Friday, November 28, 2008

Pardon me sir, but could you spare some Turkey?

For the last month I have been reading articles in women's magazines that contain recipes for what to do with all of that leftover turkey.

What leftover turkey? We cooked a 23lb turkey yesterday. We used one half of it for dinner yesterday and as of right now, there may be enough turkey for two more sandwiches. You know what that means don't you?

We cooked another turkey today.

Sad, isn't it? This is our family's spare turkey. We made it just so that we would have leftovers.

So, if you are in the neighborhood and are hungry...come on by. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight?

You got it! Leftovers!!!!

I would be willing to bet that by Monday there will only be enough leftovers to make a pot pie out of dark meat.

Picture Perfect - Everyday Thanks

Picture Perfect this week is about giving thanks for the ordinary. This shouldn't be your friends, or family...not really a sentimental post, I think, but a thank you to the things that help get us through the day.

Here is my photo contribution to this weeks' theme.

tgiving 020

(pardon the dust!)

Our computers have become such a daily tool in our lives, it is a wonder how we ever lived without it. I recently read a blog by Wicklowmick about the various tools he used before computers and I did a little self recollection. I don't think I have ever used a manual typewriter. One of my earliest jobs was with the Executive Vice President of Temple University. I was a "student assistant" and I did some light typing. I hated it and became very good at the "correction" feature. I remember that we also had a dedicated word processing machine that I was eventually trained on...and then the desktop computers. The first word processing software I used wasn't a windows product it was WordPerfect. Mail Merge and I were close friends.

Being a doctoral student as well as I teacher, I use my computer every day. So do my students and I often have to spend time explaining why it is plagiarism to cut and paste paragraphs from the Internet. Good thing there is Google. I just cut and copy portions of their homework into Google and search for the real source of their assignments.

For me, it means always having a backup. I was speaking to the mother of a friend who got her PhD in the 60s. She talked about the typing and typing and typing some more...then of mimeograph copies of all that was typed hidden for safekeeping all over her house. She had a copy on her - AT ALL TIMES, a copy in her home office, a copy in her campus office, a copy in her car and...this is the best one! A copy in her freezer. In case of a fire. I guess the contents of your freezer don't burn!

Nowadays we are told about having two external hard drives to back up our dissertations. I also plan on emailing portions of it to myself. That way it will always be "out there."

In addition to the Word Processing applications...and the cheating capabilities of the Internet, there is also social networking. I am reading an article right now on this topic and how it impacts "emerging adults." I think we are all pretty much emerged, but isn't it interesting that this little laptop has given birth to

  • new forms of cheating
  • new forms of creating
  • new forms of friendship
  • new forms of frustration
  • new forms of research
  • new forms of procrastination

And with that, I am going to head back to my homework!

The Master Plan for Thanksgiving

My daughter just woke up. She spent part of last night getting sick. It wasn't that she ate something that was bad, it was just that she ate too much. This was her first Thanksgiving where she had to eat two dinners.

She and Travis ate at our house at 2:00 and then they went to Travis' house to eat again. I guess this is pretty indicative of where my life is heading. Now that my children are getting older I have to share them with others. I know it is normal and unavoidable, but I realize I was in a really bad mood yesterday and I am blaming this realization for it.

So....since Mad was up at the wee hours, she texted her aunt, Fred's youngest sister, who is 24. Liz shared with her the THANKSGIVING MASTER PLAN for eating two meals with two families. According to the plan you eat a little Turkey and one starch at one house with plenty of water, then a little turkey and a different starch at the other house. The WATER IS KEY. Pie is a no-no.

Sigh. No pie? Glad I only have one house.

I wonder what the Christmas plan is....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, I stayed up late last night and made two pies:Mincemeat and Blueberry (first time from scratch) and three loaves of fruit bread (a pumpkin and cranberry for Mad to take to TBs house and a cranberry for us).

Fred has stuffed the 23 lb turkey and it is in the oven for the first stage of the roasting process. We are making a second turkey after this one comes out so we have enough for sad is that?

Hope you are all enjoying your time with family and friends! I will spend most of today studying, writing and eating. Finals are next week and this long semester will be over. Boy am I thankful for that!

I am also thankful for all of you!

Have a great day!

Yes, that's our 23lb Turkey running for its life!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Retro-post - More bars in more places...

Do you know the AT&T commercial where the "bars" are hidden in the background this...

Well, Owen has taken this commercial to heart. We were walking to the grocery store the other day and he made us line up in height order. Then he says..."More bars, in more places!"

On Saturday, his birthday, we were in the sitting room, chatting. I asked to see his feet, and placed mine along side of his. "Oh my gosh! Your feet are bigger than mine!"

"Wait," he said, and got on the other side of where I was sitting...."We have to do "more bars."" Fred was sitting at the computer and Freddy was in the other room, so we lined up for a group shot. (*Madelaine was out with Turd Boy, so her foot is not in the photo)

Just for the, small, dainty foot is the one on the right. Also, please note how hairy my 14 year old son's legs are (2nd from left). I think he will be shaving soon!

Retro-post - Happy Birthday Owen

Happy Birthday (Saturday the 22nd) to the baby of our house!

Owen is now 12. At this time next year, I will have 3 teenagers. Then in May 2010, I will be back down to two.

Do you think the 7 months of having three teenagers, all living in the same house, qualifies me for Sainthood?

I think it should.

Retro-post - Webkinz

I meant to post this...well, about a month ago. But my camera was out of batteries and then I forgot and then I had to put away the Halloween decorations. But here are some shots of Owen's Webkinz dressed for Halloween.

Demonata Pug

Skullduggery Chiuaua

Fang the Pug.......................................................

and lastly, the Frog Prince.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Takes me back....

I think we all have certain songs that immediately take us back to a particular time and place. The song Fred blogged about not too long ago by Green Day (Time of your life) has, in my head, been retitled "the chemo song." We used to hear it all the time on our way back and forth to the Hospital. Fred doesn't remember the song as being association to his illness at all.

Right now, I'm at work, listening to Sirius online and this song comes on. I think the song is pretty good, but the opening whistling thing is that part that makes me smile. When I hear this, I am waiting in the customs line to get into Mexico. The line was long, but I didn't care. Fred and I had two weeks of doing nothing ahead of us and we both really needed it. Someone was passing the time by whistling the opening bars of this over and over again. I didn't have this song on my iPod before we left for Mexico, but I did afterwards.

It is hard to imagine that it has been over a year since our anniversary trip and it will be almost another year before we get to go again (311 days, but who is counting) is the song.

PS...What are we going to do if River gets high speed? We will be down another thing to blog about and tease her about. Maybe we should pettition the cable company to make sure she stays out of the "loop!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How could I have missed this?

I don't know if you have read any of Wally Lamb's books before, but they are simply heartbreaking and heartfelt. In case you don't remember, his previous books were She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True.

In She's Come Undone, we meet Dolores Price who has dealt with a severely disappointing life, filled with abandonment, rape, and abuse by self medicating with FOOD. While none of these things are laughing matters, Wally Lamb makes lemonade out of lemons and this is an engaging and entertaining read.

In I Know This Much Is True, Dominick Birdsey is one of the brothers who make up identical twins. His brother Thomas is a schizophrenic who at one point in the book, slices his hand off. But Dominick is the central character in the book which explores self denial, self discovery and the wreckage left behind every dysfunctional family. It is a little imposing at 928 pages but the language, dialog and humor are worth it.

While researching this blog I found that he taught a writing class for incarcerated women and wrote a book, or editing one, that compiled their stories. Couldn't Keep It to Myself and I'll fly Away are composed of essays written by the women inmates of a maximum security prison. These are next on my reading list.

In case you hadn't noticed, both of these titles are based on song lyrics, so when I saw the new book, I was "looking" for the music attached. It finally dawned on me....Amazing Grace.

The new book is about a teacher who was present and "survived," in a manner of speaking, the Columbine School Shooting. Never quite recovering, she retreats to her husbands small New England town where the story continues on a different but connected vein.

Again, not a pretty topic, but I am looking forward to reading something new by Mr. Lamb. It has been 8 years I think, since his last book. I guess you can call him the opposite of James Patterson. I am sure this book will be worth the wait.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hearing Bells

10:57 am. I pull into the parking lot of the FWISD Professional Development Center and lock my car. I will only have to make this drive one more time since the semester is almost done. It has been a tough class. Nothing has worked out well for the class or my students. It has been an eye opening learning experience for me but I am tired and looking forward to the class being over.

Have you ever noticed how sound is different at different temperatures? It seems that sound gets muffled in the heat. Maybe it is the moisture in the air that causes the sound to lose some of its edge. They become muted by the humidity.

Not today though. It was cool and crisp and quiet. I walk across the parking lot in downtown Ft. Worth and I am aware of the noise my boot heels make on the paved surface. I can hear a gang of grackles in a tree at the end of the block. I hate those birds. They don't have a song, so much as they have the noise of a broken fast food speaker. I can hear the sound of traffic but my boots still serve as the central soundtrack.

11:00: I think to myself, "Ha...I am almost right on time!" and then I hear it. The church on the corner has a bell tower that rings out marking the hour. I stop and listen. Being a city girl I have grown up in neighborhoods that have many churches. One intersection in Philadelphia has 3 Irish Catholic, one Polish Catholic and one Greek Orthodox. Each church was built by construction workers of that parrish and then attended by their family, friends and descendants. They all had bell towers and I grew up with this familiar sound. I stop and listen.

As the bells finish, I start to open the door of the building but then they start again. They ring out a tune and I smile and tears spring to my eyes. I am a sap. I stay outside to hear the end of the song. My class will wait for me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Never noticed....

You know how you see something all the time and never notice...

On my way to teach class this morning I noticed the sign for the Fort Worth Zoo....

Get it.... F.....W....?

Sometimes I worry about my brain function.

Sorry River....

But this was too I thought I should post it.

Gee...and I thought my cat was vocal....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Isn't it pretty?

If you look a little closer, you will see that this tree is made of Mountain Dew Cans. You can click HERE to see the step my step version of it...

In a Fowl Mood

You know those days when you wake up and you just KNOW it is going to be a bad day?

That is today.

I don't know why.

I did a lot of spring cleaning this weekend; watched a funny movie with Fred; read a good book; took a bath; almost took two naps (Mad walked in during both of them to see if I was alright, which startled me awake and then made continuing the nap impossible); had a couple of good beers; went out to breakfast.

All in all a very good weekend. I did not complete laundry, but I never seem to no HUGE surprise.

So anyway...woke up this morning and kids were complaining about school, and no socks and no pants and then Fred, Madelaine and I did the dance around our too small kitchen, packing lunches and making breakfasts....the usual crap. By this point I had a headache and realized that the day is not looking so good.

Now I am at work and preparing for storytime. Some days I find that storytime makes everything better...sometimes it makes it worse. I am not sure what today will bring. I guess I can always hope.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween Night

Yes, I know. This is late. But I still wanted to tell you about it.

We live in a great neighborhood for Halloween! Many of our neighbors dress up and decorate their houses. One house, a block over, has a graveyard with moving bits in their front yard. They have a storage rental just so they can keep everything. The head roasting on the BBQ spit is my favorite. Other houses have their teenagers on the roof with chain saws, and chains.

The house cattycorner to us had a grim reaper, 11 feet high posted in his front yard like a scarecrow for weeks before Halloween Night. He also had a creepy clown sitting on his front porch. Then on Halloween Night he would climb inside one of the creatures and chase people half way down the block (if he was the reaper) or if he was the clown, he would put the bowl of candy in his clown lap and wait for people to make a grab for the candy before blinking or grabbing them.

Like I said, we live across from them and Fred and I just sit back and watch the show.

This Halloween, our friends who live in the "big house" neighborhood decided to come by and hand out candy with us. (They don't get any trick or treaters).

I opened up my car windows and put Sirius radio on. They had a "Haunted House Noises" channel so we cranked up the volume...sitting in the driveway on camping chairs, drinking beer. We watched kids go by and chatted with them about their costumes etc. Some neighbors stopped by and we chatted some more. We handed out about 12 bags of candy...probably $60 worth. We even sent Mad to the store to by more.

There were some interesting costumes. But of all of is the scariest. Are you ready?

hweensoup 001

I hate the king!!!

A dark Tale of Pokeno, a wtich candle and enternal torment!

So, I mentioned that I help Pokeno at my house last month and my friend Laurie commented that she was going to come by and steal my witch candle. Ha! Like she could. First of all, she is in Indiana and missed very much. Secondly...I stole it from her fair and square.

In case you don't recall, you get to steal gifts during the second round of Pokeno. Laurie and I went back and forth stealing the Witch candle...but as you can see by the went home with me.

I even got some new little friends for her to hang out with.

Laurie...Neener Neener! :-%%%%%%

PS..I have to store the "hat" candles in my master closet...since they would melt in the attic with the rest of the Hween stuff.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Savage Chickens...because I am currently out of ideas...

And because librarians are big on Metadata

Yes We Did Sticker!

Whether our President-Elect was your candidate or not, you have to admit, this is history. In case you want a free sticker to commemorate the occasion, please click on the link below.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You might be a librarian if....(stolen from an email sent by my friend Jennifer!)

You might be a librarian if:

You compulsively reshelve items and straighten shelves when browsing at Barnes and Noble

Ok...I do not do this....mostly because there are no spine labels on the books.

You alphabetize your spice rack (and everything else) should see my spice area. It lives with my over the counter medicines...and is a mess....

You own more cardigans than shoes

Define cardigans? The group? No...I do own lots of sweater twinsets, but not a lot of cardigans.

You own cats named "Ernest, "Kerouac," or "Flannery"

I have a cat named can pick your reference...Star Wars, or as in II Society.

You have a secret desire to be a bookcart drill team

Those people kind of scare me.

You know the Dewey Decimal System by heart

Nope...but I do know a great deal. spend your days surrounded by something and not absorb it!

Nancy Pearl is your idol and you own her action figure

Guilty. Photo to follow....

You go on vacation and visit other libraries

See the blog photo. Look familiar?

You don't have a Netflix account and borrow all of your music and movies from the library instead

I just ILLed Surname Viet First Name Nam today!

Your home library has just as many books as a small public library

Nope...we have rules about that. The only books I keep at my house are my orphans.

You were totally blogging and social networking before 2003


You read banned books

This goes without a matter of fact I wore my "I'm with the Banned" shirt today to workout.

You can kick everyone's butt at Scrabble

Well...not everyone's. I have a lot of librarian friends!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

M.I.A. - Missing in Austin!

Hello. Where was I yesterday? Um...I was in Austin.

I love Austin.

Most of the time I don't even mind driving there. Yesterday I had a 10am meeting there. So I left at 5. Yup. AM. That meant I got up and dressed at 4:30.

Now it really only takes 3 1/2 hours to get there. If you do 80mph the whole way; which considering the speed limit is 70, is not hard to do.

But I have a weakness. Cracker Barrel.

There is one is Waco (yes THAT Waco) and it is about a half way point, so I stop. Yesterday I had the Old Timers Breakfast with Hash Brown Casserole. Yum. They game me grits too, even though I tell them every time that I don't need them....and they can hold the gravy for the biscuits as well. They still bring it. Then I poked around in their country store...but didn't buy anything.

I always have a hard time finding my way in one section of Austin. My GPS tells me to turn onto Mo-Pac, but the visual shows a straight path. After missing the invisible turn, it has to "recalculate route" and sets me on the right course. It tells me to make a legal u-turn and then a hard right. I don't see a hard right. And I don't see anything listed as Mo-Pac.

After another bit of time "recalculating route" it decides I must be blind and puts me back on the main, and highly trafficked, road, I35. I don't mind this either since I get the full impact of the Austin Skyline. I can see the Capitol Building AND my favorite skyscraper, the Frost Building, which looks like an Owl in the evening. If you click on the link you get to read about some of the rumors and urban myths about the design.

I was in Austin for a meeting about a committee I am on with the Texas Library Association. The meeting was productive. Not as passionate as the first, but I think we are making progress. We have one more in February, so it is always nice to see the end in sight.

After we finished with our meeting we were going out to dinner. I managed to get a quick visit into Tesoros before hand, and purchased a couple new things for my Dia de los Muertos altar.

Austin is great in a way that my part of TX is not. There are people running, walking and biking. There are old homes with mature trees on winding and hilly roads. There are tons of people out...all doing there thing. It is a true city where people live and work in the same area, not make a quick retreat for a McMansion in the suburbs. Local eateries and bars litter the sidewalk. The people are less barbie-beautiful there.

We went to dinner at Z-Tejas where I had the Smoked Chicken Chili Rellano. Yum. The chili was not batter dipped and fried, but roasted and stuffed with smoked chicken and apricots and then topped with a sour cream sauce and pumpkin seeds. The black beans rocked. As I mentioned before, the people are as eclectic as the town. There were many couple out and some, you could tell, were on dates, but they were missing the anorexic, over exercised, fake tan, fake boob, HUGE diamond, style that prevails in my area. I love that!

We got done dinner and I hit the road at 7 pm. I made one stop at the Starbucks in Temple, TX and quickly got back on the road. I made it (even with the stop) in 3 1/2 hours. I guess I may have been driving faster than 80 during certain legs of the drive.

Sorry for the rambling post, but I am still tired. And still very much in love with Austin. I would love to move and be able to roam the streets, walking of course, eating and shopping my way to the point where I am as comfortable in my skin as the natives seem.

PS...My lovely and wonderfully fuel efficient car made the 500 mile drive using only a half a tank. The average mpg for the trip (including getting tied up in a bit of traffic and some slight city driving) was 46 mpg. I love my car!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trial and Error

So, my very good friend Tiffany, is having a birthday on Wednesday. I happen to know that her favorite cake in the world, is red velvet. I am a very good cake maker...especially when it comes to the kind in the box, so I thought I would make her some cupcakes for her birthday and bring them to her in a pretty cupcake stand...which is her actual birthday present.

Plan A:

Hhhmmm. Did you know they don't make boxed mixed of red velvet cake? At least none that I could find readily available.

Plan B:

Scratch. I did my research. Looked up recipes. Found out some interesting things. Some of them called for crisco. I crossed those off the list early on. Shortening is just bad bad bad. I found another interesting ingredient...but it appeared in many of the recipes, so I am taking their word on it. Vinegar!

I also looked at the comments people made on the recipes. They all agreed that it needed more cocoa powder.

I made my notes and went to the store.

Now, I have learned lessons the hard way in I thought I would do a trial run. I start getting the ingredients out this afternoon.

Rats, forgot the buttermilk.

Went back to the store.

Got home and went back to work.

Rats...I don't have any vinegar.

I send Owen down the street to borrow some from my neighbor, Karen. She isn't guess what? Back to the store.

Guess who I run into at the store? Karen!

Got home and put the last ingredient, the vinegar into the wet bowl.

Uh Oh....I used the Tablespoon. It only needs a teaspoon.

Call Fred and ask him to pick up a small bottle of RED FOOD COLORING. Yes, I said a bottle. I had to explain to him that it required a whole bottle, 1 oz of RED FOOD COLORING, and yes, they sell it at the store.

When he came home I emptied the whole bottle into the cake batter and finished the recipe once and for all.

Fred was playing with my timer though...and the tops have a little stiffer in texture than I would like. Here they are....

hween red velvet 006

I used this recipe.