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Friday, March 26, 2010

Profiles in Courage and Crafting.

Game on.

Lauren was supposed to start soccer this week, but for some reason, the township wouldn't permit the soccer club to use the fields yet (I assume they're still muddy from the snow melting.). So her first practice has been postponed until next week. She's already outfitted with a matching ball, shin guards and cleats. The coach says that at this age, they just attempt to get the kids to kick the ball around and keep them from crying too much.

The Great Mouse Killer.

Don't let this mild mannered puss face fool you because on the inside sleeps a vicious tiger. Each weekday morning, one of the first things that I do is feed Beavis, and this Monday was no different. As soon as she hears me approaching, Beavis usually comes out of her bed meowing her kitty version of "Good morning!" but lately, she has been feeling her age and doesn't come out immediately. However, Monday was just like old times and she came happily over to see me. As I walked over to get her food, I noticed something on the basement floor that I could not identify. I went to get a closer look when I realized that the strange black fuzzball was what was left of a dead mouse and instantly proceeded to get the heebee jeebees (Or "willies" if you prefer.). Of course, I left it for Mark to dispose of.

Now the bizarre part of the story is that I had last gone to the basement just the evening before to put a bottle in the recycle bin that was sitting right next the carcus, but I swear the mouse was not there at the time.

What could have happened to that mouse? Could Beavis have actually had her way with it? Even though she's declawed and the age equivalent of an 85 year old? Did it just drop dead there? Was it already dead, and she just wanted to show it to mommy? The world may never know.

The beginnings of a sampler

These are the first stitches of a daunting embroidery project that I've just embarked upon. It's going to be a sampler, that is, if I ever finish it. Expect photos sometime in May of 2012.

Anyway, after I saw the awesome cross stitch projects in Rainbow of Stitches, I wanted to try my hand at it, but I didn't have any cross stitch fabric. One quick search on Etsy and I turned up a store called Sandy's Supply Center that was selling some second hand. When the package came a couple of days later, I was confused because the seller included a note signed by "Rob." I checked the profile of the store and found this:

My name is Rob. When my 49 year-old sister Sandy died in the summer of 2007, just six weeks after diagnosis with Stage IV colon cancer, she had been planning for a craft-filled early retirement just a few years down the road. Now her advance planning and shopping savvy can be your savings opportunity.

So, so sad, but a great reminder to do the things you love today because there may not be a tomorrow. So this sampler will be dedicated to Sandy, a woman I never knew, but consider a sister in crafting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nine out of ten sock monkeys prefer the taste of banana walnut chocolate chip cookies over real bananas.

9 out of ten sock monkeys prefer Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies to actual bananas.

This weekend, you could tell that I was feeling myself again because I had the overwhelming desire to cook something. That and the fact that I couldn't have come up with the sock monkey photo a couple of weeks ago. A photo like that is born out of my happy place. Oh, the Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip cookie recipe is another one from the Martha Stewart cookie book. Although I used very ripe bananas, I didn't feel they had a very noticeable banana taste. You had to know beforehand that they had banana in them to really pick up on it. Still, the bananas made the cookies very moist.

Big ol' stack of flapjacks.

Mark made fun of me because I made enough pancakes on Sunday morning to feed the Waltons. So I took a picture of them. Come 'n git, John Boy!

Everyday Food One Pot Chicken and Brown Rice

Mmmm...this is my new favorite recipe - One Pot Chicken and Brown Rice from Everyday Food Magazine. It takes a about a hour and a half to make, but almost all of that is cooking time because it's otherwise very easy to assemble. I've really learned to enjoy dark meat lately. I'm the only one who will eat the turkey leg at Thanksgiving!

***Begin American Idol blabbering***

By now, it's old news that Season 9 will probably go down in history as one of the worst, if not THE worst season of American Idol ever. I have been holding out hope week after week that it's going to get better. After all, each season starts out rough until the less than stellar contestants are weeded out and the cream rises to the top. There's also a tendency to think that the current season's crop will never compare to your favorites from the last season, but then you discover a new favorite and suddenly, it's the Best! Season! Ever! I even pushed through the disappointment when my potential favorites like Tyler Grady and the boy with the unfortunate name and even more unfortunately haircut, Alex Lambert, were untimely eliminated.

But after last night's catastrophe, hope is no more. I've resigned myself to the fact that there is truly little, if any, cream available, and since I don't drink coffee anyway, I shouldn't let it get me down. So here are my thoughts on a few of this season's group:

Siobhan Magnus: I am a couch cougar no more because, YES! I! CAN! ROOT! FOR! A! FEMALE! (By the way, I myself coined the term "couch cougar," which is defined as a middle aged woman who would never actually go out and score a younger man but instead sits at home and crushes on them while watching television. Please feel free to use it in casual conversation so that it catches on. For example, "That Tim Urban - he turns me into such a couch cougar!")

Back to Siobhan. I just find her absolutely adorable and want to adopt her as the little sister that I never had. On top of that, she's interesting, fun, works the stage and can sing, all qualities that are sorely lacking in this season's contestants.

Crystal Bowersox: It's no secret that she's the favorite (Cause Simon says so!). I can't deny that Crystal is probably the best this season has to offer, but I also can't help but resent the fact that she's standing still playing guitar week after week and not getting called out for it like Jason Castro. Crystal is also a lot like Brad Pitt to me. I can tell Brad is a good looking guy, but I much rather look at Josh Holloway. I can tell Crystal is a talented singer, but I much rather listen to someone else. Maybe it's because I don't like Janice Joplin (I know, SACRILEGE!).

Casey James: Speaking of the poor man's Josh Holloway, Casey is theory. He's got the look, the name and the locks. He sounds pretty nice too. However, there's just something off about him. I think it's the vapid smile that he wears every time he performs. He could be singing about how on the way to the studio the limo he was riding in accidentally ran over his dog, and he would smile his way through it. Plus he picks songs like "The Power of Love." Step away from the Huey, Casey!

Andrew Garcia: I don't really understand why the judges rip him to shreds each week because, to me, he's doing exactly what he did in his auditions. I like Andrew's voice, but there's something about him that turns me off. The combination of neck tattoo and Danny Gokey glasses doesn't help.

Didi Benami: Megan Joy 2.0 with improved singing.

Katie Stevens: Poor Katie. A few seasons ago, the judges would be drooling all over her. She's a smaller scale Katherine McFee.

And lastly, Tim Urban. I thought that he had nerve when he stole a page out of Jason Castro's playbook and sang "Hallelujah" during week three of the semi-finals.

Then I realized Tim stole my father's haircut.

Daddy Bruno and his Tim Urban haircut.

You're dead to me, Tim. DEAD.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alive and kicking.


Since a month has past now, I guess it's about time I resuscitated the blog. Hopefully my handful of loyal readers didn't fear the worst and think that I gave up blogging!

Unfortunately, all three of us have suffered varying degrees of illness over the past month. In fact, during the past week, we've all had to visit the doctor. Going into my third week of respiratory hell, I finally threw in the towel last week and sought medical assistance. I was diagnosed with bronchitis and was administered a breathing treatment in the doctor's office, followed by a cocktail of three prescription drugs that I just finished today. Lauren continues to have a cough and a runny nose that comes and goes. And now Mark has pink eye in both eyes.

Anyway, since we were sick, we weren't doing anything that was worth blogging about, and even if there was, I was too despondent to do so.

But let's recall happier times before the plague descended upon our home! Speaking of alive and kicking, at the very end of February, Grandma Gert celebrated her 91st birthday.

Smile, Grandma!

I asked Grandma to smile for this one. She replied, "There isn't anything to smile about." Isn't she an inspiration to us all?

91 years old.

Aw, that's better Grandma.

As taken by a four year old.

We had Lauren take this one for us. She is too cute when she takes photos with the "big" camera. She even used the Rule of Thirds. What a natural!

That's all for now - I need to ease back into blogging. Tomorrow, it'll be just like old times with some food photos and my thoughts on this season's American Idol!