Monday, January 31, 2011


I've been a little busy the last day or case you haven't heard, we have "Snowmageddon" heading our way tonight...the biggest storm of the year, and only the 2nd Blizzard Warning that Kansas City's had since 1982.


How old was I in 1982? Oh yeah...I was 20.

Dang - I wasn't even legal yet to buy alcohol then.

In 1982, I was a sophomore in college, and I'd have to "fraternize" in order to imbibe. Ahem.

Anywho, because tomorrow will be the End Of The World As We Know It (according to every television news station in Kansas City), Hubby and I have been batting down the hatches and refreshing our survival kits.

Full tank of gas in our cars? Check.

Extra food & water in the house? Check.

Extra gas for the all-so-important snow-blower? Check.

Extra batteries for the flashlights, candles, and propane for the camping stove? Check.

Bird feeders all filled for our little fine-feathered friends? Check.

Bring it on - we're ready to hunker down and ride it out.

In the meantime, though, the American Red Cross in the area is gearing up as well, in case we have to open up storm shelters. These would be needed if highways were to shut down, leaving travelers stranded...or if the power were to go out, leaving people without heat.

So - besides insuring that my own family is ready, I've also had to make sure that I, myself, am ready, in case I'm deployed.

Warm clothes & boots? Check.

Shelter skills all up to date? Check.

Overnight bag in case I'm spending the night - or nights - in the shelter? Check.

Bring it on, Mother Nature.

Snowmageddon? Snowapocalypse?


In all seriousness, blizzards can be extremely I hope all of my family and friends are safe and warm during the next 36 hours....


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Joy Amidst the Chaos

The call came at 9:40 a.m. yesterday morning.

A house fire...a family of four needing assistance from the American Red Cross.

"Can you go?" the dispatcher asked.

Of course, I replied.

I quickly pulled on my work boots and a thick, warm coat - as you never know how long you'll be outside in the elements. And the elements in the middle of a winter in Kansas City are basically cold. Really cold.

It was a long drive to the tiny town where the fire was...26 miles, I had plenty of time to reflect on what I'd be facing when I got there....

...what kind of damage would I be looking at?
...what kind of needs would the family have?
...would they need a place to sleep?
...would they need clothing?
...would they need food?
...and most importantly, how were they doing?

When I arrived at the house, I was initially stunned to see the extent of the damage. The fire had pretty much gutted the entire house...leaving a smoky, charred mess in its wake.

Black, ashy piles of insulation & debris everywhere...all swimming in puddles of water left behind by the fire nose was assaulted by the strong odor of burnt wood and plastic, along with other, unidentifiable smells...none of them good.

Pretty much everything they owned in the world was gone. Poof.

As I talked with the family, my eyes took in the scene, as well as their emotional state. It was easy to see they were still somewhat in shock...the fire had started early in the morning, in a bedroom...while they were sleeping.

The sound of breaking glass was what woke them...not smoke detectors, as they had none. They were lucky to survive.

Unfortunately, as we discovered as we walked through the remains, one of their cats didn't survive. The old tomcat lay curled up, almost as if it were sleeping...and the dad choked up when he saw it.

The other cat was still missing - and presumed dead - but the family still held out hope that it was just hiding amidst the chaos. I sent up a silent prayer that their hope wouldn't turn out in vain.

It soon became almost time for me to leave...they had a motel room to spend the night; they had funds from the Red Cross to purchase food and clothing to help them get by; and I had given them a booklet on recovering from a fire.

Oh, and hugs. I had given them some much-needed hugs.

As we walked to the driveway to where my car was, the dad commented on a snowman that was still standing in their front yard. The somewhat-melted snowman had sticks for arms, a carrot for a nose, and a bright, orange stocking cap on it's head.

"Well, will you look at that!" he exclaimed. "As close to the house as that snowman was, and he didn't melt!!"

"Amazing," I said.

The dad continued..."And look at that! I got me a stocking cap!"

And he smiled, as he walked over to the snowman, plucked that cap off of the snowman's head, and placed it on his own.

A bright, orange stocking cap...salvaged because it was on a snowman's head and not in the house...and it was a moment of joy.




Thursday, January 27, 2011

Death by Typo

One little slip-up...a typo, if you will...and now I've pretty much signed my own death certificate.

I've been exercising for the last few weeks, having my Hubby hold me accountable and vice versa, and I've gotten pretty confident on the treadmill. Perhaps a little TOO confident.

So, yesterday on my Facebook page, I posted on my wall:

...been hitting the gym pretty hard the last few weeks; my goal is to do the Hospital Hill half-marathon in June. For real this time - no chickening out! Who's in with me?!?!

The Hospital Hill run is considered the "Grandfather of all Kansas City road races", where an estimated 7,400 runners participate in a 5K, 10K or a half-marathon. Up many hills. Hence the name, Hospital Hill.

They're not kidding about those hills.

As of this afternoon, there are 14 comments on Facebook from various friends and family, all saying things like, "Woot!" and "Good for you!" and "You can DO it!"

The only problem is, I never had any intention of running a half-marathon.

I meant to type, "10K"...NOT "half-marathon"...6 miles, as opposed to 13 miles...(my dementia has really gotten bad the last few weeks...I think the cold temperatures have frozen my brain synapses. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

That's a 7-MILE difference!!!!!

If I do the half-marathon, I will simply die.


I've now got a girlfriend volunteering to be my running partner, so we can die run together. Only she's a true runner, so she won't die. That would just be me.

Well...the bad news is, now that I've somewhat put it out there, I feel sort of committed to at least attempting it.

The good news is, I at least know my date of death.

June 4, 2011.

Death by typo on Facebook.


P.S. My girlfriend and I did the 5K course back in 2006...and it was tough, because there ARE a lot of hills! Steep hills! So, I was 5 years younger than...but apparently wiser.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shoot for the Moon!

Little did I realize when I posted my tribute to my Mother last night that today, my father would demand equal time.

It IS his birthday, after all - so I guess it's only fair that he get his own posting about how much he ROCKS and how awesomely terrific he is.

If a stranger were to sit down with me one day and say, "Tell me about your dad - what makes him special?", I'd have to answer with the following:

My Dad has always been hands-on. There are numerous photos of us together when I was a wee, little toddler, where I'm sitting on his lap as he reads me books. He'd read them over and over and over again...which leads me to mention how patient he has always been.

And I'm sure, with three kids, that we tested his patience.

Especially my younger brother and sister, because, really, I'm practically perfect in every way, and so I am sure that I never personally tested his patience. Not at all. Ever.

Daddy always expected the best from us - there was never any question that I was to bring home anything but good grades - OR ELSE. I never wanted to find out what that "OR ELSE" was - because if Daddy was mad, that was a bad, bad thing.

Not that he was ever mad at me, because again - I was practically perfect in every way - so whatever memories I have of my Dad being mad are probably false memories....right?

Dad was my softball coach for many, many years...our team was named the Tuffy Tigers, and we were pretty darn good.

I used to think that was because all of us girls were so amazingly talented, but looking back, I'd probably have to give some of the credit to my dad's amazingly talented coaching skills.

Dad would never hear the excuse, "But we're girls...we can't play like that!" or anything similar along those lines.

Nope. Not at all.

He expected us to play like the major-league professional big boys - whether it was bunting, stealing, suicide squeezes, hit-and-run plays - or even switch-hitting.

He once had me switch-hit in a crucial game, and to my amazement - and probably his, as well - I hit a double. Huh. I didn't know I had it in me.

Dad kept statistics on every player on the team, and he'd analyze and strategize before every game...which led to us winning the city championship when I was 16.

I think the girls on the team worshipped the ground that he walked on after that. And who could blame them?

Yeppers, my Dad is pretty special. His expectations were always high, but he knew - with the right amount of support and guidance and direction - that our goals could, and would, be met.

Even as we've all gotten older and wiser and had kids of our own, my Dad still holds us to high standards...and that's a good thing. That part of him will never change - and I wouldn't want it to.

Happy 69th birthday, Dad!



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here's to You, Mom!

I need to go on record as saying that my mother the martyr is the BEST Mommy in the Whole Wide World.


She is.

And I'm not just saying this because she recently told my sister, who then told me tonight, that Mom's depressed because I've been blogging about her lately and my blog entries have been "snarky."

And here I thought most ALL of my blog entries have been snarky; I didn't realize that my Mom felt singled out for the snark.

It doesn't matter who or what I blog about - there's normally a little snark involved. That's the fun in writing a blog, actually.

And as my sister kindly pointed out to my mom, even the best comedians in the world will "snark" about their family and friends - and it's considered a compliment.

It's because we love them.

Certainly not because they provide so much snark-worthy material. Uh huh. Not at all.

So, Mom...if you're reading this - and I know you are - I love you and I honor you and I respect you and I think you're the best Mother EVER in the whole world. Really. I do.

And you always provide me the BEST blog fodder to snark about. Really. You do.

Props to you, Mom.



Monday, January 24, 2011

Puberty? Gah!

I think we can all agree that there are certain things in life that, for the most part, are extremely painful and to be avoided at all costs...

...such as...root birth without an epidural...bikini waxes...squeezing into one-size-too-small panty hose...

...and talking to a Girl Scout troop of eight little 5th-graders about puberty.

Yes, tonight was all about "Becoming a Teen" - just another fun badge in the Junior Handbook - and just another fun night with giggling, squealing, and screeching girls as we talked about role models, responsibility, peer pressure, and horror of horrors - body changes.


Actually, in all honesty, it went much better than I thought it would. The girls had tons of questions, comments and opinions - and it was interesting to hear their viewpoints on issues that are relevant to them.

And - the best thing...with my daughter in the troop, I really like being a part of her life in this way, and sharing in these moments. It's pretty cool.

It's going to be SO HARD to give up my Girl Scout troop when I move this summer. I'm already dreading it - as these young ladies have become such a part of my life over the last few years.

A little piece of my heart is going to be ripped out and left behind when we're in Florida, and my scouts are here in Kansas City.

I'll miss the talks and the laughter and the giggles...

And yes...I'll even miss the shrieking. Perhaps. A little.

Or maybe not.



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lucy & Ethel on Sorority Row

Way back in the Dark Ages, I was a fresh-faced, idealistic, somewhat naive, college girl...happily taking on the world of academics, dating, and fraternity parties...not necessarily in that order. Ahem.

During my four-year quest through the halls of higher education, as well as the various venues of fraternity houses, I had a very close-knit bunch of sorority sisters by my side, who were there for support, advice, companionship, and most importantly - Fun. With a capital F.

Most definitely a lot of Fun.

Two sorority sisters stood out - "V" and "L". We'll save the story of "V" for another day - as she deserves her own post, what with the adventures we had together.

Today's story is about "L."

L and I clicked from the very start - we were Ying and Yang, Fric and Frac...

...or, perhaps Lucy and Ethel would be more somehow, if there was Trouble to be found, we would find it. With a capital T.

For years, we'd ricochet from one adventure to the next, and many late nights were spent staying awake in the darkened sorority house as we'd discuss our boyfriends, our classes, our parents - and most importantly, our dreams. Such dreams we had back then.

Unfortunately, as what happens sometimes, after our respective graduations - "Lucy" and I lost track of each other. She went one way and I went the other - pursuing those dreams that we had spent so much time talking about.

Fast forward 25 years to the present day - and with the magic reconnecting powers of Facebook, "Lucy" and I rediscovered each other and planned a reunion for this past Friday night.

We spent a delightful FOUR hours over a delicious Indian dinner, laughingly trying to catch up on each other's lives...our husbands, our jobs, our families - and as always, our dreams. Only in this case, our dreams for our kids and our grandkids.

My, how times have changed - and yet, time had stood still. We slipped right back into the girls we once were - laughing, giggling, sharing, entrusting...

It was pretty special.

I've heard some negative stories about Facebook, but every now and in this gets it right.

Watch out, world. Lucy and Ethel have reconnected.



Friday, January 21, 2011

We've Got Squatters!!!

Hubs and I realized the other day that we have a very serious situation going on now in our 2nd home in Florida, that demands some immediate attention.

We may even have to call in "the authorities."

Our problem? We've got squatters.

Yup - we've got some people that have moved into our house and are showing no signs of leaving.

And who can blame them? The temperatures in southwest Florida have been in the 70's and 80's this week...while back here in the frozen tundra of the Midwest, we're shivering in 13 degree-temperatures and snowstorm after snowstorm after snowstorm. On top of below-zero wind chills.

It's a good thing I know and love these squatters. They're my parents, after I guess I won't call the authorities on them and have them forcibly evicted.

My folks live just a few miles from me here in Kansas City - but since it was their 50th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, we handed them the keys to the Florida house and told them to go south for a bit and have fun.

I don't think they looked back as they grabbed those keys and FLEW down to Ft Myers.

What, don't they like sub-zero temperatures? Not to mention all of the joy of shoveling? And shoveling some more?

My dad called today and said they're not coming home. In fact, they've got an appointment with a realtor this afternoon to look at property themselves.

Seems they've now been bitten by that Florida bug - and with a 70-degree swing in temperature - to the negative! - if they come home, who can blame them?

In the meantime, I'm sitting here, under an electric blanket with a space heater blasting - as they call me every day and brag about their trip to the beach where they were sunburned and how the palm trees are swaying in the breeze.


Gotta' love 'em.

And I'm glad they're having some fun in the sun.



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reminiscing About School

The fastest way for me to lose my children's interest is to start reminiscing about what it was like in "the old days" when I went to school.

Going to school in the 70's was different, for sure.

As a girl, I was only allowed to wear dresses - no pants allowed. On cold, snowy days, we'd be permitted to wear pants on the way to school - under our dresses, of course - but they'd have to be removed as soon as we walked into the classroom.

There was nothing so unpleasant as sitting on a cold, wet classroom tile floor, removing snow boots and pants and hoping they'd dry before donning them again in the afternoon for the trek home.

On days when we had Physical Education, we were required to wear shorts - under our dresses, of course - so as to protect our "dignity" from the yucky, slimy boys and their ever-present quest of getting a glimpse of our sacred underwear.

We would pay our 3 cents for a milk carton at lunch, which would be proceeded by saying a blessing and thanking God, in the classroom. And this was public school, no less.

And no air-conditioned classrooms meant for some really, really hot afternoons which led to some very sleepy and sweaty and smelly kids. I can only imagine what we smelled like when we came in from recess. Poor teachers.

In elementary school, I was a "walker". No bus for me. I lived about a quarter mile from school; our house was at the bottom of a valley - and the walk to school was up a seemingly HUGE, insurmountable steep hill.

Walking up that mountain every day - in snow and ice and rain - was never fun.

The neighborhood kids would joke that we were climbing Mount Kilimanjaro every morning as we'd trudge, ever so slowly, to our perceived doom.

When the school bell rang in the afternoon, we'd race as fast as we could down the mountain. If one of us would be so unfortunate as to trip - that would lead to a 1/2 mile roll, head over heels, down the rough terrain, which was never fun and always embarrassing.

When I reached the oh-so-mature age of 11, I was given parental permission to ride my bike to school.

It was quite a workout in the morning, but I'd be rewarded by the Best Bike Ride Ever each afternoon as I'd go FLYING down the hill - beating all of the walkers by a good 15 minutes home. Catching air every afternoon on that bike was SO worth the effort in the morning.

I once made the almost-fatal mistake of dangling my purse from my handlebars on the way home one day. My purse got stuck in the bile spokes - stopping the bike on a dime - and sending me FLYING over the handlebars - where I met the concrete, face first.

Ouch. Which hurt worse - my nose, or my pride - I wasn't sure. Besides the indignity of the fall itself, I was wearing a dress, if you remember. Everyone and their brother got more than a glimpse of my sacred underwear that afternoon.

That little tumble almost cost me my bike-riding privileges, until I convinced my parental units that it was a one-time only mistake, never to be repeated. Lesson learned painfully - don't dangle a long purse on the front handlebars.

I actually loved school. I loved the teachers, the structure, the lessons, and most importantly - the other kids. I hated snow days - which were pretty few and far between in those days. I don't think schools were as concerned with liability as they are now, and so it was a very rare day for school to be cancelled.

My kids have actually attended school a total of SIX days since Christmas. SIX days! What with snow days, holidays and teacher work days - they've been at home more than they've been at school for the last month.

When I start to tell them how easy they have it, they immediately groan and I can hear their little ears shut down and tune me out.

That's okay. They'll never know how their mother used to FLY down a mountain every afternoon on a bike - and in a dress, no less.

Their loss.



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Great American Smoke-Out

Been off the blog for a few days, as I've been recovering from a serious case of smoke inhalation.

Yes, I just about burned the house down Monday night while attempting to re-create a dish I learned in Culinary class last weekend.

If my kitchen had been an airport, planes would have been grounded - that's how bad visibility was due to the smoke.

I had to open up TWO doors in order to get a cross-breeze going, while running the hood fan AND the ceiling fan, and donning a gas mask.

All the while, I was frantically looking at the clock, knowing that Hubs was due home from work at ANY moment, and I really, really didn't want him walking in and thinking that our local fire department was holding training exercises in our home.

I would never have lived that I was "shooing" smoke as fast as I could.

At one point, I panicked - when I saw a dark shape emerging from the fog - but quickly calmed down when I realized it wasn't Hubs. It was just the Daughter.

"Mom!!!!" She exclaimed, between coughing and hacking. "What (cough, cough) the heck are you doing??!!"


ALL chefs smoke their houses out every now and then, I calmly explained to her.

There was no need to panic. Yet. We only needed to panic if Hubs were to walk in, I told her.

Fortunately, I was on call Monday with the American Red Cross - so if the fire department HAD to be called, and Red Cross services were needed, I was already right there. I wouldn't have to travel very far, huh?

Some other good news, is that despite the near-death experience, my dish turned out pretty tasty. And I didn't lose any fingers to the Chef's knife during the prep work.

And Hubs was a little late that night - so he didn't get to experience the full brunt of the Great American Smoke-Out.

I am so grateful.



Monday, January 17, 2011

What a Deal!!!

Being a self-proclaimed "Coupon Queen", I own not one, but TWO Entertainment know, those little books that have a zillion "Buy One, Get One Free" coupons inside for local shops and restaurants and entertainment venues.

I take those books everywhere - they've saved us a ton of money on admission costs to local museums, theaters & attractions.

Yesterday, before I zoomed off to my cooking class, Hubby and I were chatting about HIS plans for the day....

I mentioned that there was a boat show in town - and so perhaps he could gather up the kids and head on down to look at water toys and dream a little bit.

To save money, I remembered that there was a BOGO coupon for the admission to the show in the Entertainment Book.

Figuring I should mention that to Hubs, I said, "Oh - don't forget! There's a coupon in the book!"

Hubs, incredulous, then asked, " You have a Buy One - Get One Free coupon...for a BOAT???!!??"

Snort. I wish.

Dream on, Hubby. Dream on.

He was so disappointed when I explained that my lowly coupon was just for the admission costs - not a boat.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just Call Me Chopper

England may have Jack the Ripper, but Kansas City now has The Chopper.

Which would be me.

Okay, I'll I just know you're sitting there saying, "The Drama Queen has surely lost it."

After spending 3.5 hours yesterday in my new Culinary classes, I got home late last night, collapsed, and promptly fell into a restless sleep, where I was wielding a huge Chef's knife and chopping up everything I came into contact with.

Which, unfortunately, the only thing I come into contact with in bed is my poor Hubs, which meant he was getting the brunt of it as I tossed and turned in bed, all the while chopping and dicing and mincing and slashing. In my dreams, he was going to make a very tasty sauce.

Fortunately for him, all good dreams must come to an end, so at the crack of dawn this morning (on a SATURDAY, no less!), I woke up, got dressed, and headed over to Culinary Class for Day #2 of my cooking classes.

"Good morning, Chopper!" one of my fellow students greeted me as I sleepily stumbled through the door.

THAT got my attention. Was this guy eavesdropping on my dreams last night? Ew.

"Why did you call me that?!?" I asked, looking at him suspiciously. Creeper.

He explained that he had been so impressed with my knife skills from the night before - bloody finger and all - that I had gained a new nickname. Good to know it wasn't because I had been chopping up Hubs all night long in my dreams. Whew.

It was time to get crackin' in the kitchen, and this is what we started cranking out:

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Lime Yogurt Sauce & Fried Capers
Butternut Squash Risotto with Blue Cheese
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
Couscous with Dried Blackberries

And this was all done by 10:00 a.m.!!!

For lunch, we made the following:

Southwest Turkey Clam Chowder
Roasted Barley Salad
Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing, and Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette
Asian Salmon with Stir-Fried Vegetables

That's my salmon and veggies...doesn't it look delicious? Don't I look exhausted?

After lunch, we made a homemade Lemon Tart with an Almond crust. It was the easiest thing we did all day. And probably the most tastiest - although I'll have to say, EVERY SINGLE THING we prepared today was FANTASTIC!

Seriously. It was all good.

And one more day to go.

Which begs the question....

Who will die first? Hubs? From my incredible dream-knife skills?

Or me? From exhaustion?



Friday, January 14, 2011

Cooking Classes Part 1

The first night of cooking class, and only one finger was sacrificed.

Not bad, huh?

Yes, tonight I began my culinary adventure, with a 3.5-hour beginner's course in cooking.

And first and foremost, for any chef, is the knives.


We chopped and diced and minced - and although initially it seemed awkward, it eventually was a piece of cake. And actually rather fun!

And I really did slice one of my fingers - but what's a little blood when you're learning new skills and expanding your horizons? It only hurt a bit. Besides - blood adds a little flavor to the food, right?

We then learned chicken stock and beef stock, and then made three very delicious recipes: Chicken Chasseur, Rice Pilaf, and sauteed fall vegetables.

Dee. Li. Shus.

It's now 10:45 p.m., and I just got home - and I have to be back at class at 9:00 a.m. sharp. (ha - a knife pun. Get it?!) A full day of cooking - and again on Sunday.

Will I be exhausted?

Yes. I already am.

Will it be worth it?

Yes. It already is.

Catch you later, peeps - I have to get some sleep so I am ready to kick some chef butt tomorrow in class.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Frosty Sunrise

I guess there's some benefits to living in the midwest when it gets to feeling like it's 100-degrees below zero outside....

...a frosty sunrise on the lake....

This morning, a fog rolled in - and because it was so cold, it "froze" on the trees...leaving the following gift for me when I woke up:

It was gone within a few minutes, as the sun came up and melted all of the frost. But wasn't it pretty while it lasted?!



Most Stylish!

I woke up this beautiful, frosty morning to find that I had won an award.

Isn't that exciting?! I love awards.

Yes, today I found out I won the following award:

And this was awarded to me by fellow-blogger Brett, over at BrettBootyByeBye - go check out her Very Stylish blog!

So, I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself, but that's rather difficult, as I don't have too many secrets left after blogging for the past 2 years.

You're all nodding your heads in agreement - stop that.

I've pretty much let it all hang out - for better or worse - and so what 7 possible things could I share with you right now?

EUREKA! I know!

I'll try to mix it up and tell you 7 things "RIGHT NOW" in my life - so, here goes.

1. The book I'm reading RIGHT NOW on my Kindle:
"Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things" - written by some psychology professors that is actually very interesting.

I like psychology books and the study of behavior, and because I've gotten hooked on the A&E's "Hoarders" - this book is explaining a lot of what I'm seeing on TV. Pretty weird stuff.

2. What I'm wearing RIGHT NOW:
I've got on my favorite pair of blue jeans, a soft green sweater, and my favorite slip-on shoes. This is pretty much a standard "stay-at-home" outfit for me, because it is SOOOOO comfortable. (Oh - I have a pair of Cuddle-Duds on under the jeans. Go ahead and laugh - but they're WARM!)

3. What I'm listening to RIGHT NOW:
Actually, complete silence. The kids have gone back to school today (Yay!), and I am enjoying the solitude and quiet. Every now and then a bird will come CRASHING into one of my windows - but that happens so often here at the lake that I don't even flinch any more when I hear it.

4. What I'm doing RIGHT NOW:
Well, other than the obvious (blogging!), I've got the dishwasher running, a load of laundry in the machine, and I'm getting set up to host a wild & wacky game of Bunko tonight here at the house. I've got hordes of women descending later this evening to have some food and fun, and until then, I have some food to prepare, a house to clean, and most importantly - the Margarita machine to get up and running. Priorities, you know.

5. What I'm looking forward to RIGHT NOW:
Besides looking forward to the Margaritas tonight (duh!), I'm looking forward to tomorrow, when I start my Culinary classes. I'm a little anxious, though, as well - which is usual when I start new things. I think it will be exciting, though, and I can't wait to start!

6. What I'm watching RIGHT NOW:
No TV today for me - too much to do. So, I've been watching the fog as it rolls across the lake this morning, and watching the birds as they clamor around the (almost-empty) feeder. If I didn't have 100 million things to accomplish today, I would be watching "Good Morning, America" at this time of the morning - as I've gotta' get my news & weather fix for my addiction.

7. What I'm most thankful for RIGHT NOW:
Everything. Really. I am so blessed. Good health, a great family - I am truly living the dream, and I recognize that and I appreciate it. However....

I am MOST thankful that after THREE snow days, the kids are FINALLY back in school today.

I know - I already mentioned that. But, I'm so THANKFUL!


Now...I'm supposed to pass this on to 15 other bloggers...however, I could never pick or choose - and frankly, with Bunko here tonight, I just don't have the time. So - if you're reading this - then you are MOST definitely STYLISH in my book, and you can take the award for yourself!

Pass it on!



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Red Cross to Red Lobster

Hey - did you hear the news?

On May 16th of this year, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake is going to strike the heart of the Midwest. Yup - the dreaded New Madrid fault is going to rattle and roll and cause much havoc, as 7.7 earthquakes are prone to do.

Okay, not really.

But - emergency officials and organizations in ten different states are going to PRETEND that it will happen on May 16th, and we're going to participate in a National Earthquake exercise that day. And for the next four days after that, actually. A week-long exercise.

So - my time at the American Red Cross lately has been spent trying to plan and prepare for our exercise. Lots to do. Lots to do. And today was just another day spent at the office, trying to line everything up so that we are READY, Freddy.

Getting home from work a little late, cooking dinner was the last thing on my mind. (As opposed to eating dinner. That's always the first thing on my mind - go figure.)

So, I did what any loving wife would do when faced with a hungry Hubby and hungry kids.

I fluttered my incredibly-long eyelashes at Hubby and said, oh-so-sweetly, "Honey....? Let's go to Red Lobster."

And Hubby, bless his heart, has never been able to resist the incredibly-long eyelash flutter when executed by Yours Truly, and so off to Red Lobster we went.

My mind was spirit was brain was refreshed...from the magical and medicinal powers of the Cheese Biscuits that can only be found at Red Lobster.

Cheese Biscuits are the cure-all for anything.

Tired? Eat a cheese biscuit.

Depressed? Eat a cheese biscuit.

Frustrated? Eat a cheese biscuit.

And for dessert?

Chocolate lava cake.

You thought I was going to say, "cheese biscuit," didn't you?


So - after my cheese and chocolate - I am ready for ANYTHING.

7.7-magnitude earthquake?

Bring it on, baby.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Go, War Eagle!

My love affair with Auburn football began many, many years ago...but if you ask me why, I really, really don't have a good reason.

The best way I can explain it, is....

I once had a friend who once went to Auburn, and he was a huge football fan.

So was I. (Well...I still am. Even more so, if that's possible.)

Every Monday, my friend and I liked to play the Monday Morning Quarterback game, where we'd sit and discuss and analyze the past weekend's gridiron action, and I found myself following the Auburn Tigers so that I'd know what the heck he was talking about when he'd dissect their game.

Hey. There are certain guys that don't give us female football fans enough credit - and I wanted to be credible when I went into ESPN-analyst mode.

Before I knew it, I was not only an Auburn Tigers expert - but I was an Auburn Tigers FAN. Huh. Who knew?

So - although I will always hold the Missouri Tigers near and dear to my heart, I still root really, really hard for the Auburn Tigers.

Who just happens to have the Heisman Trophy winner this year playing as their quarterback - Cam Newton.

And who just happened to play in the college football national championship game last night.

Against the Oregon Ducks. (And really? Your mascot is a duck? Seriously? That always "quacks" me up when I hear that.)

And who just happened to win.

At the last minute.

Which made the game not only really, really exciting, and nail-biting, and heart-attack inducing - but also really, really freakin' AWESOME.

Go, War Eagle. Love you.

(And it is SO on my Bucket List to actually BE at an Auburn football game - IN Auburn. It will happen. One of these days.)



Birds of the Snow

If you had told me a year ago that I would become an avid birdwatcher, I would have quietly said, "You're crazy."

I was moving too fast through life to ever just sit back and take the time to watch birds.

Living where we do now invites birds of all species to our little nest in the woods, and it's become quite fascinating to sit by my kitchen window and watch them.

Don't ask me to identify them - I'm not brushed up on my ornithology yet - and so I have my own nicknames for them, which are probably ridiculous, but they work for me in my ongoing identification of our feathered friends.

Hubby was gracious enough a few months ago to indulge my wish for a bird feeder, and this feeder has been quite a hoppin' place, especially during the snowstorm we had yesterday.

These little yellow birds seem to having a bit of a conversation as they stop by for a nibble of some delicious sunflower seed.

Yellow birds are our most prolific and frequent visitors - they seem to think they "own" the bird feeder and will get quite agitated if another species dares to show up - as this grey bird did. And isn't the grey bird just beautiful?

The grey bird couldn't stay for long...he was quickly chased off by the yellow birds - here, they've taken ownership, once again, of the feeder. Hence, the yellow birds have now been named "Bossy Birds" by yours truly, as they really are the "alpha" birds in the yard.

Some birds, like this cardinal, just stay away from the feeder itself and catch the droppings under it - on the snow-covered ground.

When the cardinal's done, he flew over into a nearby tree to let everything settle...he was pretty easy to spot in the grey, overcast sky....

In my bird-watching, I've learned that if you spot a male cardinal, the female is usually pretty close-by. See if you can spot the male AND female in this picture...(hint: the male's on the left, and the female's on the right). Do you see them?

It was a really pretty day yesterday...with the snow peacefully falling, and the lake so very calm....

I didn't accomplish much, but that's okay. Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the roses. Or watch the birds, in this case.