Saturday, May 30, 2009

playing for change

This is the coolest thing. My honey came across it, and these guys at Playing for Change started this project with the idea in mind that music could bring peace. They used digital technology to bring musicians together from all over the world, and mixed their music together to create a single piece of music. This video is the result of that process.

They are continuing to use music performances to raise funds and better the musicians' individual communities through a non-profit foundation. It's a worthy cause, and the music is so fine. It comes from the heart...some of these guys had never played professionally. They just have a gift for it and they do it.



Music can unite people. What a concept.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

bad news, good news, it's all the same

The bad news is that American Idol and Dancing With the Stars are both over. The good news is that it gives me more time to watch other things...like Mall Cop! Yes, I did. I loved it! And you were right, Sue. I did feel for him. But it all worked out in the end! Now that was a feel-good ending.

And even better, I rented it for free from Redbox, and we actually watched the whole thing tonight. It's nothing short of a miracle.

Now let me tell you how it usually goes. I get a code for a free movie. I rent the movie. We don't watch it. I think, "Oh, it's only a dollar. I should keep it another day so I get to watch it."

Another day goes by. We don't watch it. Now I have money invested in this, and I can't bring it back.

Go back and read that last paragraph. Read it about eight times. Yeah. Finally I bring it back because it's costing me a fortune and the next three weeks are so busy I can't see daylight. WOT for sure. (Waste of time.)

And unfortunately, if I keep it long enough to watch it, I'll own it! Once you keep that sucker for 25 days, it's yours! They just wrap it up, stick a bow on it, and charge you 25 bucks. Plus tax. Do not pass Go, and do not return this movie.

They got me once on that. And on a movie I didn't really like, to boot. Grrr!

Okay, so back to the bad news. I only have one more free code, and then I have to start paying again. But the good news is, the new season of So You Think You Can Dance is on, and so is...drumroll please, Here Come the Newlyweds!!!

Boy oh boy, have I turned into a reality show junkie. What's happened to me?? The reading machine's brain has fried, and now has to resort to visiting veggie land in couch potato world.

But seriously here. Here Come the Newlyweds?!? C'mon people! Did anyone watch it Monday night? Oh, they're up to their sneaky tricks again. They tease the poor broke couples with tons of money, and watch them fall all over themselves for it. Then after they take the bait, BAM! They get voted off by the other couples. It happened last season, too.

But this time, there is a couple that better get voted off muy pronto. That would be the Oskowskis. Their description says they are "addicted to fitness," but really I think they're just stuck on themselves. It's not a pretty sight. The guy is such a creep. "We're definitely the most dynamic couple..." He's just a bully, and I want someone to throw him into the pool, and MISS! In case you didn't watch it, he is a big guy, and he was strutting around flexing his pecs. Then he picked up the scrawny Smith guy and winged him into the pool to embarrass him. Jerk.

The Smiths took the money and got voted off. BUT, the brawny bully guy and his wife were the other ones with the most votes to get kicked off. Too bad it wasn't the other way around. I don't like people who pick on other people.

So when my busy life fails to completely consume me, I watch these people who have nothing better to do than hang out on the set of the show and try to outmaneuver everyone else out of the money. I like that the vote comes the same night of the show. Ties up less of my week. Talk about having nothing better to do. LOL.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

happy Tuesday

If you had to go back to work today after a nice long weekend and you're a tad bitter about that, this is just what you need to put a big smile on your face!

Here are Fran & Marlo Cowan (married 62 years) playing an impromptu recital together in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic. He turned 90 in February. I give them an A for awesome!

Monday, May 25, 2009

weekend update

It's the end of a five day weekend for me! I think I got a nice amount of work done--cleaning the house, sorting out paperwork, straightening up, planting the marigolds and flowers for the two whiskey barrels at the end of the driveway, transplanting the hydrangea from the overcrowded spot to a spot where it can spread out and breathe, and weeding, weeding, weeding. It makes me tired just thinking about it...in a good way, though.

I stayed up late every single night. Like two or three in the morning late. AND, I got to sleep in most of the time. Yes!! I didn't feel like a slug every day. I am dreading going back to getting up early again. :( I function so much better when I get to sleep in.

It was mostly a move-more, eat-less, kind of weekend. That's what my doc told me I needed to do when I had my recent physical. She also prescribed blood pressure meds, which made me very apprehensive. So far, I haven't taken them. I look at that list of side effects and I totally freak out. I'm trying some natural things first, and making a point of getting regular exercise. I'll see how I'm doing in a month, and I'll think about it then. I'm just barely over the line, so I have a good chance of this working.

The kids were gone for much of the weekend. It was so quiet! A sneak preview of the empty nest that is just down the road a couple of years. We watched two movies over the weekend! That has to be a record. It's usually too noisy to watch one all the way through.

First we watched Not Easily Broken. That one was okay. The story line was kind of jerky, and the way the pieces came together didn't really ring true for me, but it was a good story. It had a happy ending, which I like. It's a Tyler Perry type movie, but not as smooth.

Last night, though, we watched Seven Pounds. Oh. My. Gosh. That was so intense. Will Smith has come a long way as an actor from the Fresh Prince of Belair. Amazing. It wasn't your typical happy ending, but it was an ending that was cohesive with the rest of the film. The story held together. What was really interesting was the way you had to piece it together as the movie went on. It wasn't a "feel-good movie", though. I don't know. You just have to see it and decide for yourself.

There's one more I'd like to see right now: Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Maybe next weekend. Has anyone seen that one? It sounds funny. The only comment I've read about it that sticks in my head is that most security guards don't like the way he portrays the guard. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea. Kevin James just cracks me up...I think it'll be good.

Life has been busy, and between getting Pearl moved and working on the house, it seems like the days just go by in a flurry of activity. I'm excited for Pearlie, though, because even though her apartment became uninhabitable because the kitchen sink backed up and got water all over the apartment, it was the perfect impetus to get her moving on trying to buy a house instead. It's a great time to buy if you can.

Gail has a summer job at a local daycare teaching toddlers. Perfect job for her right now. She can add the experience, variety and responsibility to her resume. Plus, the kids will love her! She is the one who used to come home from a weekend or an evening of babysitting her seven cousins, and all she could say was, "They are soooo cute!!" The kids could have run her ragged, and she'd still be saying that. It's a calling. Cuz lemme tell ya. My phone is definitely not ringing on that one.

Erica is traipsing off across the country on vacation with her friend's family. She's going to get to see Wyoming, Arizona, and whatever else is between. I'm happy for her. I remember going on vacation with one of my friends when I was in elementary school. Well, maybe it was junior high, because I can't imagine my mom being willing to let me go when I was in elementary.

However, she did let me go to Finland, Sweden and Norway for a month the summer I was fifteen. I earned the money the year before I went. All I needed was $1000. That's amazing, when you think about it. That paid for my flight, my visas, my passport...it was a charter flight, so I think it was a little cheaper.

And I stayed with my sister for a week, who was teaching English there. I stayed with my penpal for a week, and the other two weeks, I traveled around with some people from our church. We stayed at people's homes, so we didn't spend much on food or lodging. It was an amazing summer.

But thinking back, now, I wonder what my mom was feeling. I was the youngest of seven. My next oldest brother was almost 19 so he was making noises about moving out. The next oldest one was ten years older than that, so the oldest five were out of the house already. My mom had to be almost at the same point that I am now.

Well, it's going to be interesting as the nest empties. I think I'm going to be lonesome at times, but I also think I'm going to be doing some different things than I have been able to for a long time. Even just watching a movie all the way through.

Oh, wait. I still can't do that. LOL. I am the one who is always getting up and going out of the room to do whatever--let the dog out, feed the cats, get some ice water, go to the bathroom--that would be me.

But we made it all the way through and didn't have to say, "Would you please go make noise in the other room?!?" There is something to be said for that.

Okay, the cats are bugging me. I must need to feed them before I get ready for bed. So much for late nights!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

more progress

The living room is coming along nicely. The whole floor is redone with fresh plywood! Hurrah! I thought this day would never come. Seriously. We move so slowly on our home refinishing projects that it's just sad. We are pathetic.

But there's hope! Thanks to Johnny, things are moving along. I'll have to start taking pictures again. I quit taking them when things slowed down to a crawl full stop.

I just didn't know I could be so tired. There are too many things to fit into my days, both at work and at home. I think one day they will find me, mid-breath, mid-stride, full, dead-out asleep, perhaps on the way from the car to the house, or leaning against the refrigerator, getting a glass of ice water. LOL.

But I had to stay up tonight to watch the finale on American Idol. I was gone, but I recorded it, of course. It's Adam, my peeps. Adam all the way. Well, Kris might win this show...that's a bery bery big "might", though. But Adam is the winner in my book.

Go buy those iTunes songs QUICK! Or you won't see them for a while. Good night!

Monday, May 18, 2009

baking with rhubarb--yummm!

Do you have a nice patch of rhubarb in your yard? Friends or neighbors give you rhubarb? I found a new recipe for a Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumb Pie, with a Skillet Crust. Sound good? Oh, boy oh boy, it is.

This is what I made yesterday without a single mishap! I love to bake. It's relaxing. Cooking, on the other hand, well, you probably know what I think about that. Just read yesterday's post.

But this rhubarb thing? Yes! I'll share the recipe. I got it out of my honey's cookbook Pie. Delicioso.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumb Pie in a Skillet Crust
For the Crust:


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; when it is melted, blend in the vanilla.

Turn off the heat and stir in the flour and sugar mixture; this may take some time, but be patient and keep stirring until you have a pan full of evenly mixed crumbles.

Transfer about two thirds of the crumbs to a 9-1/2 or 10-inch deep dish pie pan, and press them to the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients For the Filling:

1 1/2 pounds fresh rhubarb stalks (about 4 cups)
2 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries (1 quart)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 - 1/3 all purpose flour (if your rhubarb stalks are small, use the larger amount of flour–if they are large, they are drier, use the smaller amount of flour)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Method:

Mix together the filling ingredients and allow to stand for ten minutes.

When the oven is preheated, put the filling ingredients into the prepared bottom crust and level it carefully. Crumble the reserved crust mixture over the pie evenly, and press it down gently with your hand.

Place the pie in the center oven rack and bake for thirty minutes. Turn the pie 180 degress on the rack and turn the heat down to 325 degrees F. Close the oven and bake for another 40-50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the juices bubble thickly up around the edges of the crust.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool at least two hours before serving.

I'd post a picture, but I already ate my piece, and I can't eat another one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

cooking vs baking

Let me just say: I HATE to cook. But. I love to bake.

In fact, I will go so far as to say I should not be allowed to cook. I have almost set the house on fire at least THREE times with my cooking. Today was the latest episode. I was trying to cook three things at once.

Well, I guess that might have been my first mistake. But I wanted to get done as fast as possible, because there were many more fun things to get to. Like cleaning the cats' litter box, and scrubbing the burner grates on the stove! Did I already say I hate to cook?

So I was heating some olive oil in a pan so I could brown some garlic in it. It was for pouring over the pasta when that was done. The other pan was just simmering away, minding its own business.

I was making a recipe out of my honey's favorite Italian cookbook. Giambotta, I think it was called. Something like that. Sausage, chicken, potatoes and peppers. And I was getting frustrated because the potatoes were not getting done. I kept messing with them...adding a little water to try and steam them, and in the meantime, the peppers and the chicken were getting overdone.

All of a sudden, I realized that the garlic had turned to tiny little black briquets in the bottom of the pan. Doggone it! I needed that to be done already. Oh, well. I shut the burner off so the pan could cool before I tried it again. Then I got impatient.

I poured some water into the pan, to cool it off, of course. BIG mistake! It flamed up in a second! I panicked and tried slapping it out with the potholder in my hand. That did not help a bit. I was twisting my brain like a wet sponge to squeeze the info out about what to do with it. Not that long ago, I watched a youTube video of what to do if that happened.

Oh yes!! Wet kitchen towel. Where's a towel? Quick! In the drawer? No. They're in the wash. Oh, shoot. Help. Oh, whew, the flames went out on their own. WOW! did my adrenaline kick up in a hurry!

Do you see what I mean? Should not cook.

Well, just for your information, here is the video I saw. It's quick, and it's good. Let this be my public service announcement for the day! Just remember: Wet Kitchen Towel.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

video of the year



Taylor, who is my daughter Gail and her boyfriend Casey's friend, made this beautiful video for them...Casey and Taylor were so sneaky to be able to pull this off without Gail knowing ANYTHING about it ahead of time.

I knew the day before, and it was a good thing it wasn't any longer than that, because I would have burst open at the seams if I couldn't tell anyone! Casey's been planning it for a while, so it was much harder on him. Taylor's known the longest. They are some pretty good secret keepers. I think I could tell them where the dead bodies are buried, and no one would ever find out. LOL. Just a figure of speech, kids. No worries.

So anyway, Gail thought she and Taylor were just going along to help Casey move his stuff out of the house he lived in this school year now that finals are done. She was a little crabby about having to go with because she had stuff she wanted to do at home.

And then, Casey told her that they were going to go down by the river because Taylor wanted to take some pictures.

Of course, she played right into it, because she's just like, "WHAT?? Are you kidding me?! Can't we just get this stuff packed up and get home?"

But the boys insisted. So down they went to the park by the river, and Gail being Gail, went along to humor them. And then the fun started. Just watch the video. FYI, Linda is Casey's mom, and Pat is his dad. My honey and I were in the know...but only from the day before. :)

You might want your tissue handy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

her big news!

I don't know who she's told yet, and who she hasn't, but she's got it on her facebook page, so I'm posting it here:

Gail is engaged! Yes! My baby girl. Oh, wait. My baby's grown up. She's almost twenty. It probably won't happen for a couple more years. She wants to finish school first, and so does Casey. They have an awesome photo video on fb, though. I'm trying to talk them into posting it on youtube so I can put it on here. So far no luck.

It's okay, though. It'd make you cry, it's so sweet. I'm very excited for her!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

my song for today

I love this song: Stop the World. It's on my iPod (that Gail gave me :) thank you) and I keep playing and replaying it.



It's on the new Matthew West CD - Something to Say.

Monday, May 11, 2009

slackin'

I know, I know. I've been AWOL from my blog.

The scoop since I posted last...

Gail is back home for the summer--hooray!

John was only teasing when he told me he's out of here in two weeks--yippee! We want to keep him around a little longer, too.

Mother's Day came and went--yea! I'm not a big holiday fan, if you haven't picked up on that. They stress me out. Plus, I don't like a big deal made about me. Even church on Mother's Day is a stretch. They say a lot of sappy nice things about moms, and have you stand up so they can clap for you...all very sweet, but it makes me want to RUN for the car. Because sure as shootin', they're gonna make me cry. I HATE that.

Anybody else hate crying in public?

It's not like I have any control over it. Just poke the right emotional button, or say something sentimental, and here come the waterworks. Or if someone else starts crying? It's over. I'll lose it.

Some people are cute cryers...you know those people. I hate 'em. Their eyes water a little, and it just makes their eyes look bigger and their eyelashes look darker. Huh. NOT ME. When I'm done, my face looks all red and blotchy for about an hour, like I have a huge case of hives. What about that could a person possibly like?

If I'm gonna cry over anything, I would like to do it at home. By myself.

But back to Mother's Day...DeeDee and Gail took me to Lillian's on Saturday for Mother's Day and bought me a purse. I picked out a shiny hot pink suitcase-sized purse. You will certainly see me coming!! And I found the greatest wallet. It's pink as well, and it's the biggest wallet I've ever seen! It's awesome.

My honey says the older a woman gets, the bigger the purse she carries. I think he's right. This one is even big enough to carry my Bible and book for Bible study, and still not look like it's full. LOL.

Next year, I think I'll get a purple purse. I'll be fifty, you know, and I'm going to find a Red Hat Club to join. Red hats and purple purses. I can't wait.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

the troubles I get into...

I went to get gas today, and I was sure I had a coupon for a free coffee in my purse, but I couldn't find it when I fished through there the first time.

I decided to pay inside because you can't pay at the pump when you want to use gas coupons, and I had enough coupons for 44¢ off a gallon, up to twelve gallons. That sounded like a good deal to me. Now, I may not use these coupons like a savvy shopper, because instead of thinking about how much less I'll be paying, I think about what I can buy that comes up to what I would have spent without the coupons. LOL.

Wait!! That's probably exactly what they want you to do! Awwww! I fell into the marketing trap. I am not smarter than the average bear. *sigh*

Well, anyway, I got the gas going and went back and opened my door so I could fish around some more and look for my coupon. I'm all about free stuff, so I wasn't going to give up.

While I was digging in there, I came across an orange at the bottom of my purse. Don't laugh! It made its way in there during the week when I was fishing through my lunch bag and needed a place to put my orange. Then I thought I'd eat it on my way home from work that day, so I left it in there.

Okay, so I came across it, and it was getting a little wrinkly looking. But you know, I thought it might still be okay, so I just held it in my hand while I kept fishing for this elusive coupon. Sheri just gave it to me. I know it couldn't have gone far.

I'm fishing, and I'm fishing, and pretty soon the gas pump stops. The tank is full. I still haven't found the coupon. Fine. I gave up looking and made sure my gas coupons and my wallet were still in my hand. I put my purse on the floor, locked the doors and went into the gas station.

By this time, I've been thinking about that coffee so long that I was determined to have one anyway. A small one, since I didn't find that coupon. *grrr* I got my little bit of cream in the cup, a little bit of fake French Vanilla cappuccino, and topped it off with what was left of the decaf coffee. Put my lid on, and headed for the cash register.

I was standing there, when I realized that I STILL had my wrinkled orange in my hand. To my dismay, I also saw a basket of oranges for sale, right next to me as I was standing in line. Oh, heavenly days!

Now what? Tell the cashier that I mistakenly carried this orange in from my car? What normal person does that, for crying out loud? Do I explain this whole elaborate thing to her? Show her the difference between my orange and theirs? Oh, my. I can just see it.

She would think this deranged lady was trying to scam them out of an orange. You know what you think when someone explains something waaay too much. You think they're making it up! Okay, not a good option.

Should I pretend I just picked it up and pay for it? (Again?) When it's wrinkled and I may not eat it anyway???? No way! That would be beyond foolish. This all flashed through my mind in a matter of seconds, mind you.

There was only one option left. I casually glanced to my right and then to my left, and checked out the people around me in my peripheral vision. Nobody was watching me, so I just nonchalantly dropped the orange into their basket full of oranges, just as if I had changed my mind about buying it. It was a brilliant move!

See, no one will buy it, because it's wrinkled and yucky looking next to their fresh oranges that haven't been beat up by keys and flashlights. I don't have to go through a huge rigamarole and embarrass myself trying to explain something so crazy. (Although my kids would understand it in a heartbeat. LOL.) They can just throw the orange away when no one buys it. Problem solved!

OH! the problems an absentminded person can get into!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

what a bee-a-you-tiful day

Finally.

Minnesota has given us an absolutely gorgeous day. And I didn't even get my hands into the garden today. That was a little disappointing. But next week I have a day and a half off, and it's supposed to be in the low 70's, mostly sunny. *sigh* Doesn't that sound like a little piece of heaven? Here's my forecast:



Back to today, though, Gail and Linda went to Lillian's. I've never been to one. They're only open a few days a month. It sounds like they make a party out of it and make it fun for everyone. Gail said the place was CROWDED. They sell unique purses and accessories, according to what I heard. I would have liked to go, but I was watching ChiChi in the morning when they went.

All the same, though, I think RubyAnna's in St. Michael has an awesome selection of purses. Designs I've not seen before. I'm curious to see how Lillian's compares. Maybe we'll go next weekend and check it out.

But I did make it to Archivers today to do some of their freebie make-and-takes. And I had a coupon for the sweetest little paper flowers! So fun. I love the summery colors.


And it wasn't a little cheapy jar of them, either. It was like a 12-oz cup crammed full of them. I can't wait to use them.

And then I used my 30% off coupon on some of that delicious doodlebug sugar coating glitter. They are little jars, but a little bit goes a long way. Aren't the colors great?! I feel a playdate coming up soon!



Here's a picture of the make and takes we did today. There's something so satisfying about puttering with paper and pretties and coming up with something like this when you're done.



And finally, let me give you one word of wisdom about previewing your blog. I always put it into preview mode before I publish a post, because I almost always catch a typo or two...well, I clicked on the picture of my make-and-take because I wanted to see how much detail the picture showed. My word of wisdom? Don't do that!!

It opens up in a new window, you know...and well, when I clicked the back button, it went back to the "create a post" page--AND IT WAS BLANK! Talk about an adrenaline rush. I thought I lost the whole thing! And after I had already moved all the pictures around and took out the extra spaces etc...oh, my!

Fortunately, the auto-save was working, and I didn't lose anything. I just clicked on Edit Posts again, and there it was. Pictures and all. *huge sigh of relief!*

I'm off to rent a movie! I'll probably watch it laying in bed and fall asleep, because although I hate to admit that Gail was right, I did NOT get a nap this afternoon. I'm tired. But I really want to see Seven Pounds tonight. So I'm on my way.