Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Check this out. If it's not clickable, you'll have to copy and paste. Totally worth it.

Mindy, I'm expecting something "big" from you!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stool Happens!

Went to the doctor today and am excited to try an experiment that could finally rid me of these pesky hives. I will be taking a series of 3 medications for 3 weeks to "kill" a possible bacteria that I might have. After my talk with the doctor, he sent me to the lab for bloodwork. His nurse gave me a little cup and something wrapped up in a bag for my "stool" sample. Having never done anything like this before, I asked her if there were directions. She said, "no, you just use this (pointing to the wrapped up "thing") and return it to the lab." I left the office, still unsure as to what I was supposed to do---many questions swimming around my head like, "how much, how do I "catch it" or do I scoop it out (I know, more information than you want to hear---well, now you know how I felt). On my way to the lab, not one to waste time, I figured I'd just go to the bathroom and get it over with right then and there and save me a trip. I opened the mysterious package to find a tongue depressor. Now I was really baffled. What was I supposed to do with that thing. Okay, I'll try a "catch". I sat there trying to "get into it" when someone knocked on the door. I said, "just a minute please". After that, it was all over, there was no way I could rush it, nor get it "moving" with an audience. I threw away the stick as I figured it was already contaminated by taking it out of the package. On to the lab for the bloodwork. They got me out pretty quick, but upon leaving, I said, "psst" to the nurse and motioned her over. I wanted to be discreet about my stool ignorance. So I asked her if I was supposed to fill up the cup. She sort of gasped and said, "oh, no! Just this much" and pointed to about 1/2" up the container. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. She then said she'd give me a bag to put it in. Imagine my distress when she handed me a CLEAR bag---not exactly what you want to carry your stool around in. Makes you feel rather exposed--if ya know what I mean.

Feeling confident that I now knew what I needed to do, I left and went about my day. I got home about 3 p.m. and decided to "try" again. It hit me then that I still didn't know exactly how to go about it. Everything went smoothly and I did a perfect "catch" with what appears to be the exact amount all in one neat little turd. I put the container in the clear bag and then in a Victoria Secret gift bag for good measure. I love the irony of that neat little "gift"!!! I just hope Butch doesn't try to "peek" in the bag---what a surprise that will be!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


The Christmas decorating, that is---well, at least for 2 weeks until we get our live tree. I actually started on Thanksgiving day, worked some yesterday and then got up at 5 a.m. to finish today---was done by 11:00 a.m. What a job. There was a time when I really enjoyed it all, but no more. Somewhere along the line, it turned into a big ordeal. I think it started with my Christmas closet 12 1/2 years ago when we moved into this house. I was so excited to have a walk-in Christmas closet as opposed to the pull-down steps to the attic in our other house. In fact, it was the closet that just about sold the house for me. But you know what, even with the closet, it's a lot of work---hauling up and down (with the number of times I go up and down these steps everyday, I don't know how I can be fat---it's unfair, I tell you). Back to the decorating---I literally have to put everything away downstairs to make room for the Christmas decorations. And I only do 4 rooms: living, dining, family and kitchen. Now with everyone out-of-state, it almost seems pointless. I don't entertain at Christmas like I used to. This year, we're having our friends for drinks before going to dinner and that's about it. I considered scaling back, but then figured the "kids" (big and little) would be disappointed. I must admit, when it's all done, I love it. But the actual "doing" puts a dread into my Thanksgiving like nothing else. And the "taking down" puts a damper on my Christmas. For a couple of hours this morning, it was actually quite pleasant. I put on Christmas music, lit a candle, and made my tea. Working while it's still dark outside is really fun to me. I've always enjoyed those quiet hours in the morning.

I have some ladies that decorate the outside of the house and then decorate my banister in the entry with garland, tulle, white lights, foliage and ornaments. It looks awesome and can't imagine how long it would take if I had to do all of that too. But this year, I guess they were in a hurry, because they left a huge mess. Usually they vacuum after they finish---even the fake stuff sheds all over the place.

Butch vacuumed the entire downstairs for me---huge help as I obsess until everything is done. I vacuumed the upstairs including the attic---AGAIN! Totally unfair! Remember, it was just this summer when I did it. Little did I know that getting a new roof caused such a mess INSIDE the house. But all is nice and clean and good in my world!

For those of you that have not seen my house at Christmas, I'll post a few pictures in a day or so. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mindy's home and you know what that means!

I'm cooking my heart out! Mindy starts with her food requests about 2 weeks prior to her arrival. I've been in the kitchen since 4 p.m. and now it's 6:15. We're having Rotel Chicken tonight, Chicken Pot Pie tomorrow night and I made a huge pot of spaghetti sauce for the road (meaning there's not enough meals to eat all the food she's requested, so I'm freezing the sauce and sending it back with her). It may be a lot of work, but I love requests. When I ask Butch what he wants for dinner, he says, "I can't think about dinner at breakfast!" In reality, the man never thinks of food---any time of day. So, that's why I love requests. If you request it, by golly, I'll cook it---even if my feet hurt from standing on these hardwood floors for 2 hours and may be possibly aggravating my plantars fascitis. I say, my family is WORTH it! I love you guys...

Monday, November 19, 2007

I can't have anything nice...

I've been whining that lament since my girls were little. But it really is true. I just got home yesterday after being in St. Louis last week. I was excited to see my newly finished kitchen. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with my window treatments---a bit too much green---the style is awesome. I've already figured out how I want them fixed, so that's okay. Everything else, custom-made rug, chair pads and other accessories were great. Today, I had a repairman here working on my French doors in the kitchen. I didn't realize he would be going in and out and traipsing through the house. We had rain this morning, so the patio was wet. I usually make myself scarce when work is being done, so didn't realize that he was totally messing up my BRAND NEW rug that I've only had for ONE day!!! After he left, I was just sick. Now the side by the door is dingy. I'm hoping that when it dries out, it will be okay. Just my luck.

Oh, and I'VE made a decision (notice the "me" in that statement). We are definitely going to move---I've had it. We got home yesterday to discover another pool leak. My pool man tells me that these problems are just the nature of a 25 year old pool. It's driving me nuts. I just want everything to be fixed and working properly all at the same time for a little while. It's always something!

P. S. Who's the wiseguy that had the dog gifts catalog sent to me?

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Finished Product

I couldn't get this picture to upload, so I put it in a new post.

My "Work" at Stephanie's

Stephanie asked me if I would organize and set up her scrapbook room for her birthday. I totally love doing that sort of thing---surprising since I was such a slob growing up. I think that I got the "genes" from my mom, but the practical experience came from my cousin, Chris. I never actually saw my mom organize anything---it just always WAS---down to color coded hand-made hangers (I was yellow) to the embroidered colored "x's" in our clothes (I was red---now I'm wondering why I didn't have the same color as the hangers---hmmm). But it was my cousin, Chrissy who came over nearly every weekend and sorted through the crap in my room and cleaned out my closet (while I layed on the bed and watched). I guess I learned something because there is nothing more fun to me than making order out of chaos! Little did I know that when I invited Chrissy over (and thought, "yeah, she'll do my work"---kind of my personal "bitch" in a way) that she was really teaching me. Funny how that worked out. Anyway, I owe her---for that and so much more! Thanks, cuz.

Now on to Steph's room. By the time we got to Steph's house on Monday night, it was pretty late. It took awhile to show me around as there was so much to see. Everywhere you move, they do things differently. She has these rounded corners on all her walls---looks really cool. Anywhere that should be a right angle is rounded. The walls also has a really neat texture to them---not that pokey stuff or stucco---sort of flat, but textured---if that makes sense. I should have tried to take a close-up picture. Steph??

Last, they took me to Steph's room. The room was a little smaller than I expected (really could only be used as a nursery---about 8x12 or so) and filled to the brim with boxes that overflowed and lined the hallway. In my mind, I'm thinking "no way will all this stuff fit". And, since the closet she had to store her scrapbook supplies in was so small in the other house, I couldn't imagine where she had all this. Right off, I had to have Bryan and her help me get some of the boxes out so that I could even begin to work. I was completely overwhelmed and doubting I could get it done. Of course, it was night-time and I always feel that way at night. In the morning, I can tackle the world.

Tuesday a.m.---no clock in the guest room, but I thought I heard a shower. I figured it must be around 5 or so and time to get started. When I got upstairs, I discovered it was 3:30 a.m. The perfect time to begin! Here's a shot a little way into the "before":

Here's one of the hallway, but by the time I took this one, I had already cleared out a bunch of boxes:

I made a few things for her room. I got this idea from the Pottery Barn catalog. Mine are smaller---I used 12x12 patterned paper attached to 12 inch cork squares. She can use them as a bulletin board (or not) and change out the paper as necessary.

I also had her give me her baby box so that I could incorporate some of her childhood momentos into her room. This is her Strawberry Shortcake doll collection. If you look at the pictures above, you can see a pair of New Kids on the Block boxer shorts hanging from the light. On the shelf over her desk are all kinds of dolls, books, toys and even her baby spoon.

Stepanie totally loved it---did I mention that I didn't let her see it until I was completely finished? Morgan helped me with a few things---especially dressing the dolls. Jordan and Morgan helped me in the dentist's office assemble some Quickutz dies. I just hope Steph will keep up with it and put things away when she's done with each project. There were a couple of minor things I didn't finish, so I left her with a homework list. Such a great room! It was a pleasure. Happy Birthday, Steph!

All totaled, I logged 20 1/2 hours in two days to get the room done. That counts an hour in the dentist's office too---had to use every available moment. I have to say, I'm pretty tired of hauling boxes down! Really makes me NOT want to move. Golly, we're back to ME again! And I realize I say "golly" a lot! Later....

PS I couldn't get the final picture of the room from the doorway to load. I'll have to try again later.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We are a family of color!

No, I'm not trying to be politically correct. We really are a family of color. It hit me as I was visiting Stephanie in her new home this week. When you walk through her front door, the first thing you see is a red wall in her family room that spans the entire 2 floors of her home. The girls rooms are colorful and so is Steph's and Bryan's room. My house is colorful, Sandy's house is colorful. Mindy's apartment isn't---but she doesn't really have a choice. She always chose bright colors for her room at home. Like I said, we're a family of color. More details about Steph's new house and my "work" there later.

Oh and MIdwest Airlines isn't half bad. They serve hot chocolate chip cookies that were "to-die-for". I guess it is an asset to be "pudgy" as they offered me a second one!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Watching and Wrapping

I'm watching the Titan's game and ---yep---wrapping Christmas presents. I love to be that person my friends love to hate at this time of year. But, I think my friend, Connie has stolen that spot from me this year. She started LAST week!! Go, Connie! I'll be back on top of my game next year!

On another note, Mindy was home for the weekend. I'm always so sad to see her leave. You know, sort of like that depressed feeling you get on that first day after vacation. Oh wait, when Mindy's home, it is like being on vacation! Or at least we spend as much money as on vacation!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Finally Finished!

Well almost. Just waiting on a few pillows. I've also included a close-up of the floral arrangement I made and of the window treatment so you can see those buttons! They have a little more blue than you can really see.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Recipe

This was my first attempt at making gumbo. Having Cajun friends provides us with pleny of opportunities to have "authentic" gumbo. But, I came across this recipe and decided to give it a go. I didn't have the required cast iron skillet, but it worked anyway. Patience isn't really my virtue but is required while making the "roux". Also, notice that there isn't a single spice or salt and pepper added. The flavor comes from the onion, celery and sausage.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1 (4 1/2 lb.) chicken (I used 6 boneless chicken breasts).
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, quartered
3 bay leaves

In large dutch oven place all ingredients and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Remove chicken from broth. Let cool. Chop chicken, set aside. Strain broth, discarding solids; reserve 12 cups broth.

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour

In a cast iron skillet, combine oil and flour; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until roux is the color of dark caramel---about 20 minutes.

4 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery

Stir in chopped onion and celery into the roux; Cook 10 minutes. Transfer to dutch oven with 12 cups broth. Add:
2 pounds frozen, sliced okra
1 pound Cajun smoked sausage cut into 1/4 slices (I used Johnsonville New Orleans Style smoked sausage---the whole pack).
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

10-12 servings.

An Attitude of Gratitude

November 1st---the beginning of the season of Thanks! I have many small blessings for which I am grateful:

*My vacuum upgrade. Margarita was so happy. I'm not sure exactly what she said, but I could tell by the smile that she was happy. I'm all about making the lives of those that do my work easier! For that I am grateful.

*The "water dripping catch tray" on the front of my refrigerator is kept so clean. Margarita again. For that I am grateful.

*That I DO NOT have to have a new picture for my passport. I think the gal thought I was nuts when I told her that I had gained 60 lbs. since my passport photo had been taken in 2000 and was wondering if I would get arrested. She said a lot of people gain and lose weight. I told her I was just concerned because my facial features are a bit distorted. I've never had anyone question my driver's license, so I guess "pudgy" is still recognizable as me. For that I am grateful.

* iChat, web-chat and those family members who Blog (all two of them---even the one who doesn't update hers very often). Seeing my "loved ones" gets me the fix I need to carry on without any family in town---unless you count Butch---I do get to see him pretty often. For that I am grateful.

*100 calorie packs even if they "cost $3.00 more and you can make your very own with ziplock snack bags for about 10 cents each". I told HIM to "go" for it and I would be perfectly happy. I'm all about giving myself limits and convenience. For that I am grateful.

*Christy, my nail techinician turned decorator who has the best drapery lady---and the lengths they'll go to to make me happy. Sitting here from 10-5 covering buttons (which they had to search high and low for to come up with something that would work) that I had to have for my window treatments because I just couldn't go with medallions and making sure the plaid lined up perfectly. Little did she know that I wouldn't have cared if the plaid lined up (I'll send pictures later---totally awesome). And the best part, she doesn't think I'm difficult. She said she likes that I know exactly what I want! For that I am grateful.

*A new recipe that was fabulous! The only new recipes I make anynore are the ones given to me by family and friends, so this was unusual. I'll share it with you later. It "turned out". For that I am grateful.

*And for all of my wonderful, quirky, family and friends. For that I am grateful.

*Oh, and I must not forget my new Solstice! For that I am grateful!