25 December 2008

Merry Merry and Happy Happy

This holiday season has been very enjoyable for me this year...mainly because I have been counting my blessings all year long. So happy to have a wonderful, sessy husband and a beautiful, talented, smart, funny, compassionate daughter also. They are dear people who forgive me when I am cranky in the mornings (and the afternoons and in the evenings)...

This year we hung a stocking for the pets and the jolly guy actually gave the naughty beasts some treats! Santa filled the rest of our stockings with oranges, pears, chocolates, candy canes and small toys...and he even left me an iPod Touch. He really shouldn't have...but I will let it slide this one time...

Santa also brought me a wonderful Filipino cookbook that was on my Amazon Wishlist - Memories of Philippine Kitchens. I have only scanned through Chapter 1 and I am looking forward to testing out each and every recipe with my sous chef over the next year. Would be really cool to check out the authors' restaurant, Cendrillon, in SoHo someday...

As a nice surprise I found Sugar Plums at a very cool local candy store. So we finally KNOW what the children who were nestled all snug in their beds were dreaming about! I have to say that this "discovery" was a little anti-climactic in that they were just jellied plum candies rolled in sugar and not the dried plums rolled in sugar that I had envisioned... but they were still enjoyable. In fact, I discovered quite a few other surprises for family and friends at the Candy Basket and they even had spices for hot cider!

Perhaps the best thing I found [out] this year is that I actually enjoyed hanging out with the family (extended and then some) without feeling all caged and trapped and like I needed to Get Out Now! It may sound odd to some of you who know me (or maybe you already knew this about me) but sometimes it's hard for me to relax and enjoy being around family for extended periods of time. This year was different though, I was all "Bring it on!". I'm not saying this came without any challenges... there were casualties!


While it was not a perfect holiday season, I would say we made some great strides in Being Flexible and Not Being In Control...

The year is almost up and I wouldn't trade this one for anything! I look forward to chillaxin' with the family at home and ushering in the new year...

22 December 2008

Holiday Spirit

Sitting here watching SpongeBob's First Christmas (for the eleventy-billionth time) and contemplating the day ahead. Errands, lunch with my baby girl and hopefully a movie! It's cold outside so we are snuggling under the covers.... Here are a few images of Christmas so far...

20 December 2008

Junket

v. provide a feast or banquet for syn: feast

v. partake in a feast or banquet

Mr. Boffo - rediscovered something I used to read daily when I was in college....seems that no comic strips in "the paper" here float my boat...

18 December 2008

15 December 2008

Make something out of it....

On the outside of the envelope that Emi used for her Christmas list to Santa Emi wrote "Make something out of it...." Guess maybe we should look for a stocking full of coal this year?

02 December 2008

Serendipity

Last month we were in Austin for a conference and we discovered many great food and music finds. We were even treated to some wonderful music from within the "confines" of our hotel room. For those of you who have never experienced Michael Tolcher or Brett Dennen, you are in for a real treat! The Hilton spotlighted a few artists and these guys were 2 of the 3 that we kept going back to hear day after day. Tolcher's Voila does exactly what Michael promised and transports you to a happy place (pleasurable indeed). And Dennen's Blessed is a truly a blessing.

I could easily locate Brett's musical offerings anywhere on the internet and satellite radio and have been enriching my life with his gift for the past month. However, Michael's musical offerings, aside from the songs on his CD released in 2004, are harder to be found. Specifically Voila! I found another fan's offering of Voila as well as a notice that he is currently touring with Graham Colton, Bryan Greenberg, and Tim Brantley. I found out that they were coming to OKC and got tickets that same day to see them last Friday night for their thanksgiving show! {Note that now Michael Tolcher's website now has his current tour information posted.}

Had never heard of the other guys before but for $20 we knew we could sit through their performances to hear Tolcher. While we were very pleased with his performance - he was definitely a higher caliber musician than his 3 stagemates - we were disappointed that he brought no Tolch music and merchandise for us to purchase! And he didn't sing our song! I was so upset that I almost didn't snap up his last CD amazon.com!

He did play a couple of great songs and it was great to hear him acoustic....and I suppose we can wait for his new EP/LP/CD to come out...

12 November 2008

Polysemous...

I am pushing 40 and do not recall ever hearing or seeing that word. Not even during College Grammar in my junior year of h.s. Ok, so I may not remember much at all about that class or many of the others for that matter. This may surprise you, but I was NOT identified as a candidate for G&T in school, but I DID skip a grade .... (ok, so it was just Kindergarten...)

So you can imagine how suspicious I was when my 6 yr old pointed out that a word I had just uttered (now I can't recall THAT word!) was "polysemous". I questioned her at first about the alleged definition of this word (word that sounds the same but means different things) and also tried to ferret out where she'd heard this "word" to no avail. She never EVER cites her sources so I'm thinking there's a future in reporting or espionage or politics for her! I researched "polysemous" (i.e. Googled the term) and when I confirmed that she was not making it up, prayed that she wouldn't notice that Mama doesn't know everything!

This is what I recall from Schoolhouse Rock days:

A homonym is a word that sounds the same as another word yet has a different meaning. Homonyms can be further broken down into homophones; words that are pronounced identically though spelled differently and homographs; words that are pronounced and spelled identically. In both instances of homonymy the requirement is for the common words to have unrelated meanings. Homophone: bare (uncover) bear (the mammal) Homograph: bank (financial institute) bank (side of a river)

And this is what I just had to recently confirm was ACTUALLY a word:

A polyseme is a word or phrase with multiple, related meanings. A word is judged to be polysemous if it has two senses of the word whose meanings are related. Since the vague concept of relatedness is the test for polysemy, judgments of polysemy can be very difficult to make. With polysemy the reference is to a single word with different senses of the same basic meaning. Polysemes are also etymologically related, whereas Homonyms are not.Look at examples of a set of polysemes. Following is an example of four versions of the same word with four distinct senses of meaning: Polyseme: crawl (move slowly on hands and knees) crawl (move slowly in traffic) crawl (to be covered with moving things) crawl (to swim the crawl)

Other areas in which Emi puts her mom to shame: piano, soccer, singing...

01 November 2008

Austin City Limits

The last Saturday in October we rolled into Austin after several hours on the road. We walked down to the hotel bar for a drink and got some dirty looks and subpar service. Probably because I was in my OU t-shirt. Oklahoma and Texas are BIG rivals! Texas had just played Oklahoma State earlier in the evening so we didn't stick around the hotel bar for long. We walked around 6th Street and saw way too much orange for our tastes...burnt orange and obnoxious orange.

Representing


Sunday I attended my conference workshop until mid-afternoon. After class we headed up to the 8th floor to hang out by the pool. Reminded me of our Phoenix trip. The weather was beautiful and it was hard to believe it was October! Ended up staying in that evening after the Welcome Reception...ordered some room service and was seriously disappointed with the meatloaf.

Monday I spent most of the day at conference sessions, but managed to get out to Halcyon Coffee Bar/Lounge for a Mocha Latte and some great warm brie served with homemade apple raisin chutney and topped with walnuts.


At sunset we went to Congress Avenue bridge to see the world's largest urban bat colony. It was a little anti-climactic as the Mexican free-tailed bats emerged from under the bridge. They were almost silent as they flew into the sky over the Colorado river....I guess I was expecting screaming from the spectators as the bats screeched and covered them with guano, but they just flew quietly out in the night to feast on insects.



After that we went to the Tree House Italian Grill for dinner.


We had checked it out online as a potential romantic dinner spot and we were not disappointed! The Live Oak tree in the outside seating area is rumored to be over 700 years old. We ate inside because it was a chilly evening and we can report that the Cannelloni and Veal were great! But, sadly, the kalamari was not... we stuffed ourselves silly on bread and olive oil and salad so when our entrees arrived, we had to stuff that in and were miserable waddling around later on...but so worth it to feast on such good Italian cuisine!

Tuesday evening we were smarter about dinner and decided to go light with some wonderful pork pate, escargots and warm goat cheese on crusty French bread (of course!) at Chez Nous. Then we wandered around 6th street for a while and stopped by Speakeasy in the Warehouse District for a Coconut Mojito. The "popular Rooftop Terrace is known for the totally-worth-it climb up 59 stairs to the best view downtown Austin has to offer." We can vouch for that!

From there we decided to check out Halcyon again to see what it had to offer in the evenings. We had some Strongbow and decided it tasted better in FL. Most of the patrons were alone with their laptops lounging or popping in for an after dinner cappucino. We decided to see what else Austin had to offer and wandered a couple doors down to the Cedar Street Courtyard.

We were hoping to catch some live music and got to hear Reagan Administration play in the indoor/outdoor martini nightclub. They played some Zeppelin, Styx and Journey among others and we totally enjoyed listening to them in the courtyard. From there we decided to grab some food to take back to the hotel and stopped in at Maria, Maria (a Carlos Santana concept restaurant) for some grilled chicken quesadillas. Yum!

More later...for now, here are a few pics...

16 October 2008

Flint Ridge 2008


We had a glorious Fall Break in Flint Ridge during our annual Halloween camp trip. The fall foiliage was so pretty and the temperature was perfect for sitting outside catching up on some reading during the day and hanging out near the fire for warmth in the evenings. It was the best Flint Ridge camp experience I have had thusfar.

My contributions were made with love (and sadly, calories...):
  • My FAVORITE chicken & andouille sausage gumbo
  • My Dad's family recipe Duke's Mixture (which is basically a layered goulash) but I substituted buffalo for the ground beef typically used...
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip with chips
The kids had fun playing with their cousins, the dogs were happy to be anywhere with the family, and I was content to be away from it all and surrounded by beauty. And Mary (see below) made some wonderful salsa that I could not get enough of..

09 October 2008

Again with the Speaking Too Soon...

So this morning when Emi came into our bedroom, she said she was itchy and when we looked at her belly there was an angry looking rash...looked like insect bites! We felt SO BAD! The rash was only where the "itching powder" came into contact with her skin so she wasn't BSing around with us yesterday. (Doh!) She still had to issue her apologies for her behavior, but today we were sympathetic to her condition. Got her some anti-histamine stuff specifically for hives. Via a little research (ala Google) I could not find much on allergies to Sweet Gum Tree seed balls, but I did find out this:

Chemists have found that the seeds of the sweetgum fruit contain significant amounts of shikimic acid, the starting material used to produce the main antiviral agent in a much-heralded drug for fighting bird flu.

Shikimic acid is used to make a generic drug called oseltamivir - best known commercially as Tamiflu® - which is used to fight many types of flu viruses. Some health experts believe that this and similar antiviral drugs could help save lives by slowing the spread of the virus in the absence of a bird flu vaccine, which is still in development.

So I guess we can feel good about skipping the flu shot again this year...

08 October 2008

Spoke Too Soon...

Today we got a call from Emi at school asking to be picked up to change because she had been exposed to "itching powder" on her lunch break.Turns out she and some friends were playing with the seed balls from a Sweet Gum Tree on the playground...they grind up the balls and refer to the resultant dust as "itching powder". I talked to the lady in the office and we determined that this was not a real emergency (no rash) and that Emi would probably be fine going back to class. Daddy called herback at the school to reinforce that we both thought she could deal with her "itching".

A couple of hours later I got a call from her teacher letting me know that Emi howled at the top of her lungs for 30-35 minutes and pinched the principal when he took her to the office. This after she was given a fresh shirt. Her teacher was shocked (as were we) and she said that Emi was fine now (until she gets home that is!)...she just wanted to let me know about the situation. So when I picked her up from school, she was fine. I inspected her for any irritation or rash and found nothing at all.

She wrote an apology note to her teacher and agreed to apologize to her principal in person the next day for pinching. No TV or games this evening!

07 October 2008

Gifted

We always felt that Emi was gifted and talented, but we weren't sure how others (her teachers) felt. Today she was tested and unofficially qualified for the GT program! Baby girl done us proud!

05 October 2008

Indian (Taco) Giver

Hippie Chicks catered the Sophomore Spotlight at the NWC this evening for the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences ...not too shabby! The menu consisted of Indian Tacos (meat-eater and Vegetarian options), brownies, lemon cookies drizzled with berry sauce, lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies, lemonade and sweet tea all served with compostable cups/plates and cutlery we got at Native Roots Market. This stuff is made from corn!

04 October 2008

May Cause Drowsiness...

Tonight we hosted our 3rd sleepover for Emi and this one was a BLAST (for the girls anyway). It started out innocently enough with a suggestion of Emi inviting ONE friend out for lunch and nail painting at the mall. She morphed this into into lunch, nails and a SLEEPOVER with TWO friends. No problemo! So we lunched at the mall and the girlies had so much fun goofin' off and singing to Daddy on the phone.

Next we stopped by Bath and Body Works to get some "Sleep" spray and lotion that I promised to use to make the girls fall asleep during the course of the night. Lastly, we hit the nail place for the girls to get their fingernails and toenails polished. That part of the day went very smoothly.

When we got home, the girls played in the back yard and with the neighbor boys, then we constructed our pumpkin bread pumpkins. The girls got to eat one and take 2 home to share. (Emi decided to share hers with her teacher.) We had a couple of movies for their viewing pleasure - Halloween Town High (DVRed) and Camp Rock (DVD) - while they decorated their photo frames for their "day of fun"picture...

The girls pretended to run a store and played "Hide and Seek" with Daddy while tearing apart the house. Later we settled them down with the task of making their own personal pizzas and a movie. Everything was good until they started production of their own movie, then we heard some dissension, too many producers. Hannah Montana saved the day! We found out that playing songs from Camp Rock or HSM works better for teamwork than hosing them down. By 11:11, we had the girls safely tucked in to their sleeping bags on the living room floor. So, after just over 11 hours of constant activity, they were ready for the slumber part...

28 September 2008

Dirty Dozen

So, for our 12th anniversary we decided we'd dub this the "balcony" anniversary (vice silk) because we finally got around to checking out "The Balcony Experience" at the Warren Theatre. Needless to say, we have been spoiled from regular seating for life. No more fighting for the drink holder or shushing teenagers!

"The Warren Theatre Balcony is the talk of the town! At our Moore Warren Theatre, there are TWO Balconies geared towards providing an even more elegant andpersonal experience, evident in the lush, imported, oversized seats. Also, patrons to Balcony shows enjoy access to the full service bar and lounge before and after the show, as well as food and drink service to your seat throughout the show."


We had reservations for the Theatre for Two which includes 2 primo seats in the balcony, 2 entrees, 2 drinks and dessert for the table. The computer gave us the best seats in the balcony and we agreed. Frontrow, center and HEATED! We gorged ourselves on the Philly sandwich and Mobster pizza and had some nice red wine from the bar. We were amazed that even though we and others around us were having food and drink brought to our seats, we were unaware of the wait staff's presence during the movie (Eagle Eye - made me even more paranoid about "Big Brother"). For dessert we had Bill's "Big Apple": Piping hot deep dish apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and dusting of cinnamon. Hoo boy! The movie was great, the service was great and the company was perfect!

13 September 2008

Game Day

Game day means something different for each member of our household. For Daddy, it's beer and college football, specifically OU football (go Sooners!). For Emi, it's "You promised me we'd play Monopoly today!" There was a compromise, Daddy played Candyland with Emi during commercial breaks....
For me, game day was all about trying to catch up with household chores, cooking fresh meals for my family and sneaking in a nap...possibly catching a few minutes of the OU game.

We also had another game today that was much more important that any televised game, Emi's 2nd soccer game of the new season. Her team was in shock last weekend with the new rules (they have goalies now) and the new larger sized fields. But this weekend the girls were really agressive and committed to the ball and scored, and scored and scored. I was so proud of every girl on the team and by the looks on their faces, they were happy with their performances as well... Go Eagles!

12 September 2008

Passion Blooming

The last time I got my Passion Flower to bloom was over 3 years ago. Indoors! In January! I decided earlier this summer that this plant would no longer be afforded the luxury of living in the sun room if it was not going to produce the lovely Star Trekkish blooms that I adore. So, when we erected the courtyard fencing leaving one of the wooden fence posts for creative purposes (my refrigerator coil peace sign), we transplanted the Passion Flower vines to either side of the post. You may recall the poor transplant featured in the June Big Top entry. So all we had to do was put the plant outside to fend for herself in the 100 plus degree temps and monson rains et voila!
Isn't she lovely?

 

31 August 2008

Laborious


We hosted a pre-Labor Day gathering at our house/yard and sufficiently wore ourselves and everyone else out. The adults stayed mainly glued to their chairs in the backyard enjoying grilled foods and home brews while the children swam...that is until later when the Wii was calling for the kiddos to "come hither" inside the house...and the kids spied my boxing bag...

28 August 2008

Coffee con Leche


So it's very obvious why I was attracted to this ring when I purchased it so many years ago...my caffeine addiction...which could become seriously jeopardized if Carnation stops making their Coconut Creme non-dairy creamer. What is not obvious (to me and anymore) is what type of stone (semi precious?) is set into the ring. I had lost this ring a long time ago during a visit to my mom's house and found it during our most recent trip to see her. I must have left/lost it during the Christmas 2004 visit. I've done a little research, i.e. Googled things like 'cream stone semi precious' but I haven't had an 'aha'. Findings so far. Interwebs, can you help a girl out?

26 August 2008

Ahhhh Relaxation...

Is it just me or am I the only one who finds dental cleanings so relaxing that I actually fall asleep? I can't help myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bun). When the dental hygienist starts to clean my teeth, my eyes roll back into my head and I am in an Alpha State. Sometimes I catch a catnap unless my hygienist is talking to me. And when I leave I feel so refreshed...too bad my insurance only covers cleanings twice a year!

25 August 2008

Napptural Hair - Halp!

So for 6 years I've been struggling with all forms of hair maintenance for my little girl. We've gotten advice from family, friends and strangers everywhere (mostly unsolicited), plus lots of judgment and critique for the way we've kept or un-kept Emi's hair. When Emi was born, her natural mom knew instinctively that I would need to learn to braid. I brushed this off because her sweet silken hair was so much like mine, I thought, only a little curlier. Braids were something in the far off future IF she wanted them. So for a little while I got away with using Tate's Conditioner, a mild leave in lotion with no yucky additives to bring out the natural curl. As her hair grew, the texture got thicker and coarser and I discovered Carol's Daughter products [I {heart} Carol's Daughter!] when Emi was a year old. I had Lisa Price's AWESOME products sent to me from Brooklyn and used them religiously to keep Emi's hair healthy and manageable. Today, 5 years later we are still faithful users of her wonderful products.


I loved to put her hair into 2 afro puffs most of the time and sometimes I plaited her hair, but at the end of the day, she looked like Pippy Longstocking. When she was 3 yrs old, her daycare teacher braided her hair into 8 pretty braids. I found out that when I braided her hair, I was braiding up instead of down so her hair would curl up. Lesson learned!

I got the hang of braiding and even decided to braid her hair into tiny little "strands of yarn" braids which I later found out are hell on earth to comb out. I got a lot of help from my husband with combing out these braids with a rat tail comb when needed.

But this past 6-8 months have taken their toll on our daughter tresses. We were spread very thin with extra time after work and Emi's activities were factored in. I washed her hair in braids/dreds and conditioned it, but I didn't make her sleep in her sleep cap and we were LONG OVERDUE with a whole head comb out. Months overdue.
After we returned from our family trip to FL, we decided to tackle combing out her hair. Carol's Daughter's Khoret Amen or Tui Hair Smoothies were the BEST at helping with this endeavor. And we were successful in combing out quite a few of the locs, mostly the ones framing her face. The braids/locs on her crown and nape were so tangled and matted that after 2 days of us combing out her hair and making her scalp so very tender, we all decided to cut her hair very short.

No problem until we got to the hair salon. This would be Emi's first salon visit and the first haircut given by anyone other than us (we trimmed the braids down twice during our efforts to comb out her hair). The stylist recommended we go to a barber to buzz Emi's hair to a more even level, then she could put a relaxer on her hair to give it some length. She saw the helpless look on our faces and started evening out what we had butchered. Emi started freaking out when the longer twists were cut off to blend in with the rest of her hair and caused the stylist to cut a little deep in one section.

By the end of this session, there were many tears from all of us and the stylist didn't charge us. We agreed to come back in a few days to have her remaining hair relaxed so she didn't "look like a boy". It was very devastating and we felt so bad. I washed the remaining sand/debris from her hair that evening and massaged some sweet smelling lotion and oil into her tresses and they felt healthier than they had in years. She looked adorable!

She went to her first day of First Grade at first sporting a head band, then later removing it and telling the class that she got her haircut and basically let's go on to the next topic. She held her head high until a friend of hers later said that her haircut made her look like a boy and made her cry. Kids are so blunt. I cried at work off and on thinking about how my baby girl was doing in school and later reminded her that she was going to get her hair relaxed and she'd have loose curls and more length.

She asked to straighten it and I told her we could do that temporarily when her hair was relaxed. For 3 days we talked about the game plan of loosening her curls for more length. Saturday came along and the stylist applied the relaxer leaving it on for only a short while before Emi started feeling the itch/burn. Then she tried to comb her hair a little and Emi begged her to rinse the relaxer out. The stylist rinsed her hair and tried to blow dry it straight (we saw smoke when she was doing this!) but Emi was too tenderheaded (thank God) and we were just happy to have her hair trimmed more evenly...something that also caused more tears.

The whole experience was traumatic and I wish we would have not taken Emi back to the 2nd visit. I was upset to learn that the stylist straightened her hair vice just relaxing it. She said to keep "grease" on her hair to keep it from drying out. Straightening and grease are 2 things I've avoided for Emi's entire life, only natural products and natural styles from the beginning... Wish we would have gone with the texturizer at home instead ... hindsight is 20/20, right?

I have been feeling like a failure because the "easy" style she has now, that she seems to like is totally against what I've tried to preserve for 6 years. I was hoping that we'd have the option of a short healthy afro. Maybe we will have some natural curl left in her hair once we wash it because the relaxer was not left on for the length of time that the stylist wanted. I hope. I do not want to be dependent on someone with a different view on nappy hair care (i.e. get rid of the naps!) who also stands to benefit from us having to visit her every 4-6 weeks for touchups.

Last night in her bath I rinsed her hair a little and thought I saw a little curling (I hope). Emi asked why she smelled the stuff that the stylist used on her hair and I explained that she smelled the burning from the chemical and the blow dryer (another thing we've avoided). I showed her how to brush her hair with her boar bristle brush and then I put her hair into 2 cute ponytails. One to cover the short almost bald spot where Emi moved while the stylist was cutting. I know we will get through this, but I feel bad for not keeping up with Emi's hair and worse for letting a stylist take over and put us past ground zero with her natural hair care. Right now we are planning on just using the natural hair products on her hair and see what happens when the new growth comes in....

20 August 2008

Mad World

Ok, is it bad that the theme song in my head today (my baby girl's first day of First Grade) is "Mad World" by Tears for Fears?



Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

Florida Waiting

Waiting in the Winn Dixie parking lot...

Waiting for Cuban Sandwiches at La Familia

Waiting to board at Tampa Airport

16 August 2008

Hippie Hippie Chic

Today we (Hippie Chicks) catered a wedding for 250-300. It was a nice gig with fruit, cheese and tea. We spent several hours last night cutting the cheese (hee-hee) for our Marinated Cheese and several hours this morning preparing the Proscuitto Wrapped Melon, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, cutting fruit for the Fruit Trays and the Apricot Honey Drizzled Brie. The food was yummy, albeit it rustic looking at times (we call THAT "Hippie Chic") and we had a very nice time.

14 August 2008

ADHD Accelerated with Caffeine Intake

Looking for a Reuben sandwich recipe, actually looking for information on Russian dressing after finding a recipe for Reuben and running into trouble finding Russian dressing at Super Target, I found this site ... and also wonderful recipe for coconut cupcakes, something my daughter and I have been itching to bake. Funnily enough, I heard mention of Elise's website when checking out Burnt Lumpia's recipe for chicken foot stock. I wasn't looking at his blog for THAT recipe, but for tips on the correct way to display the traditional wooden fork and spoon on the wall. My mom gave us a set while we were visiting her recently and after we informed my husband's sister about the wooden utensil set on the way via UPS, she brought out a set she bought us a few months ago, after she read about the significance and meaning from reading Burnt Lumpia's blog. The set looks almost exactly like the set my mom gave us...so we'll hang them in the Kitchen and Gathering Room as welcoming symbols to our friends. Weird how things circle back, huh? Wonder what would happen it I decided to go for a 3rd cup of coffee...

12 August 2008

Filipinas

Not sure I am considered a Filipina as I was born in the states, but I consider myself an honorary Filipina when I am around my mom and any of my Filipina cousins...

We met a COOL COUSIN of mine today - Julie - and we LOVE her because her glass is HALF FULL. She is funny and sure of herself and I look forward to getting to know her better and meeting her family....

Counting Our Blessings...

The crashing of the waves, the seagulls calling friends to check out a possible cadre of food, the ocean breeze....I want to take this home with me as something to focus on when things get so crazy back in real life.....

We didn't get to spend much time on the beach, Fort DeSoto Beach, because the rain storms kept rolling in, but it was a nice time for our family to spend away from "it all"... we do miss "it all" though...

11 August 2008

The Dark Continent?


Today we went to Busch Gardens and spent almost 9 hours exploring the zoo, gardens, rides (hoo boy!) and culinary offerings (Zambia Smokehouse). I'm too tired to expand on the wonderful day at the park, but I am happy to tell you that we survived SheiKra - the nation's first dive coaster now featuring floorless cars so that (your feet dangle) you can experience the "unobstructed view of the 70 mph rush"! So true! We dropped 200 ft 90 degrees STRAIGHT DOWN....TWICE!! I was surprised that my Zambian BBQ didn't come back up. Probably because we let our food digest a little on the Tanganyika Tidal Wave ride first. I've posted some pics of our day for now on my flickr.

10 August 2008

Mama Mila

So we went to the movies today and the ladies (me, my mom -Mila- and Rose) watched Mama Mia and daddy and Emi saw The Mummy. What a great movie Mama Mia was! My eyes were watering most of the time in between the times I was laughing. The color blue in the movie has been a huge inspiration for me over the past 2 years. For instance, my office getting painted a baby aqua and my husband and Santa getting together to get me some aquamarine earrings and necklace for Christmas. I have decided that after thoroughly enjoying the movie that 1) we need the soundtrack and 2) we MUST go to Greece ASAP!

After the movie we went to Shell's for an excellent mojito (me) and wonderful seafood (all). It's tradition to eat at Shell's as much as possible when we visit because we have nothing that compares in Central Oklahoma. I know that probably surprises you...

It was a very satisfying day...

08 August 2008

Greetings from Siesta Key



Not sure why baby girl was looking so upset ...
It's beautiful here in sunny Florida...cooler than Oklahoma with scattered thunderstorms...here are some pics from our stay so far...

03 August 2008

Peace Sign Omen

Not sure how to interpret this...
It's been in the triple digits here for the past couple of weeks and one day recently when I got into my car to go home from work, I noticed that the "ce" of my metal "peace" sign (dangling from my rear view mirror) was now on my dashboard. Maybe just time for a new car dangle? Let's go with that.

17 July 2008

Trying for a Smaller Footprint

My family and I have made more changes in our lives to reduce waste (in products and energy) and recycle (detoxing the home of unwanted stuff), etc. We picked up the coolest sporks last year at Backwoods for lunch at the office and school. I just adore the colors and the utility and reuse value... very handy for camping too!

And we used to buy cases of bottled water to take to the office, but after using a filtered water pitcher at home for the last several months, we decided to invest in a couple more for our offices. My pitcher (Brita Deluxe Water Pitcher ) forces me to drink more water than usual because of it's hugeness (holds "10 - 8 Ounce Glasses"). And my plants get a purified drink at the end of the day too.

Also, we have finally decided to repair the heavy duty T-Post clotheslines we have in the smaller (dogs') yard and hang dry clothes more often than use the dryer. I read that the dryer can account for up to 10% of your energy bill! And I usually have about 6 loads of laundry queued down in the basement - more so in the summer with the constant accumulation of wet pool towels. Will be nice to save a little money ... I can't believe we haven't thought of using the cool vintage clothes line before before, but I'm sure it has to do with the fact that we didn't really see the line that often before our fence blew down earlier this summer.

Things have changed since my mother hung out my clothes to dry when I was a child. Foam noodles can be used to hang dry stuff to keep them crease free. And if you don't have a big backyard (or a yard at all) you can still get the benefit of line drying with the D-Rack - we have something similar in the basement and it's always filled with soccer shorts and bras.

When school is back in session, we will resume our walking to school (Emi) and biking to work (me) routine in an effort to cut down on gasoline use and pollution (and stay fit). This summer her activities have her doglegging a few miles out of the way and while I am confident that I could handle the extra biking, Emi is not good for much over a mile and a half at present.... only another couple of weeks at that gig and then we can resume our walk/ride routine.

Greener...

Bathing Beauty

Loving the new swim cap, baby girl!

29 June 2008

Under the Big Top

So (rubs her tired eyes again) we had a birthday carnival to celebrate the Emster's 6th birthday this past weekend. And while it sprinkled a tiny bit and was overcast much of the day, we have to call his event a Raging Success. Last year we swore we'd have a smallish birthday celebration in '08, but over the past few months of hearing Emi gush on and on about fun festivals and the circus, we decided to have our own carnival. No big whup, right? It was a lot of fun in many surprising ways. Like, for instance, the popularity of the dunk tank and the ease with which the dads were quick to shed their clothes (and don the tie) to help out with the party fun.

While the invitations were easy - we made up quick flyers in Publisher and sent them out electronically - prepping the yard(s) was hell on earth. Between the ice storm a few months ago and the wind storms in more recent weeks, we had a lot of downed branches (mostly neighbors') to burn or put out for collection. We also had a fence to repair/replace. Halfway through the repair option, we decided to replace the privacy fence (that divides our backyards) with a decorative black iron fence that will match the courtyard fencing in the front yard (future project). We took this option because it really opens up both back yards and our dogs don't jump (unless it's onto the couch).

Because of the recent rainy season here, it took some time for us to get the pool chemistry back in order and also to remove the weeds growing in between the flagstones which comprise most of our patio. After many days of manually pulling weeds, we decided to go with an option I've coveted for many years -a propane-fired weed burner, specifically the Weed Burning Torch Kit with Hose & Striker - we got ours at the Home Depot and I'm surprised that they sell these things along with the fuel to the general public! And we found out in the process of weed elimination that Scott is a pyromaniac! But man does this thing work!!! Instead of being a schmo and pulling and using chemicals (hate), now we just burn-burn-burn and then rinse! Et voila! I was talking to my neighbor the first 2 times Scott ignited the flame (thrower) and found that it sounds exactly like a hot air balloon when ignited. Kinda scary, but also, AWESOME! So we terminated enough weeds, erected the new fence, mowed the lawns, yada, yada, yada....

Friday night was when the fun work started. We tried to get the dunk tank into the back yard where all of the other festivities were to be held, but it was just a tad too wide, so we set it up in the alley. The first element of excitement that party attendees would see. We also filled a couple hundred water balloons (note: by "we" I mean "Scott") and we also made up "goodie" bags which were really just Popcorn boxes filled with Flarp, silly putty, a little bit o' candy and unpopped popcorn for later (note: by "we" here I meant "Scott and Emi").

I wanted to serve carny food, but I didn't want to go overboard with junk food, so we had a buffet of hotdogs, popcorn, chips, queso, fruit and veggie trays, honey baked beans and tomato feta salad. [I like to feed the adults too!]


The carnival was a huge success! The dunk tank was well utilized, more so than the bounce house; and the water balloon fight lasted 1/1000 the time it took to fill up the balloons (approximately 37 seconds). It was possibly the most fun weekend we've had at the house since we moved in....

20 June 2008

New Leaf!


Was just noticing that my miracle orchid plant is growing a new leaf! I have been so busy with family and work, etc that I hadn't noticed before...hmmmm

Seu-Seu-Seussical!

There's a faraway land

So the stories all tell

Somewhere beyond the horizon.

If we can find it

Then all will be well,

Troubles there are few,

Someday, we'll go to...

Solla Sollew

Solla Sollew


Wow! We were blown away by all of the children's performances in Artworks Academy's production of Seussical! Amazed were we that our littlest ones, the Beginning Musical Theatre kiddos could keep up with the dancing and singing of the older performers for 2 WHOLE HOURS (with a 15 min intercession)! We started the week not having a clue about what to expect because practices have been top secret (it seems) and witnessing the work behind the scenes at rehearsal was pretty intense at times, especially trying to keep the young 5-6 yr olds entertained while they waited for their time on stage. That time period was hairy, but balanced out nicely with the great performances. We could tell that our little one loved being up on stage singing and dancing. She was so pleased when "Horton" told her that she's done a great job! Even now, 2 weeks later I still can't get the songs out of my head!'


Cause I have wings.Yes, I can fly

Around the moon

And far beyond the sky

And one day soon

I know there you'll be

One small voice in the universe

One true friend in the universe

Who believes in me...


Even though the performance was great and we thought Emi was a perfect little Who (on stage that is), we are glad that the rehearsals and practices are over with for the summer. We need a break!

19 June 2008

Ba-Cock!

Tonight we made some easy curry chicken salad from a recipe I found on Not Martha -- and it was de-lish! We used chicken from 1 rotisserie chicken, frozen peas (thawed), 3 stalks celery chopped, roasted cashews, 2 garlic cloves (pressed), Lemonaise, Madras Curry powder and a little fresh lemon juice. After mixing it all up, we served it on a bed of spring greens on a tortilla. Next time I think I will add a little salt and perhaps serve the salad on a thinner wrap. Will definitely keep this recipe in my repertoire!