Thursday, November 30, 2006


Dear Rain,
I'm ready for you to turn to snow now, please.

Dear Worms,
There were so many of you in the parking lot this morning, I couldn't avoid all of you... I'm very sorry for the loss of so many of your brethren.

Dear Air,
Would you please stop smelling like worms now? Thanks.

Dear Old Navy,
Sammy says you rock.

Dear Ornery Young Woman Working at Wendy's in Mt. Pleasant,
You should consider a new career. Also, Joycie says you should consider shaving your mustache.

Dear NaBloPoMo,
It's been fun. Really, really fun. I will miss you.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can I just say...

I am lovin' this weather this afternoon. It's totally overcast, so the sky is a beautiful shade of gray. There is a slight breeze, and it must be at least 62 degrees. It's perfect working-outside-weather.

I got all the plants in the ground... not so pretty now, but you just wait until next spring.

After that little job, I started working on getting the rest of the leaves out of the plants in my herb garden, and I wanted to cut some of the plants back, too. Then I had a brilliant idea. I got the push mower out and mowed my herb garden. Why in the hell have I been cutting all those plants back by hand for all these years???... With the push mower, I was done in 10 minutes. Brilliant! Well, it would have been had I remembered we have a bagger for that mower. Next year. And probably more brilliant if I had thought of it, oh, 15 or 20 years ago.


All is ready for winter now.

Update: As soon as I published this post, I realized that I forgot to rake the leaves out of my rue plants. I have one big circle of rue in my herb garden and a small hedge near the herb garden, next to my small rock garden. If I don't get those leaves out, then the plants do ok, but the centers are ugly... So I put back on my old, dirty sneakers & my dirty leather gloves and headed back outside. Before I got out to the pole barn, I could hear thunder. It didn't start raining until I was half-way through the job, but then it poured. I didn't hear any more thunder so I finished in the rain. Soaked to the skin, but I got it all done. Felt good, you know...

Why I'm taking some vacation hours this afternoon...

It's not really raining, just spittin' a little wet stuff. So this afternoon I will finally get into the ground the last of my perennial flower plants that my sister, Kathy, gave to me a long time ago. Before sunset today, which will occur at 5:02 pm.

Tomorrow: WINTER. Yay!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

History is...

Last week, I heard a snippet of an interview of an author by Steve Inskeep on NPR, and something the author said has been niggling at my mind ever since. The interview was with the novelist Robert Harris & in reference to his new book, Imperium. The interview was about "Drawing Parallels Between Ancient Rome and the U.S. Today" (and can be heard here on the NPR site).

This was the part I liked:

Steve Inskeep: There are so many comparisons over so many years between modern times & the Roman Empire. Does it get hard, after a while, when you’re researching this to just focus on what really happened then, without contaminating it with the present?

Robert Harris: I think that that’s a perfectly fair criticism, but on the other hand, I think it’s impossible to look back at the past and to free oneself from the circumstances in which one is writing. It seems to me, looking back at the Roman Republic, that any generation will take a different thing from it. History is what we bring to it, not just the events themselves but how we interpret those events...

That last sentence is what got to me. It's perfect.

My Mom and I have had a lot of discussions about the Bible and what it "says"... I usually argue that the Bible was written by men in their time, then translated by men in their time, and so on... and it can't help but be affected by that circumstance.

I've also had conversations with Joyce about historical events. Joyce loves history... the History channel, the Discovery channel, historical novels, non-fiction books on historical events... so do I, but probably not as much as Joycie. We've had many conversations about historical events like slavery and prejudice, about WWII, etc. Yes, monsters exist, but for some people, the time they lived and what they did in that time was affected by their history and the interpretation of the history before they lived. How do you explain to a child why some people made young children work in sweatshops and beat them? How people walking down the street there knew about those sweatshops. Why did those things happen. Why do those things still happen. How to explain to your young daughter why women were considered like possessions, why women couldn't own property or inherit, why women used to not be able to vote for our president? Stuff that seems outrageous to us now, wasn't always so outrageous. Wrong, yes. Of course. That's why things have changed, and will keep changing.

How could people do what they did and be ok with it is a difficult thing for us, now, to understand because of what we bring to those historical events, not just what happened, but how we view and feel about those events.

Thank goodness.

Mr. Harris, you're a wise man... so I bought your book this weekend.

Monday, November 27, 2006

This door

Our house was built about 14 years ago by my brother, who is a builder/contractor. We have been writing the heights of Joycie & Sammy, and family & friends, on the inside of our pantry door for most of those 14 years. We've missed a few years here and there... not sure why. But there's never been any big plan about it. We just do it when we think about it. Squeezing in names and dates at the top is getting a little crazy. I love comparing Sammy's height to Joycie's at the same age. By age 11 1/2, Joycie was taller than me, and at age 12, Sammy is just a bit shorter. I know girls grow faster than boys... I fully expect Sammy to get taller than Kev, and probably sooner than we like to think.

Should we ever move from this house, which isn't our plan... but should that happen, this door goes with me.

Questions answered...

What's with the fish?

Isn't he lovely?! This fish is enamel on what I think is brass, and he is jointed, so his body, fins & tail all move. He was given to us by some good friends who lived in Hong Kong for a while, and he traveled all the way from HK to Michigan to live with us.

Why aren't you at work?

Because I took a vacation day today. Whoo hoo! Joycie & I decided last night that we needed to spend some time together and get some CMU stuff done.

What's going on with your blog?

I changed it so that only one post appears, instead of several flowing down the page.

Why in the heck did you do that?

Because we live in the boonies.

So, what does that have to do with it?

Well, if you would quit interrupting and let me finish... As a boonies dweller, we have dial-up Internet access. Yes, dial-up. We don't have cable out here in the sticks yet, and the alternative types of connections are far too expensive at this point. My family members also have dial-up. Thus, when they open my blog, they have to wait and wait and wait for all the photos from all the posts to load... so with just one post at time, we should all be happier. Besides, links to previous recent posts are on the sidebar, as well as the archives. Hey, if anyone knows of a good, simple set of code for adding "Previous Post | Home | Next Post" links to each post, please holler. (And holler pretty loud so we can hear y'all out here in the boonies, eh?)

What's your favorite color?

Blue. No, Green. No, Orange. Pumpkin Orange. Darkish Pumpkin Orange, but not too dark. No, Blue. A forget-me-not blue. No, oh hell. I like browns, too. And grays. Dark jewels tones, too. Especially at Christmastime in December. I love autumn colors best, though. And the dark leafless trees against that blue, blue sky. Like the photo that Joycie took recently, which you can see here. Um, what was the question again?

How much coffee have you had?

The answer to that question is always "not enough." Ha! Just kidding. I just finished a whole pot, and I guess I'll stop there today.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Joyce!

Today is my baby girl's 18th birthday. I am having trouble wrapping my mind around that fact, even though it's been on my mind for months and months. She has recently been receiving mail regarding this significant event in her life, such as registering to vote, signatures needed at the credit union for her accounts, etc. Grown up, adult stuff. My daughter is officially an adult today. And I am officially freaking out.

Where do the years go?...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Basketball jones

This is Sammy, all sweaty after the day's 2nd game of basketball, outside cooling off & talking to his daddy who was at work, missing all the basketball fun.

The boys won their first game in a nail-biter. Down by 2 and one of the boys hit a 3-pointer in the last few seconds of the game. Very fun to watch.

They lost the 2nd game, again a nail-biter. They were up most of the game, tied at the very end and lost it at the last second. Sammy had a one-hand hook or tip in basket on which he got fouled and got another point at the free throw line. Very cool. The boys all played great. Good match.

The 3rd and final game was also exciting. The other team took an early lead, but our boys hung in there and played strong. Tied at the end, and so they did a 2-minute overtime. Still tied, so they went into a 2-minute sudden death... the first team to get 2 points would win the game. In the first few seconds of sudden death, the other team fouled one of our boys... who happens to be one of the best free throw shooters, and he sunk 'em both. And the crowd went wild!

Tell ya what... it was a heck of an exciting day of basketball watching these 6th graders play with all their hearts.

Seemed like a good group of parents and fans, good refs. The only bad spot in the day was the coach of the boys we played in the 3rd game. One of those very loud, excessively bossy coaches who lets fly with the criticisms loudly. Yelling at the boys & chewing them out while they're on the floor. I think of those type of guys who coach kids' teams as "negative coaches," aka assholes. At one point, the ref had called an out of bounds on one of our boys, so the other team got possession of the ball, and then I'm not real sure what happened, but a friend of mine was sitting at the time clock table and heard the whole thing... negative coach said loudly (not really sure why) "the f---ing asshole" and the ref heard it. Technical. Duh. (Also, a very ironic choice of words.) Our boys got the ball back, but first one of them got to shoot twice from the free throw line (made one, I think). The whole thing was weird. Then while our boy was shooting the free throws, my friend heard the woman who was the assistant coach, and we think the negative coach's wife, say something to him about calming down, and he turned to her and barked, "shut up, bitch, or leave the bench." So I'm hoping it was his wife, because I can't imagine him saying that to a mother of one of the other boys he is coaching... but I felt so sorry for their son, even if he didn't hear it when it happened, there were about 6 boys sitting on their bench... so he'll likely hear all about it, along with everyone else... How sad.

I asked my friend what the woman did, and she said the woman quietly and carefully sat down on the bench.

How sad.

You hear all the horror stories about coaches and parents who can't behave at their kid's sporting events... but I have to say that I really haven't seen that much poor behavior through the many years of Joycie's and now Sam's games in the various sports. Once in a great while... I've never seen really poor behavior from our teams, the kids, parents, coaches... the really bad stuff has always been the other teams. We're a pretty good group of folk, I guess. It's all about the kids, and that's our focus. I'm proud of us.

I'm really proud of our Sammy, too... he did great today, played hard & tried his best, he was a good sport all day and he was a sweetheart to me.

I love that boy.


Yesterday's Thanksgiving celebration with my family was wonderful. We all had such a great time together. Lots of laughter through the day. Good food, too. Beautiful sunny weather, warm enough to walk outside after dinner without a jacket.

I borrowed some folding tables and chairs from Janet & Bob, so we all sat down to dinner together at one loooong table...

Not sure what Sammy's face is about, but it isn't about a mouthful of bad food... we had all scrumtious stuff. I think he was probably fixin' to bust out a laugh. Notice all the camoflage hats on the men's heads... yep, we're heathens!

Joycie's 4 pumpkin pies turned out perfect. She did the crusts from scratch, and they were perfect.

Later in the afternoon, we celebrated Joycie's 18th birthday. She finally got her evil camera (read her blog post here), and she's happy with it. Also happy with her Sims pets add-on thing, whatever it's called... she's a Sims freak, that girl. Lots of generous gifts from her family.

I'm looking forward to seeing the photos she'll be taking with that cute, little camera.

Today will be a day of basketball for Sam & I, because he has an all-day tournament. He will have a blast; I will enjoy seeing him play, but I will also be doing a lot of sitting around and waiting. Not my favorite part. Especially since neither Kev nor Joyce will be with me. Kev has to work today, and Joyce has a paper to write (which she has known about for weeks, but it HAS to be worked on today... yep, she doesn't wanna spend all day at Sammy's tournament... I don't blame her...).

We have tons of leftovers from yesterday, and I showed the family where the key to the front door is hidden, so they all better come over and help eat this food... though since Joyce will be here, I guess they don't need the key. There is actually not so much turkey left. I cooked a 23-pound turkey, and there's very little left. Everyone in our family likes turkey, and we were dipping into it later yesterday evening... cold turkey in leftover rolls makes a perfect little sandwich.

I did the picking of the bird carcass, which seems kind of gross... but I enjoy that part. My hands were all greasy and covered in turkey bits. After I get all the nice white and dark meat off and into a container for the fridge, I really pick that bird clean, and I give all those juicy (i.e., gross) bits to Betty and Barney. They LOVE me.

The wish bone is drying on the kitchen windowsill.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Day

We are celebrating our Thanksgiving today so that nearly all my family can be together. Missing will be my niece, Susan, her son, Rogan, and her fiance, Stewart. They are busy with some of Stewart's family visiting them from out of state. Everyone else will be here for turkey dinner, and then later today we will also celebrate Joyce's birthday (her 18th birthday is on Sunday).

My alarm went off at 4:00am, and I finally crawled out of bed at 4:15am. Here it is now 5:08am, and the big, fat 23-pound turkey is all stuffed and in the oven. My plan was to go back to bed, but my husband decided to get up and out of bed, to come out in the kitchen to see if I needed any help. Which is really, really nice of him. Only thing is, I was at the sink with the turkey, and he came up behind me... since I wasn't expecting anyone to put their hands on my ass and whisper in my ear... it scared the crap out of me!

So now I'm wide awake. And drinking coffee. My mind is all a jumble of what I have to do yet... must make a list...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thy own pumpkin pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've mentioned before that I have a lot of old books. One of the oldest is a book of Whittier’s poems.

I bought this in a local used bookstore. One thing I love about buying old, used books is seeing the inscriptions on the inside. This one says Merry Christmas To Carrie From Albert.

I found this poem many Thanksgivings ago and made my family suffer through my reading of it at the dinner table. I love this poem.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Private Property

When I was about 9 years old, my oldest sister, Janet, gave me an old jewelry box of hers. I painted it and made sure everyone knew whose it was & to stay out of it.

I’m not really even sure how it is that 35 or so years later, I still have that box. Well, I suppose technically I don’t have it... Joycie found it years ago and she wanted it, so I gave it to her. My little daughter was fascinated by the stuff in the box that her mom had put there when she was little. I was looking through it last night up in Joycie’s room, and I don’t even know why I have some of that stuff. There’s a little tiny vinyl pouch with an ear phone in it – back in the days when there was just 1 for one ear, before the days of the Sony Walkmans with headphones. There’s the bones of an old fan but the silk has come off, and that’s in there too, in a bunch. I think it’s a fan that my Dad brought back from Korea. There’s a strip of 3 butterfly patches (the kind we used to sew on our jeans and jean shirts), a piece of a paperweight and little box with a Cedar Point bracelet in it... back when those were string and tin, not plastic.

A little photo album, shrieking 1970’s.

And in it, I found several photos of me from my school years. Like this one, which is from Kindergarten, I think... me, age 5:

Me, age 7 or so:

And me again, age 10 or so:

Joyce told me that those don’t even look like me. Um, yes, they do. A little girl me.

This is a book I wrote for a school assignment in probably 3rd grade. I remember doing it. The teacher had these wallpaper sample books, and we got to choose a page to make our book cover out of it. I chose something that looks like cork.

There is also this 10 Commandments charm bracelet that I got in Sunday School class & never wore. I was saving it. I was big on saving things I when I was a little kid.

There are letters in there from a friend of mine that lived in Ohio who I met up north once when we were camping. She & I wrote back and forth to each other for quite a few years.

There is also this anonymous note that was slipped into my locker at school when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I never found out who put it in there.

And there are several pages of the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” that a friend of mine wrote out and gave to me in Mrs. Dean’s biology class in 9th grade.

And this drawing that I think either my Mom or my Dad drew to keep me occupied once during a Sunday evening church service when I was little. I still love it & it still cracks me up!

Then there are a whole bunch of birthday cards from my 15th birthday. Why just my 15th, I have no idea. This one was from my brother, Jim (my only brother... he was the only boy out of 5 kids).

Kind of sexist, huh?! That’s 1975 for ya.

And this tacky looking one from my boyfriend at that time.

But I really liked what he wrote on the inside...

So weird to go through all this old stuff. (It all smells really old, too.) When I took the box downstairs to take some photos of the stuff for this blog post, Joyce wanted to make sure that she would get the box back. I was a packrat from birth. I have so much stuff of Joycie's and Sammy's from, well, really from day 1. Someday, I'm going to give a bunch of it to their kids. If I can bear to part with any of it.

Also in my little pink photo album is this school picture of my brother, Jim... look at that long hair.

He wrote this on the back:
To a nice kid Julie, Stay out of trouble or I’ll break your head. Love, Jim “75”

Gross & stinky

What's worse than having the temperature in the office steadily increase throughout the morning to a hot & humid kazillion 85 degrees???... in November for pity's sake...

Having the hot & humid air powerfully redolent of burnt popcorn. Blech!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cheeseball a la Luke

I was talking the other with someone about how long I have worked for the company that’s my employer... from the time I started in my senior year in high school as a co-op (short for co-operative education work program, or something like that), I passed the 29-year mark this past June. Sounds like a helluva long time, doesn’t it? Doesn’t seem like it. Hmmm.

Anyway, that got me thinking back to my co-op days... and I remembered this one older guy, named Luke, who was such a nice guy. He retired not too long after I had started working there, and he died quite a few years after that.... which was a long time ago. Luke did a lot of things in the department where I worked; he was the problem-solver guy. He was always quick with a smile, and he had a ton of jokes. Good ones, funny ones. Not blasting anyone. Mostly the kind about husbands & wives or hunters & deer, good clean fun. Well, sometimes a little, teensy bit risqu√©. Think Reader’s Digest. This was back in the days before e-mail. Yes, the Dark Ages. Luke had a hanging file full jokes, some that had been run through copy machines so many times, they were all dotted and smeared looking. Sometimes I’d sit in Luke’s office and we’d drink a cup of coffee & hit the joke file. Good times.

Every Friday was Apple Fritter day, courtesy of Luke. He’d go to this local bakery and buy a bunch of fresh apple fritters... they were so good. Still warm and gooey, cinnamon and apples. Mmmm. That bakery is still around, but the old owners are long gone, and the apple fritters just aren’t the same. At all.

Back then, anything was used as a reason to have a “goodie day,” birthdays, new grandchildren, promotions, return from a long vacation, weddings, engagements, pregnancies, anything. We were a large department, but everyone knew everyone and any little thing could trigger a celebration. Goodie days meant everyone brought in treats. Except if it was your birthday, then you did not... everyone brought treats in for you & sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to you. Goodie days still occur at work, but with much, much less frequency. Just not healthy, you know. And usually no singing, either. Too busy for that.

Luke would often bring in his famous cheeseball. One day, I finally asked him for the recipe. He jotted down the ingredients on a piece of paper, and I still have it. Cream cheese, chipped beef or deli ham, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, grated cheddar. Put in as much as you want according to your own taste, mix it up, form a ball and roll it and pat it in chopped walnuts.

Guess what I made.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Have a Scary Christmas...

I received this postcard in the mail today:

It is announcing the Holiday Open House 2006 being held by the salon I frequent. The owner of the salon has been cutting my hair longer than she's owned the salon... for about 20 years now. She is a very skilled stylist, or whatever the term is now. I knew her back when she worked in a salon, moved to another, then to another as co-owner and now to this salon of which she's the sole owner. It's an Aveda salon & spa. Since she's went with Aveda when she opened her shop, she's gotten more and more pricey. It's a very high end salon. Aveda has great products, but they are kind of expensive. Everything there is a bit on the expensive side, all the services and products. I'd switch to another salon, except for the fact that no one else can cut my hair as well as this salon owner. I know, I've tried.

The open houses she holds for the holiday season are quite the events. I missed it last year, but I heard all about it. A chocolate fountain. Bubbly. Nice little edibles. Sale on products. Free mini services (think hand massage or scalp massage). Nice. And it's a very classy event, very fasionably put together.

I'm sure this postcard is supposed to represent high end, cutting edge fashion. But it gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Happy Holidays, Let Me Suck Your Blood.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

When was that taken???...

I've mentioned often enough that I am a procrastinator. I don't say that with pride... just that I yam what I yam. Sometimes, however, my procrastination skills surprise even me.

I have been busy lately framing some of Joyce's graduation photos & hanging them on our walls. Words cannot express the amount of time, effort and money that sentence represents.

First of all, our house is not small, and you would think we have plenty of wall space... but we don't. We have a lot of windows. Also, I have a lot of stuff on the walls already, what with dead animals and antique tools, and prints galore, primarily of wildlife. We are the stereotypical Michiganders in some ways. The exterior of our house is cedar and the majority of the inside walls are knotty pine. I've been removing some stuff from the walls and rearranging others to make room for a family photo gallery spot. When we decided upon knotty pine, I did a lot of research to get a stain and varnish (sealant, really) that promised not to yellow. Don't believe those promises. Whenever I move something, the shape of it is visible on the wall in a lighter shade. I'm sure I notice it more than others would, and once I slap more stuff up, even I forget to notice it. Most of the time.

I haven't been very good about getting photos framed and up on the walls in the past few years. I used to be... When both the kids were born, I took them in for a professional photo each month of their first year, then twice a year until they started Kindergarten, at which time, school photos took over. I framed & hung diligently. I have many 8x10s hanging in a row on the wall in our bedroom... which takes up a lot of wall space. We have a large bedroom, so the wall is quite large, and I decided to forego the mirror unit for our large vanity so as to have that wall space. It's a lot of photos.

This morning, while sorting through a surprising large stack of photos, I realized that sometime around 1997 I started procrastinating on the framing and hanging...

1997! Shit.

I have a tons of photos of Joyce, Sam and Joycie & Sam together that are waiting to be framed. I have entire packets of school photos that I never even distributed to family members.

I sorta know why I started procrastinating... I decided that I didn't want all those 8x10s hanging on our bedroom wall any longer, but I couldn't make up my mind where to move the family photo gallery. I still have not decided, but I'm leaning toward the basement. It is really cool to look at those photos all in a row and see the baby turn into toddler turn into little kid turn into bigger kid turn into teenager... But it is a bit overwhelming in our bedroom, even if it is a large room. The basement is really the only place left in our home with enough wall space to accommodate the quantity of photos.

But... I wanted to hang Joyce's graduation photos in a place of prominence. I finally decided to move this large print into the living room, moving the print that was there into our bedroom, moving the painting in our bedroom downstairs (into storage). I also had to remove a lot of stuff to completely clear that part of the wall for all the photos. I probably went a little overboard on the number of photos of Joyce I put up... but I can switch when I want, so I decided to enjoy them for a while. I also included some of Sam, and I have a few more photos to add, no more of Joycie, however... I'm not that loony. It's a family photo gallery in progress, indefinitely.

If you're a parent that has ever paid for graduation photos, the setting and the prints, then you know how I feel. I want to really enjoy the fruits of all that spending. (I have more framed photos of Joycie's graduation pictures hanging elsewhere in the house, too. Maybe I am that loony.) (Can you see the spot where my cuckoo clock hung until recently?... here's a hint...)

But then, the buying of frames... Ouch. Thank goodness for Kohl's. Frames were half-off, and I talked the clerk into giving me an additional 30% off that. I love Kohl's that way... those people who treat the clerks like scum and basically emit waves of asshole-ishness are clueless. Just be nice, show a little appreciation and presto! another $35 in savings. I have always been able to find frames I like at Kohl's, and I am very happy with all those I chose, with Joycie's help. She has a good eye, and long arms to reach with... very helpful.

So now my dining room table is covered with stacks of photos sorted into groups. I have to buy more frames... many, many more frames...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saying goodbye to Tigger

Kathy, my sister, Bob, her husband, & their kids, Michelle & Michael, have had a cat for a long time, and today he died. He was getting on in age, and he had a good, long life. Kathy said he was affectionate and purring up to the end. Tigger was a stray that came up to them one evening when they were having a campfire in their back field. Tigger approached them from the south, where they have a stand of red pine trees. So they buried Tigger there today under the pines.

He was a great cat. For some reason, I really connected with Tigger. I loved to pet him, he was so affectionate... to a point, and whenever Tigger felt you had reached that point, he was not at all shy about letting you know. He had a lot of character. He would sit on my lap for the longest time when we'd all be around a campfire, purring and covering me with his hair with each stroke of his back. Giving my hand a nip to let me know "enough,", then jumping down... only to come rubbing up against my legs in a while.

These are some photos I took of Tigger, and of Tigger & Michael this past Sept. 17th. I will sure miss that loving, sweet cat, Tigger.

Rhemes aplenty

I learned something new today. A new word... yay! Another word for 'comment' is rheme. So when you say you're gonna ream (or is it reem) someone out, you're really just commenting on their behavior... interesting.

Also interesting were the synonyms I found in
Definition: opinion
animadversion, annotation, backtalk*, buzz*, comeback*, commentary, crack*, criticism, dictum, discussion, editorial, elucidation, exposition, footnote, gloss, hearsay, illustration, input, judgment, mention, mouthful, note, obiter, observation, opinion, remark, report, review, wisecrack*
affirm, animadvert, annotate, assert, bring out, clarify, commentate, conclude,vconstrue, criticize, disclose, elucidate, explain, explicate, expound, express, gloss, illustrate, interject, interpose, interpret, mention, note, observe, opine, pass on, point out, pronounce, reflect, remark, say, state, touch upon
* = informal or slang

Now I'm thinking of changing my 'post a comment' to 'post your crack'... But... as my son's rheme to his sister recently so wisely observed, as she was bending over to pick something up, "Hey, Joycie, don't you know that crack kills?"...

Anyway, I mentioned 'Dept. of Nance' in a recent post (Nance isn't a NaBloPoMo participant, but her blog is very entertaining... so check it out), and I got a comment back from her... which made me realize how little I comment on those blogs I read on a regular basis. So that's my new thang... I hereby declare myself a commenter. This morning, while working my way through a pot of coffee in my quiet house, I read some of my usual blogs and I commented! Like 5 times. Yay, me. Breaking out of my lurking shell and commenting aplenty.

Confidential to Gus (gee, I feel all Dear Abby-ish), where the hell did the neighborhood go??? *sniff*

Friday, November 17, 2006

More old and new...

This is another old photograph that's on our fridge... This is Joycie and her friend, Allison, playing dress-up at Allison's house, well before the days of digital cameras. They were probably about 8 years old... so about 1996. They are so adorable.

And they still are so adorable... This is a photo of the 2 of them from this past April, on prom night, when all the girls met at a local garden for photos before the prom festivities.

The years sure have flown by fast.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

That looks a little squirrelly...

Yesterday mid-morning while Kev, Joyce & Sam were out hunting, I was working at my computer. While looking out the window, I noticed there were quite a few large squirrels in one area in the yard... where the pumpkins were, though those pumpkins are pretty much long gone by now. There were some fat fox squirrels & gray squirrels, and there were a couple of black squirrels. They were running around, and it looked like they were chasing each other.

We only began seeing black squirrels out here in our woods in the past couple of years. We would see them in town all the time, skinny sleek little black squirrels. Usually the black squirrels I see out here now are also those skinny fast ones that zip around. But one of the black squirrels I was watching yesterday was a big, plump one. And then I noticed something else about him... something I have never seen on a squirrel before, black, brown or gray. The end of his tail was white. A big part of it, too, not just a little tiny tip, but a good chunk of the end of his tail was pure white. So I grabbed my camera and tried to sneak out on the porch to take his photo... nothing doing... you cannot sneak up on a squirrel out here in our neck of the woods. These aren't 'townie' squirrels; they're wild and live in the woods and survive because they are so very alert... and fast. He dashed off into the woods, so I ran after him snapping photos.

Then he scrambled up a tree, so I stopped. He chewed me out, and I took his photo while he did it, all the while carefully advancing through the woods. Did I mention that I was barefoot?... And it was damp and foggy out, and kind of cold. Probably about high 30's or low 40's (degrees F.). Cold enough. The squirrel sat on a branch for a while as I approached.

But then he dashed up the main trunk of the tree, opposite me. I stood there for a minute, and he peeked out at me through a V in the tree.

I took his photo, slowly stepped closer and zoomed in on him... and he dashed further up the tree, so I ran a few steps and got a photo of his tail going up the tree.

I think he was planning to jump to another tree, and then I realized my feet were freakin' freezing... so I limped back to the house to thaw my feet out, and to see if any of my kazillion photos of that strange squirrel turned out ok.

So... it makes you wonder if his momma had a total skunk of a boyfriend...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Venison Chili, simple & quick

I like to cook, but sometimes ya just wanna get dinner on the table... this venison chili recipe is one way to do that quickly & easily. The hardest part is opening all the cans.

Just fry up about 2 pounds of ground venison, and I use about a half stick of real butter to fry it since the venison meat is so lean. Depending on the dish I'm making, I may substitute water for the butter when frying up ground venison, but the butter is good with the chili. I also finely chop an onion and fry it with the meat, along with a good dose of chili powder... oh, and salt & pepper, too, 'course. I usually also put in some ground cumin, but my cumin bottle was empty today. I think cumin has been on the grocery list for a while...

Then I open all these cans... chili beans (have to go mild for the kiddos), pinto beans, light red kidney beans, tomato sauce & chicken broth. The chicken broth is the secret ingredient. When the meat is good & brown, I just dump it all in. That's pretty much it. Let it cook for a while, and it's dinnertime.

We usually garnish the bowl of chili with shredded sharp cheddar & some sour cream, with more chili powder. Kev also likes to put some of our homemade salsa on it, too.

It was a good dinner... and the talk at the table was all about seeing no deer today at all. A very unusual first day of rifle season... to see not even one is pretty odd. I heard gunshots throughout the morning, so some hunters were having better luck. Our northern property line borders state-owned property, and that property always sees a few hunters, especially on Opening Day.

Sammy did pretty well, and he got about 3 hours of sleep after 8:30am. Joycie said she got most of her book read today. They all had a good time out in the woods, in spite of the absence of deer.