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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Day I Mooned My Father-in-Law

But he wasn't really the target. It was all my brothers-in-laws.

That doesn't sound any better.

My husband was there, too.

Let me explain.

It was our annual camping weekend with Jim's family. This usually entails drinking, laughing, good food, laughing, games, and oh, did I mention drinking?

Jim has 6 brothers and 1 sister ; the majority of which live in the Midwest. We only see each other at this yearly camping event and maybe Christmas, so you KNOW there will be a LOT of partying.

On this particular camping trip in Spicer, MN, EVERYONE made it - even those from the West coast. Some rented cabins, some stayed in tents. We rented a large cabin and Jim's parents stayed with us. It was a small campground situated on Nest Lake.

One brother brought his speed boat. The campground also had a pontoon boat that we could rent.


image courtesy of Wikipedia

This worked out well since we had such a large crowd.

My sister-in-law "D" (I'm using just their initials to protect the not-so-innocent here) suggested that she take all the girls out in the speed boat. That sounded like a novel idea! So sisters-in-laws "B", "C", "D", and "MJ" climbed in the boat, along with little ole me.

"D" took us around for a few spins and pretty soon we saw the campground's pontoon boat coming toward us with, of course, all the guys, including my father-in-law, and brothers-in-law "R", "V", "M", "R", "A", and Jim. We zipped by them, waved, and laughed.

Then my SIL "B" had this idea.

"Let's go by them and moon them!"

"D" said, "Yeah!"

I was a little butt shy.

"C" wanted no part of it.

"MJ" didn't either. Seriously. Those were all her brothers and her father. I could see where she was coming from.

"D" and "B" convinced me.

"D" swung the boat around and headed toward the pontoon.

Just as we got close we turned around and dropped our drawers.

"B" REALLY dropped hers and swayed her butt back and forth calling out "WOO-WOO!"

"D" just dropped hers.

And me? Jim said mine was more a half-moon. It was more a peek.

But what was even funnier?

As we turned to see the reaction from the guys, we saw that they had the same idea and "R" and "A" were mooning us at the same time!

I think my father-in-law was clutching his heart at this point.

The girls collapsed in giggles and "D" took off.

Then she circled back to the pontoon only to find "R" and "A" standing on the edge with their shirts lifted up with a look on their face like, "MONKEY SEE - MONKEY DO!"

Yep. Good times!

Note: This is the one and only time I EVER show my butt in public. I do NOT like mooning, AND I do NOT like seeing OTHER people moon! So keep your hairy buttocks in yer pants please!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One scoop or two?


As promised in my post "It's All About Me" here's more information about me being a jerk.

A soda jerk, that is.

According to Wikipedia, "A soda jerk (or soda jerker) was a person — typically a youth — who operated the soda fountain in a drugstore. The term refers to the person who made an ice cream soda. This was made by putting flavored syrup into a specially designed tall glass, adding carbonated water and, finally, one or two scoops of ice cream. ...The name soda jerk came from the jerking action the server would use on the soda fountain handle when adding the soda water, and not the temperament of the server.

Capiche?

My first job as a waitress lasted one week. It was at the corner restaurant. I had no clue what I was doing. I didn't know French dressing from Thousand Island dressing. The customer had to stand up and peek over the counter to point it out to me. How did I know the difference? We only used vinegar and oil at home. The customer took pity on the stupid waitress and gave me a dollar tip. (This was almost 40 years ago - so that was a LOT of money!) When it was slow I was supposed to clean, clean, clean while the other waitress sat, sat, sat! I didn't think that was fair. The final straw was when they left me all alone one evening with the Greek cook who didn't speak English. Even at 16 I knew that was being taken advantage of so I walked. Luckily I lived down the block so it was a short walk.

A couple of my friends were soda jerks at O'Hare Airport and told me of an opening there. I applied and got the job.

C'mon, who doesn't know ICE CREAM?

There were two ice cream shops - one in the United Terminal and one in the American Terminal. The passengers from American Airlines tended to tip better. I usually just worked in the American Terminal.

It was set up like this: (don't laugh at my primitive drawing - plus I'm using Paint and I don't know what I'm doing.)



Let me explain the drawing. One counter was shaped like a "U" and had 12 seats; the other was half of a "U" and had 6 seats. I usually worked the smaller counter. We served ice cream and we had donuts. You could also order carry out and stand in line next to the "U". The skinny aisle in the back was where the freezers full of ice cream were kept, plus the dishwasher, and dishes. It was pretty tight back there. One or two of us could slip by each other if we stood sideways. But not if Curtis was coming.

Curtis was our dishwasher. And he was big.

And when I say big, I mean BIG. (WIDE) And he was BLACK. As black as night. But he was a teddy bear. So if Curtis was walking down the back aisle, we had to go into our counter area so he could get by.

He liked to play games on us. Sometimes he would put a rubber spider on the cash register. Then wait quietly and watch for the fireworks to happen. He would love to hear us scream! He would laugh and laugh!

I loved making up the ice cream concoctions in the back. The best part was putting on the whipped cream. It came in these huge pressurized canisters. One day while making a sundae I was gleefully spraying on the whipped cream when I noticed that that it wouldn't stop coming out when I stopped pressing on the end. It was out of control! It had a mind of it's own. I yelled for help and a co-worker joined me in the back. She tried to wrestle the canister down, but to no avail. That sucker was shooting cream all over the place! It was like a scene from I Love Lucy! We laughed so hard! I think it finally quit when it was empty!

Did I tell you that I am a klutz? Yes. I think it was worse when I was a teenager. I remember when someone wanted coffee and I went to grab a cup - they were stacked one on top of another - I grabbed the cup and poured the coffee, trying to ignore TWO WHOLE STACKS of coffee cups tumbling over and crashing to the ground.

If the customer wanted a sundae, or dish of ice cream, it always had to be served with a small plate underneath it. These were stacked along the wall. The more experienced waitresses would take the finished sundae and place it on the stack of dishes, then separate the plate from the rest without spilling anything. Got the picture?

I couldn't do this. Usually I would take the serving plates and set them in the back next to the sundaes, then place the finished sundaes on the plate, then serve them. But one day I was feeling adventurous. I took the finished sundae over to the stacked plates. I placed it on there. I lifted. And then......

The whole thing tumbled over, I got hot fudge up my arms, it splashed into my eyes and I ran screaming like a banshee to the bathroom.

It wasn't pretty.

I had a lot of fun working at the airport. I met all kinds of people. I saw two movie stars -

Buffy St. Marie (singer)


image courtesy of http://www.creative-native.com/photogallery.php (from 1970's)

and James Brolin (actor)



image courtesy of Wikipedia (from 1981)

Neither stopped in for ice cream, but they both walked by and it was enough to set my heart beating faster!

I was a somewhat naive 16 year-old who just got contact lenses. My eyes teared a lot when I wore the lenses. One day when I was working, I served a customer who looked like she was crying. I said, "Oh, did you just get contacts? Because that's what happens to me when I wear mine. It takes awhile for my eyes to adjust to the lenses!" The customer just game me a weak smile.

After they left, a man at the next counter called me over.

"Do you know why she was crying?"

"No."

"Because I'm her neighbor."

"So."

"And that's NOT her husband sitting next to her."

"Oh."

"OH!"

They were probably flying off to a secret rendezvous only to find out that it wasn't too secret even before the plane left the ground!

One time a customer was an underwear salesman and tipped the other waitress with a pair of underwear. True Story.

I guess the best klutz story would be this - there was a big stack of doughnuts stacked up on a cake plate, with a clear plastic lid on top. Sitting right next to this was a gentleman reading his book that was cracked open on the counter.

You know what happened.

I lifted the lid off of the doughnuts when I went to serve someone, and a nice fat chocolate covered doughnut fell icing down right onto the open pages of this man's book!

"I am SO SORRY!" I exclaimed, quickly picking up the doughnut.

I flipped it over and offered it to him.

"Would you like coffee with this?"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Sky Blue Waters





This is the beautiful Columbia River in Washington State. The photo was shot out of the passenger window while my husband was driving 55 mph over the bridge! I thought it came out pretty good, considering!



For more weekend reflections, visit James here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I have a confession to make

Hi. My name is Pat.

I am an addict.

A Food Network addict, that is.

I L-O-V-E watching the Food Network channel. No matter what time of day or night it is, I can tune it in and get my fix. It's always available.

You can't always find that with other additions. Also it is pretty cheap seeing how the channel comes with basic cable or satellite dish.

I feel I am like this (crossing my two fingers together) with Paula (Dean), Giada (De Laurentiis), Rachel (Ray), Ina (Garten), and I'm working on my friendship with new chefs.

You gotta love Paula.



She opens her show with a big, "Hey, y'all!" and cooks in this huge, beautiful southern home. It has a built in deep fryer right in the counter. Now that's someone who LOVES deep fried foods!

Yesterday she actually deep fried a cheesecake!

Yes, ma'am she did!

Paula cut a piece of cheesecake and placed it on an egg roll wrapper. Then she rolled it up and deep fried it.

One would think that would be enough.

Oh no. Then she sprinkled powered sugar over it.

Done?

Uh no. THEN she put some whipped cream on top.

Done?

NO! Then she drizzled some caramel sauce on top of that. NOW it was complete!

And what I really love about Paula? She takes a big ole bite of whatever she makes! She doesn't care if it gets all over her face! She just laughs it off.

Paula doesn't have a really heavy southern accent but she says things like, "I'm fixing to make". It took me a while to understand that when she said, "all" she meant "oil"; the same went for "ball" as "boil".

Giada De Laurentiis makes me glad that I'm half Italian.



Although she can be too "cutesy" for me at times, her recipes are good and I love watching her cook them. You can tell that she loves to cook and be around food. Why she can eat that much pasta and still stay skinny is way beyond my comprehension. I love the way she pronounces the Italian dishes perfectly, since she was born in Rome. She grew up in a large Italian family. She is grand daughter to Dino De Laurentiis.

Now Ina Garten? I would LOVE her life.



She has this gorgeous house in the Hamptons. Her husband teaches at Yale and only comes home on weekends. (No wonder they act so lovey-dovey on the show!) Ina actually started out working in the White House on nuclear energy policy and switched to cooking.

Although she is WAY out of my league, her recipes are all very good. I just have to chuckle when she says things like, "use GOOD vanilla", as opposed to what, the crappy 2-for-1 blue light special kind at K-Mart?

Ina's garden is the size of a small house. She MUST have a gardener to keep the weeds at bay. Just imagine to walk out your double doors that are thrown open to let in the fresh sea salt air, and go to your garden to cut fresh herbs for your dinner and fresh flowers for your table. Aahhh, now THAT's the life, for sure!

Rachel Ray was really the first love of my life. Well, as far as chef's go.



She's famous for her "30 Minute Meals", and now she has a talk show on CBS. I watched her religiously - she was on twice a day! Then she started doing a traveling show, too, and I got "Rachel-Rayed" out! Rachel has the gift of gab and talks through the whole show, and REALLY cooks the meal in 30 minutes. Some of her trademark sayings are, "E-V-O-O" meaning "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" and "GB" for garbage bowl, which she recommends putting on the counter for easy clean up. Her recipes are usually good. Now she's hawking all kinds of cookware, pots/pans, knives, you name it.

The one chef I just couldn't tolerate was Sandra Lee.



Don't get me wrong. I mean she seems nice enough. Her show was called, "Semi-home made with Sandra Lee". The thing that would set me off is that she'd have a color theme going for that day. Let's say it was PINK.

EVERYTHING would be pink.

The curtains above the sink. Some platters on the shelf. The MIXMASTER. The toaster. Her BLOUSE. The canisters.

It was enough to make me puke.

And she would do this with EVERY show. In a different color, of course. Like as if THIS portrays real life.

Yes, I match my curtains to my blouse, DAILY. Oh, and my small appliances. Right.

So I was able to flip the channel when she was on.

I am starting to open up my addiction to newer shows like Cooking for Real, and Five Ingredient Fix, and the list goes on and on. Plus, they've just added ANOTHER cooking channel to the mix.

It's called The Cooking Channel. Original. I know.

You may notice that I didn't mention any male chefs. Well, after I found out that "The Naked Chef" wasn't REALLY naked, I wasn't really interested in watching men cook.

note: all photos courtesy of www.foodnetwork.com. That's a great website for recipes, too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Crazy Daze of Summer

Today is the first day of summer. Remember when you were a kid, and the whole summer vacation stretched out before you? That first morning of sleeping in, then waking up and thinking that the only thing you had to do that day was play? Nothing felt better than that!

I grew up in a whole different time, when parents didn't have to worry about "stranger-danger". My siblings and I played outside all day long, only reporting in for lunch and supper. We didn't rely on video games or TV to amuse us. (Okay, once in awhile we watched Bozo's Circus.)

photo courtesy of www.chicagotelevision.com

We played outside. We played hard. We got dirty, and sweaty, and we loved it.

We jumped rope, played hopscotch, statue maker, red light/green light, and tag!

There were over 50 kids on our block, so chances were that I was never without a playmate. One of the kid's father drove a semi-truck for a living. So the kid had these huge inner tubes from the truck's tires to play with.

photo courtesy of www.bikudo.com

They were great in the pool AND for rolling kids. We could actually curl up inside one and get pushed for a thrill ride as the tire bounced along and picked up speed hurling down the slanted sidewalk. I still get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about that! I also feel like vomiting.

Of course, today's model looks like this:



But they can't be anywhere NEAR as fun! Where's the challenge of trying to fit your body into the small space (the newer one looks wider), avoiding the valve stem, touching the hot tire, AND getting black all over your clothes and body?

I loved going to the park. They were not the sissy parks of today. There were no "safety" issues. The scarier, the better.

And just about everything was made of metal.

Take this merry-go-round for instance.

photo courtesy of www.oldfashionedpretty

We'd all pile on, and one or two kids would volunteer to push. They'd grab the metal bar and run as fast as they could around the circle. We would hold on for dear life, our little hearts pounding in anticipation, our heads thrown back in glee, our eyes closed, hair whipping around, laughing and screaming all at the same time, and inside hoping that a) we didn't go flying off or b) that we didn't puke all over ourselves. Ahh, good times!

And the swings! The swings of yesterday were oh so tall.

photo courtesy of rivet00.files.wordpress.com

The chains from the swings seemed to go up to the sky! It would take FOREVER to get going, and I was lucky if someone came by and gave my swing a push. The best was if they gave me an "underdog", where the person pushed me so high that they ran under my swing without ducking their head! So I would be off to a great start and I'd keep pumping my legs back and forth, back and forth! When I went forward the wind rushed at my face and blew my hair back as I went higher and higher, then I started the backward drop and my stomach got butterflies in it and the ground came up suddenly and for an instant I thought I would crash but the momentum kept me going backward and I continued up. My hands got sweaty from gripping the metal chain so hard as I waited for that big moment, pumping, and pumping until I was almost as high as the vertical bar on top of the swing set and then it happened! The chain gave that jerk that scared the bejesus out of me and thrilled me both at the same time and I knew I reached the epitome of the perfect swing. So then I'd give my legs a rest and let the swing come down to a more decent height, before launching myself off of it screaming, "GERONIMO!" and hopefully not breaking an arm or a leg when I landed on the hard dirt.

But the TRUE sign of summer was being scauled by the metal slide. Who didn't burn their buttocks and back of their legs on those metal slides during the scorching hot days of summer! Sometimes it was so hot that our body parts would actually STICK to the metal, like touching a hot iron with your finger. If we had water with us, or if there was water nearby, we throw some on the slide, trying to cool it off. But most of the time we just were stupid brave and slid down the hot metal of lava. After a few kids it seemed to cool off anyway. Those slides were TALL*, too. Just walking up all the steps to the top of the slide was a feat in itself.

To make the slide more slippery, we would bring some waxed paper from home. Then we would "polish" the slide with it. I don't remember who told us this little tidbit, but it really worked. We weren't happy till someone slid off that slide and landed on their butt!

The other day I was with my sister, Pam, and brother, Bob. I asked them if they remembered "polishing" the slide to make us go faster.

Pam didn't remember.

Bob said, "Nah. I brought Pledge to the park."



My eyes grew wide. "What?" (Why didn't I think of that?)

Bob laughed. "Are you kidding me? I didn't polish slides! I was busy doing other things!"

Later on that evening I brought up another childhood memory and Bob didn't remember it. He said, "You've got to remember, I had that severe concussion when I fell off the back of that car."

Pam said, "Wait, I had a concussion, too, when Toby, (the neighbor's dog) ran between my feet and I fell and hit the back of my head!"

And I said, "Well, I, too, had a concussion. Remember when I fell down those cement stairs with my tricycle and lost my memory for a week?"

We all had a good laugh and realized that we have more in common than just being born on the same day. (Yes, my twin sister and I were born on my brother's birthday. He has never forgiven us.)

Whenever we can't remember something, I always want to ask my other sister, Linda. She seems to remember EVERYTHING.

I said to Bob and Pam, "You know, maybe there's something to Linda remembering things. She's the one who didn't have a concussion growing up!"

*Even the swing sets for the backyard must have been tall. I remember when our neighbor, let's call her "Suzie" was swinging on her swing. Suzie swung so high that she fell off her swing and landed in their pear tree! She was stuck and couldn't get down. Pam was over there at the time and had to get Suzie's dad, explaining that "Suzie fell up there!" Priceless!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Class Reunions - To Go or Not to Go - That is the Question

One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Berg.



She lives in a suburb of Chicago with her dog and cat. Elizabeth loved writing from the time she could hold a pencil. At the young age of nine, she submitted a poem to American Girl magazine. When the rejection letter came in the mail, she threw herself down on the bed and proclaimed that "she was NEVER writing again!"

It took her 25 years before she submitted anything again. It was for a contest in a magazine....and she won! She wrote for magazines for 10 years, then moved onto novels and 22 books later (one of which is a non-fiction book on writing) hasn't looked back.

I just finished reading her newest book, "The Last Time I Saw You."



It is about a 40th class reunion and centers around five different characters - their preconceived notions of what will happen at the reunion, how their lives changed from high school, what actually happens at the reunion, and how their lives change from it.

This led me to think of the reunions I have attended.

When you receive that invitation to the reunion in the mail, do you stop and wonder if you should attend? Who will be there? What will they look like? Will you old boyfriend(s)/girlfriend(s) be there? There is a lot of angst in attending a reunion, I think. At least with my class reunions, I can go with my twin sister, Pam. Plus I still am friends with a couple of people from high school. So I don't have to walk in not knowing anybody.

At our first High School reunion (10 years), Pam had painstakingly picked out a dress that she thought flattered her figure. She found out she was wrong the hard way.

She went into the restroom and entered one of the stalls. A woman in the next stall (who happened to be an ex-"Rah-Rah" - what we called the cheerleaders) and someone whom Pam disliked all through high school, piped up, "So, Pam, when are you due?"

Pam, being ever the clever one quipped, "Due for what? A vacation?"

"No. When is the BABY due?" The Rah-rah insisted on continuing this bogus point.

"I'm not pregnant."

"Oh, I'm SO sorry." Rah-rah replied. (NOT)

"Not as sorry as you're going to be when I get out of here!" Pam hissed. She heard the toilet suddenly flush and the clickity-clop of heels as Rah-rah hurried out of the bathroom.

Pam had a good laugh. You may remember her in my post Meet My F***ing Twin Sister.

Later on that evening, everyone was trying to figure out who the lady was with gray hair cut into a bob. Was she a teacher? Nobody seemed to remember a teacher looking like that. Then you could hear the whispers. It was Dee Dee So-and-so! Oh My God! When she was in high school, she had the most beautiful blue/black hair down to her waist. Ten years later? Totally gray and short. Now that's radical.

At 10 years, everyone's still out trying to prove themselves and the clicks are still in existence.

At 20 years, people are getting more settled and less clickish and more plump.

At 30 years, you don't recognize ANYBODY (thank GOD for name tags) and pretty much everyone has let go of their dreams.

At my ex-husband's reunion, a former classmate named "Paul" came back as "PaulA". Yep. Had the whole sex change and everything. Paula was married and had three children (from her husband's first marriage.) Gotta give the old gal credit for showing up. One problem - the name tag had Paul's high school picture on it. "Paula" did win the category for "Most Changed", though!

It's awkward to bring your spouse to your reunion; yet I didn't want to send Jim alone to his. Hmmmmm......

We went to a couple of Jim's class reunions. The last one made me a wee bit angry.

Let me explain.

You see, there was this divorcee name Gladys.

I KNOW. Who names their kid Gladys?

The only Gladys I know is Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor from Bewitched.



Back to my story.

So this hussy woman set her sight on Jim, even though, hello, I'm right there, AND he's married. Did this stop her? Uh, NO.

We ran into her the first time and Jim introduced us, badda bing, badda boom. Done.

We mingled with other people, ate, then Jim said he needed to get some coffee. I sat there waiting, with a smile pasted on my face, since I didn't know ANYBODY, and I wasn't even FROM the area.

Oookay, I can do this.

A few minutes ticked by and no Jim.

About 10 minutes had passed and now I'm ticked.

Where the heck was he? I cranked my neck around looking for him. I saw small groups of people laughing and talking. No Jim. Finally I spied the coffee pot, and there was Jim talking to - you guessed it - the whore Gladys.

Now you might think I'm coming down a little hard on her. No, no I don't think so. Because here's what happened next.

I immediately jumped up and ran over to rightfully claim what was mine. I didn't pack my Wonder Woman suit or I would have thrown that on for good measure.

Jim saw me approach and said, "Oh hi Hon!" like nothing was the matter. (Boy men are sure stupid!) (Sorry to all my male followers.) (Course Jim was doing nothing wrong here - Gladys was the one licking her lips.)

I threaded my claw arm through his and faced Gladys with a look that said, "Bring it on, Biatch!"

And do you know what she said?

She said, "Jim is one wonderful guy!"

I spit back, "I KNOW. Why do you think I MARRIED him?"

I'm sure Jim was loving every minute of this. He was just waiting for a cat fight to break out.

But it didn't stop there.

Gladys continued. "So Jim, do you ever travel to the Minneapolis area?"

"Yes I do," Jim answered as my nails dug into his arm.

"Well, you should look me up some time!"

Oh no she didn't!

Why, yes, yes she did.

Now I've told you all in the past that I'm a complete wuss, but at that moment, I really might have punched this woman in the face over my man. I.Kid.You.Not.

Jim kind of laughed awkwardly and then we turned and left.

But the story doesn't end there.

We were staying with Jim's parents in a teeny tiny town, population of 100. During the night someone came and stole our tire right off of the car. Not only that, but they went behind the house and gathered up some firewood to put under the axle so we wouldn't know that the tire was stolen till we came out of the house.

It happened to be the day we were leaving, the morning after the reunion. Jim and his dad carried out our bags. I walked around the car and saw the missing tire.

"WHAT?" I screamed. "Why didn't they just take all four tires?"

Jim and his dad dropped the bags in the driveway and walked over to me,then looked on in astonishment.

Meanwhile the garbage truck pulled up and mistook our luggage as garbage.

Luckily my mother-in-law was on the ball and yelled out for them to stop.

I can not make this crap up.

My brother-in-law heard about the tire incident. Nothing EVER happened in the small town. This was BIG NEWS.

"Wow," he said to me, "Who'd Jim piss off at the reunion last night to make them steal your tire?"

"Only me, only me!" I replied.


Note: Because we didn't have a full size spare, we ended up driving two hours on the little "donut" tire, taking one lug nut from each of the other tires,just to get to a place that had a used tire and rim. Fun times.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Cattle Drive!



Located in Pioneer Plaza in Dallas, Texas is the largest bronze sculpture of this nature in the world. It is entitled, "Cattle Drive", and consists of three cowboys and 50 steers. It was created by artist Robert Summers. The sculpture is located on the original path of the Shawnee Trail, a trail that was used in the 1850's.

This is just a small part of the sculpture, where some of the steer are crossing a small creek. I caught their reflection in the water, and I love the juxtaposition of the old and new with the cattle surround by the skyscrapers.



This is a very short clip (1.45 minutes) that shows the whole sculpture.



Click here for more Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things that just make me scratch my head in wonder


photo courtesy of www.welovewhq.com

At a recent doctor's visit I saw this thing hanging on the wall. Do you know what it is?



Give up? It is a cast made of a pregnant woman's belly. Am I the only one that thinks this is a little crazy? For 75 buckaroos you can have your swollen, stretch-marked belly with your navel about ready to pop, cast in plaster-of-Paris and saved for posterity!

Hang it in the baby's room! Point to it as a reminder EVERY DAY how you carried the little varmint, how you suffered, your back hurt, you had heart burn, etc. Really give them the case of the guilts.

AND, as a BONUS...

Keep it in their room even in their teenage years as a reminder of how misshapen their bodies can get if they don't practice safe sex!

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For those of you who brag about having a green thumb. Now you literally can have one.

For a price.

How about wearing this ring on your thumb?



Yes, that is a live plant growing inside the ring. It is one of the many
growing jewelry designed by Hafsteinn Juliusson, an Icelandic jeweler.

Or maybe this necklace is more to your liking.



In either case, be ready to fork over a lot of money, or kronur. The necklace goes for $189. Yeah, that's a lot for a tiny plant you're going to kill in a matter of days.

photos courtesy of hafsteinn juliusson website

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Do you still have some Barbie dolls lying around and you don't know what to do with them? How about making them into a jewelry holder?



The legs are still movable and are attached to a nice wooden tray. It's available through Etsy.

For some reason I was oddly attracted to this piece. I think because it reminds me of an old silver ashtray we had when I was young.

I wish I would have kept some of my old Barbie dolls. I could have made some money in my old age. Even the old Ken dolls would have worked, too, since we all know that he was NOT anatomically correct!

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You know, I was always told that it was wrong to feed your dog table food.

But I know many people do. They can't help slipping the dog a little something while the family is gathered around the table eating dinner and he's looking at you with his big puppy dog eyes, just begging for a scrap.

I get it.

What's it going to hurt?

Other people are very strict and don't EVER give their dogs ANY table food. In fact, the dog is not even allowed in the kitchen while they are eating.

So you have one end of the spectrum, and one in the middle. This one is completely at the other end.


(chair available here)

Well, hell, why not just invite the dog to eat with you?

Is it just me, or is this idea totally off the wall? I believe in loving your pets and all, but I think this is taking it a step too far.

I wonder what Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, would say.


photo courtesy of Wikipedia

No wait. I KNOW what he'd say.

He'd whisper, "You are nucking futs!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Raise your glass of milk and make a toast!

April 6, 2010. The day passed just like any other day. No big hoopla, no fireworks lighting up the sky, no media frenzy.

But there SHOULD have been.

And do you know WHY?

It was the 80th anniversary of day the Twinkies were invented.



Yes, children, bow your head in awe.

This moment should go down in history right next to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, I think this day should be made into a holiday - federal and state offices closed and schools closed, in honor of this great day. I mean, seriously, if Casimir Pulaski gets a holiday in Chicago, why not Twinkies?

Another reason why I am pushing for a Twinkies holiday?

Because it was invented in MY HOME TOWN of Schiller Park, IL.

I KNOW. Hold on. I'm feeling a little verklempt.

Okay. I'm better now. Yes. I AM proud. *sticking out my chest even more*

Twinkies were invented on April 6, 1930, at the Hostess plant in Schiller Park by a baker named James A. Dewar (the first American Idol). The machines that were used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcakes were busy only during the short strawberry season; the rest of the time they sat idle. Mr. Dewar used his ole noggin and put those machines to good use by coming up with a snack cake filled with banana cream. He named them "Twinkie" after seeing a billboard for Twinkle Toe Shoes. Because bananas were rationed during World War II, Hostess was forced to switch to vanilla cream. Change was a good thing and people loved the new flavor; Hostess never went back to the banana cream. And the rest, my friends, is history.

How could you not LOVE the taste of a Twinkie? All that talk about that it's bad for you, blah, blah, blah. C'mon, what ISN'T nowadays? Am I right?

So it's 150 calories (for one cake), 40 calories of that is fat. But it is pure heaven. Really.

And who can stop eating at one? I bought a package that came with two cakes. (Only because I couldn't find a BOX of them.) Do you think I'm going to stop at one? Not on your life.

Twinkies by the Numbers:

- 500 million: The number of Twinkies baked each year.
- 10: The minutes it takes to bake a Twinkie.
- 1930: The year James Dewar invented the two-for-a-nickel treat.
- 150: The number of calories in one Twinkie.
- 50: The number of recipes in the Twinkies Cookbook.
- 1: The rank of New Orleans in terms of per capita Twinkie consumption compared to other cities in the U.S.
- 1999: The year President Bill Clinton included Twinkies in the millennium time capsule.
- 26 days: The shelf life of a Twinkie.

info courtesy of www.hostesscakes.com

Facts you may not know:

It takes 45 seconds for a Twinkie to explode in the microwave. No, I didn't try this! (why would I waste one? This is according to Hostess.)

Twinkies make good wedding cakes.





Twinkies taste good deep fried.



photo courtesy of www.deep-fry.com


Twinkies can be a piece of art.



photo courtesy of http://www.todayifoundout.com

Twinkie has a reputation with the law.

Did you know that there was actually a "Twinkiegate"? Yep! 71-year-old George Belair was running for Minneapolis City Council. He tried to gather votes by serving Kool-Aid, coffee, TWINKIES, and other desserts to senior citizens to get their votes. And we all know how senior citizens flock to free food like flies to, well, poop. Anyway, this lead to the passage of the Minnesota Campaign Act, more commonly known as the "Twinkies Law". Old George lost the election anyway, despite his bribery efforts, and the charges were dropped against him. I wonder if the senior citizens just forgot to vote due to a sugar overload?

Actually, a lawyer tried to use this similar claim when defending his client, San Francisco supervisor Dan White, when he killed both mayor Goerge Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978. Mr. White's lawyer argued that his client had "diminished capacity" after eating too much junk food. The strategy was dubbed the "TWINKIE DEFENSE". It didn't work - and White was found G-U-I-L-T-Y! Maybe the lawyer should have argued with Hostess Ho-Ho's (another one of my childhood favorites!)



Before he died in 1985, Dewar said that Twinkies were “the best darn-tootin’ idea I ever had.” He said that the key to his long life (Dewar lived to a ripe old age of 88) is to “eat Twinkies every day and smoke a pack of cigarettes.”

courtesy of http://www.neatorama.com/2007/03/05/twinkies-fun-facts/

So if that isn't a good enough testimony, hear it from me.

I grew up smelling the good things baking in the ovens over at Hostess. (Well, that and the airplane fuels from O'Hare Airport, but I digress.) I ate Twinkies, Ho-hos and Ding Dongs growing up, along with all my siblings. This was back in the 60's when eating healthy wasn't heard of yet. But, hey, I turned out alright didn't I?

*crickets*

So feast upon these images, and buy some Twinkies, so you, too can taste this manna from heaven.



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - Da Plane, Da Plane!




This is my first time joining in on Shadow Shot Sunday. I've collected a few shadow shots over the past few months, but this one is pretty neat. And, my HUSBAND took it! Our son took him for a plane ride north of Seattle, and this is one of the small airports that they flew over. My husband leaned over and snapped this shot of the plane flying below them. I love the full shadow of the plane on the ground! Here's the close up...




And here's the long shot. You can see the wheel and the wing of the plane that my husband is flying in.



For more Shadow Shots, click here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Part Four: Battle of the Chipmunks Ground Squirrels

This is a chipmunk.



photo courtesy of www.johnehrenfeld.com

This is NOT who I did battle with; I battled with these little fellas -

The thirteen-striped ground squirrel.



photo courtesy of itsazoo.ca/pictures

I had to set the record straight. I didn't want to mislead you and think that I was battling chipmunks, like Chip and Dale,


photo courtesy of Wikipedia

or better yet, The Chippendales (although that WOULD be a fantasy of mine!)



photo courtesy of www.getmein.com

Okay, so now you know the characters I was dealing with in my yard.

When I first saw one I thought, "Aw, isn't he cute?"



Ha! He was cute alright. Till he mated. And then there were, I don't know, maybe 7? Their nest must have been close to our house because we first spied them through our patio doors; the babies stood in a circle near their parents. It reminded me of a candle holder similar to this one:



photo courtesy of Rockmister on Flicka

Ground squirrels eat things like grasses, weeds, and seeds. They also eat earthworms and insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, and ants. My backyard? Grass? check. Weeds? check. Seeds? (birdseed) check. Earthworms? Probably. check. As far as the insects go, I knew we had problems with those coppery-looking beetles on our shrubs, so check, and everyone has ants, so check. So basically, it was a little EDEN in my backyard.

If I looked down to my backyard from my second story bedroom window, I could see their trails in the grass leading to the birdfeeders, to the field in the back, to the neighbor's yard, basically to all over the place. It was as complex as the runways at O'Hare Airport.

These squirrels were fast. They would scurry along the edge of the house, run across my driveway, and even the front porch. They were bold little suckers.

And they were NOT CUTE ANYMORE.

We had holes all over our yard from all their burrowing. The difference between ground squirrels and moles are that squirrels do NOT make mounds around their burrows. NO. In fact, they spread the dirt around the opening and pat it down with their feet AND head. Yeah. They like a clean entrance.

Well I was tired of Mr. & Mrs. Ground Squirrel taking up residence in my yard, and it was moving day.

I had the watering hose in the backyard, and after filling the birdbath with fresh water, got the idea that I would flood out the ground squirrel's home and they'd leave. Either that or they'd drown and that would be the end of them.

I shoved the hose about two feet into the hole and ran the water for a good 5-10 minutes.

"Aha! I got you now, sucker!" I screamed, my eyes glinting off the water droplets on the hose.

Finally I figured the hole was soaked enough and began retrieving the hose. A few seconds later, to my amazement, a fat, water-drenched ground squirrel staggered out like he had a few too many drinks, shook himself off, and then ran away.

Damn!

Score: Pat: 0 GS: 1

I loved to sit on my front porch, sometimes reading, sometimes just chatting with my neighbor. Many a times a ground squirrel would hop up on the porch and run across it, amid our screaming and jumping up. I think he liked to disrupt the peace and quiet.

They were getting BOLDER, like they owned the place or something.

Score: Pat: 0 GS: 2

One day the Schwan's man came to my house.



(They sell ice cream and frozen foods.) We were standing on my front porch while I was looking through the brochure to pick out what I wanted to order. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the ground squirrel come onto the porch. I didn't say anything because a) it all happened so fast, and b) I figured the squirrel would hop right off when he saw us standing there.

But that's not what happened.

Schwan's Man's back was to the squirrel. The squirrel ran towards the man. Then he ran UP THE MAN'S LEG, THEN BACK DOWN, and off the porch.

This is what the man's face looked like.



I think I peed myself a little - I laughed so hard.

"What the hell was that?" He asked.

I could barely speak as I got out, "G-g-ground squirrel", and bent over in fits of laughter.

Score: Pat: 0 GS: 3

My husband kept telling me to stop feeding the birds, and then I'd get rid of the ground squirrels. I was not willing to give up enjoying the birds flocking to my yard, so I had to continue to put up with the ground squirrels.

One day I went to throw out the garbage in the garage. I was about to shut the door when I heard a scratching noise, like little claws on metal. I flipped on the overhead light and saw one of the ground squirrels scrambling to climb up the garage door!

"HA! I've got you now, you S.O.B.!"

With that I smacked the garage door opener with all my might. I don't think my face looked any different than this.



photo courtesy of redriverautographs.files.wordpress.com

I watched with glee as the little guy hung on for dear life as the door raised higher and higher. I waited for his moment of defeat when he would come crashing down to the cement floor.

And then,

and then.....

He fell directly into the metal wheelbarrow with a dull thud.

I thought my days of fighting the squirrel were over.

I had won! Finally!

Oops!

What's that?

That little mother tucker popped his head up over the edge of the wheelbarrow, and I SWEAR, flipped me the bird, then hopped out and scrambled out of the garage.

Score: Pat: STILL 0 GS: 4

And every time that squirrel scores a point, this is what he does:




When we sold our home five years ago, we signed a paper stating all the things that we knew were "wrong" with our house. But I kept the little secret to myself about the ground squirrels. I figured that the new owners would find out soon enough.