Saturday, November 27, 2010

the perfect sunset

Sometimes I am struck speechless by the beauty of nature that is around me.  In the odd moment, when I least expect it, I stop what I am doing and take a moment to notice nature.  It means I have to still my speeding thoughts, what is occupying me at that minute, and focus totally on what is in front of my eyes.

Last night right before dark was one of those unexpected moments.  Duncan (my 5 year old grandchild) was laying on the bed in the spare bedroom by me and we were watching a movie.  My attention wandered, as it often does, and I lifted the blinds to stare at the color of the sky, because the light was casting a yellow glow on the blinds.  I had my iPhone handy and snapped a few shots of the window and blinds, just idly passing some time.  Then something, I am not sure what, made me raise up on an elbow and look at the horizon.

And I saw the sky on fire with golds, and reds, pinks, and purples.  I am sure there have been sunsets before like that in Alabama, but at that moment I was struck by the uniqueness of it.  And the transient nature of it.  I knew in my heart and mind at that moment there would never be another opportunity quite like that one.  And I jumped up and raced to the other room, grabbing Big Girl on my way out the front door.  I ran to the edge of the yard and started snapping the lens.  I would stop every few moments to gaze at the sky and marvel at the beauty in front of my eyes.  I miss some photos that way, but I firmly believe you should live the moment, and if you are only focused on taking the photo, you aren't really aware of what is in front of your eyes.

As I took photos, I felt a peacefulness, a tranquility that I don't always have on board emotionally.  And I realized why.  You can't improve on nature.  It is perfect in all it's forms.  We humans work our lives away arranging this, and accomplishing that, setting goals to reach, relationships to work on, and all the stuff that eats up the minutes of our lives until our time on this earth is over.  Nature, on the other hand, just is.  There is no hidden agenda, no goal to reach.  Simply, there is just existence. 

So the next time you see that perfect cloud, or the pond that is still and inviting, or the perfect sunset, stop.  Take a few moments, empty the thoughts from your mind, and enjoy.  Take slow deep breaths and feel the still perfection of nature.  Feel the connection to it, live it for a few short moments.  It will never be that same moment again.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

lubing the holiday buzzard

Well, it was that time of year again.  Thanksgiving.  Only I wasn't giving thanks at the moment.  It was about 8PM and I was up alone with two wide awake five year olds, courtesy of a late nap for them and no nap for Steve, who bailed on me and left me alone to deal with the buzzard and the twins.

I was up for it though.  I'd had a nap and was feeling pretty spunky.  I had potatoes cooking for potato salad, and sweet potatoes baking for the casserole I planned to make.  I was in charge of those two sides, plus the dressing.  And the buzzard.

The buzzard this year weighed almost as much as I did.  Or felt like it when I hoisted him out of his plastic packing.  I dug the neck out of his gut, or where his gut had been, and after a quick body patdown I discovered the giblets, in the butt cavity (I know how TSA feels now).  Why do they pack the giblets in that little butt cavity, when they have that big old gut with just a neck stuck in it?  I had the roaster we had given Ma years earlier lined up to slam his butt in.  I washed and patted him dry with paper towels, and salted him, which actually felt kind of invasive in a weird bird body sort of way.  I had been watching the food network and knew that the best chefs rubbed huge amounts of butter on their turkeys to make them all nice and crispy-skinned and moist.  They added a lot of herbs too, but I wasn't brave enough to step outside the family tradition and turn our buzzard into an Italian or Greek buzzard, so I stuck with grabbing a stick of butter to rub on it.  Only it wasn't really a stick, it was the end of a stick, about a two inch long piece of butter.

the buzzard, prelube
 Now two things happened when I began lubing this bird (you really can't call what I was doing anything nicer than that, for reasons I will explain in a minute).  The first thing that happened is that the butter wouldn't rub on.  I realized then that the butter was supposed to be room temperature, not straight from the fridge.  So it kind of made the buzzard cringe, because all those little speed bumps on the bird stood up straight.  I could tell the bird was not enjoying this at all and to tell the truth I was kind of grossed out by it too, so I pondered what to do next.  And it hit me...I picked up the lump of cold butter, and held it in my fist until it softened up.  Then I slapped the butter back on the bird and the fun began.

I started rubbing it all over, and after a couple minutes I was really getting into it...about another ten minutes and I began to feel that maybe I had passed the boundaries of acceptable buzzard rubbing.  I was beginning to break into a kinky kind of sweat too, so I forced myself to stop (buzzardus interruptus?).  I picked it up to put it in the pan and realized my mistake...

I couldn't pick it up.  It kept sliding out of my fingers.  The kids were in the living room watching their third Christmas movie in a row, and I was thankful that they weren't witnessing the grotesque dance I was doing with the bird in the kitchen, trying to lift it up and get it in that roaster.  I was a determined woman and after a few moves that would have made Fred Astaire proud, I finally body slammed the buzzard into some aluminum foil and then into the roaster. 

look ma no knobs!
 The roaster was placed on the heater in the dining room (the only place I had room enough to put it, and Steve's suggestion).  Then I realized that the only way to plug it in was to turn the roaster so that the thermostat was facing the wall.  Which meant I had to find a flashlight so I could see behind the roaster and feel my way to 250 or 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  I managed that, and after I lugged the buzzard and put it in the roaster, I went to sit with the kids and try to catch my breath.  I was breathing pretty heavily by then and covered in a fine sheen of what looked like sweat but which was really leftover butter.  I didn't realize two inches off a stick of butter would lube a buzzard and me too.

I sat for a while and then finally after finishing up the other things I was cooking, I sent Dunc off to bed with his Gramps and Maddie and I headed for bed.

About 3 or 4 AM I woke up in a cold sweat as I realized two things. 

I had accidentally popped out the pop out button that tells you when the turkey is done.  And I had forgotten to figure out how many hours the bird would need to cook at the temp I had set (I still wasn't even sure what temperature I had set anyway, since I did it backward and in the dark).  I knew by then it was too late to do anything about it, so I drifted back to sleep, but had fitful dreams in my half waking state of food poisoning and a family trip to the ER the next day after dinner.  (We could always eat grilled cheese sandwiches if the buzzard was a flop my sleepy mind reasoned.)

The next day, the pop out button was popped out (no surprise), but the turkey was done, and my buzzard was devoured with relish, with no signs of food poisoning.  In fact, my karma must be turning, because this was probably the best holiday meal I have ever cooked, and that statement was made by the family without any bribery from me.

But I am still trying to get the butter off of me and out of my hair.  Dang buzzard.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the beauty of alaska

Alyeska, Alaska
alyeska, alaska

Just sharing a few of my many photos of Alaska this morning.  More stories of my adventures in the frozen frontier to follow.

Enjoy the grandeur with me, and feel the peace of it, the solitude and oneness with nature.  It still takes my breath away to remember the rawness, the power, and the beauty that is Alaska.
mountainside at Aleyeska
mountainside at alyeska
Alyeska, Alaska bay view
bay view, alyeska

Alyeska, Alaska B&W
alyeska in black and white

steve and me
steve and me enjoying the snow of alyeska

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

alabama snow and alaska snow

dooj's house in washington state
 My sister sent me a photo on her phone this weekend of the first snowfall at her home in Washington state, and I started thinking about snow.  About the difference between snow in Alabama and Alaska.  There is more than a 5000 mile gap between Alabama and Alaska when it comes to dealing with snow.  They are worlds apart.

In Alabama it doesn't snow every year.  We mark our "hard" winters according to how much snow and ice we have had to deal with.  It may go below freezing during the winter, but never stays there long.  So our cold days come in what we call "spells", or periods of time. 

A prediction of snow in Alabama triggers a rush to every grocery store in the area to buy all the bread and milk and batteries.  You can bet that 30 minutes after the weather man (excuse me... "meteorologist") says we are possibly going to see 2 inches of snow, there won't be a loaf of bread or gallon of milk left in the state of Alabama.  The first time I saw it happen I was dumbfounded...I mean, how many people can eat 6 loaves of bread and drink 4 gallons of milk in the two or three days that it snows?

People also panic at the thought of not having power for any length of time.  So they buy every battery for every flashlight and radio they have, plus extras in case those go dead.  The flashlights are for seeing in the dark, and the radio is for up to the minute news about when the snow will melt (we don't believe in looking out our windows to find out what the weather is doing).  In Alabama the only thing as important as the meteorologist, are the death announcements (but that's another blog).  My husband had that mind set.  We might starve if the power was off for two or three days.  So worried about it was he that we had a wood burning stove as our major source of heat for over fifteen years.  That knocked off two dangers right there...we would never freeze (Steve would stay up half the night stoking that fire) and we would be able to cook on the top of the stove.  I had one problem with that...I am no pioneer woman...and that was what the 6 loaves of bread and 4 gallons of milk were for, I thought...sandwiches.  Plus we discovered the first time we tried to make the stove do double duty that it takes 12 hours to heat up a can of soup.  Or you can stoke the fire up (Steve's job) until the stove is red hot and heat it up in 2 hours.  If you do that, you have hot soup, and you also have a room that has gone from a comfortable 70F to 130F.  And that means you have to eat your soup in the closet if you don't want to drip sweat in it while you eat it.  But that's ok, because you have your flashlight with the extra 20 batteries.

The next most important thing that southerners do in Alabama when it snows is making snow ice cream.  I can count on one hand the times it has snowed in Alabama during my forty years here, and can tell you that every time they predicted snow I had my pots and pans sitting on cars and every perch I could find to catch "clean" snow (my mother in law taught me the difference), although I have been known to scrape the hood of the car a few times when there wasn't enough snowfall to make a huge bowl of snow ice cream.  And I did learn right away the first time I made it that if you overeat this delicacy, it will give you the scours.

longhouse in bethel, alaska
 Switch to Alaska, a world away from the south, and my first sight of snow up there.  The first day I landed I saw more snow than I had seen in my entire life.  I stayed at the Longhouse for several days waiting for my apartment to be ready, and thank goodness for my girlfriend Nancy, who made sure I was outfitted with subzero gear.  The day I landed at the airport in Bethel, the temperature with the wind chill factor (you ALWAYS include wind chill in Alaska when you are talking temperature) was -46F.  That's right.  Lose a toe or finger cold. 

The view from my window was amazing too.  The snow was about 3 or 4 feet deep, window sill height, outside my window.  I was kind of in shock.  And wondering if people up here ever had any bread or milk for sale.  

The snow isn't wet in Bethel either, it's a fine powdery dry stuff, similar to frozen sand.  If you pick it up, it runs right through your fingers.  In Alabama the snow was wet, and if you were blessed with those 2 inches the "meteorologist" predicted, you had enough to scrape up a decent snowball to smack someone with, although you always ran the risk of having a few rocks mixed in from scraping the ground to get the snow.  In Bethel, the only time you could make a snowball was when the snow started to melt, and that always happened every time the temperature went to 34F.  Melt, then refreeze when the temperature dropped, then more snow on top of it.  Which meant the snow was actually layers of ice, snow, more ice, more snow and so on.  And it meant that the percentage of broken legs and bones always went up in direct proportion to which layer was on top, the snow layer or the ice layer.

nancy leading

I had to learn to walk in Bethel snow too.  Which meant I walked behind my friend Nancy.  I had three reasons for doing that.  She had been there before me and knew all the beaten paths, even when they were covered by snow.  She had longer legs, so I could gage the depth of the snow by how deep she went in it.  And if she went down on her face, I had time to stop and save my own ass.  This stood me in good stead until the day I got brave and decided to step out on my own, and ended up with me mired in snow trying to dig my short legs out.

me, shopping day
So I learned the difference in snow by living at two separate ends of the country.  And I learned several lessons.

1. In Alabama you have to wear a coat if it snows.  In Alaska if you don't wear a coat, your survival rate is counted in minutes.
2. In Alabama, you lose power when it snows.  In Alaska, you cover your face and hands or lose them to frostbite.
3. In Alabama, there is no bread or milk when it snows.  In Alaska there is always bread and milk, because bread is $5 a loaf and milk is $10 a gallon.
4. People in Alabama think they know what snow is.  In Alaska, they know what snow is.

Snow can be magical, and it can also be deadly.  And it can be many different things, depending on where you live.  I was fortunate to learn the lesson of snow, here in Alabama, and in the remote Alaskan tundra.  And it is a lesson I will never forget. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

the give and take of life

Why is it hard for some people to give?  They take without thinking of the cost (tangible and intangible) for the giver.  They never think to offer back, which means they lose. They lose the power of giving, the intangible feeling of being able to give.  Do they miss out because they don't want to be bothered, or because it is inconvenient for them to give?  Who knows?  They go on taking, and being "me" oriented, and they lose.  For what they take is far less than what they could receive by giving.

And what about givers?  Those people who give and never take for themselves?  The ones who tell the one giving "you shouldn't have done that"?  They rob the givers.  Of the satisfaction and joy of giving.  Learning to take is hard for givers.  It is out of their zone of comfort.  They are selfish in a way, only wanting to experience being the giver.

I challenge all of you...if you are a taker, make an offer to someone you know who only gives.  Give them something, your time, your help, whatever you see that they need.  And for you givers, learn to accept, learn to let others have the joy of giving.

To be just a taker or a giver means you miss out on the fullness of life....the give and take of life...

Which is the balance of life.  The wholeness of life. 

Try it.  Open your eyes.  Open your heart.

Friday, November 19, 2010

how to be a loser

I entered a contest last week.  Not a big one, just a small photo contest.  There were over 500 entries and my entry was probably not my best photo, but one that had some meaning to me.
steve as gulliver in the land of lilliput
So they had to choose from over 500 and then let the public vote on the finalists.  I waited until yesterday and then excitedly went to the website hoping I had been a finalist.

I wasn't.  At first, to be honest, I was disappointed.  Then I felt slighted.  Then I was a bit angry.  Then I realized how ridiculous those feelings were.  All those emotions and thoughts took about thirty seconds to process through my brain.

It was a contest, not a judgement on my vision, creativity, or talent.  I was still the same person.  Nothing had really changed.  I just wasn't chosen, for whatever reason.  And the main reason I paint, and take photographs, and write this blog is still there, still sound.  And that reason is me.  I do all the things I do because of an inner urge, or drive, or whatever you want to call it, for ME.  That other people get some pleasure or enjoyment out of what I create is an added bonus.  I have always enjoyed making others laugh or bringing them pleasure.  But even if no one looked or said a thing about anything I do, I would still do it.

So I am not really a loser.  You can only be a loser if you see yourself as a loser.  What you are, the essence of who you are, comes from inside you, not from the judgement or views of others.  Let what others say be a chance to learn and grow, and take what anyone says, positive or negative, with a grain of salt.  Because no one can really judge another person.  We all see life through different eyes, with different standards.

There are no losers, really.  And after all, a contest is just a contest.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm a nurse.  For the past oh, about 16 years or so, I have been a nurse.  So dealing with others' pain is not new to me.  I am a strong patient advocate, and unlike many nurses who undermedicate pain, I believe in relieving pain for those who suffer.  I have occasionally had short term pain, such as post operative pain, so I am not only trained to relieve pain, but empathetic to others' pain.  I feel I have been good at recognizing and treating the physical pain of others.  The one type of pain I have had to try hard not to judge, and not always been successful doing, is chronic pain.  Oh, I treat that pain for patients too, but it is hard for me to be sympathetic and not snort under my breath that those who have chronic pain are just exaggerating.  And that living with chronic pain is just something you have to suck up and deal with.  Not much sympathy there from me.

Until now.  For about four weeks now I have been having excruciating headaches.  Tests reveal nothing, so I guess it is my imagination being overactive.  I keep telling myself my headaches aren't real, but my head says 'oh yah? I'll show you what's real' and pounds right on.  I have never been much of a complainer about pain, so when I do complain, you can bet my pain is way out there. 

And I have started to realize something about chronic pain.  It debilitates.  I find it hard to think and function while I am having pain.  I find myself being short tempered and ill as a hornet (southern idiom for bitchy) and most of all I find it is beginning to depress me. 

So why am I blogging about pain?  Because I see the positive aspect of why I am suffering.  I understand now what people who suffer with long term pain feel.  I don't know when or if mine will go away, and the medication the doctor gave me is only partly effective, so I understand what it is like to know that nothing will totally take that pain away.  I understand why people live in fear of their pain.  To find relief, even briefly, is a wonder, but there is the worry that any moment the pain will return.  And it does.  Like a monster riding your back. 

I understand.  Now.  And see how arrogant I was in my ignorance.  There really is truth to the saying that until you walk a mile in someone's shoes, you can't truly understand them.

So, belatedly, I apologize.  I will never look at pain the same way again, or at those who suffer from  it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

art through the eyes of a child

My sister and I have a studio in California.  Not to showcase our artwork, but to introduce the concept of a painting experience to people who have never tried to paint.  Many people want to paint, and think of it as a mysterious gift.  What those of us who can and have painted know is the joy of painting, the feel of the brush scooping up paint and laying it on the canvas to bring thoughts and feelings to life.

Since April we have demonstrated and explained our concept every chance we get.  And it is beginning to catch on.  People are painting and discovering the fun and excitement of creating.  Once a month we offer a parent/kid class so that parents can spend some time with their kids doing something fun together.

I post photos from every class on our Facebook fan page and also on our website, and I look at all the class art from the studio as I post it on the Facebook page and on the website.  One thing strikes me as I view the art of the children.  It is free from influence.  The only thing that comes from the child's mind to the canvas is his or her imagination.  The children don't try to copy the sample painting, or even follow the teacher carefully (we never force children to do things 'our' way in the studio).  They paint with a free abandon, not caring what others think of their art.  They think only of the pleasure of painting.  They paint what their minds and hearts tell them to paint.

We should all paint with a child's abandon.  Free from fear of criticism, and free to paint what our mind and heart tells us to paint.  We should all strive to see art through the eyes of a child.  Fresh, new, exploring the world around us and the possibilities the canvas and paints give us.

I am grateful for everyone who has painted with us.  You have taught me (an 'old' artist) to look at the world and the vision of others with fresh eyes. 

With the eyes of a child.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

blah blah blah

Well, I failed at the NaBloPoMo goal I set myself.  Actually I didn't fail.  I bailed.  Same result but from a different direction.

The reasons why I failed and bailed at blog posting daily this month:
1 Two sick grandkids this weekend.  When the twins are sick, all else revolves around them (or any other sick grandkid).

2 I have a deadline with the website.  If I don't get the calendar finished this week, my sister doesn't have anything to teach next month.  So I had to switch from writing to painting.  Sounds like it shouldn't be a stretch, but when I am dreaming up ideas to paint, my mind goes where no man (or woman) has gone before.

3 This should probably be number one.  I am a procrastinator.  (I procrastinate at everything, so much so that Wretch was almost born in the car because I took my time getting to the hospital.)  Midnight slipped up on me the first day I missed posting on the blog and I was doomed.  I guess I should have been distraught, but after all, it was MY goal, and I chose to give it up for more important goals.

I guess that is life too.  We often have to give up some goals in order to attain others.  That sounds lofty, but can actually be as simple as giving up your place in the check out at Target because you have to go pee. 

It is all about priorities.  And any priority that is connected to my family in any way, always comes first with me.  Which is my life as it should be.  So failing to blog every day?

Blah, blah, blah....the blog will wait a bit til I take care of other things...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the saga of the dumpling

Here I am at 3AM, blogging.  Not that I got up just to blog.  I got up to fix one of my daughter's favorite dishes, chicken and dumplings.  Steve thought I wouldn't get them done if I waited until this morning (he had boiled the chicken for me).  But it was a long day at work, and I went to bed early, knowing I would be up by 2AM (I was) and have plenty of time to finish the dumplings before he leaves at 5:30 this morning to go stay with the twins (they are out of school today).

Jen loves them and so do the twins.  I really didn't make them for Jen this time though.  I am making them for Maddie.  She had an asthma flareup a couple days ago and feels pretty puny right now.  So I am sending her the southern equivalent of chicken soup.  Dumplings.

Jen said her appetite isn't good right now and she usually eats like a little horse so hopefully this will perk her up.  It always worked for her mom.  And of course I am sending a potful, so there will be enough for everyone and probably more than a day's worth too.

I make my dumplings the way my mother in law taught me to.  I even use a rolling pin like she did.  That is a Grapico bottle.  Not only is it the perfect rolling pin shape, it is also a classic.  Grapico is a southern soda that goes way beyond grape flavor.  Ask my sister Vix and her son Dan.  They used to fight over the Grapico I would haul in my suitcase to them on a visit home.  Isn't it amazing how some of your favorite foods and beverages are the ones that are regional, and not available in the particular region you live in?  Personally I think it is a conspiracy, but I haven't been able to prove it.

So here sits the pot of dumplings.  Ready to go when Steve leaves.  While I was making them I began to reflect on cooking, and what a pugnacious cook I was when we got married.  Remember the story about the butter beans?  Well the dumpling story I am about to tell you about is another legend in our family.

When Steve and I got married, many, many, MANY years ago, I wanted to cook like his mother cooked.  And I truly believed I could figure it out with a few clues from Steve and my Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Heck, I'd won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow that meant I could cook, right?

Wrong.  I found that out when I cooked four pounds of dried butter beans, enough to feed a small army for a week.  (That may be why I am not fond of butter beans today, I ate them until I thought my butt was going to turn inside out from farting so much.)

So one day my husband said "I sure wish I had some chicken and dumplings".  Well I had eaten dumplings once, years before at my Aunt Phoebe's house and liked them ok and figured I could do it too.  So I set to work.  I boiled a whole chicken.  I bought it cut up because I thought that was the way chicken was supposed to be.  Cut up in nice pieces. 

So the chicken is floating around in this big Dutch oven full of broth.  Then I get my Bisquick out.  I had discovered a recipe for dumplings on it, and thought that I was being really cagey.  Steve would never guess I hadn't made them from scratch.

Now right about here I have to explain the difference between northern and southern dumplings, something Steve had conveniently forgotten to tell me.  Northern dumplings are basically biscuits that are dropped into boiling broth and cooked quickly so that they are like bread inside and not gooey.  Southern dumplings are rolled out and are basically a fresh noodle that is dropped into the boiling broth.  So you have round and you have flat dumplings.

I was making the round kind, unbeknown to my waiting victim.  So I mix this Bisquick up and dump these big globs of dough in the broth, boil the hell out of them for a few minutes, then ladle up four of them and some chicken into a container and take it to Steve, who was moonlighting at a local gas station.  He worked with a fellow named Sam. 

So I carry the dumplings into the station and plop the container down in front of Steve, who is starving.  He looks at the chicken and dumplings, and gets real quiet.  Then he looks up at me and says "I'm too busy to eat right now honey, I'll eat in a little while."  So I said ok and after a few more minutes I left to go somewhere.  It was the only time I had a car, so I usually went shopping or to see my family.

I thought the dumplings were a big success.  Until about a month or so later, and Sam spilled the beans.  Evidently when I took food to Steve that he couldn't eat (and I am sure that was most of the time), he waited until I left, then dumped the food in the garbage, and went to Mr. Ed's right behind the gas station and got a hamburger.  When Sam told me this, I left in tears.  Steve apologized, and promised not to do it again.  And I must have forgiven him, because I am still here 40 years later.

Steve still tells the story of the chicken and dumpling.  Here is how his version goes (read this with a southern drawl in your mind):

"When Cathy and I first got married she made me chicken and dumpling.  She said there were four dumplings but when I opened it all I saw was one big dumpling, with a chicken leg sticking up through the middle of this big white blob.  I knew the rest of the chicken had to be down there somewhere, but all I could look at was that leg sticking straight up out of the bowl.  I tried to eat it but the more I chewed the dumpling, the bigger it got in my mouth, and I finally gave up.  It was a little while before Cathy learned to make dumplings the right way, from mother."

Things I have learned about chicken and dumplings:
1 There are flat and there are round dumplings. 
2 Never feed a southerner a round dumpling.
3 Take your chicken off the bone before you put it in the pot with the dumplings, so it doesn't end up looking like a dish from Fatal Attraction.
4 Dumpling stories come back to haunt you.

Today my kids get the flat dumplings.  And I will rest well tonight knowing Steve can't turn this pot of dumplings into a family legend.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

jeepers peepers

Getting kind of peepy creepy around here...Chocolate Mousse Peeps showed up today uninvited...
And sitting right beside them in arrogant display were Sugar Cookie Peeps...

Am I in Peep heaven or hell?  I'll know in a few more least I have a matched set of holiday Peeps.

I could always dry them out and hang them on the Christmas tree...but that would be an open invitation to the Three Blind Mice to visit.  Maybe I will put them in Christmas cards to send this year...

Wait. I don't do Christmas cards.  Make Christmas earrings out of them?  No. That would mess my hair up, or I might end up chewing on one and accidentally eat an ear lobe...mine.  

Hmm...A Peep creche perhaps?  I'd probably set them too close to the furnace and have a holy meltdown. 

Guess I am gonna have to just force myself to have a gastronomic Peepout. 

Peep shishkabobs!  That's it!  Although grilling the Sugar Cookie Peeps will be kinda like burning Gumby at the stake....

Peep Out Peeps!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I love peeps.  I always have.  My favorite way to have them is slightly stale, so that they are nice and chewy and last longer in my mouth.

I had no idea there is a whole group of people in the world dedicated to peeps.

There is a website for peeps:

A Wiki page for peeps:

And there is even a research site dedicated to peeps:

So today Steve comes to take me to lunch and I have an effing headache.  A real pounder.  The kind that makes you focus so inward that you don't really know what is going on outside of your head.  We went to a nice little restaurant, Jim n Nick's, and I ordered just soup and salad because I wasn't really hungry.  Pain is about the only thing that will make me forget food, albeit temporarily.  So I eat about 5 bites of soup and about that much of salad, leaving at least two thirds on my plate.  I am feeling pretty queasy at that point and Steve is clucking sympathetically.  He takes me and my pounding head back to work, and I lasted about another two hours before I had to leave.  Which is another thing I rarely do.  I think I will probably still be working on my deathbed...I just don't leave work. 

I get home and stretch out on the couch and notice a box of peeps.  There on the armrest of the couch.  For me.  Snowmen.  Heck I had no idea they make snowmen peeps.  I am a peep purist and thought the only peeps are those chicken kind.  The kind whose beak is a crispy little bite of sugar that is the first thing I take a bite of.  Pink peeps preferably.  But I know those only come at Easter, and that is a long way and several holidays off.  So I am content with my little snowmen. 

Then I have a nap, my head is better, and Steve has come in from his quest to kill Bambi's dad.  I decide to come in here and do my daily blog, not really knowing what I am going to write about, and I see it.
That's right.  Christmas tree peeps.  Gosh I love that man.  He really knows how to make a girl forget an aching head.  I am going to eat those peeps.  In about three days.  After I slice open the cellophane and let them breathe for a few days, like a fine wine.  And get chewy.

Because dedicated peepologists will only touch a peep that is fossilized.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Most of the time I am understanding, or like to think I am.  But for the past few weeks I have been moody and cranky much of the time.  I've had a headache most of the past three weeks.  Most of the time the pain is bearable, but sometimes it isn't.

Last night my head was throbbing.  Steve said something to me and I shot something back like a bullet, and it hit him like one.  He didn't say anything, just went to bed.  I knew I had hurt his feelings but I was in such a bitchy mood because of the pain that I sulled like a possum and refused to say anything to him.

And it ate at me all night.  I woke up at midnight and got up and did a few little chores around the house, and pondered on why I talk to him like I do.  He took me to the ophthalmologist today and I talked to him a bit about why I snap at him sometimes.

It is because I feel safe.  I say things to him that I would never dare say to a stranger or someone I work with.  I use a tone of voice that cuts like a knife.  And it is because I feel safe.  And I know Steve loves me unconditionally.  He always has.  He never has wavered in that.  Oh we have our arguments.  Some are real humdingers.  But I know I can say what I think to him with no holds barred and he will let me.  Because he loves me.  I talked a bit about this with him today.

And I told him I was sorry for hurting his feelings.  For saying the hateful things I said last night.  Pain doesn't excuse it.  I truly was sorry.

And Steve said it was ok.  He is understanding that way.  Because that is who he is.

This person I've loved for over 40 years.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

sister faces

How many times can you capture a moment in time with photos so perfectly that no words are needed?  Or minimal explanation only?  That happens to me every now and again when my eye is sharp and my finger is ready on Big Girl's trigger.  I recently watched an encounter between my sisters.  They were painting and started laughing at Dooj, my youngest sister because she had turned her painting upside down to paint the edge, then while it was turned, signed the lower right corner.  When she turned it back around; she saw what she had done in the upper left corner and started laughing.
I am always glad when I get to capture my sisters during some nutty moment because that is when they are the funniest to me...stuff just rolls out of their mouths effortlessly and it is a running competition to see who can say the most insulting funny thing to the other...

And me?  I am behind the camera laughing and catching it I can share my joy in my sisters' humor with the world....