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43 posts from July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beth the Singin’ Chef is Ready to Cook – and Sing a bit too

Beth1.jpg Well, all of that pent-up emotion over the last few days has made me hungry.  So, since I am not a cook (unless it’s raisin toast, spaghetti, or a batch of fried chicken), I called upon my friend, Beth, who is not only an extraordinary professional singer – check out her site at Music by Jonevan, but, she is also an exceptional cook.  I’ve known this for some time now – actually, more than that.  I’ve known that she was a good cook since 1983 when I lived in a small apartment in Coral Springs, Florida with my 2 girls and she lived below me.  The problem with this scenario, you see, is that she was always cooking and the aroma ...

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sometimes the Pain is too Great


This story is about my beautiful daughter, Kathleen.  Regardless of everything else, this has been my place for sharing my life.  In many ways it is my daily journal and a place where I can share my enthusiasm for my life, my family, my children, my impossible homeowner remodeling experience.  But, for me, it is also a place where I can share my deepest sorrow.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Matthew the Maestro Pt. 2


My son, Matthew, is doing an incredible job learning the piano.  And yes, so is my daughter, Sarah, and my grandson, Glen.  But this post will be about Matthew, as I like to praise each of my children individually and on their own merits, because each are so special to me and boy do they know it.  Spoiled kids.  But hey, if you can't spoil your own babies, who can you spoil, right?  I do try to keep balance, though.  "Try" being the operative word here.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nell - Painting of a Dearly Loved Border Collie

NellinProgress.JPG I couldn't help but be affected by Nell's disappearance from her ranch in Oklahoma.  Ree (aka The Pioneer Woman) has been very vocal and honest about her feelings of loss.  So much so, that I know that there are thousands around the world, including me,  (and I'm just around the corner in North Carolina), who are praying that somehow Nell will come back home - safely.   It's been a little over a week since Nell's disappearance and even I am wondering what could have happened that she disappeared without a trace.  So to ease my own personal pain (which is obviously nothing compared to what Ree and her family are experiencing) and to hopefully give them back something special to remember Nell by, I have worked all weekend on a painting of Nell for Ree and her family.  It isn't quite done yet.  I still have some tweeks to do before I am happy with it.  But I hope they will like it and enjoy it. 

Nell.jpg I am a real mush, you know that?  I've been sitting in my studio all weekend working on this painting and listening to my favorite country music on my iPod and stereo and have caught myself tearing up.  I'm losing it people.  I am much too sensitive.  Oh well, I suppose that is better than being cold as ice.  Somebody ought to write a country song about Nell.  She is such a beautiful dog.

Above is the painting of Nell - in progress.  I still have to finish working on her teeth and mouth and tongue, and then make a few small value adjustments.  By the way, do you think I should add a soccer ball in the background?  Nell loved her soccer ball so much that I was toying with the idea of adding it to the painting in the back of the field.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think I captured her?  Should I add a soccer ball or would that be too much?   Maybe just a smaller one in the background?  I hope I captured her personality.  I can't decide whether to ship it to her framed or unframed.  Your thoughts?  The original photograph that I was working with is on the right.

"Nell - Painting of a Dearly Loved Border Collie" 14x18 Oil on Canvas, 2008


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You Gotta Have Goals

I'm an artist and a writer, and I have acquaintances and friends who are artists and writers as well.  But none have inspired me more than Maggie Stiefvater.  She is an artist and writer (soon to be published novelist) in Virginia who leads a very interesting life.  I follow her work and her blog at Greywaren Art and I just had to share.  She recently blogged about goals - her goals, our goals, and I was so inspired that I published it on Red Easel - my site for visual artists for which she is a member.  However, it was too good not to publish here too.  So, I share with you Maggie's take on goals....

Maggies_memory_16x16You Gotta Have Goals

Maggie Stiefvater

Professional Visual Artist
Published & Award Winning
Medium: Oil
Montross, Virginia
Maggie Stiefvater Author & Artist
Stiefvater Red Easel Gallery

"Memory" - 16 x 16" colored pencil on board.
Copyright 2008 Maggie Stiefvater.
My panel for the Equine Mural Mosaic (which is fascinating -- check it out)

Regular readers will know that I am in love with goals. If goals were a vegetable, I would pick bushels of them, eat them until I was sick, and then freeze the rest so that I could have a continuous supply of goals through the cold months.

One thing I have learned about goals, however, is that, like vegetables, if you don’t use ‘em or freeze ‘em right away, they go bad. Some of them go bad in a spectacular fashion. Like if you vow to lose 20 pounds at the beginning of the year, forget about the goal, and then discover Haagen-Daas ice cream sometime in June . . . not only is that goal to lose weight gone bad, but it’s bad like stinking in the bottom of your crisper drawer bad. With rotten goal juice eeking around it.

And other goals go bad in a sort of failure to stay relevant way. Like if you suddenly crave sweet potatoes and buy a ton of them. If you don’t cook all of them, you’ll have those few lonely ones left over. They’ll never go bad in a fantastically awful way, but you’ll end up throwing them away after eight months because you just don’t want them anymore. So goals should be checked often and the ones that are really timely ought to be attacked immediately.

So enough with the metaphor. I wanted to write a post today about New Year’s Resolutions. Stop staring at the screen like that, it’s rude. I know it’s nearly the end of July (yes, it’s nearly the end. The 21st. Can you believe it?) but they’re still a good topic. Because halfway through the year(ish) is a great time to pull out your Resolutions and see which of them are done, which of them are so irrelevant you’ll never truthfully attempt them, and which of them are oozing stink-juice in your veggie drawer.

Continue reading "You Gotta Have Goals" »

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fried Chicken Anyone?


No I am not a cook, but I do know how to cook some things that are fast and easy.  And when I cook, it is usually good.  (you didn't really have to notice I said "usually" did you?).  Well, tonight we had fried chicken, baked potatoes and tomato slices.  Hey, we're not gourmet around here.  And if I'm cookin' the family is lucky to eat. You see, we have a deal around here, Bob cooks and I clean up the mess.  Since Bob ...

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Our Little Soldier - Matthew


Matthew is our little soldier.  He loves playing soldier with Glen and with his friend Alex.  I can't tell you how cute it is to see a sweet boy like mine come downstairs all geared up for some army action.  Sounds come into play too.  What is it with boys and those noises that come from their mouths to duplicate shot guns, pistols, trains, trucks, cars screeching, pretending to be dying, and so many more.  It's amazing to me how distinct the sounds are too.  It must be a testosterone thing, because both Matthew and Glen do it, and none of my 3 girls ever have.  It doesn't matter what the boys are playing, some noise has to be made to compliment the experience.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Sleep Over Silliness


My daughter, Sarah, had a sleep over last night and we could hear the giggling and silliness all night long.  Well, maybe not all night long, but a good chunk of it.  Because Sarah had 2 of her friends who are sisters, staying over together, Sarah and Matthew and Glen opted to switch rooms so that all 3 could sleep in the same room.  You see, the boys have a big room (formerly known as the bonus room) for their bedroom and Sarah has a normal size bedroom with all her girly stuff.  So they switched. 

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sweet Tea Anyone?

I may not be a cooking connoisseur, as a matter of fact, I know I'm not, but, I make a mean batch of sweet tea now and then and thought I would share.  Because you see, I'm a Southern girl at heart and my family loves sweet tea - the good stuff.  Lipton with Sugar.  Real Sugar.  Not the fake stuff.  So here goes...

The Players:

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Easy.  4 large Iced Tea type Lipton tea bags
3/4 of a cup of REAL sugar (more or less depending on your taste)
8 cups of good, tasty, clear (not from the septic) water
1 large pitcher, but not so large it won't fit in your fridge which will make you cuss

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Bring the 8 cups of water to a boil in a pan that has a handle so you don't burn your hands, and your arms, and your toesies later.  Then, remove it from the burner so it stops boiling.

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Add the 4 tea bags.  Don't do this while the water is boiling or you will get some weird tastin' tea.  Don't forget to take off the paper tabs at the top of the string either.  If you don't, they will stick to the bottom of the pan and make for a very dissatisfying batch of tea.  I know.  I've done it.

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Stir this difficult concoction for about a minute.  Maybe 45 seconds.  Weeeellll, maybe 30 seconds.  Then remove the tea bags and make a good aim for the trash can.  If you miss, then shuffle over to the floor and the wall and pick them up, feel silly about your bad aim and remember how lousy you were playing basketball in high school, and throw them neatly into the trash.

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Add that cup-a-sugar.  The cheering begins!  Hurray!  Hurrah!  Alleluia!  Angels Singing!  Swweeeeettt Tea for the masses.

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Now stir it until all that sweet stuff is dissolved.  Your pan had better not be on that hot burner or I'm going to have to make you start over and you don't want that now do you?

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Please ignore all the crap piled up on our stool and the dishtowels slung over the side of our sink - pay attention will ya!  This is important stuff I'm sharing here!  Now, sheesh, I'm filling the pitcher with ice - all the way to the tippee tippee top.

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Next you holler for your Big Bear and ask him to pour the hot tea into the pitcher of ice, because if anyone is going to burn themselves, it is going to be him.  Plus, he is big and strong and he likes to feel useful during this tutorial.  Oh, and please ignore the pink rag on the counter that I used to clean up my mess.  I'm good at making a mess.  Unfortunately.

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Now doesn't that look yummy for quenching your thirst on this hot summer day?  I thought so.  But boy is it sweet!  Of course, if you can't handle all that sweetness like us Southern folk, you can adjust it to your liking. 

Delicious Sweet Iced Tea

Now have some will ya!  It's enticing, delicious, thirst quenching goodness.  Then go make yourself a burger to go with it.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Glen, the Computer Whiz


I have this little person in my house who comes to me with the funniest remarks.  As a result, I am creating a new Category called "Out of the Mouths of Babes" since my babes say the darnedest things.  Meet Glen-meister:   An 8-year-old computer addicted future techno geek whiz kid who wanted his password so that he could sit for hours glued to a computer screen and changing the background images and reformatting the disk. 

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Let's Get Organized and Buttoned Up

There are times when I run across something really useful, and this is one of those times.  I am all for staying organized, although you probably wouldn't guess that from the looks of my house.  So, when I find something - anything - that helps me stay a bit more organized, I'll swoop it up in a second.  Not only are these "Buttoned Up" products great, but they will reduce your cluttered mind and cluttered files, and cluttered receipts, and cluttered drawers (you know the ones - where you throw all the bills and all the catalogs, and all the receipts until that empty day when you can go through it and organize it.  When is that you say?)  Now.  It is time to get Buttoned Up and uncluttered. 

Here are the Goods:


It all starts with getting a life, right?  Well, this will surely help.  It's called iLife, and it will button up everything from organizing your essentials to organizing your life.  It even provides you with a little helper guide to walk you through the process.  There are 8 sections:

  • In Sickness & Health
  • Dollars & Sense
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Emergency Plan
  • Family Basics
  • Caregiver information (babysitters, elder care, house sitters)
  • Home Sweet Home

You can fill out the Life.doc® pages in by hand, or use the included CD Rom to do the data entry on your computer, and feed the Life.doc® pages into your printer and print out the completed forms.

There are 120 pages with tabs and a CD that is compatible with MAC and PC.  Well, forgive me, but I don't care about the PC thing, because I am a MAC user all the way.  I love my MAC.  If you don't have a MAC yet, your just plain not with the program.  Get with the program and click on that Apple link somewhere in the sidebar.  Oh, but first, check this out.  You want to get organized right? 

Here are some other goodies by Buttoned Up:


The Moving Kit.  I better not be moving anytime soon.  Then again, past experience tells me that the only time my house is truly finished is about 5 minutes before I sell it.  Does that mean I have to wait 10 years to have my house painted?   Lordy!  I hope not! 


Dates 2 Remember.  Now this is something I always need.  If I don't write it down - I forget it.  If I forget it - Someone calls me up complaining.  If someone calls me up complaining - then I feel guilty.  If I feel guilty - I hide under my covers for a day.  And, if I hide under my covers for a day - nobody will eat or have clean underwear.  So, I got this little book to keep underwear clean, my family fed,  and my head out of the covers.

FCCollisionKit2.jpg FCCollisionKit.jpg

The Collision Kit.  Let's get serious people.  You drive, right?  Well then, let's hope you don't get into one of these pickles.  You know the pickle, where someone rear ends you because they are talking on their cell phone with their boyfriend who just dumped them for their best friend's sister?  Or how about the guy in the truck who bends over to grab the soda can that just spilled all over his pants and seat and he runs a stop sign and t-bones you in an intersection.  Or, how about the teenager who wants to show off his new jacked up Ford Pinto by speeding down the community street, misses the turn, and runs head on into you - in your bright, newly washed, Mercedes.  Okay, well, let's hope these don't happen to you.  BUT, if they do you'll be prepared in a snap - with this handy dandy Collision kit.  Put it in your car - under your seat or in your glove box or in your trunk.  It comes complete with a camera too.  Now that's thinkin' ahead - and being prepared.


Valuables.  Do you have any?  Why sure you do!  How about that vintage necklace that your great grandmother gave to your grandmother who gave it to  your mother who gave it to you?  That's valuable, right?  Well, take a picture of it and put it in here.  Then stick this little baby up on a shelf where you can get to it if you need it.  And don't forget to grab it when you run out the door as your house is burning down.  Goodness!  The things we have to do to stay organized and burn free.

FCReceiptCatcher.jpg FCReceiptCatcher2.jpg

Receipts.  I have 'em and I hate 'em.  But they are a necessary evil if you ever get fed up with something and need to return it.  Or if you need the receipt for filing your expense report, because if you don't, then your boss is going to be reaming you up one side and down the other until you do.  Because if you don't get that expense report in pronto, then his boss is going to have a cow.  And you don't want your bosses boss to have a cow.  So you better just get this delightful receipt catcher NOW or you may be looking for another job.

Wooo.  That was a lot of work.  Now, I better tell you where you can find all this great stuff or you'll be really upset with me.  And I don't want you to be upset with me for keeping secrets. 

You have a number of choices here.  First, you can go to:

Gift Ideas That Help You Get Organized

Man, do I love Franklin Covey.  They have Buttoned Up.  Thank you Franklin Covey.  Tell them Susan sent you. 

Or you can check out Buttoned Up at their website:  Get Buttoned Up

Oh, and if you want to meet the incredible and talented women who created Button Up products, you can go here.

Hasn't this been an enlightening experience?  Okay, I've done my part to light the fire under your patootee and help you get organized, now it's your turn to get organized.  Oh, and when you do, please write me a note and let me know what you think.  I'd really like to hear from you.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Decorating Disaster

Yes, that pretty much sums up my home.  It's a mess and I am so overwhelmed, I don't know where to begin.  Color?  I'm an artist, and for some reason, I haven't got a clue what would look nice in my own home.  I can go into other homes and see the "wow" factor, but mine?  Forget it. 

My house has a mish-mash of bad decorating choices from 3 different households - ours, my mothers, and my in-laws.  That's because my mother has lived with us for 10 years and everything that was hers in her 2500 sq ft 4-bedroom home in Florida came with her when she moved in with us.  We've sold bits and pieces, but still have some pieces lingering around the house that don't match anything.  Then there is all the furniture and nick-nacks (aka clutter) we acquired from Bob's parents when they moved in with us in 2001 and lived with us for 4 years.  Everything that was in their 3000 sq ft home in Maryland that they had accumulated over 52 years of marriage was in that house, and let me tell ya, it wasn't a pretty site.   Getting that house ready to sell was an experience from hell and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  Of course, we still have some old pieces and a lot of junk that is still lingering around the house that for a while there made me a powerseller on ebay.

Bob's father has since passed away, and his mother is in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients.  Bob is an only child, so he got it all - including the bills.  But, we are doing our best.  My problem is that we live in a decorating disaster.  In a big way, this house needs a bulldozer.  An Extreme Home Makeover.  PLEASE!  I would love for someone to show up at my door and say "Hey Y-all, we're here to give you an extreme home makeover.  Oh, and a trip to Hawaii for a week, all expenses paid, while we bulldoze down this hodge-podge mished-mashed, wacko-tacky, house and provide you with a beautifully decorated, perfectly organized, clean, freshly painted, deliciously coordinated home.  Now get in the limo and we'll see you in a week." 

That is definitely not going to happen on my clock, I guarantee it.  I'm tired.  I look around this house and see so many things that need to be done, so many things that have yet to be finished, and so many things that make my head hurt and my bank account run and hide that I just want to pull the covers over my head and pray it all goes away.  I'm having one of those days people.  Can you tell? 

Let me just say that I realize that in the big scheme of things, this is insignificant.  Very insignificant.  And just so you know, I do contribute to charities and try to help children in impoverished countries.  And that is why I ignore it - until now of course, and try not to let it get me down or I really will start going a little bit crazy.  I just want my home to be comfortable and uncluttered, nicely decorated with pretty walls and floors.  I would love to have a yard that is green and has a nice garden.  I've had these pleasures in my life before and I miss them.  I'll admit I've been spoiled at times.  But I do spoil my family and friends back, so that should count for something.  I think.  However, I have been in a perpetual state of construction for 16 years and I just want to relax and enjoy our life and our family without all the projects looming over our heads.  Is that too much to ask? 

To give you a clear perspective of what I have looming over my head, let me show you.

Let's start with the kitchen.  We had to replace all the appliances and all the plumbing in the entire house when we moved in 3 years ago.  That was a mess.  But, we still have to replace the sink and the cooktop, the hardwood floors, and the island.  I have been refinishing these cabinets for 3 years.  Let me tell ya, if you decide to do it yourself - don't.  It will give you hives.

Let's examine this wallpaper.  Who is the nut that decided that green and red flowers all over the walls was good decorating?  It isn't.  It makes us dizzy.  It's depressing to look at - especially in the kitchen. 
I have come to the conclusion that if I don't shove it on top of the cabinets it will end up on the floor.
Let's see here.  I've got a few dirty dishes on the counter waiting for an empty dishwasher (which runs all day by the way).  I have white-washed oak cabinets (the original) and doors that are off for my 3 year refinishing project.  I'm starting to like not having to mess with the doors but the grease and dust settles on all the clean dishes in the cabinets.
See our sink?  It leaks.  See the vent over the cooktop?  It vents to nowhere.
See this island.  Gotta go.  Needs to be rearranged somehow.  It does not function well in the current layout, and it's ugly.  See the shoes on the floor?  Those are Matthew's shoes.  Such is my life.  Just dump 'em where you take 'em off.
See the water tank?  Isn't it pretty?
This is where we eat - sometimes.  In this case, the table is not a mess of junk mail and catalogs, baseball caps or doggy toys.  We must have had company on the way.  OH!  We did!  We had a very nice gentleman come over and give us an estimate on stripping off our wallpaper and painting our kitchen.  YAY!  And you know something, I am going to leave this post right here - at the kitchen door.

I don't want to overwhelm my audience.  Just so you know, my hardwood floors are chipped, warped, and dirty between the slats.  Gotta go.  So I pose this question to my friends and readers.  What color should I paint this kitchen?  What 3 colors should be involved and what should I paint the walls?  The cabinets are going to be a light creamy tone (you can kinda see it in the pictures what color I am painting them and they are antiqued around the edges.  The countertops are eventually going to be replaced, so I need suggestions for that too.  And fabrics.  What colors, patterns, whatever, should I put at the windows?  If I had my way, I'd rip it all out and start over, but let's be practical here, we ain't got that kinda money and never will.  Despite what you may think, we are cash poor, if you know what I mean.  Still, I can do a little bit once a month when my hubby gets paid and when I sell a painting.  So what do you think?  Purple?  Bright orange?  Olive drab?  Just kidding.  No really, I NEED HELP!  Suggestions!  Please!  My decorating side of my brain is on the fritz.


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Monday, July 21, 2008

Nell, please go home

I'm a complete mess.  As my family and I sat down to dinner this evening, I began to tell them the story of Nell - Ree's lost dog, and I began to cry and sob and blubber all through dinner.   For any of you who don't know who Ree is, she is "The Pioneer Woman" who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with her husband the Marlboro Man, her 4 precious punks, thousands of magnificent acres, cattle, wild horses, family horses, and numerous dogs.  She shares her life with the world on a daily basis, and if you have ever tuned into her story, you are surely hooked.  Ree has a spirit that resonates in every story she writes, whether it be about her family, her dogs, her horses, her children, cooking, or photography.  She puts her whole heart into it and the world comes back for more. 

Well, in the last 48 hours she has written 2 of the most beautiful articles.  Both touched me so deeply that I've been choked up since yesterday morning, but it's been a good choked up. The first was "Changes in Plans - a Recap"  The second was "Gone" about her dear lost dog, Nell.   Both will give you move to reflect on not only your life, but life and love in general.  Thank you Ree.

It amazes me how easily we can be drawn into the lives of others and feel so connected with them - personally, emotionally, and more.  It just goes to show how much we all need to feel connected with others.  It is human nature.  War is not natural.  Separation and angst is not a healthy state of human emotion.  Love, sharing, giving, caring, compassion, touch - these are the things of life that make it worth living. 

I, personally, do not know where I would be without my family, my dear children, my precious pets - all who depend on me for guidance, strength, love, understanding, hugs, communication, and so very much more.  I am convinced that life is what you give it, not what you take from it.  Look around you - you should be able to see more of what you have given to this world and less of what you have taken.  In other words, the energy around us is either a positive energy that draws positive energy from others - including our pets, or it is a negative energy that drives everyone away.   Life is what we give and give back.  When we love, and when we learn to love others who are not only complete strangers, but distant from us in proximity and lifestyle, then we are learning to love deeper, we are connecting with life, and we are more connected to God.

Such is the case with Ree and her family.  She is distant from so many of our lifestyles and yet, there are thousands around the world who seek out her daily lessons, her humor, and the love that is so evident in her blog and her personal story.  We visit The Pioneer Woman, and if for a mere 15 minutes, we have exited the stress of our day and joined her and her family on that cattle ranch amidst the love and laughter, the good food and good fun, and the scamper of dogs and little feet playing and enjoying life on that distant ranch in what seems like another world altogether to so many of us. 

Yes, I am being reflective, but I feel her pain.  Losing a pet that you love and has been a part of your life for years is difficult.  Terribly difficult.  It hurts me inside because I know her children are suffering too. 

Ree, I pray your pup finds her way back home.  I hope she is safe and only temporarily lost.  Nell is very much a part of your family and we all pray for peace of mind soon for all of you.  All the stories you wrote about Nell were beautiful and you shared with all of us your unconditional love for your border collie.  Thanks Ree.  We're thinking of you.  And me, well, I'm a blubbering idiot right now worrying about Nell too.


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Matthew the Maestro Part 1


My son Matthew has been taking piano for 3 years now and he loves it.  He did, however, go through a period of not practicing, but once it clicked it was glorious music all the way.  I think he might be competing with Sarah and trying to catch up to her skill on the keyboard.  Either way, he is doing an incredible job at entertaining the family.  The other day, Matthew was getting ready to go for a motorcycle ride with Dad, but he had to wait until Dad got off a conference call, put on his shoes, pulled out the bike - you know the routine.  So while he waited he entertained us.

Can you hear the music?  Isn't it wonderful!!!

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An Angel with a Voice - Connie Talbot

I've been folding laundry all morning and decided to take a break.  In my email box was a video of a precious little girl, Connie Talbot, all of 6 years old, singing her heart out in front of Simon Cowell for Britain's Got Talent.  I was so flabbergasted that I had to go searching for tissue.  What an incredible voice for a 6 year old.  Her pitch is perfect.  Her smile is glorious.  Her eyes sparkle.  You will surely fall in love with this little voice of an angel like I did...

And yes, she went on to win Britain's Got Talent. Are you surprised? I surely am not. She earned it all the way.

You can visit Connie, purchase her music, and see more of this amazing little girl at "Connie Talbot"

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Where's the Green?

BeautifulLawn.jpg I went to bed last night with a heavy load on my mind - grass.  You know the stuff that's supposed to be green, plush, barefoot strolling grass. Our grass.  What grass?  You should see our yard (or maybe not).  It's a mess.  Actually, I take that back, it is a Dirty Creeper Crawler Mess!  I'm having "beautiful lawn" withdrawal.  I dream of green, plush grass under my toesies, and pretty mulched flower beds with no weeds, and a hammock hung between 2 tall trees, and mowing.  Yes, I dream of mowing too.  I love to mow.  I'm a master class mower.  I even put in checker boards ...

Continue Reading in Home & Garden ...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dinner for 5 and some Sticky Fingers


Tonight the family went out to dinner, and when we left our house at 7:30,  we were hungry and hadn't a clue where we were going to end up.   First, Bob wanted to try some place on Independence.  Bob is telling me that this is supposed to be a good restaurant.  He's good at trying to convince people with his wit and wisdom.

Bob: "This place is supposed to be great.  I hear the food is great."

Me: "Say's who?" 

Bob: "Says everybody."

Me: "Who's everybody?"

Bob: "Everybody around here."

Me: "And who do you know around here?"

Bob: (Now obviously in a quandary) "I hear it's good, let's try it." 

Me: "There's - like - nobody here"

Bob: "It's usually packed"

Me: "How would you know, have you been here before?"

Bob: "No, - Crap Susan, let's eat." 

This conversation was obviously going nowhere.  So we all pile ...

>> Keep Reading

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Wellness Beef Recipe

Beef Skirt Steak Fajitas Yeap, this is a healthy recipe and it tastes great too.....

Beef Skirt Steak Fajitas

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

  • zest and juice of one Farmers Market lime

  • 5 tbsp Farmers Market cilantro, chopped

  • 2 garlic Farmers Market cloves, sliced

  • 1 tsp tomato paste

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

  • 1 ½ lbs beef skirt steak

Mix all ingredients in a  ...

Continue Reading in What's Cookin ...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thanks Evan at Flock!

My goodness, I suppose they can't make this stuff up can they?  I just got a very nice email from Evan at Flock telling me that they quoted me in their article "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" about my love for Flock.  How very nice of those guys to post my adjectives in their blog.

I am thoroughly enjoying Flock.  I did have a few questions regarding posting pictures and use of keywords, but other than that, I'm golden with it.  As I said before, it is the best dang browser EVER on the PLANET EARTH! 

In other words, Wowza Flocka Flicka is Good. 

I suppose you folks who are stuck in a rut will just have to crawl out of your hole and try it - so that we can get our t-shirts.  (Just kidding)

Go there - Now.  I insist ....  Flock

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Are You a Shlumpadinka?

SchlumpadinkaWell Glory Be!  I'm a Shlumpadinka.    I'm not so sure that I'm proud of it, but hey, with a house filled with 6 people and 2 dogs all of the time, I'm lucky to have time to shower, much less look like I just had an Oprah Makeover by all the most fabulous stylists and makeup artists in the country.

>> Keep Reading

Yummy Asparagus Casserole

Okay, after submitting my recipe to The Pioneer Woman and being 5403 in her comments, I think I will post it here if anyone cares to know how to make the best Asparagus Casserole ever.  So here it is: 

Asparagus Casserole - The Yummiest ever

Cast of Characters:
3-5 cans of cut Asparagus Spears
A squirt of ...

Continue Reading in What's Cookin ...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Laundry - a Sad Affair

Dirty Laundry Really, when I let a week go by without doing any laundry and I find myself taking every opportunity to hide under the covers rather than face the crisis in my laundry room - you know it has become overwhelming.  I mean - SERIOUSLY overwhelming.  I finally  dragged myself to the mountain and asked Matthew to please help.  Poor, sweet Matthew.  He had to bend over and pick up the dirty underwear.  You'd think they were creepy crawlers or something.  I told him we all came from the same poop meister (well sorta) and he laughed, then he said that Dad's underwear was as big as Manhattan and it scared him.  Poor guy.  He had to pick up Sarah's bras and he didn't even flinch (I've got him trained good).  By the way, this picture is not my dirty laundry.  I don't dare photograph my dirty pile (if you can call it that with a straight face) for fear that the health inspector will show up at my door.  This is someone else's dirty laundry.  Why on earth would someone photograph their pile of dirty laundry?  I don't know but I ain't startin' now.  You can use your imagination as to whether mine is worse or not.

Matthew: "Hey Mom, if I keep diggin, I might find Adolf buried under here." 

Me: "Heck, if you keep diggin, you may just find something living that doesn't live here."

Matthew: "Yuk, I can't believe Dad's underwear, their as big as Manhattan."

Me: "Yeah, but yours need more scrubbin' on the washboard"

Matthew: "Aw, Mom, they're not that bad" 

Me: "Don't bet on it.  Your bottom may be little, but it's the Prince of poop meister and skid marks."

Matthew: "Ewww, that's just disgusting." 

Me: "Yeah I know"

Matthew: "I was wondering why you were lying down so much this week, and now I know"

Me:  "You'd think someone in this family would help me with the laundry"

Matthew: "Hey!  I'm helpin'!   "Why did the toilet paper roll South?"

Me: "Why"

Matthew: "To get to the bottom." 

Me: "I think this family needs a maid, what do you think." 

Matthew: "Among other things. (as he picks up something else from the floor) What's this?"

Me: "I don't know.  Just be thankful that the underwear is the next load in the washing machine or we'd be bare bottom by tomorrow."

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The Pink Life


PInkLifecropped Well, bloggin' must run in the family, along with writing, drawing, piano, painting.....geez!  We've just got too much going on here.  Sarah wanted to start her own blog and I agreed that it would be a good idea.  She just couldn't take any bad pictures of me or talk about how she wishes there were no boys in the house.  I encouraged her to take pictures and write about her studies and she thought it would be a lot of fun.  I think it is a great experience for improving her writing and language skills and more.

>> Keep Reading

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Matt Harding Dancing Outtakes

Did everyone out there in Raisin Toast Reader World enjoy that silly video of Matt Harding dancing around the world?  Well then - here is some more Matt dancing, only this time, this video is full of the dancing that didn't make the final cut.  I'm still amazed at how much traveling this guy has done just to dance.  Just goes to show that we truly do live in a great country, where anything goes.  I'd still like to know how he plans on making a living doing this stuff.

I suppose I shoud say to all those other people out there who have nothing better to do than hang out on your computer and watch Matt dance his way into your wasted mind (like mine) is to visit him at "Where the Hell is Matt"

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Sarah - the Next Norah Jones

My sweet Sarah is composing.  She started taking piano about 4 years ago and has really taken to it with a passion.  She never ceases to amaze me with her ability to learn a new piece quickly, but then again, she practices daily, and sometimes several times a day.  Her dream is to attend Julliard and I am all for supporting her dreams.  Sarah is 14 and has been homeschooled since kindergarten and she will be starting 9th grade this fall.  These kids grow up way too fast, but anyone out there who has kids already knows that.  I'm so proud of her - can you tell?!!!  And I just wanted to share this with you because I believe she is going to be the next Alicia Keys or Norah Jones ...

>> Keep Reading

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

Now that I have completely wasted the last hour reading a bunch of blogs on TypePad and getting absolutely nothing productive accomplished.  I wanted to share with you the one thing that made me smile - Matt's dancing.  You see, he travels the world on someone else's dime and dances - semi-badly.  I said "semi" because I think he's pretty dang good at it.  Must be nice.  So, if you would like to see Where the Hell is Matt?  Just click below....

If you would like to know more about Matt, click "Where the Hell is Matt?"

Puppy Love

We are in Love.  Serious Love - with the cutest, smallest, most adorable little puppy in the world.  Yeap, she's a cutie-tootie-punkin-n-pie, chocolate cake, sweetness from heaven.  She just peed on our couch and I don't care.  Actually, it was a dribble and we would have to dig out a microscope to see it, so who cares, right?  I'd be surprised if she weighs 2 lbs.  We went to the kennel where she was born and couldn't leave there without her.  I've never seen anything like her before.  She is so small I can practically hold her in the palm of my hand.  When we got her home we had to give her a bath because she got sick in the car.  Oh well, it happens people!  And what is it with white fur anyway?  I gave her a bath in the sink (which took all of about 2 minutes) and I even used a tiny soft toothbrush on her face and paws where her fur is discolored and it didn't come clean.  Any suggestions on how to keep her fur clean and white?  I'd appreciate the information.  Sarah named her "Hannah" after Hannah Montana of course.  So here she is world -

Adolf's gotta new friend - Little, but he doesn't care

"Well hello there big guy, my name is Hannah and I'm movin' in
so you better move over"

Continue reading "Puppy Love" »

Friday, July 11, 2008

Flock, Flock, I'm Truly Flocked

Has everyone out there tried Flock yet?  This is NOT an ad, but it might as well be, because I have been using it for 2 days now and I'm hooked.  It is the best browser I have ever used.  Better than Firefox by a thousand miles, better than Safari by 10,000 miles, and better than Internet Explorer and Netscape by a million miles. 

I ran across it accidentally online.  I think there was an ad on a website that I was visiting.  Still, I clicked it on out of curiosity and the fact that I was completely fed up with Firefox and thought, "probably another Opera" which I knew wouldn't amount to anything much.  So, I downloaded it, and I have made it my main browser window.  Then my husband downloaded it and now he's hooked too.  Kinda like what happened when I told him I wanted a Mac laptop for my birthday 7 years ago and he said "no" until I insisted and then he said "Yes, Dear" and then he ended up with a huge Apple computer of his own and Macs for all the kids too.  We are a Mac family now.

But I haven't found a browser that I was in love with till now.  And you don't have to be a Mac either.  Go here "Flock" and read all about it.  You won't regret it. 

So everyone, try Flock and then let me know how you like it.  I really want to know that I am not recommending something that is a complete dud.  Personal experience, though, dictates to me that this is the best browser ever created.  Especially since I have multiple accounts on TypePad, and I have a Flicker, Pownce, and MySpace account too.  I am truly amazed at its functionality, ease and intelligence of use, and ability to blog to any of my TypePad accounts directly from their Blog This window.  Somebody got smart and I am truly thankful for that. 

Let me know if you try it and what you think.  And again, NO, this is not an ad, and nobody paid me anything for marketing it either.  I just downloaded it and was surprised to find a browser that I actually love, and I just had to share.

Hope you like it!


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ever Soooooo Cute

You gotta look at this cutie pie.  I want him soooo bad.  I'm beggin' my hubby because he is soooo cute and I need a lap pup.  Something cuddly and little and snuggly and precious.


I want him I want him.  I want to kiss him and hug him.   "Honey, can I have 'em, pllleeeeeeaaaaassssse?

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I just downloaded and started using a completely new browser - Flock - and I am in love with it.  It shows everything from photo streams to letting you post blogs without going to a hundred different websites.  I can see flickr photos, twitter, and typepad all at the same time.  It is truly amazing.  What really intrigued me the most, though, was the speed at which my web pages were loading.  Firefox was not justifying the pages properly for many websites and it took some time to load.  Safari was even worse.  However, there are many sites that I cannot utilize, like TypePad, unless I am in Firefox.  No more.  Flock does it all.  I think everyone is going to be Flocking to Flock once they discover it's out there.  But that's not entirely why I am writing this blog...

While cruising through Flock, I came across a picture of a quilt that was just beautiful.  I love quilts.  I love the fabrics, the colors, the textures, the intricacies of the stitching.  I love quilts and I love quilting.  I haven't done any sewing in about a year and I really should be ashamed of myself because I love to sew and I especially love to quilt. So, I am posting this picture to inspire me to pull out my sewing machine and start quilting again.  And if there is anyone out there reading this whose sewing machine is collecting enough dust to make your grandmother squint, then pull it out, dust it off, and start sewing!  I've got plenty of fabric, and a wonderful machine.  I would love to know the pattern this quilter used to make this design.  Her name is April M. and her blog is called Making Ends Meet.  I was really impressed.  Isn't it wonderful?  It is a doll quilt that she is using in a quilt swap.  The name of the design is the "Cathedral Window Quilt."  She says it looks harder to make than it actually is.   I don't know if I could part with it in a swap.  It looks so complicated.  She must have a lot of patience.  I just want to put it on my bed and look at it.  As soon as I pull out my sewing machine and decide on a pattern for a quilt I will blog about it here and get your suggestions.  I love this stuff!  Do you like to quilt?  Sew?  Tell me about it. 

I left a comment on April's blog asking her to put up an image demonstration on her blog about creating this quilt.  I'm obsessed.  I want to learn how to make this, and when I get my mind set on something it becomes an obsession.  "You are an obsession - you're my obsession...."  Deedee Doo, name that song you people from the 80s.  Heck, now that song will be going thru my brain the rest of the night and driving me crazy.

  Cathedral Window Doll Quilt for quilt swap 4

Shared with Flock - The Social Web Browser


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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Congratulations Tim & Denise!

Well I'm a complete mess.  I'm sobbing and sniffling.  My nose is running and I'm using every muscle in my jaw to smile and frown at the same time.  Going to a Broadcast feed of a Wedding of a dear friend is exhausting! 

But, I love him.  He has been my friend since the age of 17 and Teller Training School for a bank that we both worked for.  It was like our first jobs ever and I wasn't even out of high school yet.   Tim and I dated when we were just kids really.  We were in the car together driving to his house after class one day when they announced on the radio that Elvis had died.  Dang, that's a long time ago.  Anyway, Tim and I have some wonderful memories together and I cherish every one.  Especially the one today.  I'll tell you about it in a minute. 

Tim was (and still is) a cool dude.  Always wearing the most fashionable clothing, always driving the hottest cars.  A really great family too.  I will never forget, however, the day he asked me to marry him.  I was shocked - not to mention still a sniveling idiot.  I told him I couldn't.  Well, he wasn't about to take "no" for an answer and sent me a red rose every day for about 2 months hoping that I would reconsider.  I just wasn't ready.  Duh.  I mean, we were both 17 for Goodness Sakes!  Nevertheless, we have always remained good friends, seeing each other on occasion, and always remembering each other's birthday every year since.  I can always count on Tim to send me a birthday card. 

I remember one day, Tim and I were driving home from class in his car down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.  It was hot as hell-fire and the traffic was backed up wall to wall.  It was just not moving at all.  We were in the right lane next to this sidewalk and an iron rail fence.  I happened to glance over and noticed that there was an elderly man lying face down on the sidewalk.  It freaked me out and I told Tim I had to see if he was okay.  Tim said "Are you crazy?!!!

We're moving now, I can't stop the car!  I have nowhere to park this thing, Susan, no, you can't get out.  You can't get out of the car here - I mean now - I mean, you can't get out of the car now, are you nuts?!!!!!"  Of course I'm nuts, Tim, and by now I know you surely know it.  Still, with cloggin' high heels (it was the 70s) and a flirty dress with cap sleeves, and panty hose (Lordy did I ever hate those things) I got out of the car and started running back towards this poor black man lying face down on the pavement.  I started hopping on one foot and removing my shoes till I was running in my panty hose.

Tim was afraid for me.  He told me to be careful and that I was completely crazy and that I didn't know if this could be a hoax or something.  I knew in my heart - instinctfully - that this man was hurt and I, yes I, was going to come to his rescue.  What surprised me the most was that with all the traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue that day, that nobody stopped but us.  Not one person - until I rolled him over and started giving him CPR.  I don't know where I learned it, (must have seen it on TV or something), but I ripped open his button-down shirt, put my ear to his chest and didn't hear a heartbeat.  I pressed on his chest and started to give him CPR. He looked to be about 60 or so and was an average built man.  Here I was, all of 17 years old, in 100 degree heat, on a sidewalk just a few blocks from the White House giving mouth-to-mouth to a complete stranger.  That was when people started to come from their cars to see if they could help.  Tim was standing behind me just watching like we were in some movie or something.  I think he was in shock.  Me, I was SuperWoman!  Oh, excuse me, I was SuperGirl!

Someone next to me now said that they had asked someone to ask someone to ask someone else to call an ambulance.  You have to remember something here - this was the 70s - there was no such thing as mobile phones.  Heck, car phones didn't exist either, and finding a pay phone was slim to none around the White House.  What were we going to do?  Go knock on Gerald Ford's door and say, "hey buddy, we need to borrow a phone, there's a guy kissin' the sidewalk without a heartbeat."  I don't think so!

It was 10-15 minutes later, but the ambulance finally arrived.  He had to drive on the sidewalk to get to where we were, but they got there just the same.  The good news is that I got the man breathing again, and although he was woozy and wasn't completely conscious, I saved a life that day.  I know it, and Tim knows it, and the poor man, whoever he is, well, he knows it too.  Oh, and God knows it.

I never got his name.  One of the paramedics looked at me that day and said "You saved this man's life young lady, you should be very proud of yourself. That was a selfless act and not many people would have done what you did." 

It was strange to think about what he had said to me.  It is strange to think about it even today, because for me it was a natural instinct to jump right in and help this human being who had had a heart attack in the heat - that is what the paramedic said it appeared had happened. Fortunately, it had happened probably a minute or so before I saw him lying there helpless.

Doesn't it bother anyone in this world that we don't care for one another?  Shouldn't humanity care about all other humanity?  That's just the way I am I guess and I don't care what anyone says or where I am, I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

That was a defining moment in my life.  I know it was for Tim too.  We were forever bonded by this man on the street and a friendship that was defined by laughter, tears, hugs, and good memories.

The years passed and I went in a different direction after declining Tim's proposal and so did he.  I went to work at my father's restaurant - The Olney Inn - that burned down in 1978 - and besides,  I wanted to date hot muffins from the Naval Academy.  Tim was pissed.  Then I started dating this 33 yr old Italian Stallion at my father's restaurant who played the accordion and sang love songs and made all the women drool and slobber and melt - like butter on a very hot - ouchy hot - muffin.  So, I strutted my skinny little stuff around the Inn and Alberto fell for me too. 

I just ate it up.  Here Alberto was all yummy and everything and he had it bad for me.  He was twice my age!  I had to sneak around with him because my father would definitely not have approved.  And he didn't.  When he found out that Alberto and I were seeing each other, he fired Alberto, but not before Alberto proposed to me at a dinner table with my father and said he would make sure I finished high school.  My father fired him on the spot. "You're fired Buddy - now take your italian butt out of here and don't come back."  Oh well.  It was fun while it lasted.  Yes, I snuck around with Alberto for a little bit more after that firing incident, and that REALLY pissed off Tim.  To this day if you mention Alberto, Tim will turn 3 different shades of violet.  Oh, and yes, I am still friends with Alberto too - even after all these years.  I wonder why that is? hmmm. Let me think about this now.  This is getting deep.

Anyway, Tim got married to someone and that lasted 10 seconds.  He told me he was on the rebound from me and that I made him do it.  Lame excuse Tim.  I mean really lame.  Then he married Renee and they were married for about 20 years and had 2 very handsome and distinguished sons.  Then Renee got ants in her pants and left.  And to think that they had just built a beautiful home in West Virginia with a view to die for.   So Tim was alone again, always promising me that he would fly thru Charlotte and visit - Not.  He's a busy guy people!   

So, this past year he started dating Denise, and Tim was never to be the same.  And just the other day, I received an email from my dear Tim asking me to attend his wedding at the Bellagio in Las Vegas via Satellite Feed on Tuesday night at 6pm.  And so, I did.  I was a complete mess, of course.  I'm not good at weddings or funerals.  I don't even have to know the person and I'm falling apart and people are having to peel me off the floor and throw hords of tissue my way.  Well, maybe I wouldn't go that far.  I was sure happy for them though!


It is pouring like crazy outside and our electricity kept going off and on and I thought I would miss Tim's wedding.  But the good Lord came through and not only did I see his wedding  (Tim was wearing some really hot white pants to match his really cool white hair), but I took some screen shots of it too to share with all you people readers out there in cyber world.

So, let me introduce you to Tim.  Notice the Red Rose on his lapel?  See - Denise gave him the last and final rose.  Smart girl.

I am so happy for Tim.  And, I am so happy for Denise too even though I don't know her - yet.  They look so handsome together.

And this is where they got married at 6pm this evening - The Belligio in Las Vegas:


And this is the Chapel:


And these are the screen shots I took from the Satellite Feed of his wedding:


Beautiful Chapel


And so it does...


Tim enters the chapel - so handsome, so distinguished, so fashionable


Denise enters the chapel - so beautiful, so tanned, so in love


Tim meets her halfway, as all men should and she takes his arm and they stroll to the alter


To Love, Cherish, and Honor...."To Honor?"


Aren't they a beautiful couple?


Oh my


T: "Hey good-lookin?  You free tonight?"


D: "Why sure I'm free.  Actually, tonight I'll be a married woman - not so free anymore.

But a date and a good dinner sounds good."


D: "What do you want - steak? ribs? breasts? thighs? tacos?"


T: "Actually Sweetie, I was thinking more like just going straight to the dessert"


T: "Hmmmm, let's see now, yeap, that's what I want to do - go straight for the dessert"


T: "Oh dear, did that tickle your funny bone?"


Kissy Kissy, Smooch, Smooch, mwaaaah,


D: "Now let's get something straight, When I ask you to do something you say 'Yes Dear.'"


D: "Suddenly I don't feel so well"


D: "Actually, I have something in my eye.  Dang that mascara"


T: "With this ring, my love, I thee wed and agree to say 'Yes Dear' to every question."


T: "Did I get the right size?  I think I might have to lick your finger to get it on"


D: "With this ring, Tim, I thee wed, and agree to be everything you ever dreamed of and hoped for"


T: "Honey Buns, you sure look scrumptious across this table"


D: "This candle represents our love, our life together."

T: "And my promise to honor you and cherish you and to say 'Yes Dear' whenever possible"


D: "I love you so much.  Give me a kiss you hunka - hunka burning love"


D: "Can we please go eat now?" 

T: "Yes Dear"


D & T: "Yay! We did it!  We're hitched!....and hungry"


D: "Sweetheart, there is this cozy little restaurant around the corner with a great view"


D: "Oops, almost forgot to wave to all the people out there.  Wave to the camera Sweetie"

T: "Yes Dear"


D: "I'm Famished!"

T: "Me too." 

D: "Let's blow this pop stand!"

T: "Yes Dear"


Best Wishes Tim and Denise.  You do know that I'm just messin' with ya, right?

I know you didn't really say that.  Well, maybe you did.  Heck, I wouldn't blame you really, I mean - go get you some honey pie and lots of lovin' tonight!  Woohoo! And a good dinner too.

Denise - you have a really, really, really great guy, but you obviously already know that.  Stay sweet.

Congratulations Tim & Denise. 

- Susan

Weblog Organization

I'm big on organization.  My home is the epitomy of a lack of organization, but when it comes to computers, files, documents, and websites, I like things to be nice and tidy.  Bob once told me that my filing system in our home office was a disaster.  He couldn't find anything.  He was looking for the Titles to the Automobiles at the time. 

I said, "well, look under - Titles." 

He looked at me oddly and said "Why would you file it under that?  I would never think of filing Automobile Titles under a file named - Titles."

"Well, it makes perfect sense to me"
I replied

Bob showed me his obvious frustration by saying: "No wonder we can't find anything around here! Nobody can understand your filing system but you!"

Before I go into deeper detail of this discussion with my husband, let me just say that my filing system makes perfect sense. 

Therefore, this weblog is also organized based on my husband's description of a "warped mind." 

So, under the "About" page you will find information "about me, mwah, myster, meme, mommy, miss Susie, Susan." 

On the "Homepage" is nearly "everything" that goes into this weblog and filed under a category that can be found under a more specfic page if you go to it.  So, if you read a story about my handsome, adorable son, Matthew on the homepage, it will probably also be found in the "Family" section of the weblog for what appears to me in my brain as being a story about a member of the family. 

Continue reading "Weblog Organization" »

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Yes, I'm Married to a Crazy Man


It's true.  Bob's crazy.  And I should know, because I used to be crazy too.  Emphasis on "used to be." You see, in my younger and crazier life, I rode Harleys.  I grew up on the back seat and then graduated to the front seat in 1989.  I bought me a nice, shiny, candy-apple red Harley Sportster 883.  For a first bike, it was perfect for me because at the time I weighed about a hundred pounds soaking wet and if I dropped it, like I did often, I could maybe pick it up.  Actually, I couldn't pick it up, but I did engage the resources of good-lookin' men in the vicinity when I did drop it.  Then I sold it and went back to college.  Hmmm.  This is turning into a  fessin' up post.  Okay, whatever.

>> Keep Reading

The BEST Spaghetti Dinner Ever!


Sunday's are Spaghetti in our home.  More than once a week and our palette gets pasta overload.  But, we love Spaghetti on Sundays and we like it early - like 5 or 6 o'clock.  I've been told I make the best dang Spaghetti anywhere, but really, I didn't make it.  Whoever makes the thin noodles or Classico or whoever raised the cow that provided the lean ground beef - that's who made it.  BUT, I think I know how ...

Continue Reading in What's Cookin ...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Lawsie Mercy

Don't hate me, Ree, for stealing this video from you, who stole it from someone, who stole it from YouTube.  But, Lawsie Mercy!  I just had to share it because I have now watched it a dozen times and I keep going back for more.  I want that bitin' baby.  Would somebody please deliver him to me promptly so that I can hugem' and squeezem' and plant my ever-lovin' smackers on his big, fat, cheeks.  I'm in love with Charlie, and his big brother Harry, too.  Can I have em'?  Can I - Can I?

Oh my, naturally, while watching the above video, I just had to click on one of the other videos and came across this one.  This baby is after my own heart.  I'm tellin' ya, all my kids laughed just like this and it used to give me chest pains just watching it.

I know, I know, this post is getting a bit too silly for its own good, but hey, I'm a silly character ... I know you're smilin'  - I can seeeeee youuuu feeling silly - I see that grin.  And make sure you watch again before you go to bed so that you go to bed smilin' some more. Lordy Lordy was that fun.

Promises to My Son


We live in an abhorrent world filled with so much display of all things repugnant, distasteful, disgraceful, ugly, hateful, and foul that I learned from my son that it was time to change it, at least in our family.  So, I made a promise to my son, Matthew, that I was not going to add to the world of reprehensible things by promising that I was not going to spew another cuss word from my slippery mouth.  Promise.  Yeap, I promise.

>> Keep Reading

ooooooohhhhhhh - aaaaaaahhhhhhh


We went as far as the top of our driveway to enjoy the fireworks display, courtesy of Big Bear Bob and his infatuation with explosives - and blow torches.  It was quite the show, with the exception of all the residue falling out of the sky.  But we entertained the neighborhood from their front porch.  Would you like to see Bob's fireworks display?  Enjoy the pictures below...Happy 232nd Birthday America!

It all started with dinner...

>> Keep Reading

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fun Day at the Y! Happy 4th Everyone!

"I'm havin' such a great time I can't stand it."

We just got back from a fun trip to the YMCA.  The Siskey Y is really great - and BIG.  They have all kinds of activities going on and a great outdoor pool.  They also have an olympic size indoor pool, but today, we were having fun outside.

>> Keep Reading

A Spelling Lesson in DirecTV

How many words can you make with DIRECTV?  Please note: it may be necessary to use abbreviations whereby you remove certain vowels.  However, readers will still know what you mean.  For example:

ET DIRT.  Yes, anyone who reads this should be able to determine that ET means EAT and this spelling lesson is a good one for those of you enjoying my lesson!  Very good!

RID.  Yeap, with DIRECTV, most people who mess with their DVR or their service, want to RID themselves of the agony at the earliest possible moment.

TRD.  I have to agree that the management and the customer service reps are a bunch of TURDS.  Again, notice that we used abbreviations. 

Directvinterface TRIED.  Yes, we tried.  We TRIED and TRIED and TRIED to get the dang thing to work but it is impossible.

DRIVE.  Please note that we want to DRIVE the DVRs to the nearest driving range and use them for target practice.

TIV.  Well, let's think about this for a moment.  It is definitely missing the O, and in this case DIRECTV is definitely missing TIVO.  First, DIRECTV stopped representing TIVO which was the biggest mistake they ever made.  All in an attempt to raise their profit margin with an inferior product - their own DVR which is not user friendly, and has multiple other difficulties that rank on the top of my list of Least Favorite Things.  This IS NOT TIVO PEOPLE!

CRIED.  Most experiences with DIRECTV will make you cry, and we've CRIED a lot.

VIE.  Definition of VIE: Struggle, Fight, Battle, Lock Horns, Buck, Jockey, War, Feud.  Yeap, I'd have to admit that pretty well sums it up since most users of DIRECTV VIE with the damnpieceofjunk in hopes of it turning into TIVO.  It won't.

RECT.  This is short for RECTAL.  And Directv needs this exam at the earliest possible moment.

RECD.  It doesn't - at least the way you want it to.

TIRED.  Yes, we are very, very, TIRED.  Which makes for less watching DIRECTV and more nappin'.

How about VECT R CRED DIV TRE?  A fine vulgar word to use when you are throwing up in the bathroom.

Now that we have had this lesson, lets get down to the serious business of DIRECTV.

First, they took away TIVO.    VECT R CRED DIV TRE.

Directvreceiver Second, they replaced TIVO with their own private label DVR and boasted that it was the next generation and evolution.  It is inferior in every possible way in the terms of reliability of the units (they overheat), the menu and control capabilities are primitive and lack many of the features of its predecessor - TIVO, on the TIVO unit you could record on 2 separate channels and toggle between them.  Not in their new unit.  They want you to choose your stinkin' channel and stay on it people!  The entire principal behind the DVR service which is to record and watch movies and your favorite shows at a time  that is convenient for you is now gone (Note: PayPerView Movies).  The entire value proposition of the DVR is gone if DIRECTV now removes the movie from your DVR for viewing unless you pay them an additional 3.99 after 24 hours.

And this is exactly what happened to us last night.  On June 29th, the kids and I paid for and recorded "The Bucket List" from DIRECTVs PayPerView Movie listings and we were looking forward to Daddy getting home from his business trip to New York so we could watch it again with him.  Please note that we have had a slew of complaints about the Directv service from the beginning but I don't want this post to be a complete slaughterfest, although that wouldn't be difficult.  I just want you to know that we are miserable - in the worst kind of way - with DIRECTV, and spend more time saying: VECT R CRED DIV TRE than actually watching programs on their DVR service.  We, therefore, must agree that Directv can't be good for your health, and it certainly isn't good for your happiness, and so I just had to put it under that category too. It also tops my list of biggest "Least Favorite Things." 

I hope this has been a learning experience for the reading public.  Please feel free to add a few of your own words and comments below.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

While We are on the Subject of Haircuts...


Naturally, I now want to talk about "good" haircuts.  At least I think they are good, but opinions vary in NC.  Just the other day I took Sarah to get her haircut - by a professional mind you - as I have usually been the one to cut her hair for the past 14 years and it was getting impossible for me to handle.  Sarah has the thickest hair I have ever seen.  It is so impossible, in fact, that she refused to brush it or do anything with it, unless I forced her with hairbrush in hand.  Not a pretty sight seeing a mother and daughter fighting over a mop of hair with a hairbrush.  Anyway, I was sick of the mess and took Sarah, reluctantly, to a professional.  He did a really good job, and Sarah has a very pretty and manageable head of hair now.  Thank God! Here is her adventure to the hairstylist the other day:

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What were they thinking?


This is one of those posts that gives me the willies.  This morning, my husband rode his Harley to the shop for some work and I and the kids met up with him for breakfast at iHop.  We're having breakfast and we couldn't help but notice the people around us.  A sad affair I'll have you know.  Still, there was this one kid sitting in a booth with a bad-ass haircut.  I had to take a picture.  Bob and I were thinking the same thing -

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Can I Sleep Now?

"Thank God You're Home!  Can I Sleep Now?" Of course these are nearly the first words I said to my Big Bear when he walked in the door from his 3 day trip to New York.  I am so out-of-sorts when he goes away.  I'm like a child who wants to crawl under the covers and hide for ...

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

eBay frustration

I have been selling things now and then on ebay for years.  It has been a great way for me to clean out my house of all the junk we have acquired over the years.  Much of it really isn't "junk," it is just in the way, if you know what I mean.  So today I am cleaning out some things and if you are interested in seeing what I have listed, you can go to 3kids2love and see all the items I am putting on eBay today.  Now if I could only get my husband to sell the workout equipment in the garage that is collecting dust (and has been for 5 years).  I swear, why we ever bought that fitness equipment I will never know.  I guess the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

By the way, my eBay name is "3kids2love" so if you are on eBay and you want to see what I have going on, just take a look.  I don't know that I will have anything you want, but you never know.  I am not a regular seller on eBay, but maybe I should be considering all the crap I have lying around here that we never use.

Maybe I'll just give you links to my listings here, would that be easier?  Okay, for right now I have:

Sonycamera5 Sony CyberShot DSC-W7.  It's a great little camera.  You can find it on eBay HERE.

Geez!  That was the url from hell, so I made it easy by clicking the blue "HERE" above.  Oops, it's brown in the original post - I think.

I have a reserve price of $280.00.  It sells for over $500 retail.  Being that I only used it twice and kept it in the box for the rest of the time, it is practically new.

As I list a few other things today, I will post them in this blog.  Sound good?

Oh, and I only sell to residents of the United States.  I've tried that International shipping and it is ridiculous paperwork.  I'd rather eat dirt. I am sure some of you can relate.  So sorry to my international readers who love this cybershot or anything else I have listed on eBay.  I hope you understand.  With my US shipments, all I have to do is slap on a label and give it to the mail-person in my driveway.  Easy.  I like easy.

Next item I am selling is the

P1000042 Opteka 3.2x AF HD Telephoto Lens

This is a cool little lens.  I never used it.  I cannot, however, find the original box it came in although I am sure it is around here somewhere.  It is in perfect condition.  I think it will work with the Sony that I am selling as well, and I know for sure it will work with certain Canon digital cameras.  Regardless, you can purchase an adapter for just a few bucks and it should then fit your camera nicely.

Check it out HERE on eBay in my listings.

I have a reserve price of $40.00.  It sells for over $75.00 retail.  I've never used it.  Promise!  I will look real hard for the box.  I think I must have been having one of those days where I was anxious to get it out of the box and threw the box away.  Must have been one of those impulse buying kind of days.

By the way, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them here in the comment section, or via eBay.  Doesn't matter.  They all come to little ol' me.