Friday, January 30, 2009

The Week at a Glance & Stuff About Me

I haven't blogged as much as I would've liked to this week, but it's been a busy week; I've been working hard to launch my Etsy shop (not quite ready yet), tidying up for weekend guests, gathering paperwork for taxes, plus all the regular stuff I do every week. On top of that, I've been mildly sick with a cold and Wednesday we got over a foot of snow, and both our tractors were not working. We have our driveways plowed by the professionals, but there are certain pathways that Sweetie plows with the tractor. Luckily, after a modicum of shoveling and maximum cussing and fussing (by me) one of the tractors was going. Good thing, too; they're predicting another big storm for Tuesday.

I've been tagged several times on Facebook this week for a "25 Random Things About Me" meme. Since I spent a lot of time thinking about it and writing it yesterday, I thought I'd share it with you. I'm not going to tag anyone. You can play if you want or not.

1-7. I borrowed from a previous blog post.

8. I love music... listening to it and playing it. I play clarinet and djembe drums. I tried to play keyboard with very limited success because I have a hard time making my hands work independently. Lessons would probably help. I got a vintage German concertina for Christmas which I hope to learn to play. I'm interest in trying a didgeridoo sometime.

9. I have a fear of falling since I fell off the gym rings in 6 grade onto my back. My whole body tingled for a few seconds. I'm not afraid of heights; I can be at the top of a tall building comfortably as long as I feel firmly planted, but a step ladder can terrify me if it feels precarious.

10. I never wanted children until I was 34, which coincided with my marriage to Sweetie. I didn't think I'd be a good mother... that I'd be patient enough. Now, Pipsqueak is the best thing in my life. I can't imagine life without her. I loved infancy, toddlerhood and I love her present age. She's just plain fun to be around.

11. I love to cook, but I don't like planning what to make. If someone would just hand me a recipe and all the ingredients, I would be really happy. My cooking has evolved from standard meat and potatoes to actual cuisines: French, Mexican, Asian, and my new love, Moroccan.

12. I'm am so glad I live in a place where nature resides. I just came inside from putting food for the deer under the apple tree. I love seeing deer, wild turkey, beaver, hawks, owls, blue heron and the occasional moose or bear. I love to watch Pipsqueak catch frogs, salamanders and newts. I love hearing the coyotes and owls at night.

13. I wear a nightguard at when I sleep because I clench my teeth.

14. I smoked cigarettes for about a year when I was in my early 20s. It was an accompaniment to drinking. (My mother never knew, so if you see her, don't tell her.) I decided one New Year's Eve that I wasn't going to smoke anymore because it was too expensive and not healthy. I never had another one. But I would smoke the occasional cigar until...

15. The night before Sweetie's cousin's wedding, we were smoking Cuban cigars. I smoked too much, and I felt rotten the whole next day. Food tasted horrible. That was my last cigar, and it was 7 years ago.

16. I still remember my first French kiss. We were at his house with a couple other kids playing spin the bottle by his swimming pool. He was a very good kisser for a 13 year old. His mother had just been raspberry picking, and we'd eaten quite a few. I can't eat raspberries to this day without remembering that moment.

17. I started writing a novel a couple of years ago. It's a suspense in the style of James Patterson. I did the outline for the whole thing and wrote of few chapters including a really steamy sex scene, but I've put it away for now until inspiration strikes again. It's a pretty daunting task.

18. I love thrift store shopping. It's relaxing and invigorating all at the same time. I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores now. I get really good brand name stuff for next to nothing, like Gap jeans for $3.00, an LL Bean fleece for $2.50, and a Coldwater Creek dress for $0.10.

19. I used to drive around with my SLR camera taking photos on the weekends. The other day, I was thinking that I miss doing that. I took a few years off from taking photos at all and left it to Sweetie. I got a digital camera about a year ago, but I use it for my blog and selling stuff on ebay. I need to make the time for photography just for the fun of it again.

20. I've eaten of few strange things: alligator, pigeon, frog (they all taste like chicken), and sea urchin (skip it; it's nasty). I'll try anything once unless it smells bad, or it's still moving.

21. I never drank coffee until I was about 30 years old. My former boss got me into it. He drank Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and would try different flavors. It always smelled so good. I tried iced coffee first. It was all down hill from there. Now I drink a 1/3 caff cappuccino every morning made with our vintage La Pavoni machine, but it's still made with GMCR coffee.

22. The things that bring me the most joy: the sound of Pipsqueak's laughter or her saying, "I love you, Mommy," the feeling of her arms around my neck and the sight of her snuggled in her bed asleep.

23. Things that peeve me: people that think it's ok to wear "dress" jeans to a wedding, people that plunk their cell phone down on the restaurant table next to the plate like it's a piece of silverware and leave it there throughout the meal, and people that don't heed the turn off your cell phone and no flash photography requests at events.

24. I am never completely satisfied with anything I do. I always evaluate and over-analyze it, looking for ways I could have done it better. (I've come up with other/better ideas for some of the 25 things since I posted this on Facebook yesterday. I'm hopeless.)

25. I was surprised at how difficult it was to come up with 25 things that I was willing to share with everyone. Maybe I'm not the open book I thought I was.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Something Old Will Be New Again

Something has been bugging me lately. Actually, a lot of things have been bugging me, but I can only de-bug one thing at a time. I am in a de-bugging mood, so expect more projects soon.

Our dining chairs are family heirlooms over 100 years old. I love them for their soul and their profile... they're comfortable and not too big and clunky. However, (here comes the bugging part) the fabric seats are filthy. That's the worst one, but none of the eight are great. I tried a couple of home upholstery cleaners that barely made a difference. When we had our carpets cleaned a few months ago, I had them try to clean one, but the suction pulled up the candlewicking. Monday, I decided to remove the fabric from one and try washing it in the washing machine. I could see from the tack holes in the wood frame, that the fabric had been replaced a few times. While I'm fixing them, I'm going to tighten the support straps and check the padding, too. Some of the seats feel a bit saggy.

After washing, it got cleaner, but not as clean as I'd hoped. It was a lot of work removing all those tacks, so I decided it was time to find replacement fabric. I picked up some samples at Joann Fabrics yesterday, and held a secret ballot family vote. Each of us got to pick two favorites. And the winner was....

Both Sweetie and Pipsqueak had chosen it. I did not, but since I picked all the choices, I guess I can be happy with any of them. They chose it because it was the most similar to what we have. I, on the other hand, am trying to conquer my fear of color in decorating, but there are plenty of other areas where I can use color, like that ugly yellow kitchen floor that I can't wait to replace.

I'll post a photo of the finished product in the future.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Entertaining Friends

We do a fair amount of entertaining, but it's usually the out-of-town family and friends that visit for a weekend, and I tend to do very little local entertaining. I decided it was time to turn that around and invited some friends for dinner Saturday night.

I love to cook, but I also love to talk, so I didn't want to spend cocktail time chained to the stove. I also find it hard to cook well after I've had a cocktail. I made a delicious roast chicken called Poulet Provencale (recipe below), with roasted fingerling potatoes, and pomegranate and citrus broccoli salad. The chicken was in the oven an hour before they arrived, the potatoes went in the oven just as they pulled in the driveway and the salad was prepared and chilling in the fridge. The table was all set and I used my thrifted table runner from Zimbabwe that has all sorts of colors in it so I can mismatch the table cloth, place mats and napkins and have it still look pretty. I even loosened the reins and allowed our guests to bring something other than wine. They contributed dessert, which was all the fixings for banana splits.

I got to visit with our friends, drink a yummy Cosmopolitan (or two) without fear of burning something or slicing off a finger, dinner appeared effortless (and it practically was), and since I was making old favorites there were no glitches or unpleasant surprises. It was a great evening. I can't take all the credit; Sweetie helped with the preparations, and inspiration came from Sandy at 4 Reluctant Entertainers.

And now for the recipe (I made two chickens for 6 people and had enough leftovers for chicken burritos for 3 the next night)....

Poulet Provencale
  • 1 pound tomatoes (3 to 4 medium), cut into wedges
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges, leaving root ends intact
  • 1/2 cup drained kalamata olives, pitted
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced, plus 1 teaspoon minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 whole roasting chicken (about 5 1/2-6 pounds)

Preheat convection oven to 400°F for regular oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
Toss together tomatoes, onion, olives, sliced garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 13- by 9-inch or other 3-quart shallow baking dish. Push vegetables to sides of dish to make room for chicken.
Stir together minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, remaining teaspoon herbes de Provence, and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Remove excess fat from chicken and pat dry, then rub inside and out with seasoning mixture. Tie legs together with string, then put chicken in baking dish.

Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Let chicken stand 10 minutes before carving. Serve with vegetables and pan juices.

Friday, January 23, 2009

That's My Bag

Today, I got tagged for a meme by Mama Bee at Mom to Bee. This one sounds like fun, and I get to show off something I love.

Here’s what you/I have to do:

1) Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late, and you can't go digging through the bowels of your closet for the cutest bag you have. So what if it's ugly; we'll love you anyway. It should be the bag you carried today or the last time you left the house.

2) Tell us how much it cost. Go ahead, and slay us with your frugality and your ability to grab a good deal. Or if you decided to pony up a lot of money, good for you, girl... you deserve it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.

(3) Tag some of your people. And link back to me, so everyone knows why we're having this little show and tell.

So without further ado, here is my bag...
I got it for about $10 from Old Navy a few years ago. Since it's fleece, it's a winter-only bag. It's super roomy so I can toss in a small book or my mail. I get so many comments on it, and it makes me feel hip even though I'm somebody's mother. It's really hard to be hip when it's below zero, and I'm dressed so I resemble the Michelin Man.

Since Mama Bee shared her contents, I thought I would mine (a little show me yours, I'll show you mine).

  • my newly organized wallet
  • a pen
  • my cellphone
  • some feminine products ('cause you never know)
  • a miniature deck of playing cards (in case Pipsqueak exceeds her patience level while we're waiting for something)
  • lipstick
  • chapstick
  • an emery board
  • dental floss
  • pumpkin spice scented hand lotion
  • and my matching zebra print gloves.
Somewhere I have a scarf that matches this bag and gloves, but I couldn't find it today in the avalanche-prone area that is known as our coat closet. That will have to be an area of re-organization soon.

I'm glad I didn't get this meme a couple of weeks ago before I cleaned out my bag. There was probably six months of receipts, three or four old grocery lists, a salon's worth of hair accessories, postage stamps, and who knows what else.

And now for the tagging...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Monty Moment

With another arctic blast on the way tomorrow, and me, still nearly frozen in place from the last one, I'm not in a good state of mind to write anything mildly amusing or informative. Instead, I will let pictures speak for me and entertain you with corgi cuteness.

If there is meat on the counter, he likes to be as close as possible. Those short legs only take him so far. He is using good manners and sitting.

And once you've taken care of the inside of his tummy, he likes attention to the outside with a good scratch.

I'm not sure why he decided to put his butt on the pillow, but he looks like it feels good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What's In Your Wallet?

I received updated health insurance cards and new membership cards to a couple of local museums in the mail, and when I went to put them in my wallet, I realized I couldn't find anything except my major credit card. It wasn't that anything was missing, it was just there were so many.... department store credit cards, loyalty cards, membership cards, frequent shopper cards.
I pulled everything, reorganized and managed to eliminate three or four cards. I also unloaded a piggy bank's worth of change I was carrying around. Now every time I grab my purse, it's so light that I feel like something is missing, but it's all there and where I can find it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Moment in History

As I sit here and watch the inauguration of Barack Obama, I'm awash with emotions... hope and pride being those in the forefront. There is a sea of hope in National Mall and across the nation today; people waving American flags, and maybe for the first time in many months or even years, feeling proud to be an American.
For many, Barack Obama was not the choice, but today, we are not Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives; we are Americans who come together to support a man with a job in before him... a job that most of us would never want to have. He takes office at low point in our history, and he is faced with so much... a tanking economy, war, terrorism and a monstrous deficit. Just tackling one of those would bring most us to our knees. Can he turn this around? I'm certain that it will take considerable time and it won't come without trial and error. He is human, after all, and not a God. Tomorrow the ceremonies and balls will be over. He will step in the oval office for the first day of work and be handed the daily defense reports. Our safety will be in his hands. He seems like a friendly man, approachable and even magnetic. Peace seems very important to him, and he puts forth an outer calm that makes us believe it's possible. In his inauguration speech, he said that everyone would be met with an open hand, if they would unclench their fist. He sets an example for us as a peacekeeper, a father, a husband and a leader.
Today is a moment in history. The children of the future will learn that this was the day of the first black American president. Today is the day that Martin Luther King's dream came true. It's not so long ago that black people were fighting for the right to vote. For the first time in their lives, black children can believe that they can be anything they want to be, even the President of the United States. Every child should have that kind of hope.

And now, I'll get down from my political soapbox to which I will probably not return for many years. I do not typically have strong political convictions, but whether it is the state of the nation or excitement of President Obama's campaign, something in me woke up and I cared what happened. I think that happened to a lot of people.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunshine Martini

... but first, I have to talk about the weather. It's cold, and not just your regular, "brrr, it's chilly!" cold. This is frigid, run-from-the-house-to-the-car cold. How cold is it?
Yes, that's a "-" in front of that 13. Down in the valley, as I was taking Pipsqueak to school, it was 20 below. I was told yesterday that cold air settles in the valleys, hence the colder temps. One of the lunch ladies was right inside the door, passing cups of hot chocolate to everyone as they came in. But enough about that... it'll warm up.... someday.

In the meantime, we have all these oranges, and if I have a drink in the evening, I can forget for a few minutes how cold it is outside. I created what I named a "Sunshine Martini" the other night.
In a shaker half-filled with ice, put:

  • 2 oz. Absolut Mandarin
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 oz. triple sec
Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with orange zest.
It's one of those sneaky drinks where you don't think you're drinking alcohol... until you try to stand. up.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blogging Etiquette - A Cry for Help

I've been feeling my way around this new world, learning the ropes and trying not to offend anyone in the process. Every once in awhile, I read about some one's blogging faux pas, and feel relieved that I hadn't done that specific unthinkable myself.

I do have a question, and maybe all you seasoned bloggers out there could enlighten me because I want to do right by all the wonderful people who read and comment. If someone comments on your blog, should you:

a) respond to them in the your comments section?
b) respond to them personally if you have access to their email?
c) read their blog and periodically comment when you have something to say?

I've been doing c, but I'm hoping my commenters aren't feeling slighted or unappreciated.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blogging to Save You Money

Have you joined Ebates yet? If you do much online shopping, you should. Here's how it works...

Set up an account with them here, and before you visit an online merchant, go to your account at to see if the merchant is listed. If so, click on the merchant and shop away. You can earn up to 26% cash back every time you shop online (typical cash back is 2-4%, but there are double cash back specials periodically). You can shop at over 1000 stores including Barnes &, Gap, Target, and Expedia. Plus you get additional savings with exclusive coupons, free shipping offers, and limited-time sales. When you sign up, you get a $5 bonus when you make your first purchase. When you refer five friends that make qualifying purchases, you get another $5 (up to $30).

And thanks to Allison over at A Day Late and A Dollar Short, I have this great offer for you TODAY ONLY. You can get a full sized bottle of a Sauve body or hair product. Go to and click on the Suavenomics button at the top of the page.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Worst Part First

I started the day by doing something I really didn't want to do, but I did it and got it out of the way so it wouldn't be hanging over my head, preventing me from enjoying anything else. In our house, that known as doing the worst part first.

That expression came from my late father-in-law. When Sweetie was a kid and wanted to go to the sledding hill, his father loaded the kids in the car and gave them a choice... did they want him to drop them off at the top of the hill or the bottom... Did they want to do the worst part first, which would be climbing the hill. He would, of course, pick them up in the same spot they were dropped off, because it would have been too easy for them if he dropped them off at the top and picked them up at the bottom.

I did something similar as a kid. When I was served a plate a food, and there was something on it that I really liked, I would eat that last. Doing the worst part first is a a good rule to live by, and we're teaching it Pipsqueak. She does it more times than not now. Hopefully, it will prevent her from procrastinating when it comes to unpleasant tasks.

Do you do the worst part first?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hapless Cook Wins Lesson from Martha Stewart

My aunt sent me an article in the mail about a woman who won a cooking lesson from Martha Stewart. In order to win, you had to write an essay about what an inept cook you are. Here is the winning entry courtesy of Kelley McDade, age 32 of Springfield, PA:

Recipe for Disaster

1 cup burnt pudding
4 hamburger hockey pucks
2 cakes with Grand Canyon size craters
1 rolling pin covered in dough
2 pounds meatloaf "surprise"
one-half cup brownies stuck to pan
3 T congealed cheese sauce
Take one average female and remove all traces of inherited cooking ability, making sure to dispose of the Pennsylvania Dutch delicacies and rich Italian indulgences her grandmothers are famous for. Add a dash of not-a-clue and mix well. Let rise for 32 years, then add one fiance and one house perfect for entertaining, mixing well after each. Once the panic has clearly risen to the surface, skim with a melted spatula and discard. Place mixture in slow cooker and add ineptitude, high standards and perfectionism. Cook at high temperature until ego is tender. Serve immediately in heaping bowls of frustration. To garnish, take to Martha Stewart for a cooking lesson.

She's a good humor writer; I'll give her that, but once I was done laughing, I found it a little sad. How can a 32 year old woman not know how to cook. Is it fear, laziness, disinterest, or is it possible to be so inept at cooking that if it doesn't require opening a box first, it's impossible. This woman crochets, sews and cross stitches, so obviously she can follow instructions. That's all a recipe really is, a list of step-by-step instructions. It doesn't require any magic.

During her cooking lesson, she roasted a chicken. Martha asked her if she'd ever put her hand inside a chicken. She had not. Doesn't that sound like she hasn't really tried? Then she put the chicken breast side down, so Martha filled her in on the anatomy of the bird.

Reading this made me reflect on how I learned to cook. I used to watch my mother as a child. She make delicious meals in the pressure cooker, like pork chops with potatoes and carrots and beef stew. We made donuts, cakes and cookies together. Our meals were half home cooking and half out of the box; we would eat tv dinners, hamburger helper, and beans and hot dogs. I did grow up during the birth of prepared foods, after all. All through it, I was paying attention. When I a teenage, I tried cooking alone: lasagna, fruit pies and brownies mostly. Once I moved out, it was all up to me, but I never felt like I was floundering. I was armed with a Betty Crocker cookbook, lots of determination and a little know-how.

My cooking has evolved over the years. My first husband was a strictly meat and potatoes guy; anything beyond that was unappreciated, if not discouraged. Now, I have a very appreciative and experimental audience, so I try foods from many cuisines as well as old fashioned home cooking. Cooking has become a hobby to me instead of just a necessity. Between planning, shopping and actual preparation, I spend a little more than 8 hours on meals for the family.

Have I had flops? Oh, have I! Recipes aren't always right, or perhaps it's my interpretation of them. There was a pasta dish that was so spicy it was inedible, meat that was too tough and tasteless chicken. But I have plenty of hits... perfectly liquid molten chocolate cakes, savory soups and stews, and succulent, flavorful foods.

I get Pipsqueak involved in the cooking whenever I don't have time pressures. She seems engaged by it, and has invented her own drinks and desserts. At age 6, she can make scrambled eggs from start to finish and make a sandwich. I hope she is getting early foundation for knowledge and love of cooking.
As for Ms. McDade, I wish her well, but I don't think one lesson from Martha Stewart will a competent cook make. It takes a lifetime of trials and errors, and an interest that I don't believe she has. Lucky for her, her fiance cooks.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More Than One Way to Look At It

Instructions can be confusing sometimes, but it never occurred to me how befuddling kids might find them...

Pipsqueak got a Smithsonian crystal growing kit as a gift, and being all about "shiny" and "sparkly", this was pretty exciting for her. She said, "Look at all the crystals we can grow! We're going to be rich!" I decided not to burst her happy bubble, and tell her they were worthless.

Sweetie supervised the process and read the instructions aloud, so she would understand what we had to do and what would happen. A week or ten days later, it was time to see what had grown. Pipsqueak was squinting and turning her head and acting like she was afraid of it. When questioned, she said, "I can't look at it!"

"Why?" we asked.

"Because the instructions said, 'No eye contact,'" she stated.

Once we got done giggling, we explained that it was really to "avoid contact with eyes."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Life Gives You Oranges....

make Orange Chicken.
Serves two to three.

1 large navel orange
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 to 4 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (keep whites and greens separate)

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zest from the orange in long, wide strips. If necessary, remove any large patches of bitter white pith from the zest strips with a paring knife. Juice the orange into a small bowl and mix with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes.

Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 tsp. of the salt. In a mini chopper or food processor, process the egg whites, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt until smooth. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch batter.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or large stir-fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Using tongs, transfer about half the chicken to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, flipping every minute or so, until the chicken browns and crisps all over and is firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. With clean tongs, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet (or 2 Tbs. oil if the pan seems very dry) and repeat the cooking process with the remaining chicken; transfer to the plate.

Put the orange zest strips in the skillet and cook, stirring, until they darken in spots, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir the orange juice mixture and add it to the pan. Let it boil for about 10 seconds and then add the chicken and the scallion whites. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce reduces to a glaze and the chicken is just cooked through (check by cutting into a thicker piece), 1 to 2 minutes. If the chicken isn't cooked through but the glaze is cooking away, add a couple tablespoons of water and continue cooking. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens.


A few of you have admired my Wearever juicer. You can own this useful bit of nostalgia, too (although yours will lack the sentimentality and soul of a family heirloom). Ebay has a slew of them here (well, actually 10 of them right now, but that might qualify as a moderate slew).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sunshine in a Box

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog posts. It seems like a long time since I've done a normal post, but here I am with the holidays packed away in boxes and the tires of my life back in their tracks.

Speaking of boxes, our co-operative market is having their annual citrus sale this week... cases and cases of grapefruits, pink and white, and naval, cara cara, juice and blood oranges, all at rock bottom prices. This might be the highlight of January for me for two reasons: I love food, and I love a great deal. I picked up a case of pink grapefruit and a case of juice oranges, but I'm going back for another case of juice oranges on Friday. I feel like 100 of them just won't be enough. Fresh squeezed is the only orange juice I'll drink; I'd rather not have any than drink the stuff from concentrate. It's too bitter and acidic tasting.

We have a juicer attachment for our Kitchenaid Mixer, which I'd probably use if I was going to make a pitcher of juice. But for a glass or two, I prefer this vintage Waring hand juicer that my mother passed down to me. Just put a half an orange in the and pour. A little pulp can get by, but I don't find it offensive when I have a glass of this sweet, sunny nectar.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My 100th Post

I wanted to do 100 of something, for my one-hundredth post, but all my ideas seemed so daunting…. 100 things about me (I’m not sure I know that many), 100 life goals (might be too ambitious and depressing)… coming up with 100 of anything is hard. A few years ago for Valentine’s Day, I gave Sweetie a jar with 100 slips of paper on each of which there was something I loved about him. I love that guy to pieces but it was hard to come up with stuff after about 75.

Lucky for me, the answer to my post just fell in my lap. I was reading Becky’s blog where she was having trouble with trolls. (I’d never heard of trolls, but now that I have, I’m sure I don’t want them.) Mama Bee’s comment caught my interest, and while perusing her entertaining blog, I found these 100 statements. The ones in bold are the ones I have done.

1. Started your own blog (only 99 posts ago)
2. Slept under the stars (I was in a lean-to, but it was 3 sided so I could see the stars.)
3. Played in a band (high school band and now community band… not too rockin’, huh?)
4. Visited Hawaii (my honeymoon)
5. Watched a meteor shower (we laid on the lawn under blankets in the wee hours)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. (That would be really hard for me. It goes against my mindset to do anything I can’t afford.)
7. Been to Disneyland (It was Disneyworld, actually x 2.)
8. Climbed a mountain. (Not big, scary mountains, but I’ve done modest mountains that take nearly the whole day round-trip.)
9. Held a praying mantis (Looked at one up close, but I didn’t hold it.)
10. Sang a solo. (Not when anyone was listening.)
11. Spent the night in a hospital (only when Pipsqueak was born)
12. Visited Paris. (Been to France, but we stuck to the country.)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (We were safely moored in a harbor, but we watched it from the sailboat… horizontal lightening… it was fierce.)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (Lots… painting, jewelry making, knitting; I’m always experimenting with art.)
15. Adopted a child (Lots of animals, but no children.)
16. Had food poisoning (I’ll skip the details.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (Just floated by in a boat.)
18. Grown your own vegetables (every year that the weeds don’t win.)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train (I was so uncomfortable; if you ever do this, book a sleeper car)
21. Had a pillow fight (when I was a teenager)
22. Hitchhiked (Are you kidding me? With rapists and kidnappers out there? No way!)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (If any of my former bosses are reading this, it was NOT while I was working for YOU.)
24. Built a snow fort (we built an awesome one last year
25. Held a lamb (I hugged one, so I think that’s close enough.)
26. Gone skinny dipping (but never in daylight)
27. Run a marathon (Nope… only felt like I have.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (It’s on my short list of places to go.)
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar). (possibly twice, but one may have been a partial)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (saw a lot of sunrises when I was pregnant and later as the mother of an infant)
31. Hit a home run (I’m lucky to hit the ball. An athlete, I am not.)
32. Been on a cruise. (I’d rather just pick an island, stay there and explore.)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (I was underwhelmed. I thought it would be bigger.)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (As long as I don’t go back more than 100 years.)
35. Seen an Amish community (but I was in high school and didn’t appreciate it enough… I need to go again.
36. Taught yourself a new language (I make sure I learn restaurant language for any country I visit. I don’t want to go hungry.)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (We took the photos pretending to push it over instead of hold it up. We're that kind of people.)
39. Gone rock climbing (This is not going to happen. I have a fear of falling.)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (on my first vacation with Sweetie)
46. Been transported in an ambulance (and I hope I never will)
47. Had your portrait painted (it was just a caricature)
48. Gone deep sea fishing (not often enough… it is so fun)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (see answer to #12)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (just snorkeling in KeyWest, the Bahamas, Hawaii and St. John)
52. Kissed in the rain (The first time Sweetie kissed me it was raining.)
53. Played in the mud (every spring in the garden)
54. Eaten in a restaurant alone (it's a great opportunity for people watching and eavesdropping... just pretend you're reading a book)
55. Been in a movie (I assume this doesn’t mean “home” movie.)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (I was an Avon lady once. I’m working on starting a business now.)
58. Taken a martial arts class (not coordinated enough… read: klutz)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (bought Girl Scout Cookies?)
62. Gone whale watching (Twice, and it was amazing.)
63. Got flowers for no reason (from my Pipsqueak… she always picks wildflowers for me.)
64. Had your heart broken (only a few times)
65. Broken someone's heart (I'd rather have mine broken)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (Luckily, I was working at the bank at the time, so they didn’t charge me.)
68. Flown in a helicopter (three times)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (too many, probably)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (in high school… again, under-appreciated)
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt. (One time and I realized it wasn’t the craft for me.)
73. Stood in Times Square. (The first time, I was bugged-eyed with amazement.)
74. Toured the Everglades (saw a few alligators, but the whole thing had a commercial feel that I didn’t like)
75. Been fired from a job (laid off, but never fired)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (I’ve been outside the palace two or three times, but not for the changing of the guards. There’s such a crowd, I’m not sure we’d SEE it even if we were there at the right time.)
77. Broken a bone (Just a toe, two times.)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (two out of four car purchases, but I probably will buy used for the rest of my life)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (lots of times, but luckily not in the obituary or crime sections)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (see answer to #70)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I’m going out on a limb here, but the lobster was alive before I dropped it in a pot of boiling water)
88. Had chicken pox (I wish I could forget about this; I had a really bad case)
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (Oh, I really want to. How come the people that really want to never get called?)
91. Met someone famous (I sold a newspaper and a Garfield coloring book to Neil Diamond.)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (I wish this one wasn’t highlighted.)
94. Had a baby (it was the happiest day of my life)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit (I’ve been involved in more lawsuits than I can count; I was a paralegal for 11 years.)
98. Owned a cell phone (who doesn’t?)
99. Been stung by a bee (more times than I can count.)
100. Read an entire book in one day (I do this a lot. I find many books hard to put down.)

I’ve done 59 out of 100, but there are only 16 more that I would really like to do. Feel free to steal this one for yourself.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I don't like making New Year's resolutions. They are rarely kept, and I don't make promises or commitments unless I'm sure I can keep them. (We won't include my first marriage.) This year I'm only making anti-resolutions. These I can break soon and actually feel good about it. Here is an example of a few:
  • I will gain weight.
  • I will be sedentary.
  • I will spend more money.
  • I will attempt to make the house messier.
  • I will not try anything new.
  • I will not make any effort when it comes to my appearance.

What would your anti-resolutions be?

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