Monday, April 27, 2009

Mmmmm! Waffles!!

My favorite restaurant when we cross the California State Line is Waffle House, which we just visited on a weekend turn-around to AZ. I get a pecan waffle, but frequently also get the Cheesy Eggs and Grits (which my Aunt Jane in East Texas likes too). Walt gets a regular waffle and the All-Star breakfast. We both get a large orange juice for the illusion of health that if offers in a sea of fried and buttered and sugary foods. It is a typical, long, skinny diner, in which waitresses yell out orders and the cook prepares everything before your eyes. The food is always EXCELLENT...try it when you visit the southern half of the US! I dare you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pronounce it correctly!

I've written a lot of serious blogs, so here is a funny one:

A teacher told me about a friend who learned a phrase incorrectly. Instead of saying "in the spur of the moment" she would say "in the sperm of the moment" which totally cracks me up. Actually, I guess many children are in my Kindergarten class today due to the "sperm of the moment".

To those of you who really know just makes me think of "fresh-squoze orange juice".

Do It NOW!!!

I had a friend named Gina. She was my age, we graduated from different high schools the same year, we got married the same year...the only major difference was that she suffered from a bacterial infection that caused her to lose both hands and both legs to save her life. She also lost her hearing and had a raspy voice. Despite her ordeal, Gina was a single, divorced mom, a college student, a home maker, a school volunteer...nothing stopped her or slowed her down. Her wheelchair could go faster than my car. She wheeled to the bank, the restaurants, took an lengthy city bus ride just to get to Walmart or the grocery store. She was awesome. I say "was" because Gina died on Christmas night in 2007.

Here is what I want you to take away from this story. I bought a rose bush called "Gina's Rose" to give her for her birthday on May 1st 2007. I didn't make time to get it to her for her birthday. I kept procrastinating and thinking I would get it to her soon. She died 7 months after her birthday and I still had that rose bush sitting on my front porch. She never saw it.

I guess, maybe, I am glad I still have it. It is blooming now, and serves as a reminder for several things: 1) stop complaining because no matter how bad you have it, someone has it worse, 2) have some courage and quit thinking what people say about you behind your back, 3) enjoy every day and every moment, and 4) you really should go to the people who are important to you RIGHT NOW and tell them...don't put it off.

I think Gina's rose is beautiful...just like her.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Recipe of the Week - Banana Muffins

It is my goal to post a recipe per week. I hope you enjoy them! Today I want to share the Banana Muffins that we make when the banana skins are starting to turn black. I've never been successful at making banana bread, but these muffins turn out great each time.

Banana-Chocolate Muffins

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
2 bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup flaxseed meal (optional)
1 tsp. soda
dash salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nut

In large mixing bowl, blend together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each. Mix in mashed bananas and extracts. Blend well. In small bowl, stir together dry ingredients (flour, flax meal, soda, and salt). Stir into banana mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes, until tops are no longer gooey and muffins are browned.

I love the new silicone muffin tins...they are easier to clean and seem to cook evenly. At QVC they have a set of regular-sized muffin cups and one that is just muffin tops - and they come in fun colors. Consider buying those. No matter which tins you use, these will come out great every time. Also consider using the mini chocolate chips, or no chocolate at all - your choice.

Check back each week for a new recipe. Email me with any questions or comments.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Using The Scallop Punch

Check out my video for using the very versitile scallop edge punch from Stampin' Up! Email me if you want to order one!! The video was created by another demonstrator named "Sheilah" and you will notice that she spelled my name like hers in the title (oh well, my name has been misspelled most of my life).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughts on Growing Old

Those of you who are in your 20s will probably not understand this, but you should read it anyway because time will pass much too quickly and then you, too, will be in your 40s facing mid-life and contemplating life and death in a whole new way. My dad was a reader and a thinker. He had a tough upbringing and made a hell of a good life for himself anyway.

It has been nine years since his death. Mom recently found a little memo book that he wrote in(he always carried one in his shirt pocket and wrote notes and numbers and quotes and partial thoughts). He only wrote on the first few pages and the rest of the memo booklet is blank.

Here is what he wrote on the first page - it seems depressing and negative, and I don't entirely believe in it (yet), but it is becoming more understandable as we age:

Becoming Old Means:

1. Losing interest in life.

2. Accepting the notion that it's too late to change.

3. Believing life doesn't matter anymore.

4. Failing to set goals and commitments.

5. Losing a sense of surprise and giving away to boredom.

He must have felt 20 (like I do now) and wondered how he got to be old so quickly. He must have hurt more and had a body that responded less (like I do now) but had an active mind that wished for youth again.

If none of this makes sense to you will.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pool Please!

Here is my friend Jen, describing the latest verbal accomplishments of her nearly-two-year-old son, Joey.

Worth a Moment of Your Time

Do you want to see something cool...something that will make you feel happy? Go to the following website, read the text and watch the video. It is one of those rare things that makes you feel a bit of joy and reaffirms your belief in the human race. I'm sorry I don't have a direct link - just cut and paste the following web address into your browser, and enjoy!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mothering Sunday, complete with sundae!

Each year we celebrate "Mothering Sunday" which is British Mother's Day, held each year in March. That way, mom gets two Mother's Day events. This time, we went out to eat at Islands in Palm Desert. She will probably kill me for putting this video on the blog, but it will be worth it because 1) it was nice to see her go out and have fun (she has been quite immobile lately with a major back problem), and 2) it was nice to see her indulge in some dessert - a brownie sundae! In the British version, people return to their hometown on Mothering Sunday to visit their home church and spend time with the family...a bit less commercial than the American day, and a bit more cherished and sincere (or so it feels to me).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cat Scratch Fever

Last night, our cat Jameson spooked and ran down my head. Apparently, her right, back claw caught my face and created a scratch from my nose to the inside of my bottom got deeper as it went along. The upper lip is quite deep, and the pit inside my bottom lip where her foot landed is like a canyon. Walt freaked (you know how those facial wounds really pour blood). We decided to try butterfly bandages rather than go to urgent care. It looks a lot better today...the scratch looks better than the upper-lip hair, uneven skin tone, and adult acne - it sucks to get older! And, by the way, that "dot" inside my nose is the end of my piercing...nothing else!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our trip to the Living Desert

Sheila said it's my turn to post, so I'm posting. Sheila's on Spring Break, so I took a mental Health Day and we went to the Living Desert. For those of you who have not heard of it, it is a zoo in Palm Desert, CA that specializes in desert species. It is a pretty cool place, but you have to be mindful of the heat. Right now it's still technically "moderate" meaning that it's 85 degrees in the shade.

Desert species amaze me. Deserts are one of the harshest environments, and these plants and animals are adapted to live there. Humans either leave or turn on the air conditioner. A Fennec Fox or a Desert Chemise plant can't do that, so they have adapted to this inhospitable biome. I really did not realize this until I took a Desert Ecology class at Cal State. Thanks for teaching me better, Dr. Fehn!

So, what did we see? All kinds of stuff. One of the animals that best represents the desert is the Roadrunner.

Deserts exist all over the planet, and the Living Desert has representatives from many deserts. The Striped Hyena is from Africa. A very impressive animal and the enclosure lets you get up close.

However, some of the best animals are not the big predators, but the smaller critters. There is a special enclosure that has butterflies and hummingbirds. We found a female Costa's Hummingbird sitting on her nest. She laid the egg about a week ago.

Feeding time came when we were looking at the small foxes. One took all of its "catches" and promptly buried them.

All in all, it was a great, if slightly warm, day!

At the bottom of this post, check out the bonus video that Sheila took in the butterfly enclosure!