me tell you, that was put to the test more than I care to mention) he taught me patience, as he waited for me to finally understand the power of family and what unconditional love really means. He gave me my love of all things geeky and technological and kitchen gadgets. He lets me pester him at work with stories of my goofy dogs or questions about how to cook a chicken with a beer can shoved up its butt. He has never minded that I always seem to have a “little project” in mind when he comes to visit. He has taught me, by example, to give of myself.

Another fellow came into my life when I was in my teens, although he didn’t become stepdad until I was already married. He was great, too! When I was a teen, my mom was trying to teach me how to drive her new car, which had a standard transmission. It was not going well. It’s hard enough to figure out the perfect timing of clutch and gas, and even more nerve wracking when you hear the whispers from the passenger “Oh! My new car! you’re going to drop the transmission in my new car. No, no, try again, it’s okay”. When we got home and the story was shared, this man, who had no kids of his own, took me out to the parking lot with his car and proceeded to teach me to drive a stick shift. In less than 15 minutes! It was several years after that, that I found myself divorced with three kids. When we moved across the country to be near them and couldn’t find a place to live, he didn’t bat an eye when the four of us moved in. And stayed for eight months. It was tight quarters. If that isn’t a lesson in family love, I don’t know what is! A couple of months before he passed away, he hugged me tight and told me I was a good kid. I’m glad I didn’t wear out my welcome.

When CGMan and I married (a day in which he became a father of three!), I got a new kind of father. A father-in-law! He is a wonderful man, too. Without hesitation, he became Papaw to three more grandkids. He accepted all of us as if we’d been part of the family forever. From taking kids on motorcycle rides and road trips to making squirrel feeders and planters, he has been a welcome presence in our lives. It is a true testament to our love of family that I can spend time with them, even without CGMan. I feel so comfortable and welcome in their nest.

For all the different kinds of fathers out there, I wish you the happiest of Father’s Days!

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IMG002_0001

IMG_1979

Friday, June 18, 2010

Funny Friday

Even though it’s quiet around here with no kids, I always find something to laugh about.

This morning, it was this:

 bulldoglove

demon or darling

facejustformom

camerashy

Zoe can’t be bothered with such tomfoolery.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cruising along the information highway…

I don’t envy parents today. Not only do they have to keep the kids safe outside the house, they have to keep them safe on the internet, too. When the on-ramp to the information highway first opened, my kids weren’t all that interested. They were of the generation that still played street hockey in front of the house or basketball on the neighbor’s driveway. The only way you learned someone else’s business was through good, old fashioned, gossip. And that was usually done through a series of phone calls or sugar borrowing.

When we first got our Gateway behemoth computer, it was used mostly for making sign signs that read No Girls Allowed or Top Secret – Stay Out! (this means you Meghan). The kids were more interested in the clip art to use on their science projects than anything the information highway had to offer. Social networking was done at Boy Scouts or on the ball field. The girls had a “chat room”, it was called cheerleading practice.

It’s different now. I hear other mothers talking about when to let their daughters have a Face Book page or the need for their eight year old to have a cell phone, so they can stay in touch. When my kids were eight years old, they weren’t allowed off the driveway without me, so we pretty much stayed in touch. Where does an eight year old go that they would need to call home to check in? I’m just askin.

I’m thankful that at the time, my tweens only had AOL instant messaging. I will admit to a bit of naiveté when it came to who they might be chatting with. I had to learn quickly. It wasn’t too hard to monitor, since only a handful of their friends even had internet. Oh, and there was the whole sharing the phone line thing. If the Girl couldn’t get her friend online because the mom was on the phone, she had to just get up and walk next door to do her gossiping. Parents are much more savvy today, as they should be. It didn’t take long for the bad guys to figure out how to get information from kids just wanting to talk about who likes who at school.

My youngest is really the one who grew up with the internet. I’m sure he doesn’t remember life without it. Luckily, he was an outdoorsy kind of kid, too. Remember, he’s the Skater. His social networking was usually done on our driveway where we had a half pipe. The girls would sit along the wall to watch the boys and giggle. No texting involved. If they wanted to know if Mike liked Jane, they would send Lisa over to ask Jeff. That’s how it was done just as recently as 5 years ago.

It wasn’t until the Skater was almost through high school that the whole online social networking thing took off. I have to admit, I’m not as savvy as today’s parents when it comes to teenagers on the internet. I didn’t have to protect my children from the predators that lurk through sites like that. Even as a grown up, I’m learning what to put out there and what to keep private. Other than the fact that I hate housework and spoil my dogs, that’s pretty much all anyone would find out about me.

My kids? Not so much. They are all over the Face Book thing. They have hundreds of friends. It took a while before the Skater accepted my friend request. Sheesh. He’ll friend a dude he met at the skate park but not the woman who gave birth to him? Without drugs?? Finally he did and now, now I get to know all. about. him. Sometimes, I’m not sure I want to know.

Face Book with your kids can be a good thing, I guess. It’s how I learned the Skater has a new girlfriend. He changed his status. Yeah. Oh, and the Marine and his Sunshine? They got a new kitten. I saw it on Face Book. My new grand-cat. The Girl got straight A’s on her report card.

Really, the kids do call from time to time. But I worry about the future and the ease of just putting news out there, one time, on Face Book, for everyone to see and being done with it. When we do talk on the phone, I don’t want to hear, “Didn’t you see that on Face Book? I posted it like three days ago. That’s old news.”

Maybe I’ll post that I won the lottery and wait for the calls to come rolling in.

I guess what I’m trying to say to the parents of today, let your children know that while Face Book is a fun way to stay connected, it doesn’t count toward meaningful conversation, checking in with your parents, or building relationships. I would also remind the kids that the best social networking is still done on the ball field or just playing outside.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Well planned wordless Wednesday…

You know what they say about the best laid plans…they often go awry.

Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing these last few days. Going awry. It all started with a pool.

If you watch the news, or read my blog from time to time, you know that in Texas right now, the temperatures are hovering somewhere around the point it takes to melt glass. It’s hot. Don’t even get me started on the humidity. I can’t even look out my windows right now, because they’re covered in condensation. My curly headed Girl should be glad she’s in Arizona now, where it’s hot and dry.

Because I love my dogs more than my kids so much, I decided to buy them a swimming pool. What better way for them to cool off, than having a wading pool right on the patio? Zoe loves to swim in the mucky pond near our house, so I thought she would enjoy having her own little pool in which to get wet. I just knew Phoebe would like to get wet and not have to wear her swimsuit. (In case you weren’t aware, bulldogs can’t swim)

The moment I brought it home, I had thoughts of Wordless Wednesday. Oh! Pictures of the girls frolicking in their very own swimming pool! Pictures of water fights and playing chicken. Pictures of cool dogs on hot days. I had it all planned out.

You see, I’m a Virgo. I have to plan out even spontaneous things, like dogs playing in the pool. I plan ahead.

The dogs? Are not Virgos.

Apparently they are not Pieces, either, because neither one of them are the least bit interested in that damn pool.

I have been out there with them every day, wading around in the pool, trying to entice them in. The water is only about 4 inches deep, so Phoebe doesn’t have to wear a life jacket. I have put the ball in it (Phoebe waited for it to float to the side, grabbed it and ran off) I have taken treats in with me, they wait by the side. I have put them in, only to have them leap right back out. (watching Phoebe leap is pretty hysterical) I reminded them, they would be famous if they would just let me get pictures of them in the pool to put on my blog.   Not. Interested.

I told them about all the homeless dogs who live at the shelter, and would love to have their own swimming pool on a hot day in Texas. How other dogs have to play in the sprinklers to cool off. I reminded them how lucky they are to have their very own pool.  Phoebe asked for another cookie.

Like I said, my plans have gone awry. And I am the proud owner of two thankless dogs.

It’s going to be hot today. I think I’ll sit in my pool.

IMG_3906

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things I just don’t understand…

There are so many mysteries in life. It’s not for us to understand them all, I get that. But there are some things that just shouldn’t be so mystifying.

Paper towel dispensers
I don’t understand why they changed the paper towel dispensers. What was wrong with the ones where you crank the handle to get your paper towel out? Have you seen the new ones? Where the towels stick out of the bottom and you’re to “pull straight down”? Yeah, when I do that, I pull out 6 feet of paper towels. I can never get just enough to wipe my hands dry. I always seem to pull out enough to dry my car. I don’t see how that is more economical.

Getting out of the car
When I get to where I’m going, I park the car and get out. There really isn’t anything more to it than that. Open the door, grab purse, step out, close door. Can someone please tell my what my husband is doing in there that takes 5 minutes?? We get to where we’re going, I jump out and head to the store, I look back and he’s still in the car. So I wait. and wait. and wait some more, wondering if he is having trouble with his lipstick or something. I mean, what is he doing? Do I have to remind any of you that this is Texas and it is 187° outside? With 132% humidity?

Hot Flashes 
What is the purpose of a hot flash? Why must we suffer these? Isn’t it enough that prom night was a disaster because of Mother Nature’s little present? Or a honeymoon? Let’s not forget the torture of blossoming bosoms. Oh, the taunts of 6th grade boys. Yeah, nice memories, that. And now, after all these years, Mother Nature turns on us, yet again, with not only menopause, which has it’s own wonderful set of side effects. She has also given us up to five years of pre-menopause, with all it’s mood swings and weight gain and the dreaded hot flash.

This is no lie. Last night I dreamed I was doing my homework with this really hot high school senior. This because I always dream I’m young and in high school again. At least this time I wasn’t walking the halls naked. Anyway, we’re sitting there working diligently on geometry (don’t get me started about why is there such a thing as geometry?) when he says, “Can you check the A/C in here? It’s getting hot”, only to awaken a moment later, suffering a case of night sweats. Which in laymen’s terms means hot flash at night! You know Mother Nature has it out for you when she starts messing with your dreams.

These are just a few of the things I don’t understand. There are many others, like teenagers, dogs, and scorpions (why??). I’m sure this is a topic that will come around again, as I try to figure stuff out.

What is something you don’t understand?

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm all about the brotherly love...

I like to think I am a nice person. I am always polite. I let people in front of me in line. I say good morning to just about everyone. I follow all the rules, much to the chagrin of my rules-are-for-wimps husband. And I never, ever intentionally hurt someone’s feelings.

Sometimes at night, I lay awake, thinking about all my interactions during the day and usually fall asleep, pleased with myself that I didn’t flip anyone off or make someone cry. Well, I made CGMan cry that one time, but he was on hormones, so technically, that was not my fault.

Over the weekend, I had just such a night and tossed and turned with the agony of it. It occurred to me that I might have hurt the feelings of my little brother, the Coastie and new daddy. It’s been many, many a year since he cried because of me. Granted, he was a baby and I was trying to sing him to sleep, but it wasn’t something I was doing to purposely torture him. Goodness knows, the cat couldn’t stand it either! Between the two of them mewling and carrying on, it’s a wonder I didn’t develop a complex.

Anyway, I want to clear the air about my Coastie brother. I might have alluded to the fact that he doesn’t know what a life saving device is, even though he is in the Coast Guard. In his defense, he works on helicopters. If the item beside the front door of his shop was something to be shot out of a helicopter, I have no doubt he would have known exactly what it was and how fast it goes. I didn’t want you to think he wasn’t a good student of the Coast Guard. He is, and they’re lucky to have him. If it weren’t for his hard work on the helicopters, the ones who actually do the life-saving wouldn’t be able to do their jobs. Thanks, buddy!



He is also an expert on baby girls, baby geese and Lego's.










BTW, with my Coastie brother on the job, we haven’t lost a single coast. Semper paratus, Dude!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Do you know what this is…?

I love learning new things. I especially like learning them when it’s just for fun and not an emergency, like when the computer freezes up and you have to learn how to fix it. Or when the pilot light goes out on the furnace and you have to learn how to relight it. Sometimes it is fun to learn about something, just because it is.

Here is something new I discovered recently:

IMG_3826

I know what you’re thinking, but you are wrong. What you’re thinking of looks like this:

IMG_1428[7]

See the difference? Neither did I, at first. The top one is bigger and used for the purpose of keeping your friendships.
So is the second one.

Allow me to elaborate. The first one is a must-have, if you have a baby. When you are at a friend’s house and there is a dirty diaper (which there always  is) you pull out one of these handy little bags to put said diaper in before you throw it in your friend’s waste basket.  It has some smell good stuff in it to neutralize the poop smell.

The second one is a must-have, if you have a dog. When you are walking along and stop to chat with your friend and your dog poops right in their yard (which they always do) you pull out one of these handy little bags and pick up said poop and hang onto it until you get home. Because it does not have stuff in it to neutralize the smell, so no one wants it in their waste can.

See there? I discovered something new. Poop sacks for babies! Who knew?

Another interesting item to cross my path was this:

IMG_3821

It was in the lobby of the Coast Guard Air station where my brother works. It looked so interesting, I just had to know what it was. So I asked my brother, who is in the Coast Guard. He had no idea and really hadn’t even noticed it, right there beside the front door.

I’m thinking if it’s Coast Guard apparatus, Coast Guard personnel should know what it is, right? So, I send the picture over to my husband, the Coast Guard officer (retired). I feel sure he would know. I am wrong. He has no idea.

Well, now things are getting interesting. CGMan sends the email to several of his Coastie buddies, most of whom are academy guys. I figured in the Coast Guard Academy, they would teach, oh I don’t know, Coast Guard history?? Again, I am wrong. None of them know what it is.

I am now so intrigued as to what this thing could be, I send out another email, this time to the Navy men in our family, my dad and my uncle. I was going on the assumption that it must have been something nautical, otherwise why would it be on a Coast Guard base? Well, neither of the Navy guys knew what it was, either. But my uncle noticed that the rope was wound backwards if it was to be used for anything requiring the line to be let out. Funny how none of the Coast Guard officers noticed that.

As a last ditch effort, I sent the email to the Marine. First of all, Marines know every. thing. about their branch of the service and a lot about the others. They learn this in boot camp. Second, the Marine is also a history buff. I thought for sure he would know what it was or at least point us in the right direction. He wrote back and asked for more information other than the picture. Hunh. Seems to me if I had more information than just the picture, I would already know what it is!

There were a lot of ideas bandied about, such as a weighted buoy line, a device to take soundings (depth measurements) and even a crack about it being a Coast Guard torpedo and the rope is used to bring it back, so they can use it again.

It should come as no surprise that my super-sleuth dad finally figured out what it was. I would have liked to have been in a position to race him to the answer. He and I both are wicked fast on Google. But I was otherwise occupied playing with Ella, the grandbaby who is not my grandbaby, and tons of fun. More fun than a Google search, for sure.

Now that I’ve built up the suspense, let me share with you the results found by the Navy guy.

It is called a Faking Line Box. It was used to save lives. You know, the thing the Coast Guard is known for. The line was shot out of a cannon to the foundering ship just off shore. The line was then tied to the mast and the survivors were brought to land by way of a Breeches Buoy. This was a buoy ring covered with a pair of breeches, so the person being rescued could sit down in it for the zip-line ride to shore.

Wow. How cool is that?

If you would like to see the faking box in action as the Coast Guard recreates a rescue effort, click here.
If you want to read a little about it and see actual pictures of it in use in 1939, click here.

I have one other picture that shows something you might not have seen before:

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It’s a picture of Wow!! A rare sighting, indeed.
And her Coast Guard son who doesn’t know a life saving device if he tripped over it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yum yum summertime…

 

Oh yes! It’s strawberry season! Okay, I’m really not all that excited as I let on. Strawberries are not my favorite fruit. They’re okay, but I can pass and not feel bad. CGMan loves them and the kids did, too, when they lived here. So for them, I learned to make Strawberry Salsa.

I’ve had several recipes over the years and this one seems to be the best, mostly because it is versatile. You can put it on grilled fish or chicken or even scoop it with pita or tortilla chips. It’s just yummy. Think you might like to give it a try? Well, here we go, let’s get the ingredients:

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1/2 medium red onion
1 jalapeño pepper
1/2 red, yellow and green pepper
1/4 finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh strawberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 TB fresh lime juice
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

 

 

You’re going to add everything to one big bowl, so have it ready. First, chop the onion. You can chop as big or as small as you like. Put it in the bowl. Then cut the jalepeno lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (the book says use gloves, but I’m not a sissy. And I don’t have any gloves that haven’t been in a toilet), chop very finely and put into the bowl.

IMG_3850   IMG_3851 

Next you’ll need to seed the peppers and chop a half of each color. If you’re doubling the recipe, like I did, you can use one of each color, instead of just half. Chop them up and put them in the bowl.

IMG_3853   IMG_3855 

Chop a 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves (mm, I love that smell!) and put them in the bowl. Now for the strawberries. Cut the little tops off and then coarsely chop them. And into the bowl they go. Oh, now it’s starting to look good!

IMG_3858   IMG_3857  

Add the orange juice and the lime juice.

IMG_3860   IMG_3863 

I never could get the hang of squeezing the limes like that Italian lady with the boobs on the Food Network. So I just did that for the picture. Here’s how I really add the lime juice. Then add the olive oil. Give it a quick toss and then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.

IMG_3865    IMG_3866

 

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    How’s that for summer goodness?

 

 

 

 

Fifteen minutes before serving, set it out so it can lose some of it’s chill. This is great served with chicken, fish, shrimp or just with chips.

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I have made three batches of this already this summer. It’s a nice change from traditional salsas.

I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday…

 

 

If I had words on Wordless Wednesday, they would be “How did I not think of this first??”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

From A to Zoe…

Adopted!  IMG_0191

IMG_0219  Beloved!

Curious!  IMG_1920

IMG_0961 Daring!

Eager!  IMG_0874

IMG_1484 Ferocious!

Girly!  IMG_0241

IMG_3054  Headless!

Inspector!  IMG_0540

IMG_0337   Jobless!

Kindred spirit!  004 (2)

IMG_0250 Loyalist!

Movie star! IMG_2412
(click to see movie)

IMG_2929  Nutty!

Obedient!  IMG_3743a

IMG_2406  Prized!

Quirky!  IMG_3975a

IMG_4096  Remarkable!

Swimmer!   IMG_3633

IMG_3854  Teacher!

Unique!   IMG_1344

  IMG_1404  Vigilante!

Wheelman!  IMG_3610

IMG_2351   X chromosome!

 Youngster!  IMG_2794

IMG_3842   Zany Zoe!!