28 September 2011

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

This photo captures our essence (goofball essence)...

15 years, baby!!!

"All of Us"

Note: I played around in PSE trying to make something artistic out of the not so great pictures that came from our latest camp trip. I didn't get any help from the kids (obviously) in posing and Emi ditched us to hang out with Grandma Babe. (We don't blame her, Grandma Babe is lots of fun!) It was cloudy and I'm sure the planets were not in alignment and...ok, I'm done making excuses. I edited Emi in to this last photo and used the Pencil Sketch action on the photos... I like the results!

27 September 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow! What a full weekend we had. I admit it, I am exhausted! Uncle!

Friday after work, a few of us ladies got together for a little Happy Hour at my friend's new house (which is supercute!). Just the 4 of us girls, Pacificos and some yummy Mexican dips and chips to nosh. What a nice way to start the weekend. I didn't take any pictures save for a blurry one of Clara, Kristy's little black bunny.

We talked about updates and projects to maximize real estate in our homes, and I shared my plans to build the cabana/pergola and also replacing the basement windows. We talked about my small kitchen and the suggestions we've received from family to extend out into the dogs' yard ($$,$$$) or knock down a wall that backs up to the basement stairs (so, not a possibility) when my friend Sharmin suggested that we knock down the wall between the office and kitchen. Genius! Now I am obsessed with making that happen! Our living room/library at the front of the house would still be closed off from the kitchen, but the space would be better utilized with that wall gone. Currently our office is in the middle of the house with 3 doorways leading into it (!). With that wall down, we could get a movable island/bar and finally rip up all that nasty carpet in the office (very high traffic area). I am super excited about this project now!

Saturday morning found me busy cleaning off the front porch. Some of my potted plants and cuttings didn't make it through the hot summer so I moved the empty pots to the back porch. We have a wall o' windows to the front porch, so I organized plants in front of the glass to block the sun this summer, but now that the weather is cooler, we've been opening up the drapes every morning and I wanted to clear our view. After cleaning off the front porch (and more coffee, of course), I got busy moving shelves from the sun room into the pantry before we had to head off to Emi's soccer game. I also dusted and oiled down the wood in the house and mopped the floors in the back of the house.  Saturday mornings I am like the Energizer Bunny!

After Emi's soccer game (which she won, BTW), we dropped off a load of donables at the Salvation Army, then we made a quick grocery shopping trip before we hit Eskimo Sno's and a little purple catering truck (named Jezebel). They were both conveniently located in the grocery store parking lot (which is in front of the drop off for SA).

Backstory: A few weeks ago I made some lumpia for a friend who was requesting where to get good lumpia in Norman. I posted back to her (on FaceBook) that Norman didn't have any Filipino food venues and offered to make lumpia for her.  Well, after my friend left that day with a belly full of lumpia (and more to fry and share with her mom), my neighbor told me about her Filipino friend who runs a successful catering business out of Tulsa (Bohemia) and said that she had a purple food truck called Jezebel and that she just moved back to Norman. I didn't get to visit her purple truck that day (she's usually out and about on home game (football) days).

Fast forward to this weekend when Lori let me know that Teri would be parked nearby. We had to check it out and the day was just warm enough for snow cones. With a carful of groceries, we stopped at Eskimo Sno's (always a good call) and also Jezebel (or Bohemia, Moveable Feast Caterers?) to quickly grab some treats. Teri was just getting things set up when we arrived on the scene. She met the kiddos and let them sit in her cute little chairs out front. She wasn't ready for hot food yet so we grabbed a lemon bar (yum), a tray of crab stuffed mushroom caps (phenomenal!) and her truffle oil vinaigrette and she threw in a bag of her frozen lumpia! Teri (a very sweet woman) also sells her frozen foods in the Oklahoma Food Coop ...and apparently I just missed Teri's cooking class (Asian Appetizers) at another friend's local business, The International Pantry. *pout face*  Now that I KNOW, I will be on the lookout for sure. Thank goodness for social media, right?

Teri talking to David

Emi ate a birthday cake sno cone while the hobos shared a blue coconut sno cone...

Good Stuff!

The Little Ones went down for a nap while I put groceries away. Emi helped with folding the laundry and putting clothes away. Later she sold 2 parking spaces in our driveway and helped me bake David's birthday cakes after dinner (home made chicken "enchiladas"). What a productive little girlie I have!


I baked 4 quiches before the cakes and 2 quiches after.  All along I had to wash dishes by hand (ugh!) because the dishwasher is broken. I had the window open so I could hear the game and the crowd roar before Scott and Emi could (satellite has about a 5 second delay). I had to run into the living room after the roar to see what was going on. It was funny because Emi was watching the game with her dad and David kept coming into the kitchen to ask me how quiches were made. I showed him how the pie crusts started out frozen and then I added different goodies and cheese, and lastly, how the custard was made. He's such an inquisitive little boy. So proud of my well-rounded little family.

Sunday morning before brunch I baked the bacon roses. I got the thick cut bacon from Sam's and made quite a few roses with a whole slice of bacon, then I made a bunch of "rosebuds" with half slices. These were a nice addition to the quiche and salad. I also put out some pickled garlic, grape tomatoes and black olives for munching before brunch.

David enjoyed his birthday party (as did the rest of the family) and the time spent outside was really relaxing, tossing the football around, swinging, sitting, listening to music, helping the chickens forage for food (Friendly found a fat green caterpillar) and visiting with family.

This week Scott and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage!!! Man, we're old! I remember when we celebrated 5 years of marriage and splurged on a bottle of Dom at Danny's Steakhouse. It was a great meal (steak, lobster, pecan mashed potatoes) and a great time, but we discovered that at 16x more than a decent bottle of champagne,  Dom didn't taste 16x better to us. Maybe we should try Cristal next time? Doubtful. We plan to hit a couple of the places from our first dates (thankfully they are still in business!): The Mont and Victoria's Pasta Shop.

26 September 2011

Quiche Me I'm Irish

For David's birthday gathering we decided to have a brunch at our house because we usually gather with family on Sunday for lunch anyway. Of course that meant lots of quiche and a big salad but I also wanted to add a new element to the meal: bacon roses.

Bacon Roses
Some long stems and a tray of "rosebuds"

We made 3 types of quiche: chicken and broccoli, ham and cheddar, and spinach and artichoke (my favorite). I was trying to make an egg pie that was reminscent of my spinach and artichoke dip and I was successful.

25 September 2011

Moving Musical Finds

This past week I found some really good musical surprises that I wanted to share. The first comes with the song Guaranteed by Eddie Vedder {from the movie Into the Wild}. I finally downloaded it along with Beautiful Things by Gungor recently. I listened to these songs briefly before heading out with the kiddos last week and then I picked up my iPod earlier this week and really listened to the songs. When Guaranteed ends, there is a 2 minute period of silence followed by a humming vocal of the song. I thought somehow iTunes botched or merged the recordings until I researched it a little and found out that it was on purpose. Beautiful movie and a beautiful song too.

I know all the rules
But the rules did not know me...guaranteed

I found a goosebump-inducing cover of "Creep" (Radiohead) performed by Scala (a Belgian girls choir) while checking out Danielle's blog, Knotty Yarn. [Side note: I was sad to see that she'd deleted her blog of 9 years but glad to see she's still around and can't wait to read her new content.] You can listen to this song on her theme songs page or on the trailer for the Social Network (which I still haven't seen) or on YouTube. They even make the eff word sound beautiful...

I don't care if it hurts
I wanna have control
I wanna perfect body
I wanna perfect soul
I want you to notice when I'm not around...
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special
But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here...

And earlier this week I found out that I am a fan of Train. (I know! I mean, Drops of Jupiter has been out for only 10 years, right?) I didn't know who sang Hey, Soul Sister before this past week; I thought it was Bruno Mars for some reason. A friend of mine got free tickets to the Train/Maroon 5 concert at the Zoo Amphitheater and she turned me on to her favorite song of theirs, Marry Me. Now that I've heard that song and a few others (including Hey, Soul Sister) I definitely need to download Save Me, San Francisco.

Have you discovered any good music lately?

23 September 2011


Between Kim's Pasta Fit for a King post last month on a little lunch and Alice's Marsala Mushroom Sauce over Beer Braised Beef on Savory Sweet Life, I've been salivating over mushrooms lately. I was away from home camping last week and only got to cook quesadillas during that time away. I usually make something yummy like Chicken Curry or Lumpia...I missed home cooking.

Using both of these dishes as inspiration, I made my own mushroomy concoction. I cooked chicken breast chunks in olive oil, onions and garlic, then added lots of mushrooms and thyme and a nice glug of red wine (and some for me). I let that mixture simmer a bit and then added a little bit of cornstarch to thicken the sauce into gravy. I also made buttermilk mashed potatoes (with the skins left on) and roasted some sweet corn on the cob (for Emi).

We added a green salad with vinaigrette and it was a yummy meal. Lucky for me and Scott, there were leftovers!

Scott and David both thought this was beef - I think the wine and mushrooms made it heartier or something...

A comfort food...the buttermilk gives the potatoes a creamy tanginess (tangy creaminess?)

The potatoes are smothered with the chicken & shrooms...
Scott and I enjoyed our meals with a glass of the wine used in the chicken and mushroom sauce, Green Truck Wines' 2009 Mendocino County Petite Sirah.

Of course I still have Smitten Kitchen's Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar on the "To Try" lists for this Autumn. It combines my son's favorite dinner into one dish. He always asks for Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, nevermind that it might be 106 degrees outside. Lucky for him, the season for soups is upon us. Note: If I were a good mom, I'd have made this for his birthday dinner *sigh*

22 September 2011

Emi's First Winfield (2002)

She was not quite 3 months old at the time and we forced her to wear a do-rag and "berks". Her expression says it all...

20 September 2011

Pretty Flowers

These are in a pretty meditation garden that I see often. I am not sure what they are, but they make me smile.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

19 September 2011

We Survived Another Winfield

I posted pictures and video on my Flickr....including a video capturing a rainy morning in the tent and a flash serenade in front of the Squat & Gobble during breakfast. More stories to come (after the laundry)...

18 September 2011

Images of Winfield

Jonathon picking...
Neat old house next to the Cupcake shop
Cool children's consignment shop which also sold a small selection of cupcakes. Aubri got some overalls and a sweater and David got some cute sneakers. The items were in mint condition. We felt compelled to get cupcakes too (so we did).
Broke out (in?) my new poncho sweater.
John picking in the background, Caden learning to play the washboard softly by his granddad...

17 September 2011

One Day in Winfield

7:30AM Sitting here camped out (literally) in the middle of an early morning thunderstorm. We're here at the Walnut Valley Festival (music festival) and it's a little unnerving in our family sized tent. On Thursday the light rain was perfect for the late afternoon group nap we took but this morning all I can think about is all of the lightning rods surrounding us...

Otherwise it's quite lovely.

Yesterday we took the kids to Stage 2 to see The Wilders and it was misting the entire time. We sat through several songs and then made our way to Stage 1 (the grandstands) to see Tommy Emmanuel.

8:30AM Just checked the forecast again and it looks like thunderstorms most of the day. Bummer because today was supposed to be the best day of all (low 80's). Its been cold (50's) and damp since we got here and we were looking forward to some warmer weather so our bodies could stop shivering. Emi runs some key lime yogurt and cereal to our tent for us. Our lifeline...

Another thunderstorm is moving through...this must be what Woodstock was like. ;.)

9:30AM It's been 2.5 hrs since the storms started and it seems that Emi was the smartest of our bunch. She retreated to her grandparents' camper where they have food and coffee! She swung by when there was a lull in the rain and tossed some string cheese into the tent for us.

Scott is sleeping and I am trying to explain to David why we can't get up and go outside right now (who would want to?). I think he thinks that I am being mean forcing him to stay in bed when it's light out! See how they are "entertaining" each other?

10:40AM Still storming but we grabbed our toothbrushes and mad dashed it across the camp to Grandma Babe's camper to brush our teeth. It was hard enough to sleep with the thunderstorm going on but it was compounded by David's grumbling. I grabbed our mugs and creamer on the 2nd trip over.

11:00AM 4 hrs of thunderstorms later and the sun has come out. It's a little windy and our stuff is soaked through but I think we'll make it. We got Ultimate Reubens from the festival offerings and we're drying out now...some of us in more ways than one.

12:30PM David and Aubri got to ride the 'charlie' (trolley aka tractor shuttle). Me and Grandma Babe removed tails from shrimp for gumbo tonight and I cleaned the skillet of the queso/quesadilla residue from last night. We sat under the big top tent marveling at the weather and snacked on peanuts and candy corn.

2:30PM We changed into shorts and t-shirts before heading out to see Byron Berline with Sean and Emily. The weather was perfect to be sitting on the hill listening to an outdoor concert.

4:30PM 2 hours later it's a typical Winfield camp experience with lots of wind and heat (finally). Forced to watch kids wind down for nap and end up taking a nap myself.

6:00PM Wake up from late afternoon nap with the kids and it's chilly again due to the sudden cloud cover. Tornado watch until 11PM. {YIPES!!!}

Spend next hour packing up Disco with various camp items and securing the awnings, etc. It starts raining and thundering and we are all under the Big Top eating naan, hummus, salsa, guac and chips....waiting the storm out. Lots of fantastically scary lightning and then a rainbow.

8:00PM If we hadn't taken precautions we'd probably have been directly hit by a tornado. Dinner of beans and gumbo is served. Kids were acting whiny and stir crazy and are now filling their bellies. It's still raining.

9:00PM kids are both singing 'doe, a deer, a female deer' and winding themselves down. The wind is still crazy whipping the sides of our tent and there are random flashes of lightning.

10:00PM Everything is calm, kids have been asleep and I have decided to stay in for the night and listen to music from around the campsite...too muddy to walk to Pecan Grove...

16 September 2011


Two weeks ago I ordered a cool poncho/sweater from ModCloth, a company I'd seen advertised on Making it Lovely.  I never received a confirmation e-mail and I didn't jot down the order number assuming it'd be e-mailed to me (FAIL), so almost a week later, I contacted customer care to try to track down my order. The technician found nothing under my e-mail address and told me to assume that there was a glitch at checkout and that the order didn't go through....no matter that there was a hold for my order on my bank account. So I put the order through again Friday morning after I set up my customer account and then Friday afternoon my original order arrived on my doorstep (of course!).  On the receipt was the reason we couldn't find the original order - I typed in my e-mail address wrong when I set up my account initially so I never received that confirmation e-mail - it went to "noiltamorgan" instead.  D'oh!

I called to cancel the duplicate order but it was already shipping. (Efficient, they are!) I was a bit annoyed that the original technician couldn't track down my order via the specific items ordered or the amount ordered or the date/time of the order. The second tech said they would pay shipping for me to return the items because they should have been able to find the order in the system based on the information supplied. Both techs were very nice, by the way...

Because I loved my sweater so much, I decided to see if we could resolve this situation a different way, i.e. how could I keep both? I had Emi try on the sweater and she liked it so we've decided to keep both Fall Awakening Sweaters and Tree earrings.

Now we just need to find the perfect charcoal boots to go with!

15 September 2011

Trading Spaces

I wish that show was still on air because 1) I loved it so much, 2) we need some help around our place and 3) I'm not sure that I want to do the work myself. Last weekend I had a chance to hang out in the backyard again with my sweet little daughters and I immediately started daydreaming about a pool yard makeover.  This is what we're dealing with right now:

Want to Convert This Space
I took this photo from atop the slide to give it that nice aerial feel
Here's my very rough, very unprofessional mark-up of the space:

I Can't Wait
I have high hopes for that Almond Tree!

Little by little that nasty old hot tub is leaving the yard...panel by panel. This Fall it will be gone!  A pergola would be nice so with some pretty passion flower vines growing all up around it. We could move the grill from under the Magnolia to under the pergola. But a cabana opens up so many more possibilities!

We often dream of relocating our Master bedroom and bath to an upstairs floor but that would be a LOT of money adding on another story. We have more realistic discussions about remodeling the two rooms in the basement for the kiddos' future use. With either of those options we'd have a guest room once again (the sun room futon doesn't really count but is available currently). But I digress...

If we decided to extend our current pool house (here's a photo from last year's leak-chasing effort) we could actually do BOTH! Cabana to the East of the pool and Pergola to the North of the pool all the way to the pond.

The leak was nowhere near where we were cutting...(or digging as I suggested later that weekend) BUT we are intimately familiar with our pool plumbing now and are planning to patch up more concrete as we go along.

Cute picture of my girls!

View to show my vantage point in capturing those previous shots... and my cute girlies!

It would be so nice to have a place for friends and family to stay when visiting, a little space of their own. Plus it would be nice for gatherings if we had a space outside of our house specifically for pool parties or tailgating before games. I'd like to move my guargantuan fridge from my small kitchen into the cabana and have another area in which to prepare and eat food. We don't even have a budget for this right now, but I can still dream about it.

Maybe when the Little Ones are in elementary school we can start with the updates? Or maybe I should start buying lottery tickets again...

14 September 2011

Cookie Monsters

What to Do
We had some cereal nearing their end of life...what to do?

018 copy
Make cookies, of course!

Raisin Bran-Muesli Cookies
Lots of Chewy Muesli & Raisin Bran Cookies

Cookie Time
Kid approved

First Two

They were a little small...
We got our first eggs this morning! Two  beautiful (and small) browns. One was in a nest and one was on the coop floor. I am guessing that this egg laying thing maybe caught the hen by surprise. Our chickens are just a little over 5 months old.

13 September 2011

Wild, Wild Life

Against all odds our huge old pecan trees have pecans this year. And lately we've been battling with the squirrels to try to protect our harvest. The pecans are not ripe yet but that is not stopping those pesky pests from tearing into the green pecans.  We have day jobs so you can guess who's winning...

One of our Pecan Trees
Scott encouraging the squirrels to move on...
It might not seem so bad if the squirrels weren't being so wasteful of the pecans...

Pecan Wasteland
Pecan Wasteland ...

Since the temperatures have dropped we've seen a raccoon and a skunk on the porch within the past week, the squirrels are partying it up in the back yard and something (mole/gopher) is going to town in my front lawn. I'm not sure we had this much wild life when we lived out in the country...

12 September 2011

Hosty Mosh Pit

Last night we went to the last of the Summer Breeze concerts in the park and they definitely saved the best for last: Hosty.  I have been of longtime fan of Hosty, since before they were The Hosty Duo. The band was called Silvertones back in 1994 when we used to catch them at Liberty D's (and we danced to My Ho Drives a Big Red Car), then they were the Silvatones and then they whittled down to Hosty Trio and then Hosty Duo.

As proof: I think I still have the cassette that Mike Byar's brought to me in 1995. I can't recall if they ran out at the performance or if I didn't have the cash that night but he was kind enough to deliver the much wanted music to me.

Last night they were as good as ever and I'm so happy that my children got to experience them. Emi has heard Mike Hosty play before at her school and the Little Ones have heard their music from our home library but none had experienced a Hosty concert before last night. It was a beautiful night in the park and one good thing about not having much rain this summer is that there were no mosquitoes out. The temps were cool too.

We started out at a friend's house near the park. He was hosting a pre-Hosty gathering that he didn't even make it to....he got stuck in Seattle. Nice that he let us hang out and socialize before the concert. Much more trusting a friend than I ...

Hanging at Scott's, pre-Hosty

Scott and I sat in our Winfield chairs and we spread out a blanket for the kids, but they did not sit still for long.  2 of our 3 joined the other kiddos in front of the stage in a little mosh pit of sorts. It was so cute to see them dancing to the music. I love that they will have memories of running barefoot in the park, making friends and dancing to good music.

We sat back drinking Tecate and eating Guacamole Chips and soaking in the music and the good time. Some friends joined us on the blanket and I found out that Hosty's babysitter can also be our babysitter. She lives close to us and even after sitting with our 3 kiddos said that she'd love to watch the kids. I will have to make use of that offer before it expires. ;.)

We bought their new CD (The Mousetrap Sessions) and of course, a Mac and Cheese t-shirt "for Scott".  It was a late night so I will post pictures later... it was a great way to spend 9/11.

So, how was your weekend, friends?

10 September 2011

High Fidelity

A few years back a company that I used to work for was distributing funds from our Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) and I found myself with a couple thousand dollars of mad money on my hands. Of course my first purchase was a chocolate brown pair of UGGly boots that had been on my wish list for some time. (they made the cool season so much more tolerable...and still do)

We also had been researching a sound system for the house. We wanted wireless access to our music library, iTunes, Pandora, Internet radio and iPods and we wanted to be able play music all over the house.  While in Austin we checked out the Sonos system at Best Buy because we'd read some really great things about the system.  The price seemed a little steep but nothing else could compare.

After we got back from that trip we ordered 2 zones and a bridge online.  One zone is in the living room connected to the home theater and the other is set up in the Gathering Room which is where most of our guests hang out.
Sonos Zoneplayer

We were up and running the evening our Sonos system arrived.  We loved the system....especially the sexy controller:

We got through a few months with 2 zones but we really wanted a zone for our bedroom, and the garage (for game days) and of course another zone and more speakers for the big back yard, and maybe one for the basement. We ended up ordering the S5, an all-in-one music player with integrated speakers.
Sonos Play: 5 
This baby can normally be found in our bedroom but it can be moved around the house anywhere and we move it out to the back yard for pool parties.

Aubrianna in Her Goggles
You can see the S5 on the stoop behind Aubri.
Some family and friends have downloaded the Sonos apps to their iPhones so that they can control the music at our parties too. That can get interesting when we want to hear different songs...

So there you have it folks...our secret to fun gatherings at our house. Actually this is only one of the secrets. You'll have to come to a gathering at our house to learn the rest.

09 September 2011


I have way too many competing thoughts in my head right now so I think I will just unload them as they come along:

First off, I got crap for sleep last night because after getting into bed early with the windows open (ahhhh!) I was rudely awakened by a calf cramp (argh!) that made me lunge out of bed at 2:26am. I got rid of the cramp by stretching and drinking water and then I tried to pick up where I left off with sleep. About 5 minutes into that effort I heard a screeching of tires in the driveway next door (which is only like 10 feet from our bed) and heard some coughing and an "Are you okay now?". I peered out the window and saw one of my neighbors puking into her bushes (thankfully not MY bushes) while some guy stood near her.  I hadn't heard a car engine revving because the guy was driving a "golf cart" (as Emi would say) - something that is gaining in popularity in my neighborhood.  A smaller version of one my parents have.

This book is waiting for me at the library. I put it on hold the other day seconds after reading a recommendation for it from The Inspiration Files blog.  I love that I can do that. Speaking of the library, last weekend after I posted pictures of the bench that I moved into our library, I got busy culling out junk to toss and books to donate. I also went through all of the kid vids, donating what we don't want or need and chucking the empty DVD holders.  I filled up a medium sized box that is now with the other stuff in the basement waiting patiently for my next trip to Salvation Army (my charity of choice because it's the closest to my house). Even with just that cursory culling the library looks so much better.


While this week was short in days, it felt longer for me. Probably because Scott was out of town Wednesday night and I was flying solo with the kids.  While I can definitely imagine being a single mom to 3 kids, I can't imagine liking it.  It wasn't too bad but just because Daddy wasn't around, each little hobo tried to change up the schedule of events for Wednesday. Can we eat out? No. Can I sleep in your bed with you? Me too, me too! No. Can we watch a movie? No. I took all of the kids to Emi's soccer practice and was planning to hang out and play during practice until my good friend (thank you, Sharmin!) volunteered to bring Emi home after practice. I think we screeched our tires getting out of there before she could change her mind.  The Little Ones needed a bath and dinner and we needed to Skype with the grandparents at 7pm. And they needed to be in bed by 7:30. So, I did things in reverse order and bathed the kids before dinner. During the Skyping their aunt read them a book so we could skip that part of the bedtime routine.  And after they were in bed, Emi wanted to stay up so I invited her to sit in the peace and quiet with me and read. And she did until she fell asleep (like a good girl) at 8:30.

The whole house was so quiet with the windows open and I only need to tweak one thing on my blog before I could welcome sweet slumber. That's when I heard a crunch, crunch through the front porch window. When I looked up expecting to see one of my cats eating her dinner, I saw a masked bandit instead. I knocked on the window to scare him off but he seemed to open his little bandit arms in a gesture of "What? I'm eatin' here!" so I had to go onto the porch to run him off. I settled back in with my laptop afterwards until he returned. That's when I decided the front lawn needed a nice long watering. I sprayed down everything including the porch and returned to my warm laptop. Amazingly he was back so I ran him off again. This time he decided to hide in the back yard.

So I flipped on all of the backyard lights and soon spotted the raccoon walking around like "What have we here?" eyeing the water bowl, checking out the chicken coop. I came out with a broom screaming like a crazy woman and chased him up our Enchanted Pecan Tree.  As I was texting Scott about my concern for the chickens (raccoons have been known to slaughter chickens!) the little guy came down the pecan tree and headed for the front yard where he ran under the Disco. I could see him pacing around trying to figure out which way to run so I ran at the Disco to encourage him to leave and he was well on his way until a neighbor from next door drove up, scaring him past me back into the back yard. Eventually Rocky Raccoon left, chickens unharmed, and I was able to finish my blogwork and get to bed.

I'm looking forward to yoga (maybe with my early riser, David-son!); the first soccer game of the season; planting some seeds; drinking some red, red wine; carting off some stuff to The Salvation Army; reading a good book; viewing some Dexter & Breaking Bad; and maybe eradicating the Dallisgrass in the front yard.

What about you? Any exciting plans for the weekend?

08 September 2011

On That Day

Several months ago we watched Julie and Julia and Julie's job (answering telephone calls from victims of 9/11) made us think about that awful day. It was the first time that we really had a conversation with Emi about the topic. Sure, we'd mentioned the Twin Towers before when watching episodes of Fringe involving Walternate's World where the Twin Towers still stand, but we'd never really talked about the terrorist attacks with Emi.

She was born about 9 months after that terrible day and changed the course of our lives. Her birth parents hooked up during that confusing and scary time in the world resulting in our "post 9/11" baby. It's crazy to think about how that day affected us in a positive way because it was such a sad and scary time, but so wonderful to see people showing love and support after the horror. And what a wonderful surprise for us several months later...

On that day I was at my office and Scott was home after working the night shift at AOL (training new SAVES employees). I was on the phone with a co-worker based at our headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. I was finishing up my coffee and talking to him about project documentation and more specifically, our requirements management tool that we use to track changes to requirements and documentation, when he said that he saw smoke coming from a building close to him. He thought it might be the Pentagon. I could hear some scuffling going on through the line and then he had to hang up quickly because they were evacuating all of the government buildings. They had confirmed it was the Pentagon.

Soon, my office, 1300 miles away, was buzzing with the information of the attack on the Twin Towers and we were told to go home. I called Scott at home and in a panicked voice, told him to turn the on the TV. He'd been asleep and I was annoyed that he wasn't already aware of the situation. It didn't register with me that he'd been up working all night. We lived out in the country and had been through a lot of scary things already in our 3.5 short years out there: IVF followed by miscarriage, FET followed by miscarriage and the Y2K scare. Our family at this time was just us, our dogs and our cats. I told him we were being sent home and I was scared.

I stopped to gas up on the way home and it was impossible, the lines were so long at the gas stations.  I listened to the radio news on the 13 mile drive home. At home we watched helplessly as the Twin Towers burned and people jumped out of the buildings. I remember wondering if there would be more attacks or if we were safe. I think we were allowed to come back to work the next day. I remember that soon enough we all had t-shirts to remember the victims (United We Stand).

This event brought back memories of another terrorist attack that had affected us few years back, the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Scott and I were working together at the time and the bombing happened the month before we started dating. I was supposed to interview with the Federal Reserve Bank in Downtown OKC that afternoon (April 19, 1995) and I was in the shower when that explosion happened 10 miles North of me. I thought it was thunder. My sister and I didn't even know about it until my dad called to see if we were okay. My ex-boyfriend who was a firefighter first on the scene also called to check on me. They both knew I was scheduled to be downtown that day. It wasn't until later that I remembered it was also my dad's birthday. For 4 years after the bombing he didn't feel like celebrating his b-day until my other sister gave birth to my niece in 1999 on that day.

Beautiful how the birth of a child can heal.

07 September 2011

Frusen Glädjé *

* Swedish for "frozen delight"

Back in 1985-86 I was lucky enough to work at Frusen Glädjé. It was an ice cream store and deli and everything was delish! It was my 3rd job on the books (outside of babysitting, lawn mowing and paper throwing). My first job was waitressing at Pizza Hut (which is now the best BBQ place in town) followed by a short stint at as a hostess at Trujillo's de Santa Fe (this building is sadly no longer there, but I was lucky enough to attend a friend's wedding reception there back in 1997 before it was torn down). I had volunteered to help with our school's wrestling team fundraiser held at Frusen Glädjé and was recruited to work there by one of the managers during the fundraiser.

I do not remember the commercials for Frusen Glädjé ice cream and it's a shame because they looked like something I would have enjoyed...  Maybe not, because I was only 16 years old and preoccupied with my friends, cute boys and my freedom - a chocolate brown 1981 Camaro Berlinetta with T-tops. The commercials appealed "to the sybaritic buyer with a taste for the very finest."  Sybaritic - characterized by or loving luxury or sensuous pleasure: to wallow in sybaritic splendor. Well, we certainly didn't wallow in sybaritic splendor - I could barely keep my gas tank filled, but I did succumb to the pleasures of the ice cream. And I can relate to the commercials that I see (now) were aired featuring the catch phrase, "I ate all the Frusen Glädjé." Oh how I can relate!

I was a skinny senior in high school then and when I was grounded, I volunteered to work double shifts at FG just to get out of the house. Sort of a work-release program.  We had great food there, a killer stereo system and it was hardly ever busy (which explains why they went out of business). And I got to see my friends who could freely visit me at work.

Things I did to pass the time (14 hour shifts, yo!):
  • talked to my friends on the phone (remember land lines? and corded phones? and the sound of a busy tone?)
  • drank coffee sweetened with a plop of vanilla ice cream (and fell in love)
  • ate coffee ice cream (this is where it ALL started)
  • noshed on Swiss chicken salad (which I still make for my family!)
  • read the college paper (and became addicted to crossword puzzles)
  • noshed on French Onion Soup (still make this though not nearly as often as the chicken salad)
  • noshed on German Potato Salad, warmed up with a plop of sour cream (I don't make this delight because I sadly never learned that recipe)
  • noshed on many variations of deli sandwiches (Hello, roast beef with cream cheese!)
  • made (and ate) fresh waffle cones
  • made (and ate) whipped cream
  • cultivated a love for quiche and side salads with fresh ranch dressing
  • ate many of Patti's baked delights with my coffee: cream cheese brownies, cream cheese bars, rocky road bars
  • occasionally a customer would come in and want something from the deli or a frozen delight so I'd help them
I loved the smell of the coffee brewing and waffle cones cooking when I first came in to my shift. I didn't love the sticky forearms from scooping Rum Raisin ice cream...but I did love sampling the Rum Raisin ice cream (among so many others). We had those little sample spoons and I remember sampling all of the flavors we had at the time. I did not like the selection of Tofutti "ice cream" that we had (unless it was accompanied by a nice slathering of hot caramel).

I remember changing up the lyrics to popular songs (with Jon, Patti's husband) to relate to our workplace: "Raspberry Beret" was "Raspberry Sorbet" (of course). I remember Jon singing Madonna's "Live to Tell" with the lyrics "there's a bird inside of me" instead of "it will burn inside of me". (Ok, so that one didn't apply to the workplace but it was so funny.) Jon would sometimes bring in his electric guitar and play for us giggly high school girls.

I remember the long drive down Main Street after a fresh snow had fallen during my shift. I'd still smell like coffee and deliciousness after closing up the shop and on my cruise home I'd crack my window and light up a Marlboro Light to end the day - my last act as a grown up for the day. 

I remember having to come in late one night for inventory (I think). I'd been out with my best friend partying and at some point that evening we dessimated an entire bag of Oreos. I came in to work stinking of cigarettes and I recall getting some odd looks from the manager. I excused myself to the bathroom where I saw Oreo crumbs caked around my food hole. I laughed hysterically for a minute, composed myself and cleaned myself up before joining the rest of the crew. This was a nice, clean Christian establishment and I can only imagine how corrupted they must have thought I was....

Towards the end of my career there, my sister would come along with me to work and drink milkshakes (and feast on quiche with me). She'd been in a near-death car crash that crushed her skull and milkshakes were a nice way to get some extra calcium into her diet to help her skull grow back together. Plus it got her out of the house as well.

That summer after graduation was a confusing and emotionally draining time in my life and in the midst of all the battling I did with my father and trying to sort out my confused feelings about first love and of course, drinking beers with my friends, Frusen Glädjé shut down and I moved to Florida for a couple of months to escape. I never did get my last paycheck from there, but I am sure I came out ahead, cream cheese-wise anyhow...

What about you? Have any good stories about your first jobs or first loves or teenage angst?

06 September 2011

Nearly Perfect Day

Labor Day was a nearly perfect day from start to finish. I woke up early and opened the windows to feel the cool breeze for the second day in a row! I let the dogs out and got a pot of coffee (with cinnamon) brewing and immediately got in the front yard to do a "quick mow" (My quick mow turned into a couple of hours of trimming and mostly digging up the Dallisgrass that has invaded our lawn.) while the kids played a variation of Cops and Robbers. That was cute. Emi was kind enough to buy her little brother and sister some toy guns, handcuffs and a holster at the Dollar Tree.

Sad Kids
In the pokey
Don't they look sad pretending to be in jail? I heard them pretending to pull over the offenders for running red lights. Time in jail seems sort of extreme...unless they were texting while driving too. Every time I tried to capture them making sad faces, Aubri kept laughing the second I took the picture. So hard for my sweet little sunshine to even pretend to be sad.

Later we had watermelon in the back yard with the neighbors and watched the wildlife. 

05 September 2011


Several years ago I bought a cute bench on campus corner and while I thought about putting it on the front porch, it ended up at the foot of our bed....covered with magazines and folded clothes. I've been trying to move furniture around the house to make more sense and flow and this weekend the bench ended up in the library.  It may end up in the Gathering Room (replaced with floor cushions) but for now it works (and I'm not planning on giving this piece of furniture away!)


04 September 2011

It's Been An Asian Kinda Day

Recently a friend from high school posted a request  on FaceBook for good lumpia in Norman. I posted that there were no filipino food options in Norman - save for a possibility of some on the buffet at Riverwind - and that I would gladly show her how to make lumpia. Any excuse to make lumpia is a good excuse.

We started off the day with Egg Fried Rice for breakfast and then we got busy working in the yard.

My friend came over at lunchtime and we got busy frying some rolls that I had already prepared. After we had eaten a couple I showed her which wrappers to use (Simex lumpia wrappers) and how to properly roll lumpia. We ate lumpia until our bellies were full and then we sent my friend home with some rolls to fry for her mom.

Cup of Happiness