Tuesday, April 28, 2009

oh, my! willy's 30 today!

I know, I know. No one calls him Willy anymore. But he's still my Willy-boy. I think it's amazing when I look at his little bitty baby pictures, and try to figure out where the years went. Was it really thirty years ago? It sure doesn't seem like that long. It's almost like last week or so. Ha! (Well, maybe part of it is that memory issue I get now and then! LOL)

If he were small again, and I could know what I know now, I would spend more time playing with him. I would have more patience, and be more understanding of his need to conquer, climb and explore. I would have worried less. I would have laughed at myself more. But I wanted to do it "right" so badly. I gripped parenthood with clenched fists so I could master it. I think I squeezed a lot of the fun out of it!

But that is the essence of parenthood...learning how to be a good mom, or a good dad. Doing those things with your children. And if you're lucky, you get it right sooner rather than later.

But now, it's his turn. He has five awesome kids, and it's his time to take them places, do things with them, and teach them as well as he can! And I get to be the gramma--not much in the way of responsibility, but lots of enjoyment!

Hmmmm...so THAT'S the payback we get! It just clicked for me.

We put in all that work, and right about when they grow up and get past all those yucky stages, they move away. It sucks! But then.....grandbabies! The parents get to work, we simply enjoy! They struggle, we snuggle. God is a GENIUS!

Happy Birthday, my Willy-boy! I love you so much!

Monday, April 27, 2009

while i'm on the subject of horses...

I recently received some Bella Sara trading cards and toys in the mail to review.

I remember buying baseball trading cards when I was a kid, and you always got a stick of bubble gum in there. If you didn't get any cards you liked, you still had the gum so you felt like you got something out of the deal. I wasn't crazy about baseball, but I still liked opening the package, wondering whose cards I would get.

These little Bella Sara cards are the cutest trading cards for young girls, especially those girls who are horse-lovers. If they had had these around when I was a kid, you know I would have been buying these instead.

They have trading cards with the individual magical horse characters on there, and they are beautiful! They come in all my favorite shades of purple, pink and every iridescent color in between. They are just beautiful. Can you tell I'm just a big kid at heart? And each pack of cards comes with directions for a little game that can be played with the Bella Sara cards, as well.

There are little packages that you can purchase that have adorable little collectible horse figurines--many different characters. I would have loved these when I was young...and I could still see collecting them as a gramma now, and sitting down and playing with my grandbabies once they get past the toddler stage. You just don't want to let the babies get their hands on the little pieces.

On the Bella Sara website, kids can play special Bella Sara games, enter special codes from the Bella Sara trading card packages, see all the different Bella Sara horse characters, and do other fun things. There's a 15% discount coupon for Target that you can print out. In fact, right now there is a contest where children can enter to win a Bella Sara treasure hunt for themselves and their friends. The giveaway ends this week, April 30, so hurry on over there to enter.

Look for this:

Then click on back here to enter my drawing to win some free Bella Sara samples for your special little person! It's so easy...leave me a comment on this post, and make sure I have a way to reach you (email or blog). I'll be drawing two winners at the end of the week, thanks to the generosity of the Bella Sara folks. And the best part is, they are mailing them out!! Yay! If you've been reading here for very long at all, you know how well I do at that part of it. :(

Good luck~!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

animals...smarter than we think they are!

Here's a new way of taking a horse for a ride. Who knew?

Thanks to DeeDee, who sent this to me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

all's well that ends well

I think I go slightly out of whack occasionally! Wow. Yesterday was a crabby day. Today is a little better.

And our department did an appreciation lunch today, which was much more personal...now THAT was fun.

I'm not trying to put down the place for doing an employee appreciation. I just have a hard time with huge organized "have fun now" events, and they stick work things in there, like, while we have you together now, we want you to do this, and we want to get this piece of business done...it all starts to feel like it's really for the company and not for the employees. It's just lip service.

You know, I'm going to just move on. No matter what I say, it still sounds like complaining about them trying to do us a favor. Okay, on to happier things.

I was very happy last night that neither Allison, Kris, nor Adam went home on American Idol. Danny is pretty darn good, too. Although Allison has been in the bottom three a few times already, she's still hanging in there. I love her voice, but she doesn't seem as versatile as a few of the others.

I'm picking Adam and Kris for the top two. What do you think?

And on another note, I want to say hello to Luvvy, who just started a new blog to show off the cool jewelry she makes! Stop on over and visit...we got the bare bones done, but she'll be adding more next week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

appreciate this

Yesterday was Employee Appreciation Day at my job. Gak. I hate things like that. They're excruciating. I was going to rebel and go late, but in fact, I ended up skipping the event altogether! Yes, yes I did. I just sat at my desk and worked.

My co-worker went, and she came back from it with a bright red button that says, “I am kind of a big deal…because I work at…” How nice. Go to an employee appreciation and they insult you with back-handed compliments that they expect you to wear on your shirt. After she explained the Anchorman connection or whatever it is, I got it, but I still think that was dumb. And am I the only one in the universe who doesn’t know the context of that?

I guess I don’t appreciate cutesy anymore. Like I’m going to wear a button that says I’m kind of a big deal. Well, I probably wouldn't wear a button that says "I am a big deal", either. I don't do buttons. Give me a $5 coupon for the cafeteria or something. I’d feel much more appreciated. You know? Am I ungrateful?

Then at this meeting, they talked about layoffs. They said they won’t have to lay anyone off except for a few employees who are still on probation that they have decided not to keep on. That sounds good, unless you’re one of the employees who are still on probation. Mind you, employees stay on probation for six months after they officially start. It could be me!

Then they played name bingo—they shouted out the names and you had to match it to a face on a hard-to-see bingo card covered with dated, out-of-focus pictures of employees I’ve never heard of. Wow. And finally they had iffy-looking cake and punch for everyone. What a hoot! You mean I could have missed productive work time for that?

I am getting sarcastic in my old age. Interesting...or maybe it's rubbing off from the kids.

Then after tossing the probation thing over in my mind all night, I get to work this morning, and there is this HUGE dog kennel by my desk. I thought maybe they were trying to get cutesy with their pink slips and let me know I’m in the doghouse, or in deep doodoo. But no, the kennel is just here temporarily until someone picks it up. So much for that theory.

So it's back to the waiting game. Wait out the days until someone picks up the rug I'm on and rolls me out to the curb, or until I pass my probation get-in-free date.

Monday, April 20, 2009

kitties gone wild...

I think it must be a little spring fever or something. The cats are coming out of their usual laid-back routines and they are berserkifying me. Ya like that word? I just made it up.

Franklin is back to his terroristic activities. He's being a bully again. He's so mean to Charli-mama.

At 4:30 or 5 this morning--RIGHT outside my BEDROOM DOOR, out of a dead sleep I heard this earsplitting screeching and snarling, and then I heard this thumping against the wall as Franklin was whomping Charli-mama up one side and down the other.

It puts me in a state, I tell you. An instant 0 to 60 rage in one second. This morning I flew up out of bed, tripped over my feet getting to the door and stepping on the sharp tail of one of ChiChi's leftover dinosaurs in the process, and WHIPPED the door open, only to see Franklin and Tucker hightailing it down the hall. I took one step out the door, and they ran...FOR THEIR FOOD DISH!

I was shouting down the hall at them. Anyone who was awake would have thought I was an absolute lunatic. "Do you honestly think I am going to FEED you and REWARD you for giving me cardiac arrest at FIVE O'CLOCK in the stinkin' MORNING??! GLL...raauugh...oh, snickety pickets! Just FORGET IT!!" They sat by their dish and peered around the corner at me with their eyes all huge. I must have been a sight...eyes scrunched up so I could barely see, hair flying all directions, so tired that the words weren't even coming out of my mouth right. Oooh, I was so mad.

I put Charli-mama in the bathroom and slammed the door shut so Frankie couldn't get at her again until DeeDee got up to feed her. I shut my bedroom door and limped back to my side of the bed muttering under my breath about cats.

So what, now? They are so used to my getting up early to feed them that they think they will start the process early when they're a little hungry? Just make a ruckus and I'll come running to feed them? I'll fix them.

I'm going to stick a full squirt bottle right by my door before I go to bed. The next time they pull that--PSSSTTT--SST--PSST--PPSSTTTT!! I'll drench them! They'll be too busy giving themselves a bath to have time to harass Charli. And maybe I'll make them go catch mice for their breakfast.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

bits and bites

I got to see 17 Again today--loved it, loved it, loved it. I took E-girl to the movies, just the two of us. She predicted half the things in the movie, and I managed to not cry. If I had been watching it at home, I might have.

It's a perfect sappy movie with some hysterically funny parts in there, too. I always love a movie with a great geek in it. You know the tall skinny guy in Notting Hill who went out on the steps and flexed for the photographers in his underwear? The geeky guy in this movie tops that. Yes!

"Movie laugh, Mom! Shh..." she kept telling me. We were almost the only ones in the place on a Sunday night. Who cares if I'm loud? Laughing out loud makes me feel good, anyway. Ah, it was good times.

Let's see...what else did we do this weekend. Well, on Saturday, we went to little Monty man's first birthday party. What an absolute ZOO. There were I swear, at least fifteen little kids and probably that many adults, as well, all crammed into a little tiny one bedroom apartment. You could not hear someone sitting next to you say something. It brought back memories of when all the kids were home.

I wish I could say we left as soon as possible, but we didn't. We stayed in the madness for over two hours. Gak.

Now tonight, I should have finished cleaning out the stuff in the dining room...Johnny set up my new desk. It's just fabulous...there's space for everything desk-related. Like DeeDee said, it's like my own little office cubicle right here at home. Why yes, yes it is. Now I just need my own little comfy office chair to sit on and I can live at the desk. Ha!

And Gee went back to college after the weekend. I have bad news, GeeGee girl. I took the Friends Season 3 out of your bag to watch it last night, and I kinda forgot to put it back in before you left. :( But guess what! If you bring Season 5 home with you next weekend, I'll give you back 3 and 4. I know, I know. I'm breaking the rules by having two seasons at once. But just bring home Season 5 and all will be well!! :D Love you too, chickie!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

singing, and songs, and singers, oh, my!

Did you catch American Idol last night? You know I did...I'm a self-confessed AI addict. I can't miss it.

So what about last night? I think Matt or Lil might go home this time. I don't know what's up with Lil...it seems like she is trying to sing in every genre except where her strength is. It's not really working for her, in my opinion.

Allison did well, I think, but it's always risky doing a song that is a trademark for someone else. That song IS Aerosmith. We'll see tonight.

And I'm an Adam Lambert fan! I think it'd be a travesty if anyone else won this year. I'd buy his CD right now if he had one out. I looked at my honey last night, and I said, "He is going to be BIG." He's going places. I'm happy for him. He has talent up the wazoo; he manages to come across as humble; and he has a great attitude and a great smile! What's not to like?

On a similar subject, check out this singer in the Britain's Got Talent tryouts. I could hang out with her. She's funny! You have to see it!

You'll see Simon's familiar face there, but you won't hear any sarcastic comments from him this time. Embedding has been disabled, so you'll have to click on the link to see it. Really. It's worth a couple minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Calling - a book review

I think I had to read this book a few times before it all came together for me, and I saw something different in it each time I read it. The first time I read it, it was like this crazy patchwork of events. Then I got to the end and went, "Oh!" And I had to go back to the beginning and read it again.

After reading Jacob's comments and some of his story, I thought that it was a bit autobiographical, but that part of it had to be pulled out from between the lines. I caught glimpses of a child who had been to hell and back, but then I'd get caught up in the story again. It's quite a fascinating read.

I'm going to post some questions that Jacob answered and wrote about, just because I think he's very eloquent. I loved reading what he thinks about his writing and what he says about his life, and I think you will, too.

Jacob Israel is unlike many authors we meet today. His compelling writing style brings the reader along a fantastic journey that may stay with them for many years to come. I was excited to spotlight him here and I believe you will find, like his book, there is more to Jacob Israel than meets the eye.

INTERVIEWER: For the readers who don't know you, tell us a bit about yourself.

JACOB: I'm a father to three amazing children and a husband to a wife I adore. I'm someone that has been through a lot in life and grateful for every moment of it. The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, all paved the way to become who I am.
Professionally, I'm an Emmy, Telly, and N.R.B. Award winning television writer and producer, who has been blessed with a steady creative career since graduating university. However, that is not who I am.

Most of my life, I was one of those people who wore a mask to fit in. I felt very alone, alienated from those around me. Looking back, I understand why. Everything I've endured had great purpose. Never meeting my biological father, coping with a severe case of Crohn's disease, suffering abuse and abandonment, losing everything, it all played its part to humble me and get me where I am today. I spent the majority of my life questioning the meaning of it, learning that it is better to love than to hate, to give rather than receive, to be content and compassionate.

As a young adult, I was most comfortable on stage. I won a dramatic scholarship to university and that is where I found my love for the written word. It would be years, and many performances of my originals works later, that would I actually dare pursue a career in writing.

Today, I couldn't be happier with that career choice, I am constantly challenged and rewarded by it. There is nothing better than sitting down to write something that, you pray, will make a difference in someone's life. This was the impetus for my novel.

INTERVIEWER: Let's talk about that, why did you write THE CALLING?

JACOB: I wanted desperately to share a story of how love and forgiveness can overcome all things, even the most horrible. I had to write THE CALLING. I believe I was meant to write it. I had the seed of the story burning inside me most my life, but it wasn't until devastating circumstances in my life about four years ago made it possible for me to sit down and write it.

It was a very dark and hard time, but a lot of beauty rose from those ashes, and I would not trade that experience for anything. It's the reason I chose such a dark and fearful cover. There are too many things in life keeping us from following after our dreams and finding peace. Fear is the enemy of joy. It destroys relationships, hopes, families… it destroy lives. Allegorically, that is why the woods in The Calling are dead.

I wanted to write something that would provoke thought and encourage readers to move past fear and into faith, to seek the life I believe we're meant to live while keeping them guessing and entertained along the way.

INTERVIEWER: You mentioned allegory, some have compared your novel to The Shack and Pilgrim's Progress, is that a fair comparison?

JACOB: Well, I hope it is. I can only pray it has a positive impact on those who read it, as far comparing it, that wouldn't really be up to me. But, yes, there is a story beneath the story that is told. So, in that aspect, sure, there are similarities.

For years, I have studied scripture as well as many other philosophies and religious texts. Of course, the bible has been my biggest creative influence, not to mention the spiritual. I love the revelation one receives when the heavens of our understanding open up and we finally understand what that verse (that we couldn't understand) finally means. "It is glory of God to conceal a thing, and honor of Kings to seek out the matter".

In my novel, there are many hidden treasures for those with "eyes to see" if you will. Although, there is no need to look deeper, because I believe the message, intrigue and suspense is loud and clear, it still is very rewarding, I think, to find the more veiled spiritual meaning but that's up to the reader. From anagrams, to events, locations, names, to the title of the book, and even (clears throat) the author's name, there is a reason for it all. Like, for examples sake, if one were to string every chapter title together, it might be cool if there were a hidden message there, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

INTERVIEWER: What does the title of the Book mean?

JACOB: Well, I believe all of us have a calling on our lives, a purpose we are to carry out. Thomas James, the lead character in the novel is no different. His purpose is a bit grander than most, however. He doesn't truly understand the significance of what he is called to do. The novel documents the first eighteen years of the boys life. He's haunted by nightmares of what may come, visited by strange messengers, abused, alienated, and abandoned, yet despite his circumstances he has an uncanny ability to love and forgive. Thomas is ever questioning, the role he is to play and his circumstances. Perhaps, Thomas was "called" to be that "voice in the dead woods" the title speaks of, calling people out of the deep sleep that keeps them from finding out who they truly are.

INTERVIEWER: You mention the first eighteen years of Thomas's life, the book does lend to a sequel, will we hear from Thomas again?

JACOB: Sure, THE CALLING is the first novel in a series. Before the Prologue you'll find two pages with two peculiar quotes. One states, "Your life is not what it appears to be, what will happen when the truth is poured out on a world that is deceived?"

What is interesting about this passage is, it is credited to "The Book Of Thomas James" in the year 2012. Most may skim past passages like this, but like I said, there's a reason for everything. So keep your eyes peeled for the next book in the series to released in the next year or two.

INTERVIEWER: Who will this book appeal to?

JACOB: First of all, let's talk age appropriate. I am excited to hear how varied the ages are of those who love the book. I'm most surprise with those age twelve and up. I wanted the book to appeal to a large demographic. So, to have a younger generation also excited about an allegorical fiction with a mature spiritual message and theme is a dream come true.

As far as, what type of person should read THE CALLING, I believe anyone who is not fulfilled in life, who wants more from entertainment than just escape, anyone who has suffered, or experienced great loss and didn't understand why, I think, whole heartedly this is the book for you. You will relate with Thomas's struggle, you will be encouraged by what comes out of it, and inspired by how anything is possible with faith and love.


JACOB: The Calling is an inspirational thriller about a twelve-year boy named Thomas James, whose extraordinary insight and purpose changes the lives of those he meets, and sets the world on its edge.

The self absorbed, greedy, and arrogant residents of Bethel begin to despise young Thomas James for the honest words he speaks. His peers torment him, strange messengers visit him, and an evil presence fights to destroy him every step along the way.

Thomas suffers from prophetic nightmares and visions he does not understand. The loss of his family is almost more than he can take. His internal struggle to make sense of his circumstances leads him down a perilous road, where nothing is as it seems.

Soon, the startling revelation of who Thomas James truly is will confound the masses and inspire all those he sets free. You have to find out what is in us all that makes us heed the "Calling".

INTERVIEWER: Where is the book available and how do we find out more about it?

JACOB: You know my website is a great place to start. It is www.JacobIsrael.org and it has video trailers, a synopsis, sample chapters, reviews, links to purchase it online and general info about upcoming events, news, etc. I also do a bi-weekly video journal posted in the author section. Like the book, I hid messages, inspirational poetry, and lots of other fun stuff to find. The book is available everywhere books are sold, if you can't find it at your local bookstore, see if they can order it for you, and if not, all the major online retailers, from amazon.com to target.com carry it as well.

INTERVIEWER: In closing, what do you want the readers of THE CALLING to take away from this book?

JACOB: Obviously, I hope they enjoy it and are entertained. However, the most important thing to me is that, those who read it will find that even in the hardest, and most difficult of times, there is hope. Hope… That is what I want people to take away from this book.
Here are some more links for you to check out at your leisure:
JACOB SPEAKS: A video journal entry

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

whirlwind days, short nights

Life has so many seasons! Right now it feels like my days fly by. Wake up. Foomp--time to go to work. Foomp! Lunchtime. Foomp! Time to go home. Foomp! Bedtime. As fast as you can say Foomp!, my day is gone.

I fall into bed, and Foomp! It's morning again.

So I guess when one of the children asks me how I am, if I say Foomp!, do you think they'll get it? Or will they say, "Excuse me?" in disbelieving tones? And when I say Foomp! again, will they step away and look at me out of the corners of their eyes, and whisper to their sibling about how strange I have become? Because yeah, I am that strange when I have no time for my brain to calm down, and for my thoughts to become collected.

Well, Saturday is going to be a day of a different tempo. I will get up early, unfortunately, but after that, the day will get better. It's going to be a scrapbooking spree. No work allowed. Just playtime with paper and pictures. And no requirement to be productive. I'm looking forward to THAT.

Monday, April 6, 2009

the simple woman's daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, April 6...I'm enjoying the slow pace of the morning.

Outside my window... a back yard that is starting to show the leftovers of a cold windy winter season...flotsam and jetsam everywhere

I am thinking... what a complicated day it could turn out to be. My honey is not doing well today. He's just not himself lately. I stayed home to take care of my little ChiChi boy this morning, and I'm trying to get dinner ready to go in the oven tonight so it's easy for my honey to do if I stay at work a little later. I think I'll try to go in around noon when little man goes for a nap.

I am thankful for... grandchildren who brings me delight every day.

From the kitchen... a blissfully clean counter...dishes are done! I'm working on putting together my stuffed shells. Forty minutes in the oven tonight and voilĂ ! Dinner!

I am wearing... my pajamas still, thinking about what I'm going to wear to work later.

I am creating... scrapbook page designs in my mind for next weekend. I'm going to Luvvy's for the day on Saturday to get some scrapping and cardmaking done.

I am going... to work on the Fireproof study this week with my honey.

I am reading... Tanya Huff, Jodi Picoult, Kay Arthur, and the Bible. Not all at once. :)

I am hoping... for good weather this weekend. The kids will be home for Easter dinner on Sunday, and it'd be fun to have an Easter egg hunt in the back yard for the babies.

I am hearing... my Augie doggie make "go outside" noises. Does it tell you anything about how he's doing if I say I have to bribe him with treats to go outside and go potty? He's getting up there. I think he's about thirteen, and he's not moving around so well anymore either. 'S part of life, I guess.

Around the house... it's fairly quiet. My honey is resting, the baby is playing with dinosaurs, and everyone else has gone off to work or to school.

One of my favorite things... getting to spend a little time blogging when there are no distractions.

A few plans for the rest of the week: pick away at a few cleaning projects and try to get something done each day. Saturday I got my entire stove clean...the oven, under the burner plates, and the burner...what do you call them, grates? AND I totally cleaned off the counter between the dining room and the kitchen, the one that usually ends up as the clutter collector extraordinaire! We'll see how long it lasts. *grin*

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

My two buddies: Hubba (yes, it's a blue sock monkey--from Barb's little shoppe, of course) and ChiChi. They both look so serious! LOL

Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook is the hostess for Monday Daybook. To read more daybooks, or to start one of your own, visit Peggy here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

simple pleasures

Today was interesting. I'm going to keep it short because I'm sooo tired.

I got up early and went to Luvvy's house...she is my husband's ex. But we get along. In fact lately she's been coming over to our house a couple of times a week to learn how to use the computer.

My friend at work says, "You know, they do those classes for free at the public library." *wink wink*

"I know." I say. "But it's okay."

"No, really," she says. "They do those classes for free at the public library." She cracks me up.

But I digress. I'll let you roll that around in your mind as I tell you this.

I went to her house so we could go to this jewelry show. She makes jewelry. Nice stuff. Like with semi-precious stones, the names of which roll off her tongue like marshmallows into cocoa. And I look at her and say, "What??" Things like, rhodeochrosite. Or goldstone, or azurite, or opaline...fluorite, hematite...things that sound like they belong in the periodic table in chemistry class.

I like her stuff. She designs it so that the qualities of the stones are what you notice most. Like this fluorite bracelet.

Or this Mexican Crazy Lace agate set:

We're going to put them on Etsy very soon.

Anyway, we've been practicing getting along since the kids were small and she used to come up twice a week to have dinner with them. Now we scrapbook together. It's a funny world.

So back to the jewelry show. It's two huge rooms of nothing but tables and tables full of strings of beads and stones, mostly in bulk, but a few finished pieces that you could buy as well.

You could tell we were coming from two completely opposite perspectives. I was looking for a couple of stones to make a pair of earrings with. She's buying strings of beads and stones by the handful.

We walked around in there for almost four hours. I think maybe she was trying to kill me. LOL. I am sore and tired, and I know I'm going to feel it tomorrow. But it was amazing! Dealers come from everywhere to sell at these shows, and they're not open to the public. So it was kind of fun to see the other side of it.

After we were done there, I dragged myself out to the car and collapsed.

Then we went to Whole Foods and bought a few things.

I found some plain blackberry ice cream. No chocolate in it. Try looking for plain berry ice cream, other than strawberry. They always want to throw some kind of chocolate in with it. Leave the poor blackberry alone. It's fine all by itself!

I've been looking for blackberry ice cream since I moved away from Colorado. I used to go to Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors and I'd ALWAYS buy a cone of Oregon Blackberry ice cream. I'd sample a few other flavors, but I'd always get me some Oregon Blackberry. It was THAT good.

This stuff we found today was scrump.dilly.icious. I don't know if it was AS good as Baskin Robbins' version because it's probably been thirty years since I had it, but it was good. Organic Alden's ice cream. Mmmmm! A sweet punctuation mark to a fun day.

killing time...

I always like to check out the "Picture of the Week" archives when I find one online. MSN usually has one, but today I found another on in the Detroit Free Press.

There was this picture about fishy pedicures, or you could call them fishicures:

And so I had to go find out more about it.

Kind of creepy and yet kind of cool. I think they'd be easier on my feet than the last pedicure I had. The person was so rough on my feet that the skin between my toes was split. Ouchie.

I also read that this procedure is also used to help treat psoriasis and eczema. Kind of like using maggots to eat away dead tissue in infected flesh, or leeches to improve blood circulation. Sounds more like Fear Factor than ER, don't you think?

What an interesting world we live in!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

a beautiful day

Today is chilly, but it's sunny out. It feels like spring, somehow. And we're supposed to be back up to around 50° by the middle of next week. It's like we got just a teaser of nicer weather, and then it snowed again. Now we're working our way back up the thermometer.

I peeked at the tulip bed yesterday but didn't see anything yet. I'm so antsy! I want to clear the leaves away so I know when they start to poke up out of the ground, but I know it's better if I leave it alone for now. We could still get snow.

I can smell the coffee that's brewing and the bacon and grits that my honey is cooking. I got to sleep in today until nine something. I don't have to work today, so I can putter away at my mess here at home. I get to watch my little ChiChi man. Heavenly!

Friday, April 3, 2009

news from Iowa

Interesting news about gay marriage from close to home...Iowa is the latest state to legalize gay marriage. Today. Right here in the heartland.

From the story,

John Logan, a sociology professor at Brown University, said Iowa's status as a largely rural, Midwest state could enforce an argument that gay marriage is no longer a fringe issue.

"When it was only California and Massachusetts, it could be perceived as extremism on the coasts and not related to core American values.

"But as it extends to states like Iowa, and as attitudes toward gay marriage have evidently changed, then people will look at it as an example of broad acceptance," Logan said.

I know people have strong beliefs about it on both sides of the issue, but I think it's inevitable that gay marriage will be legal in the U.S. And I think that's a good thing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

a freebie night!

Wow! I think I have a free evening tonight. My honey is making dinner as we speak I write--chicken and dumplings tonight! Mmmmmm. He makes the best chicken and dumplings EVER. Johnny has dishes tonight. I have no shows to catch up on. I think it might be time for an impromptu date night!

All I have to do is put my clean clothes away, before they blend in with the black hole in my closet so much that I can't tell if they're clean or not. (Even if they were clean, if they stayed in there very long, the cats would think they were put there for a nice bed for them, and they'd take nice long naps on them. I'd be washing them again just to get the cat hair off.)

So we might go for a cup of coffee somewhere, not too far, and just sit and catch up with each other. When life gets busy and you just run from one thing to the next, from one chore to the next...you don't even have time to check in mentally, you know? Before you know it, it's time for bed and you're exhausted.

We haven't been very good about sticking to our date nights. Too often they turn into chore nights, and that takes a toll on the relationship if you're not careful. It ends up being all about getting things checked off the never-ending To Do list and work instead of being about "us" and maintaining the sweetness between us.

I'm looking forward to a little R & R. Hmmmmm...*smile*

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

bugs for breakfast

I love me some Yoplait Creamy Strawberry Yogurt. Love it. I eat it plain. I eat it with granola on top. I mix berries in with it and eat it that way. I'll eat it for a snack.

So imagine my dismay a couple of weeks ago when I found out that strawberry Yoplait has crushed-up bits of beetle bellies in it! Legally! It's even on the ingredient list! SO disgusting.

I kid you not.

If you have some pink flavored Yoplait, go look right now at the ingredients. See if it indeed says "CARMINE" in those ingredients.

Carmine, my friends, is a "natural ingredient" made from ground-up, boiled, cooked-down female beetle abdomens and the eggs they contain. It's used for creating an intense red color in: "meat products (such as sausages and baloney), jams, preserves, fruit syrups, dairy products (such as yogurts, ice creams and shakes) and even in candies and bubble gum. In the drink industry, carmine is used in fruit drinks and in certain alcoholic aperitifs such as sweet vermouth and Campari...It is even used in pet foods."

You can read it here. It's even in your Good n Plenty candy and your Tropicana pink grapefruit juice.

Here's how much I love my Yoplait yogurt. Even after I learned all of this, I was still determined to HAVE IT FOR BREAKFAST ANYWAY!

I gotta tell ya, it did not taste the same. I really wanted it to. I tried to convince myself it was the same yummy, smooth, creamy Yoplait I've always loved. I tried, and I tried, but it just made me shiver every time I took a bite. Now that I knew, my pink yogurt just didn't look strawberry flavored anymore. It looked bug flavored!

If you're not feeling squeamish yet, here's how they do it:

"The insects are carefully brushed from the cacti...and placed into bags. The bags are taken to the production plant and there, the insects are then killed by immersion in hot water or by exposure to sunlight, steam or the heat of an oven...It takes about 70,000 insects to make one pound (454 gm) of cochineal."

"The part of the insect that contains the most carmine is the abdomen that houses the fertilized eggs of the coccineal. Once dried, a process begins whereby the abdomens and fertilized eggs are separated from the rest of the anatomical parts."

Oh, be still my heaving gut!

"These are then ground into a powder and cooked at [high] temperatures...to extract the maximum amount of color. This cooked solution is filtered and through special processes that cause all carmine particles to precipitate to the bottom of the cooking container. The liquid is removed and the bottom of the container is left with pure carmine."

Apparently it's been legal all this time, but just recently manufacturers had to start listing it in the ingredients, because some people who are allergic to it could go into anaphylactic shock and DIE. But not enough people must die from it, because they can still put it in our food!!

Oh, and food manufacturers don't have to list it as crushed bugs or red beetle abdomens. They get to slide by with the innocuous "carmine" or even, "cochineal extract".

Look for it in your favorite foods!