Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Did you know…?

…grandparents represent one third of the population, with 1.7 million added every year?

…68% think being a grandparent brings them closer to their adult children?

…90% enjoy talking about their grandkids to just about everyone?

…37% become grandparents in the 40s, with the average age of grandparents in this country at 48?

…71% of grandparents say reading is one of their favorite activities?

…75% are online, 30% instant message and 56% share photos online?

…33% of grandparents have been married more than once?

…10% have a tattoo?

…that 6% of grandparents have started a blog?

…they spend $52 billion on their grandkids alone?

…60% live close to their grandchildren?

…46% wish they lived closer to their grandchildren?

…81% have their grandchildren for all or part of their summer vacation?

…86% of grandparents percent bake cookies for their family?

…the Marine and his Sunshine are going to have a baby?


Not that I’m excited or anything.


Friday, May 27, 2011

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them…-Francis A. Walker

(Edited to add the picture I took this morning)


Memorial Day

As we stand here looking
At the flags upon these graves
Know these flags represent 
The true American brave

They fought for their Country
As man has through all of time
Except these soldiers lying here
Fought for your country and mine

As we all are gathered here
To pay them our respect
Let’s pass this word to others
It's what they would expect

I'm sure that they would do it
If it were me or you
To show we did not die in vain
But for the red, white and blue.

Let’s pass on to our children
And to those who never knew
What these soldiers died for
It's the least that we can do

Let’s not forget their families
Great pain they had to bear
Losing a son, father or husband
They need to know we still care

No matter which war was fought
On the day that they died
I stand here looking at these flags
Filled with American pride.

So as the bugler plays out Taps
With its sweet and eerie sound
Pray for these soldiers lying here
In this sacred, hallowed ground.

Take home with you a sense of pride
You were here Memorial Day.
Celebrating the way Americans should
On this solemnest of days.

-- Michelle R. Keim




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.
(Copied from Dawn in Austin, May 2010)


This year, I will be here, in Arlington. I plan to go to the cemetery and see the flags for myself and remember the men and women who have fallen, all in the name of freedom. We wouldn’t even be a country without people like them.

As you celebrate the beginning of summer with family and friends, please take a moment to remember all of our servicemen and women, both past and present, who have given the ultimate sacrifice, so that we might be free.

For those who still serve…I humbly thank you.

Enjoy your weekend, and God Bless America!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I play in the low 80s, any hotter than that, I won’t play…

CGMan and I golfed together this past weekend. We drove down to Williamsburg to meet some friends and play golf at their beautiful club. Okay, I don’t know from golf clubs, country clubs or billy clubs, all I know is, the course we played was beautiful!

I do not consider myself a golfer, so don’t get all excited that you know the next middle aged women’s phenom. I know how to play golf. I’m not great, but I’m not horrible. I don’t care. If it’s a beautiful day and not too hot, I like to get out with my husband and whack a few balls.

We played a best ball scramble with our friends. I have to take this opportunity, before it gets lost in obscurity, to tell you that one hole (a par 4), my ball was the best ball. All the way to the cup. Thank you, thank you very much. *polite golf claps all around*

I wish I could tell you more about the golf game, the scores, handicaps (whatever that is!) or even the name of the course. The reason? These:

IMG_0648 IMG_0649




We couldn’t round a single bend when I would just have to squeee! and take a picture of yet more baby geese. The ground hogs/wood chucks were cracking me up. Every time I saw them, I thought of this:


I saw a blue heron, too, but he was camera shy.

If I had known golfing was more fun than going to the zoo, I would have taken it up sooner.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Houston, we have a mater…

You know, that makes no sense, but I laugh every time I hear it in my head.

My farm, it is a growing!


When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.


And garnish with a little banana pepper!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I blame it on menopause…

Apparently, menopause is to blame for everything.

I know this to be true. Otherwise, how else would you explain a fruitful trip to the grocery store to stock up on milk and cookies groceries because someone is coming to visit,


and you get a great pork loin to make Memphis style barbeque, only to realize several hours later that you accidently dropped it in someone else’s cart?

Every time I have something weird going on, I go instantly to Dr. Google. You would not believe how long the list is of symptoms of menopause. Everything from hangnails to bunions. Right in the middle there? Addle brain.

So, sorry little old lady who went home to find a 5 pound pork loin in your bag. I have menopause and nothing for dinner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Keeping it all in the family…

Even though it’s probably not in the least bit true, I am so going to take the credit for another blogger in the family.

This little Skype loving, cutie patootie, right here?


No, it’s not her. She hasn’t started blogging. Yet. But her mommy has! AND! it’s not a mommy blog! (although, I do hope she shares a picture of Ella from time to time) Not that there is anything wrong with mommy blogs, I just don’t read them, because well, I’ve been a mommy way too long now to read about another mom’s trials and tribulations with potty training. I’m just sayin.

At this point in my mommyhood, I’m sharing recipes for vodka drinks, house decorating tips and when’s a good time to buy a new car.

However, I do love a wide variety of blogs. Most are witty, introspective, thought provoking or just downright funny. Oh, some even have the occasional pictures of men with no shirts on moral stories, recipes for vodka drinks and just general good stuff. I have a feeling she is going to fit right in!

Paulene’s Page

Paulene has just started on her blogging journey, so why don’t you stop by and welcome her to the blogosphere?

Tell her Dawn sent you.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous…

…but not today.

Today you get mundane thoughts and ramblings from a girl in the city.

  • We hosted a wine tasting over the weekend. I know that sounds all sophisticated and everything, but remember who you’re talking to. Yeah. After the first couple of pairings, it just turned into a party. A good one at that!
  • We rode the metro to a baseball game last night. It's amazing how they build these big ole stadiums right in the middle of the city. When we left 10 years ago, it was all ghetto through there and you hoped you wouldn't run out of gas before you got to the safe part of town. Now it's all gentrified and expensive, with no place to park, except for the stadium garage, in which case be prepared to give a limb.
  • I decided, now that I live in the city, that I need to grow some of the food we eat. There are three garden boxes out back, and I thought it would be a good idea to grow something in there besides cat poop. So, I’m a farmer now. In the city. I have three tomato plants, two strawberries and a banana pepper plant. Hmm, that will make for an interesting smoothie, won’t it?
  • One of the downsides to purchasing an awesome bed in Europe is, the linens to fit it can only be found in, you guessed it!  Europe. Having an Emperor sized bed only sounds cool till you see the shipping prices.
  • Why is it easier to find a doctor in a new city than it is to find someone to cut my hair?
  • I love the church down the street. It has a bell tower and chimes on the hour, all day. At noon, it plays such pretty music. Really so much nicer than the call to prayers 5 times a day we had in Abu Dhabi.
  • I’ve run out of good books to read. I know! My kindle is running on empty. I need a good murder book. It helps my detective skills.
  • I am so ready to start painting! Just a fresh coat of neutral will be better than the plain white, ten year old, builder’s paint that is in here now.


It’s hard to pick the mundane from the marvelous, isn’t it?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who you callin’ shrimp??

Remember when that was the worst thing you could call someone? I can’t believe I said “remember back when” as if I were old.



Okay, let’s just get on with the recipe before I start calling you all whippersnappers.

For the Cinco de Mayo party, I made spicy grilled shrimp, or as they say in Mexico on May 5th, regular workday, CamarĂ³n asado a la parrilla picante. They were deeelicious. It’s one of my favorite dishes to make in the summer because you don’t have to heat up the kitchen. You can make it as an appetizer, which I do often, or as a main dish, which CGMan and I like, too.

Let’s grab a few ingredients and get started!



coarse salt
cayenne pepper
olive oil
lemon juice
2lbs shrimp, peeled & deveined
lemon for garnish



Start by lighting the grill (or getting your husband to do it) so it can preheat.

In a small bowl, crush one clove of garlic with 1 tablespoon salt. (because I was so excited to be sharing this recipe, I forgot that first step and just added everything together and then crushed. Trust me, it works better if you crush the salt and garlic together first.) Don’t worry if you don’t have a mortar, you can use the back of an ice cream scoop. I know you have one of those! 

IMG_0592 IMG_0595IMG_0598 IMG_0600
Yes, that is a cow ice cream scoop. What?

Mix in 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon paprika, then stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and two teaspoons lemon juice. It will be thick, like a paste.

Rinse and drain the shrimp. When I peel them, I leave the tails on to make it easier to eat them off the appetizer plate. Or napkin. Or if you’re like me, just running through the kitchen and snatching one off someone’s plate the table.




Toss with the paste until evenly coated.







I have one of those fancy dancy shrimp baskets for the grill (Thanks ORMom!) but if you don’t, you can easily use skewers instead (soak wooden skewers before using on grill). If you’re going to use the fancy dancy shrimp basket, I cannot stress enough – USE PAM!

or the cheap and cheerful store brand.

Let me tell you, it is no fun standing over a hot grill, trying to toss shrimp that are stuck to the basket.

Place your basket on the grill and cook for about 5-7 minutes, turning often with a spatula, until the shrimp turn opaque.


Once done, place in a bowl and garnish with lemon or lime wedges. These shrimps have such a good flavor, there really isn’t a need for a sauce. With that said, I have, in the past, served them with a pineapple habanero dipping sauce that I found at the un-American bullseye store, to much acclaim.



P.S. These go really good with margaritas on the back patio. Hello summer!


Spicy Grilled Shrimp

1 lg clove garlic
1 TB coarse salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 TB olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 lbs large shrimp, peeled & deveined
lemon or lime wedges, for garnish

1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
2. In a small bowl, crush garlic with the salt. Mix in cayenne pepper and paprika, then stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with paste until evenly coated.
3. Lightly oil grate (or spray with nonstick cooking spray). Cook shrimp for 5-7 minutes or until opaque, turning often with spatula.
Garnish with lemon wedges.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hug ‘em if you got ‘em…

A couple of years ago, two of my besties came to visit me in Austin. They were my next door neighbors when we lived in Maryland, many years ago. Bitzie now lives in Oklahoma and BFF with an “i”, who has the husband with an ex-brother-in-law named Crash, still lives in the ‘hood in Maryland.

After we had dropped BFF with an “i” off at the airport in San Antonio, Bitzie and I took the back road home so we could chat. And chat we did! Which is pretty much what we do whenever we get together. Chat, chat, chat. I was sharing with her the stories of my mom, who was driving me nuts with some silly thing or another. And then I told her how the other BFF thought her mom was equally unnerving at times. I just went on and on, since I had a captive audience. When I had exhausted the subject of my mom and her antics and arguments, Bitzie turned to me and said, “At least you still have your mom.”


How could I forget that she had lost her mom a few months earlier? I felt like an absolute heel. Bitzie was so kind and didn’t take offense to my rambling on about my mom and her shenanigans. But then, she is a kind woman anyway. She just wanted to remind me to be thankful for what I had.

Last night, as I was at the US-led Cinco de Mayo party, (which was a blast! I’ll tell you about the wonderful food, and share my shrimp recipe, next week) there was much talk about who was doing what for Mother’s Day. Lots of brunches. Man, I’ll tell you…us ladies can eat!

Anyway, Chef Sue was telling me that she is very angry at her mother and hasn’t spoken to her in a couple of weeks. I was shocked! Who could be mad at their mother?? Chef Sue turned to me, gave me a hug and said she thought about me as she picked up the phone to call her mom, to invite her for brunch on Sunday. She said to me, “At least I have a mother to be mad at.” I’m so glad she called her mom, because that’s the truth – she has a mother to be mad at.

So listen up.

I don’t care if your mother gets on your very last nerve, eats the last cookie, tells you how to drive, what to wear, how to do your hair and asks for the 3467621364th time when are you going to get married/get divorced/have a baby/get a job/quit your job/move out/move back and when’s the last time you cleaned this toilet? 

You will miss her when she is gone.

Every year for the last four years, I have driven my mom and her sister to the family cemetery, in Kentucky, so they can put flowers on  the graves of their parents. I never once thought of it as a chore. It was an honor. It was something I looked forward to, year after year.

This year, CGMan will be driving me up, so I can place flowers on the graves of my mom and stepdad, as well as my grandparents. It certainly won’t be as fun as it has been in years past, but it will still be an honor and remain something I look forward to, every year.

For those of you whose moms have gone on, I know this weekend you will miss her more than you do every single day. I’m so sorry for your hurt. I wrap my heart around each and every one of you.

And those with moms still around?



Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms!

I want to wish a very special Mother’s Day to my “other mothers” - ORMom and CGMom.
I love you so much!




Mother’s Day 2010
Dawn, CGBro and Mommy

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Did you know…?

…on the 5th of May, 1862, a rag-tag battalion of 2,000 Mexicans fought bravely and defeated 6,000 French troops sent to invade Puebla los Angles?

…the Cinco de Mayo celebration started in the US?

…by a bunch of college students at California State University in 1967? Why am I not surprised?

…they felt there were not enough Chicano celebrations, so started this one to celebrate the Battle of Puebla (Batalla de Puebla)?

…that Cinco de Mayo is one of 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent? And apparently 95% of people of U.S. descent.

the Battle of Puebla was the last time a country in the Americas was invaded by a European military force?

…in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in Pueblo?

…for the rest of the people living in Mexico, it is just May 5th and not a federal holiday? Really? Even though the college kids say it should be?

…in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage?

…these are the two things I picture when I hear “Cinco de Mayo”?

IMG_0717  imagesCAR9CWWN

…that we are going to celebrate the Mexican culture and heritage tonight at a US-led Cinco de Mayo party?

…I’m making Spicy Grilled Shrimp?


Happy Cinco de Mayo?

Merry Cinco de Mayo?

Feliz Navidad de Cinco de Mayo?

Have a good one!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Measure the corn of others with your own bushel…

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I made corn on the grill last night! I’ve done it many times before, but when I told my brother, who is a great cook, 

                                                and also the daddy of this little cutie:


about the recipe, he shared his doubts. Actually, he started laughing and yelled over to his wife about about my “interesting” recipe. Well, that only cemented the notion that I needed to share this with all of you.

Let me begin by saying that corn is not usually high on anyone’s diet list because it is a starch. And “helloooo, butter”. The way I figure it, if I’m going to eat corn, I’m already off the diet for today, so I’m going to make it fattening good.

I have grilled corn many different ways, and they are all good. It just depends on what you are in the mood for. Last night, I was in the mood for this one:

Parmesan Roasted Corn on the Cob

Just a few ingredients turns a plain ear of corn into something delightful:



Fresh corn on the cob
Mayonnaise (we use olive oil mayo)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Chili powder
salt and pepper






You know, I don’t even really need to tell you how to do it, because I took pictures every step of the way. But just in case, let me summarize.

Clean the corn, spread a thin layer of mayo, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, then chili powder, salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in foil. Ta-da!!

IMG_0582 IMG_0585IMG_0583 IMG_0586

Place on med-high heat grill, turning often for about 15 minutes. You won’t be able to tell, but the kernels will be starting to turn brown when it’s done. I put them on for about 8 minutes before I put the steaks on. They were all done at the same time.


This is a nice, rich tasting corn, with just a tiny kick. Excellent flavor.

Now, to answer my sister-in-law’s question “Why mayonnaise? Why not butter?”

Well… I don’t know. The recipe said mayonnaise, so that’s what I used. For me, the taste of butter would be overwhelming to the cheese and chili powder.

Like I said, I grill corn many different ways. This is just the way I cooked it last night.

After I measured my neighbors’ bushels.

Wordless Wednesday…with some words…

I like wordless Wednesdays. It gives me a chance to show off some pictures that I have cramming up my phone. Let’s see, since you’ve alread...