Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year That Was

See, it's like this: I'd love to do a deeply philosophical, intro-spective, and moving post about the end of 2009, but I CAN'T! I'm just TIRED of 2009! I've got kids in college, kid graduating high school, kid in the workforce, kid moving back home, my dog dying on me just before Christmas, and I STILL haven't made any Christmas cookies!!!!

Right now, I'm sitting in the lobby of a very old (think Art Deco) Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, sipping my very own drink, feeling very happy (the first 2 things are not un-related), and waiting to get dolled up for a New Year's Eve Gala Dinner-Dance. Which should, if all goes well, get me into 2010. With champagne, I might add.

All this to say, it has been a year to put behind us. Let's have new beginnings (NOT "change!!!!") and a new outlook. We're driving home tomorrow afternoon, possibly with a new dog(s), and life begins again.

Then I'm making those cookies. Enjoy your year. (be nice to me, & I might send you some cookies)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve! WHY are you reading blogs????? Go celebrate the Reason for the Season!!!!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas at my house. Why, do you ask? A simple reason: on Monday, we made 32 (that's thirty-two) pounds of fudge. Don't believe me? Here are the numbers: 30 cups of sugar (which worked out to about 13 pounds), 5 large jars of marshmallow cream, 4 pounds of real butter, 7 1/2 pounds of chocolate, and over 6 1/2 cups of evaporated milk. Plus, the required 30 minutes of cooking on the stove, and the seemingly interminable stirring at various times to incorporate everything.

The end result is the aforementioned 32 pounds, somewhat evenly spaced between 5 rimmed baking sheets. The kids all got a very soft square while it was still warm, and we're giving most of the rest away to friends. It's what we do - I love to make it, but there's no way on God's not-so-green earth that I'd leave that much chocolate hanging around. Hey, I'm trying to LOSE weight here.

Add to that the Christmas cookies I hope to start making REAL soon now, along with the white chocolate-dipped Oreos & Oreo truffles I made on Monday. Hey, Santa's gotta have cookies, right?

So, all this to say, nest with your loved ones, make treats this week, and celebrate Jesus!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Never Say Never!

You would think that I would eventually learn, given my "certain age!" But, NO!!!! Again, I have said "never" when God was listening, and He set out to "make me."

What's up, you ask? I'll tell you! I have friends who regularly visit Branson, MO, and talk about how much fun they have there. These are friends who walk, talk, and act like they're over 70, rather than the 40 - 50 year olds they are. To me, Branson is the epitome of geezer-dom - where people go to line up for buffets, drink nothing but sweet tea, take in a Wayne Newton tribute show, and head to bed at 8:00 - to SLEEP!

I'm more of the "pass the champagne, how late can we stay up, how many different restaurants/ foods can we try this week, live in the hot tub, how many times can we have fun" kind of person. So, Branson doesn't seem like that kind of a happening place, compared to, say, CANCUN.

I did it. I said "never" when God was paying attention. And He chose to teach me a lesson gracefully. I said that I would never go to Branson. That I had absolutely no desire to EVER visit it. That you couldn't PAY me to go.

What happened? I won a trip. Yes, to Branson. Missouri. The place of buffets, 8:00 bedtimes, and the like. Airfare, nice hotel room, meals, rental car credit - the whole shebang.

God knows. He knows that sometimes He's just got to show you something. So, tomorrow afternoon, my husband & I are flying off to Branson for a weekend (encompassing Monday) trip.

I'll let you know when we get back how it was. Right now, I'm expecting that anything could happen!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your days be merry, and bright; and may all your Thanksgiving turkeys be moist! Have a great day today!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The week we've ALL been waiting for!

Ah, Thanksgiving week. The beginning (for me, anyway) of the holiday season. The week that signals, "hey, stupid! Christmas is a month away!" (look at the calendar - it's in 32 days) The week that makes me slap my cheeks with my hands & scream, ala Maccaulay Culkin. That's the bad part of the week.

The good parts of the week are legion: as an 9.5 month employee of my local school system, I've got the entire week off; a week to sleep late (for example, I slept until 6:45 this morning), read the paper in bed (THAT, I did), and drink my tea in bed. Also, I "get" to cook most of an entire Thanksgiving dinner (including as 23# turkey this year), sleep till 5:00 am that day, and do my best NOT to eat an obscene amount of food that day. Trust me, I did the opposite once. It was not pretty. Ask my dad.

ANYway, as I was saying, this is a great week. I totally enjoy this time of year, love taking walks in the cool air & pretty foliage, and get to sleep (relatively) late. So my advice to you is, don't sweat the small stuff, even if the small stuff is a previously alive, 23 pound turkey.

Eat lots of turkey for me. Enjoy the cranberry sauce. Try some of my grandmother's meat dressing - it's a Rinaudo family tradition. I may even share the recipe, some day. Have a great week! See you whenever (who knows when)!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture???

Dear Mr. Gore,

(as in Al - the global warming "guru" who lives in a house which sucks up enough energy to power a small planet)

I believe that I have found the solution to our problem of "climate change" - you see, here in the TRUE South, it's often easier to leave your car running, thus making it "easier" to cool back down once you get back into it after your errand or whatever.

Before I offer my solution, which I assure you is fail-safe, and will offend no one, I offer as Exhibit A the CAUSE for all this so-called warming:

Take a close look, friends..... this guy is sleeping in a running car. I exited my car in a local shopping center to do a little..... shopping (go figure). I noticed this individual in the car next to me - a rather new Chevy Tahoe, sleeping away, WITH THE ENGINE RUNNING. I went into the store (Barnes & Noble, the finest bookstore within reach), made my purchases (books, duh), and came back out to my car. The time elapsed (I checked) was 30 minutes. That's half an hour, people.

This guy was STILL asleep, STILL with the engine running, and, with the AC STILL running.

Thirty minutes. Car running, AC running, guy sleeping. Can anyone say "HEY, STUPID?????"

And it's not the first time I've seen it, either. I can't tell you how many times I've gone into a store & walked by someone sitting in a car, engine & AC running, for eons, while someone else is inside the store, "shopping."

It's not rocket science, friends
- car running = CO and CO2 into the air. CO & CO2 accumulate in the atmosphere, creating - let's all say it together - GLOBAL WARMING!

So, mr. gore, here's the solution: a little gadget that shuts off a car after it's been running in idle/park/neutral for 5 minutes. This eliminates the cars that are stopped at red lights, or a train crossing, or are pulled over to pick up a little darling from school.

Eliminate the cars running excessively, no more global warming!

Plus, our fuel consumption will go way down, because everyone who drives will be forced to get out & get back without wasting nearly as much gas.


George W. Bush (you know, the one you lost the election to?)

Monday, November 9, 2009


If any of you have EVER had any doubts as to whether God exists, and whether He's still in the miracle business, go see what he's done for Stellan. Right now. GO!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pool Life

Click here to view this photo book larger

History Lesson

Let's see, what's happened on this day in history? In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president. Exactly one year before that, the Iranian hostage crisis began. In 2008, Barak Obama was elected president, and author Michael Crichton died (no connection, I'm sure!) In 1922, the opening to King Tut's tomb was discovered.

AND, in 1958, my mother-in-law welcomed the birth of her third, and last, child, who happens to be my sweet husband.

Happy birthday, love of my life!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


OK, here's the deal: I LOVE Fall. I do. I love it! There's something about the change of seasons that just slays me. Now, a heads-up: I live in northwest Louisiana, where it gets hot with a capital HHHHHHHH. Starting in about mid-April, the temperature here starts rising, and doesn't stop until about mid-September, IF we're lucky. We regularly see temps hovering around 95 - 100, with 100% percent humidity.

There's only one place I've been where it was truly worse than this.... well, 2 places. I lived twice in New Orleans during the late Summers and early Falls; it was miserable, to say the least - and the last time, I was 8 months pregnant!

The other place is Venezuela - yes, the country in South America. My whole family went there on a church mission trip. In July. Go figure. 100 degree weather, 100% humidity, all day, EVERY day! We would walk out of the HoJo's (seriously), start sweating, and didn't stop until we walked back into the hotel (which was thankfully air conditioned - and it had an indoor pool) So, miserably hot, yes. But a lot of good work was done, which is a post for another day.

BACK to the original topic - I LOVE Fall!!!! After suffering through a brutal summer (see above), we get a "cold snap," usually in the middle of September, if we're lucky. It's not so much the drop in temperature - think 88 degrees - as it is the drop in humidity. We go from an average of 100% to 80%. Trust me, if you lived here, that is major! Everyone breathes a little deeper, there's a little more spring in everyone's step, and we are happier.

Then there's the sky. When the temperature & humidity drop, the sky turns a shade of blue that defies description. There's a depth to the sky, a color of blue that is seen at no other time of the year. Don't trust me - go outside & look up! Then, this winter, look up (past the snow clouds if you're that lucky). The color in the winter is this pale, icy blue that makes you shiver. In the spring, it's still pale blue, but the color is obscured by the sound of birds singing and the sight of Easter eggs. In summer? Heat, humidity, and looking for rain clouds.

You'll have to excuse me now - I've got to go get ready to frolic in the season! And no, the sun's not still up, but the hot tub is open and the air is cool!!!! Go, enjoy and celebrate the season.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Someone help me out here! Yes, I KNOW. It's been over a month since my last confession my last update/post. Forgive me. It's not for lack of things to say - every night my sweet husband & I sit in the hot tub & talk for at least an hour. Truthfully, I'm the one who has to be dragged back inside. My reason? It's simple: as long as I'm out there, the real world isn't. As soon as we go back in, hello world! and problems! and going to sleep! and (the worst part) waking up!

Waking up means going to work. While I love my job, I'd rather stay at home with the cats & dogs. You know - eating whatever & whenever I want, sleeping all day, or whatever. (I think I'm more of a cat than a dog) But I work outside the home. Then I come home, "relax," cook dinner (yes, every day), and then: HOT TUB!!! We never run out of things to say out there - what's up with this medium?

Please refer back to the opening sentence of this post. Why do you blog? Why do you read blogs? Right now, I'm up to 8 blogs that I "follow" - which to me means, the blogs I read EVERY day, even checking on the weekends in case Santa Claus came (although half of them never post on the weekends).

What is it about blogs that makes us want to read them? The "up close and personal" glimpse at someone's life? The feeling that they're more glamorous/rich/pretty/thin/exciting than we are? Let me know!

If you follow me (thanks, Kami!), just happen by, or sometimes check in (like to see if I'll EVER update), make a comment & tell me why you blog/read blogs. I'd love to get to know some of you better as people.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001

It was a Tuesday. How do we remember these things? I guess that when such serious trauma happens, we instinctively remember little details. Tuesday morning, at about 7:40, I was driving to work, just as I always do, listening to the local DJ team tell jokes & getting call-in jokes. It was a funny, joyful, NORMAL morning. Then one of the DJs broke in to say that a plane had crashed into one of the two World Trade Towers, and that this wasn't a joke. I'll never forget it, he then said, "I don't feel like telling jokes any more today, so we're going to stop now." Right then, I was pulling into my office's parking lot, so I scurrried inside, where one of the typists had a tiny television turned to CNN. I tried going to CNN's website, but my company had blocked access (not just for today - it had been ongoing)

We stood around a tiny TV watching the picture of a jet liner (at that time, they were thinking it was a commuter jet), when we saw the second jet crash into the second tower. Live. Completely not expecting it.

What do you say? What do you do? All I could think was, "I've got to get my kids," who were all in school. Instead, we were told, appropriately, to go about our jobs. So we tried. I went to an assigned school on the other side of town, where a much larger TV was set up in the principal's office. So we watched there, to learn about the jet which went into the Pentagon, and the one which crashed in Pennsylvania. It wasn't until the newscasters said that the theory was that the Pennsylvania jet (United Flight 93) was aiming at the Capital or at the White House that I lost it. What was happening in the world? I was no good at the school (I'm supposed to be COUNSELING, for Heaven's sake!), so I went back to my office.

You need to know this: I live in Louisiana, and my office is literally across the river from Barksdale Air Force Base. Maybe you've heard of it - it's the base that President Bush was evacuated to, when all this started that morning. It's where he made his speech that was broadcast around the world, and parts of which will probably play this morning. The speech that says, "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."

President Bush was in Florida, then was scrambled to Barksdale, which was the next best thing to being surrounded by Marines. This base is TOUGH. They're serious there. Bush made his epic speech, then took off for parts unknown. I'm sorry, but no matter what your political leanings, the Secret Service did their job that day. Air Force One played hide-and-seek VERY WELL.

I was standing in the parking lot of my office, watching, when Air Force One took off from Barksdale. There was no circling of the city, no fly-by; the jet LEFT. Oh, and it was accompanied by several fighter jets. That made it real.

Was I touched by all this? YES!!!! Duh! I live in the United States - we're the invincible good guys! My security was shaken to its core. I was ready to leave & create a commune - which wouldn't have worked - my kids like city life. Did I have any personal loss? No. I have a sister who was literally in the air on a business trip when it all started; the plane was grounded, & it took her 3 days to get back home to Virginia. I have military friends who lost personal friends at the Pentagon. That's the closest I came.

Except for this: I died a little on that day. I died a little every time I heard of yet another daddy who wasn't coming home that night; or another fireman who stayed behind & fell with the buildings; or a mom who was on a plane. You all know the stories. You were alive then. You have your own stories. Some of you have true, personal losses. I am sorry. None of you asked for this.

There's one thing I do want to say, & it's in keeping with (in)courage's theme of "Hope" this month. Anne Jackson posted this bit on 9-10, and it smote me with the truth of God:

"The hope that was given to me through the encouragement of others. Because once someone gets a gift like hope, it's now a responsibility to pass on.
To give it away. I can promise you this: if you don't need hope right now, there's someone around you that does. And if you are the one who needs hope today, please take mine.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a God who is faithful to give you exactly what you need.
The grace.
The love.
The rest.
Whatever it is.
He'll provide it for you, when you can't take it anymore."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hope (in)courage

There's a little dangle-thingy attached to the ribbon in my day planner. The ribbon is there to keep my months separated. The dangle-thingy is there to keep my stress separated. What does it say? "Hope." Just that - hope. One of my all-time favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 40:31, which in the NIV reads, "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

There's a lot going on in my life right now, & it's SO easy to give up & lose hope. The thing is, God never gives up on ME. He's always there, right beside me, loving me. Even when it's so dark that I can't see anything but the bad, He's there. He's holding me up. Loving me. Waiting on ME to see Him.

It's hard to remember that all the time. So I attached "Hope" to my planner, so that even when I'm in the pit, I'll see the dangle & remember to hope in the Lord.

What's your hope? Go to (in)courage and get some hope - they've got a lot to spare!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Hey, guys! There's a new website that I found from Angie Smith's blog that's all about encouragement. So, here's my attempt to talk about encouragement: what encourages me? Let's see.....

Knowing that other, Godly, women are praying for me totally encourages me. Just the thought that there's someone else out there lifting my need(s) up in prayer gives me the lift I need to keep going. Plus the knowledge that I'm not alone in my struggles doesn't hurt, either!

So, what encourages you? Go to (in)courage & read about courage and (in)couragement. It's a site by Christian women, designed to help us all. Later!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Had a Wonderful Time; Wish We Were (still) There!

Yes, we made it and back to Cancun in one piece. However, it took another 18 hours for 3/4 of our luggage to make it home. Ahh, airlines - gotta love them. NOT!!! But, on the flip side, if it weren't for airlines, I'd be stuck in Louisiana forever. Not a good thing when the temps average 100. Degrees. With 100% humidity.

Enough about the bad stuff: here's the good stuff. We had a GREAT time down there! My husband didn't gain a pound; I did - 5 of them. :( Conversely, the food is most excellent (there's a cause and effect thing there, I think) The resort we stayed at, for the second time in a row, was Excellence Playa Mujeres

Playa Mujeres (Beach of Women) is directly opposite Isla Mujeres (Island of Women, though I did see lots of men on it.), reachable by a 20-minute ferry ride across the Caribbean. Lots of people; lots of tourist-y shops; LOTS of sun. The Isla, I mean. The resort is our favorite one of the 4 we've been to. We had our own rooftop terrace with a private (unheated) plunge pool & 2 lounging beds. So we plunged. And lounged. A lot.
Want more? Here's another view, this one looking toward the Sea:

We spent almost all of our free time (when we weren't eating, SCUBA diving, and sun-bathing on the beach) up here. Major relaxation going on.

But, as another perk, we had dinner on the beach one night - very romantic - especially with the saxophone player serenading us....

And we did other things. Like long walks on the beach. Eating. Sailing. Eating. SCUBA diving. Did I mention eating yet? And SCUBA was so cool!

Look closely. That speckled thing at the bottom of the screen is a Moray eel. A LONG one. Hubby kept hanging around trying to get a better picture, & Mr. Eel started snapping at him, which scared me to death! But all was well, & we saw tons of fish.
So, all in all, we had a great time - so great that we both choked up when it was time to leave. We call this our second home - when I'm not calling it Heaven!

Oh - and the airline flights? I called to confirm the day before, just as they recommend you do. Hear me - CALL the day before!!!! Our return flight had gotten changed again - back to the 3:05 departure. Which meant that we could stay at the resort until 1:00, then race to the airport. But, with delays for the flight from DFW, we didn't get home until 12 hours after we left the resort. Yuk - 12 hours in airport mode. I don't know how people from Great Britain do it - it takes them a day & a half to get there. Maybe that's why they stay for 2 - 3 weeks.
I'm a destination person - I don't like the journey. I know, I know, life's the journey. I'm working on it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

July Dreams

As so many of you have asked about my little side bar thingy that's titled "Dreaming of July," and as it is NOW July, it is time to share. In 2 days, or 36 hours or so, my sweet hubby & I will be on a plane, wending our way to our dream home of the Riviera Maya, aka Cancun. It has been SO long in coming, this year, with the economy being what it is. And, it is not without some serious stress coming down to the wire - this morning, we got an email notifying us that our return flight had been changed - again. When we originally booked back in April, we were scheduled to leave Cancun at 4:30 in the afternoon. Well, that changed about a month later, to 3:05 p.m. Today's change? Our flight leaves at 12:30 on our last day. And, thinking about just how early you have to get to the airport now to clear security (thank YOU, Osama), it really cuts into our last day of freedom.

So, I'm a little bummed right now. Yes, we're leaving in 2 days for a week, but now we don't have much of a last day, just a last morning. I will not say what airline did this - everyone has a horror story about every airline out there - but the economy has got to get better, or there won't be any more recreational flights left. I'm just saying.

But, as the Bible study I'm going through right now keeps telling me, "focus not on 'what if,' but on 'what is.' " What is, is Cancun here we come!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day, and Snake Saga, part 2

Update: As my 21-yr. old daughter, PWTH, pointed out in a comment to this post, there is a certain irony to drinking English Breakfast tea on Independence Day. So, yes, I'm out of the closet - I drink tea. From England - I have it shipped directly from London to Louisiana. There you have it.

Original post: When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary.... and the rest of it, brilliantly written by Mr. Jefferson. Here's hoping all of you and yours are having an excellent Independence Day! I've never understood the media's penchant for calling it the "Fourth of July," rather than what the actual holiday is. Our local paper had a banner across the front page wishing us all a happy Fourth of July. Hey, Times, ENGLAND has a Fourth of July! So does FRANCE! What they don't have is an Independence Day that falls on July 4.

I have really seen the actual Declaration of Independence (before Nicholas Cage stole it) in the National Archives - twice. To say that it is awe-inspiring is too mild. The document is humbling. What great minds we have had in our brief history.

And, on a totally different subject, it's time to share the next installment of our ongoing (apparently) saga of Pools versus Snakes. (Daughter, stop reading here) This morning, I opened the back door to go fetch the newspaper (the one proclaiming Happy Fourth of July), and stopped dead in my tracks. Yep. Another snake. A LONG one. He was fairly occupied, as he was in the process of using his mandibles of death to swallow what turned out to be a frog. For those of you who may be tender-hearted, don't worry. No one dies in this post.

I VERY calmly went back into the house to get my son, WD, who is the bravest one of us all. He just needs a big stick & he's ready to rock & roll. He put on some glasses, I got the .410 shotgun, & we went back out to the carport, where said snakie was still using his mandibles as designed. After much discussion, looking (from afar) of the head of said reptile, AND after the dog ran into the carport & scared it into the storage room (which is when the frog escaped), we identified it as a non-poisonous snake. And, as it turns out, it is the same (breed? race?) type of snake that I helped dispatch back in May, a yellow-bellied water snake.

It's like this - if a snake is still, I'm pretty OK (translate: calm). Once that thing starts moving, and they're FAST, that's when I start the dance. You know, the "up on tiptoes, high-C singing, MOVING AWAY" dance So, to complete the story, yon snake tried hiding in the storage room off the carport; WD rooted it out (while I high-tailed it down the driveway for the paper), and the snake scampered off for parts of the yard with more ground cover, presumably to find another frog.

WD came back in the house to tell me that the monster (it truly was at least 3 feet long) had a yellow belly, a very long tapered tail (I saw that part), and its head was in no way that massive arrowhead shape that a moccasin is famous for. Plus, its mouth was pink - not cotton.

So I put away my shotgun (I was ready to save the world), went back to bed, & read my paper while I had my English Breakfast tea.

Happy Independence Day, y'all!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Things - FINALLY!

I just discovered a website/blog that is spreading a single message to women: you are beautiful. It's doing it by getting ladies to post notes whereever they are, to affirm women in every walk of life that they are indeed beautiful, no matter what. Take a look & maybe spread the word? Have a great day!

And, on a different, but somehow related note.... There’s a great new “linky” service available and I wanted to let you know about it. It’s called MckLinky – After realizing the need for a new, reliable linky capability, Brent Riggs and MckMama got together to create a free, easy to use linky service for all their blog friends. So, go check it out.

But first, go put out some post-it notes!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Body image

These are not my thighs. No, really, they're not. They belong to someone else, someone MUCH larger than I am. See, I really weigh 95 pounds, just as I did in high school. Except now I have larger.... ahem.... I'm more shapely. And when I was thinner, so were my thighs. I have the measurements to prove it. Sometime in between pregnancies, for some warped reason, I measured them. 18". Really. And, not any more. They're slightly larger now. BUT, not by a factor of 2 or even exponentially (shudder).

Why am I outing myself like this, you ask? It's simple. I have taken up the challenge of the 30 Day Dead Shred. I've been reading over at this site about her trials and travails to get Deaded Shredded, and thought, hmmm, maybe I should look into it. So I looked. And backed away. Quickly.

But this Monday, during my Not Me! rompings through blogs, I came across another blog talking about the Shred, except this one hasn't started it yet. That's mainly because she's on vacation with her husband in Hawaii. Her start date is Monday, May 18. YOU know, ALL torture diets/exercise regimens start on Mondays. Plus, I'm going to Cancun in July. With bathing suits. To wear. Showing those thighs.

So, I can do this. Start on the 18th, I mean. I bought the DVD yesterday. I haven't unwrapped it yet, though. That would be silly. It's not the 18th yet.

Anyone out there want to join me? Beginning Monday, May 18, we're gonna get DEADED SHREDDED!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Hey, guess what! It's time for Not Me! Monday! again. That time of the week when we emulate MckMama and confess all our failings to each other. Or our triumphs. I'm easy.

Yesterday, I did not aid and abet in the elimination of 2, count them, TWO snakes. Said reptiles were truly NOT at my house, for the record. They were captured at - not in - a house way down the street. But, my daughter, HRH, & I certainly did not drive down to the house with a revolver not-loaded with snake shot. We did not spend 15 minutes or so nailing down (so to speak) the identification of the snakies. For the record, they were non-poisonous, but the family has little kids. And these snakes were LONG. And they bite. So I did not provide my now-loaded revolver to the man of the house, who promptly did not shoot the stuffings out of the snakes. And rejoicing did not spread throughout the land.
On a lighter note, I did not have a most marvelous Mother's Day, with a nice meal, and a movie in the afternoon. Indiana rocks! And I certainly did not celebrate it with two hot, gooey, chocolate chip cookies hand-baked by my husband. I had not mixed up the dough a week ago, with plans to have an occasion bake-off when the mood strikes. And it certainly did not strike yesterday!
How about you guys? What have you NOT done this week? Confess!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

It's back!!!! The world famous Not Me! Monday! The place where you confess all your sins to the world, in the hopes that others will comiserate with you, rather than judge you. Ahem. Check out the MckMama of the Not! Me-ers, MckMama.

So here goes: this week I did not plant flower seeds, plant some more, then plant some more. In the same holes. I am not thinking that more is better, and that a little variety is good for the soul. I did not contemplate making a batch of my famous fudge, then chicken out & make good old chocolate chip cookies instead. And I certainly did not eat one hot out of the oven in 3 seconds flat. Nope. Not me!

I also did not watch my newly 17-yr. old daughter get ready for her first prom (and first real date), with a LOT of poignancy, but also with great pride at her beauty. I did not make enough baked ziti with meatballs, Caesar salad, and crostini to feed 19 of her friends, rather than the 4 who were there. I did not have enough meatballs left over to feed us for 2 more meals, including the sauce. I was not tempted to just eat all the meatballs, rather than save them. I do NOT adore meatballs. Nope. Not me!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Compassion in Shreveport

It's time I came out of the closet - no, not THAT closet. The closet about Compassion. I sponsor a child in India. Yes, THAT India. He's a 5-year old little boy in a village 215 km northeast of Delhi (someone do the conversion for me, please!).

This all started with a blogger I follow, Angie Smith, who started writing about Compassion a couple of months ago. She is, as we speak, over in India, in Kolkata (Calcutta), meeting lots of these little ones. And, of course, raising awareness for sponsoring.

Money's tight right now. For a lot of us. But, you know, once I realized that I had been paying the same amount of money ($38) for a "health club" membership which I had just canceled, the decision became a non-decision. Lots of us can squeeze together that much a month. I don't personally do the coffee bar thing, mainly because I've learned to make those drinks at home & I'm a cheapskate. But there are lots of other areas I can & did cut back.

Thirty-eight dollars. A month. Compassion does it right - and there are kids all over the world needing you. (I may insult someone here) Don't give me the song and dance about kids right here at home needing our help. I know that - trust me, I work with them every day. My answer to you is - ARE you helping them, or is that just your pat answer?

$38. Compassion. They make it easy for you, and it's worth it.


Let's see, will this make me famous? I got an email this morning from Wikimetro asking if they could link my blog to their site. Hmmmm. I guess so. Now I'm supposed to write about happenings in and around my home town, so the world can keep up. Wait for it!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


A quick note to my legion of fans to say "Happy Easter!" It's a glorious morning, trying to rain, but it always rains here at Easter.

Celebrate the day with your family & friends, and try not to eat too many bunny eggs. BTW, all the pictures on my site were taken last year at Easter. My, how they've grown.

"He is not here; He has risen, just as He said." Matthew 28:6

Monday, April 6, 2009

A NOT! Not me! Monday!

This is just a teeny note to give all my legion of fans a little update.....

There are three blogs that I officially follow. Of the three, ALL of them need prayer - MAJOR prayer. Here's why: are expecting! That's right, they lost their little one almost a year ago, and are now looking forward to another little one. I can't imagine their feelings, having never been where they are, but I can ask you to pray for them. Put yourself in their place & ask God's grace on them.j are, tomorrow, going to observe the first anniversary of their daughter's birthday and one day life. Again, I can't imagine; I can only ask you to pray for sweet Angie & for peace on this hardest of days. , MckMama, is right now going through the storm. Her MckMiracle baby is on his third week of hospitalization with continuing bouts of SupraVentricular Tachycardia. I DO know what she's going through: at times, I've been slammed with my own bouts of SVT's. It's no fun, and I'm a grownup. Imagine what a 4-month-old feels like. Pray, people. Raise these good Christians up to the Lord and ask for mercy. For miracles. For peace.
For joy.

And, it wouldn't hurt to let them know that you're praying for them.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pray for Stellan!!!!!

Help, people! One of the blogs I follow, MckMama's ( , has a little one who is in the hospital as we speak, trying to get his heart rhythms back in sync. He's experiencing Supra Ventricular Tachycardia, something I've got some experience with. It's no fun for an adult, and he's a little baby! So, get on your knees, & pray!

Here's one more thing you can do - another of her followers is re-starting Stellan's name gallery, which is an uber-cool thing people all over the world started doing before he was born. Take a picture of his name, with any medium you see fit (and is appropriate), and post it on this blog: . It's kinda like Not Me! Monday, with a prayer-twist. So, get going, make a name for the gallery, take a picture of it, & link by posting on the above blog. Then PRAY!!!!!

Here's mine, which I made out of the blocks I use to give an IQ test:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Yesterday, I must confess, I did not prepare a Not Me! post, in anticipation of being w/in the first 100 bloggers who link to MckMama's blog! I did not do this, because I knew that I would not be spending 8 hours in a Sensory Processing Disorders workshop, with absolutely no time to not-blog. And on Friday, I also did not spend the first 8 hours in a Reading First workshop/training, with not time for more fun!

BUT, on Saturday, I did not walk out of Wal Mart & stop dead in the exit when I spied the dreaded Girl Scouts. And I did not rationalize to myself that I would only eat 2 a day, and the kids would eat the rest. And you know what? I did NOT buy 3 boxes ($10.50 - ask me how I do not know that!) and come home & make my kids VERY happy.
I also did not make a chocolate brownie pie for general consumption, in celebration of Pi Day (you know - 3.14). It's not an annual event at our house. And, it's also not Einstein's birthday. So not fitting!

I have not been thinking about posting a recipe for the oh-so-yummy New Orleans Roast Beef Sandwiches I blogged about last Monday. I will only not do so, if begged for by my legion of (read: 2) fans who are so kind to follow me.

Today, during lunch break I did not, myself, consume a 1/2 pound hamburger, with the accompanying shoestring fries. I did not not-leave any meat behind. Oh, but I did-not have cheese on it. A girl's gotta cut back somewhere. But, I most definitely did not eat 7/8ths of the fries. Nope. Not me!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! If you want to visit the home of Not Me! Monday, head over to MckMama's site at!

Hmm..... what have I not been doing this week? Well, this weekend, I did not spend an hour pre-preparing food for a church family who's moving to a new home. This meal did not include New Orleans-style roast beef for sandwiches, and it especially did not include a Hershey Bar pie. And I most certainly did not make another pie for my own personal family. And, best of all, after finishing making the pies, and not licking my fingers a LOT, I did not turn around and make some amazing triple chocolate cookies. And I most definitely did not eat one. Or two. Or three (but the third one doesn't count, as it constituted my bedtime snack).

I also did not spend a lot of time in the hot tub with my husband. This would be considered necessary, as we certainly do not want to continue being married for a long time. And "quality time together" does not assist in that goal!

I did not have e-mail wars with one of my schools, over whether or not I am able to do an evaluation on a student (I am not! able).

I did not, on at least a daily basis, click on a Grand Canyon webcam site, wanting to be there so badly I can NOT stand it. Snow. The Grand Canyon. It does NOT get any better than that.

Wait, yes it does. Cancun. Any time of year. It definitely does not get any better than that. And I so do not! want to go there. Nope. Not me!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Apparently, my blogging is becoming relegated to mainly posting on Sunday nights Mondays, as this is my third or fourth post, most of which have been on Mondays.

So, this week, I did not make two absolutely amazing cakes for our church youth-fund-raising cake auction.
One was not called "Chocolate Cabbage Cake" and it absolutely did NOT contain any cabbage. However its chocolate leaves were (truly) molded AROUND cabbage leaves.
The other was not called Chocolate Raspberry Torte, and it was not just as heavenly. Its leaves absolutely did NOT contain any rose leavesl; however, they absolutely WERE molded around said leaves.

Both cakes were not scrumptious. I can say that, as I most definitely did not taste the chocolate spongecake batter as I was not hand-stirring the flour & cocoa powder into the hand-stirred eggs and sugar.

And I most definitely did not taste the crumbs left over after the cakes were baked, cut, cream-whipped, re-assembled, buttercreamed, glazed, and then decorated. I also did not taste the buttercream before, during, and after making it; after taking it out of the refrigerator; and after bringing it to room temperature prior to putting on the cakes.

Each cake did not contain 9 eggs. Each. Not. Each helping of buttercream did not contain 3/4 pound of real butter. And 3 eggs. And 1/2 pound of bittersweet chocolate. Each. Not.

Not to mention the various amounts of chocolate needed for chocolate glaze, the chocolate (not one entire pound of semi-sweet itself), the decorative rose, the rose leaves (not organic, of course), the cabbage which sacrificed its prettiest leaves for the chocolate, etc.

I did not spend 2 hours Saturday making the cakes, the buttercream, the glaze, and all parts of chocolate leaves. Nope. Not me! Then I didn't spend another 1 hour Sunday cutting the raspberry cake in half, coating both halves in raspberry jam, then buttercream, then glazing the entire thing, raspberry-ing it, covering the cabbage cake with buttercream, then covering it with the chocolate leaves.

Oh, yeah. It was also not my 51st birthday this week. (I get to mention it on 2 Not Me! Mondays, as it fell on a Monday, you know) I didn't get even more flower seeds than I imagined, necessitating yet another not-trip to Wal-Mart for peat disks & seed starter kits. I also didn't get an amazing single-malt Scotch from my adult son, necessitating "drinks all around." Nope! Not me!!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oak? Orange?

Here's a quick little post culled from a surreal conversation I had with my 2 younger kids one evening..... We were at dinner, having, I'm sure, a fabulous concoction, when the talk turned to stuffed grape leaves (dolmas, I think they're called).

My younger son, WD, truly earned his name (Wonky Dude) with this one. I was trying to convince them that grape leaves were yummy, and they weren't having any of it. He said (and I promise that this is a direct quote) "Oak leaves are worse."

There came the inevitable question from his ever-confused mother about WHEN he might have eaten oak leaves? "When I was bored."

Then his sister, HRH, chimes in with "It could be worse - most kids eat mud pies."

Then WD responds with "Orange rinds are worse."

I leave on that note.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Oh, my gosh! This must be the ultimate Not Me! Monday post for me! After all, this is the actual day that I actually don't turn 51! So, yes, February 23 is NOT my birthday. And, especially, February 23, 2009 is NOT my fifty-first birthday! Which means, dear ones, that I am officially NOT "fifty-something."

So, top that, Not Me-ers. Boo-yah! I'm sorry, I so did NOT just do that. I'll play nice, I promise.

Also this week, my very own husband & kids did not cook a special birthday dinner with amazing cake for dessert. And I did not eat way too much of it. No, really. I did NOT eat too much of it. It was way too rich to eat a lot. And they really did not put 51 candles on it. Really. Oh, good grief - you people are never going to believe a word I say on Mondays, for ever!

But yes, the dinner was not yet another soup - Sicilian Sausage Soup it was not, to be exact (this is beginning to sound like Dr. Seuss). It was also not hot. And not delicious. And not filling at all. Soup - it's what's not for dinner at my house.

The best thing about my birthday being on Monday is that I did not get to celebrate it twice. On Saturday, I did not celebrate it with my away-at-college, but not with my at-home son. And today, I am not celebrating it with my at-home son, but not with my away-at-college daughter. (Other children & husband understood to be not-in-attendance at both not-celebrations)

I did not get to open 2 sets of presents: one-half not-opened on Saturday, and one-half not-opened on Monday. I did not get several bottles of wine which I will definitely NOT use for cooking, a bottle of Dark Chocolate Martini mix, which I will not drink during the summer, and some basil seeds which I will not plant to begin dreaming of summer pesto.

This week, I did not walk my son's dachschund puppy every day for a mile. And I did not drag any daughters, who were in residence, along with me, as they certainly do not need the exercise either. And they did not complain. Nope! Not them!

Happy Monday! And Happy Not Me! Birthday to me!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chicken Soup for everyone's soul!

The voters have spoken (all one of you, thankyouverymuch!), the polls are in, & the first of possibly many recipes is now here. Ladies and ladies, I bring you the essential recipe for Chicken Soup!

It's so easy it's scary: Depending on your family & your budget, start with the chicken of your choice. Either a whole chicken, or bone-in chicken breasts, or bone-in thighs, or chicken wings (but you won't get much meat that way); use enough to feed your family. Rinse the chicken & put it into a soup pot. Cover the chicken with Swanson's LOW SODIUM chicken broth. Throw in a large onion, cut in half, 2 or three carrots, washed (don't bother peeling), and 2 or three celery ribs (washed very well - the stuff I get here is usually filthy!). You can also throw in a handful of dried parsley & some black pepper.

Bring it to a boil, & cover & simmer several hours. If any "foam" gathers on the surface just skim off & discard. After several hours, the soup should have cooked down somewhat. Take it off the heat, remove all the chicken, & pour the broth into a bowl. My family doesn't care for the veggies in the soup, so I strain my broth. If your family likes them, leave them in or chop them & add back.

Let the broth cool/chill so the fat collects on the surface. Then skim it off & toss. If the soup is truly cold, it's easy to skim off the fat w/ a spoon. Debone the chicken, cut it into bite sizes, and add to the broth.

When you're ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer, taste & correct for seasonings (sometimes I add some Knorr chicken bouillon to rich up the taste), and cook your pasta. When the pasta (small macaroni, or fideos, or something spoon-sized) is ready, drain it, then serve the soup. I keep the pasta separate so everyone can get as much as they'd like, plus it prevents all the broth from soaking into the pasta & it makes better leftovers.

We serve it with French bread, sometimes a salad, and always with freshly-grated Parmesan on top.

I've been making this so long that I could do it blindfolded. You can also use your left-over turkey carcass, with the addition of some extra meat after the broth is strained. The soup is different with turkey, but is excellent - a richer flavor, if you will.

I make this with a turkey carcass Thanksgiving afternoon (our big meal is at lunch that day) & freeze it for Christmas night. We usually have beef soup Thanksgiving night, to avoid poultry overload. But when you've got broth in the freezer, it makes dinner that night a piece of cake!

And, the broth freezes beautifully for months in freezer Ziploks. You can also use the broth for other meals needing a good broth, but soup is really the best, to me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Culinary Genius???

Update: After a multitude of complaints (well, just one, from my own personal daughter, PWTH) I've made a minute change to this post. See if you can spot it.

Hello, everyone! Gee, I feel so proud! After my latest "Not Me! Monday" post, I got a comment that I should definitely post "the recipe." The question is, which recipe? The Chile Lime Shrimp not-served as the Valentine's Day appetizer? The Crabcakes with Tart & Sweet Salad not-served as the "salad" for the same meal? The amazing Lump Crabmeat au Gratin not-served as the piece' de resistance (I apologize in advance to all true French speakers)? (I didn't even mention the Chocolate Mousse with sliced Strawberries not-served as dessert.

Maybe they meant my Tuscan Chicken Soup not-served on Thursday BEFORE V.Day. Or perhaps my blase' chicken soup served each and every Christmas Night.

Help me out here, sports fans! Let's have a vote. What recipe do you most want to see?

Hey, it's my blog - I can imagine that I have 4 millions of readers, just as MckMama does!

As a little aside, I am half-Italian, I truly am an amazing cook (as evidenced by the fact that my son, WD, refuses to eat half of what I make - not counting the Mousse, of course), and I do love to share recipes.

So, vote!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Let's see, what have I not done this week? Well, I didn't finally break down about my hair. That's right, I didn't cover all that gray hair add gorgeous highlights Saturday morning, in preparation for not having a romantic evening with my husband. And, on the same subject, I didn't cook an absolutely amazing Valentine's meal of Chile Lime Shrimp, Crab Cakes w/ Tart & Sweet Salad, and Lump Crabmeat au Gratin. While not sipping Champagne. And also not sipping said Champagne throughout the meal not in front of our own personal fireplace.

I also didn't make an absolutely amazing Tuscan Chicken Soup for Thursday night's dinner. I didn't invent the recipe myself. Nope. Not me! I didn't wonder aloud if we could have this soup Christmas night, instead of the blase' chicken soup we have every year. And 1/2 of my kids didn't vehemently shout me down & say "NO!!!! Thou shalt not mess with tradition!!!!"

SO, I didn't secretly plan to do it anyway. Hey, Christmas is 10 months away! They won't remember.

I didn't have to send back every single bra I just received from Victoria's Secret this week, as they were all too small in one way or another. I also did not dispair of ever finding another bra to fit my obviously-weird-sized bosom.

I also didn't receive a planter of blooming red tulips from the work associate I didn't spend 7 1/2 hours helping with her report last week. I didn't hug her, then try to pass them off to my husband as being from him, and "oh, thanks so much."

Also, I didn't slip away this afternoon & have my hair cut to within an inch of its life ever-so-slightly trimmed, post-highlights (to cover any coloring mistakes oh, heck - mistakes. And I didn't return with my hair the way I love it - cut short & sweet, so it only takes 10 seconds with a blow dryer to style. Nope. Not me!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Update: my mr. linky thing at MckMama's site is bogus - this is not today's (2-23) post. Go here: for the current one!

Hello all you nobodys out there & welcome to my very first Not Me! Monday post. See, this is the deal: This week, I did not spend over 2 hours on Friday helping a work associate fix a report that was, how shall we say, INCOMPLETE by several applications. And, today, I did not spend another 4 hours 5 1/2 hours adding/correcting/typing/and proofing it some more. On the same note, I did not wait until 4:00 pm Friday afternoon before breaking out the Scotch (not single malt. Nope. Not me!) because I needed some chill time so badly.

Also, this weekend, I did not drink my tea & eat my digestive biscuits in bed, trying to keep the cat away from the chocolate. But, hey, it was Saturday!

I did not go to the grocery store Thursday late afternoon, & want to buy 6 of everything, but settled on 1 of everything, because hey! There's a recession on!

I did not look at my hair & decide that I could stretch it out another week before I have to cover my gray put some highlights in it.

And, finally, I did not spend several hours on Newport News' website, not ordering several dresses/skirts, because I'm not tired of my old ones. Nope. Not me!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Latest introduction

It's been oh-so-long since I've posted anything. What got in the way? Work!!!! My past month at work - January - has been extremely taxing. I averaged 3 schools a DAY. Not a week. A day. Busy, busy, busy. But, that's why "they" call it work, right? If it weren't work, it would be play, after all.

And, I have yet to make final introductions of my kids. Child number 3, boy number 2, shall hereby be known as Wonky Dude. For some reason, he has become enamored of the word "wonky" & has even named his computer that. So be it. He is now WD. Eighteen years old, and thus making me the stupidest human on the planet. Not a good feeling, especially since my IQ's higher than his, I've lived decades longer than he, AND, unlike him, I've learned from my mistakes.

But, he can't help being a know-it-all thinking he knows everything. He's eighteen!

At times, he's downright pleasant to be around. Like at Christmas. Or on his birthday. And at my annual hug-fest (YOU know. the one-armed fast drape around the shoulder & then jump away fast hug that teen-aged boys are so famous for)

There you have it - in order, I have
BBE (Big Blue Eyes) 22 yrs. old
PWTH (Party Waiting To Happen) 20 yrs. old
WD (Wonky Dude) 18 yrs. old
HRH (Her Royal Highness) 16 yrs. old

Soon, I'll introduce the man responsible for all this mayhem family joy.