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2 kids. Memories of Wolf and Boo. Many dear friends. Three siblings. Two parents. Samarra the crazy dog. The Player and Pi the Cat. I love you all!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Quiz

The Quiz:

1.  When your mother says it's time to stop spreading powder around the house you should
     a.  wait until she isn't looking and keep spreading powder  or
     b.  stop spreadng powder until she isn't looking then keep doing it anyway.

2.  When your mother says don't kick your sister again you should
     a.  stop kicking your sister for 10 seconds then resume, or
     b. wait 10 seconds then kick her harder.


3.  When you mother says please go to bed you should
     a.  go to bed for 2 minutes then get up and say you can't sleep, or
     b.  wait until she is sitting down outside talking to the Player which takes about 2 minutes, then get up saying you can't sleep.

4.  Your mother will love you even when you do things like this for an entire day:

     a. True or
     b.  True.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Test Questions

No Gentle Readers, I was not busy with the kind of indoor activities I imagine you imagined yesterday.  The kids, the Player, and I had a day of naps, movies, cooking (salmon and potatoes for dinner, yum!)  baking (pumpkin pie which has already been reduced to one slice), and reading.   The kids had an all day project which basically involved them testing the limits of my patience to see if it would be

a.  the same as
b.  greater than, or
c.  less than

the usual limits, since the Player is here. 

The correct answer is True.  It is.

So today if the weather is good we will go to Fairview Pool.  If not we will watch the Cubs on WGN.  Tonight if I can get a sitter the Player and I are going to a movie.  Local blog readers all invited to join us!  Normal Theater 7 p.m., a film with Javier Bardem!!!  (Yes, I picked this film.  Yes, the correct answer is d.  All of the Above.)

Don't forget any of this as there will be a quiz tomorrow.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

To Market To Market

It's Saturday morning and we are about to head out to the Farmer's Market.  It is the 3rd week this year of the Downtown Bloomington Market but the first weekend that we will be going.  The Player is here for the holiday weekend and he will be joining us for some meandering around the square.  (Right now he is catching up on some ZZZZs as he got in very very late, or actually very very early this morning.) 

We will not be taking Wolf to the Market as last year he attempted to mark all of Downtown Bloomington as his own personal territory.  That included some al fresco diners' shoes and various flower planters around town.  I think Wolf might actually be banned from the Market.

I don't know what's in season right now except that it SHOULD be rhubarb but it's not.  This year I am not the only one who was unable to ripen their rhubarb properly.  After visiting 3 grocery stores last weekend in search of the stuff I was told by the cute produce guy at Schnucks (that would be the Schnuck's in Normal in case any of you single female followers are interested) that no one has rhubarb due to weather-related problems.  So, Dad, it seems that the rain  did hurt the rhubarb after all. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bats in Hats

I bought a little plastic drain for the bathroom sink last week which turned out to be too big to fit our sink.  So I just stuck it in a drawer in the bathroom.  The next thing I knew, it had turned into a sombrero for Sam, the Bat:


Well, whaddya know?  I wonder who did that?

Other things I am wondering about:  when will it stop getting so cold at night that I have to wear winter jammies and think about turning on the furnace again? This morning's indoor temperature is 66 degrees Fahrenheit.  Yowza!

Fairview pool opens this weekend for the season.  The air temps are supposed to be warm tomorrow, but that water in the pools is going to be pretty durned chilly.  I'm thinking trashy summer novel before I'm thinking water slide for mom!  Way way before.  Maybe weeks.  We shall see.




video

Here is a short video of J-dude pitching during Tuesday night's game.  Thursday's game was cancelled due to weather.  I think the fields were just too wet to play since it wasn't actually raining during game time.  J-dude had a big homework assignment due today that he had to finish before game time.  He finished with about 30 minutes to spare.  I found out the game was cancelled when he had about 1 question left to answer on his sheet.  Bummer.  But then he got to goof off the rest of the evening so...oh, wait, no he had to clean his room.  Man, I am the meanest mom ever. 

Good thing I have those pool passes.  I might get reinstated as a not-so-mean mom this weekend. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ride, Sally Ride

Wednesday proved to be a long day this week as well.  Twenty-four hours just like the other days, DUH!  you are probably thinking to yourself.  Or maybe you left off the DUH! because you are genteel and sophisticated.  If so, you are at the wrong blog site baby!

I had a long day at work again.  Grocery shopping, making dinner, guiding kids to do their homework, tornado warnings and sirens filled out the rest of the hours until sleeping.  I went to bed with the kids downstairs in the lower level (not quite a basement) a little after nine o'clock because I was plum tuckered out.  They wanted to sleep downstairs in case we got more creepy weather and I didn't really care where they slept as long as they slept and I could sleep too.  I was pooped!

This morning everyone got up bright and early at six a.m.  Yowza!  Even the boy was wide awake an hour before he normally even thinks about opening his eyes.  I am just now gettting a chance to blog in between dropping them off at school and heading out the door to work.  And really all I want to say today in my blog is "Happy Birthday Sally Ride!"

Sally Ride was born May 26th 1951 so she turns 60 today!  All the photos of her when she was a famous astronaut in the 1980's make her look like she is about 16 so it's hard to imagine her at 60.  But here is how I picture her in my mind:  She is driving a sleek silver 1967 Mustang convertible, wearing her NASA uniform, blasting the song "Mustang Sally" on the 8-track car stereo.  Out in the country she drives well over the speed limit and belts out the chorus when it comes around "Ride, Sally, Ride!"  Little girls stand out at the end of their farmhouse lanes and wave as she drives by.  She smiles and waves back.   

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Very Long Day

Tuesdays are my Mondays.  At the end of some Tuesdays when I am dog-tired, I have to remind myself that this is the price of having Mondays off.  Some catching up remains to be done almost every week.  The past few weeks the work of orienting new employees has made lots of my work days long, though very enjoyable in most ways.

Yesterday was a long Tuesday but it was a good one.  Kids, work, a haircut (just an inch or so trim), kids, Jeremiah's baseball game, baths and bedtime and more work.  My reward at the end of all that was some Skype time with The Player who did not seem to mind that I was brain-dead. 

J-dude got to pitch the second and fourth innings of the game last night.  He gave up 4 runs in the second inning but struck out three in the fourth inning and no more runs scored on him.  Otherwise he played left field, struck out once, walked once and stole both second and third base.  His team lost 8-0 but there were some stellar moments for his team of mostly very inexperienced players.  One kid made a fantastic catch at second base and another made a great close play at first twisting his ankle in the process.  One inning and one ice bag later that kid was up to bat with nary a limp!  Ice is Nice!

Ok, I am not usually a complaining kind of sports mom, but let me just say this once loud and clear without a whine in my voice:  that ump was blind.  And somewhat biased in favor of the winning team.  So much so that J-dude said he's pretty sure he saw a check from the other team's coach in the ump's hand.  (Ha!)

This morning there have been some thunderstorms rolling through bringing much needed rain and wonderful rumbling sounds.  Our next game is tomorrow night so I hope the sky gets this out of it's system in time for another exciting evening of Bloomington-Normal Baseball Association fun!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Just Sayin'

Mom and Dad said they would leave at six this morning after I got up to say goodbye.  But at 6 they were already gone.  There was a note on the table, and Mom left me a couple of her beautiful flowers (roses and freesias).  But now I cannot find my camera.  I had pictures of the artwork that my sister Jill sent along with my parents for me to post today.  And now Mom and Dad snuck out early and my camera is nowhere to be found.  Excuse me while I check downstairs and make sure the artwork is still there, too.

Ok, now I'm back, and not only is the artwork there but so was my camera.  Right where I left it on the table.  So:  nevermind. 

Here is the artwork that I had commissioned. (Oh that feels so good to say!)  I was warned it would be large but I had no idea until it arrived:


Oh wait, that's not it.  That's the giant hot dog guy in Atlanta, Ilinois.  Here is the painting.  (Sorry for the messy desk in the photo, Jill.  I will put a neat-desk picture on here soon.)




It fits perfectly in the spot between my two windows in the family-room-turned-into-mostly-mom's-room.  I love it!  Thank you sis!

One other nice surprise was a visit from N-dude and I-dude yesterday at about dinner time.  A quick call to their mom and they sat down with us for a little kielbasa and veggies, then some time to play with Sisi and J-dude in the backyard. 


SO glad I found my camera.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lucky

I felt plenty lucky yesterday morning even before I found a lucky penny in the chair where I was sitting during the morning adult education class at church.  I felt plenty luckier when I pulled the penny out of the side of the chair cushion and saw it was heads up in my hand.  I am superstitious about lucky pennies.  If they aren't heads up I don't think they are good luck at all.  So I leave them heads up for the next person to find.  But this one was a keeper.

I was then even more surprised to discover that today is Lucky Penny Day according to the Bizarre Holiday Website!  What luck! 

I do feel lucky almost all of the time.  Also grateful and blessed.  And today is another beautiful sunny day and I will be getting to spend it with my parents who are healthy and my kids who are healthy.  My flowers are blooming. 

The unhappy gardening news is that the rhubarb went to seed before it ripened enough to harvest for a pie.  So today, to make my dad feel lucky, I will be in search of rhubarb in the grocery stores.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The African Queen

This wonderful old film (60 years old!) was showing at the Normal Theater last night.  After I took Mom and Dad out for their surprise meal at the Medici (grilled portabella burger for me, pesto seafood pasta for Dad, and some fancy salad with chicken for Mom) we strolled down North Avenue to the theater.

Last night they gave away 4 door prizes.  And just like every  other night I've gone to the Normal Theater for the past 10 years, I did not win one of them.  My green ticket with the number 333 was a big Loser.  But just getting to go to the Normal Theater is a prize all its own.  The restored theater I remember from my childhood charges 6 bucks to get it but popcorn and soda are a buck each.  The seats are comfortable.  There are no commercials and rarely previews.  The volume is perfect.  On the flyer you pick up at the door which tells you about the film it clearly states that if your cell phone goes off during the movie you will be ejectd with no refund.  Ha!  So there!

Last night we had a Sylvester and Tweety cartoon before the film.  It featured Tweety and his li'l-ol'lady owner on a river boat.  Perfect and very funny.  Poor putty tat!

I had never seen the African Queen on a big screen, nor in color.  I had forgotten a few of the fine facial expressions that Humphrey and Kate use to convey some of the best humor in the film.  (Poor Kate, after 10 years in the Congo, doesn't know the joke about Why Does the Chicken Cross the Road.)

I also had forgotten the scene in which Rose and Charlie are about to be hung by the Germans.  Charlie asks the ship captain to marry them.  He does.  And says "I now pronounce you man and wife.  Proceed with the Execution!"   For those of us who have been involved in less-than-happy marriages in our lives, that line reverberates a bit.  Yes indeed.



But they survived in the film, and the rest of us have survived our own challenges, exploding ships or tempers, and here we are...alive and well.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Morning Surprise

Just as I was ready to sit down and blog this morning, a sound from behind the bathroom door:  Mom?! 

Sounds like a boy in distress.  What do you need J-dude?

The toilet is overflowing and water is everywhere. 

Not music to a mother's ears on a Saturday morning, or anytime for that matter.

Five towels, a plunger, a snake, a bucket, lots of cleaning products and a giant garbage bag later, we found the cardboard from a TP roll in the toilet.  Aha!  Problem solved.

I mentioned to the J-dude that having to help me with this odious task would perhaps deter him from accidentally dropping things like that in the toilet in the future.  But his reply was that it was kind of fun.

Ok, that freaked me out.  Until he said it was fun because we were doing it together.  Ok, then.  But I will not be coming along on your job as a plumber, son.  I will cheer you on from home via phone if necessary. 

The bathroom is unbelievably spotless and sterile now after cleaning up. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Not-a-Millionaire's Club

What would I do with a million dollars?  That is the question I asked myself when I saw that today is  Be a Millionaire's Day on the Bizarre and Wacky Website.

Immediately I realized that I began to worry about it.  How much of it should I put away for the kids to go to college?  Would I continue working?  Would I need to work to keep my health insurance or could I afford it with that much money?  Should I give it all away to good causes?  Should I use it to start a business to create jobs for unemployed poets? 

I think my blood pressure went up 40 points within a few moments.

Instead I decided two things.  One, I will continue not spending money on lottery tickets.  Two, I would declare  a holiday called Lower Middle Class Day!  I am celebrating, instead, my modest home that I can afford, my 8 year old car that still runs fine, my ability to find good deals at Goodwill, and the fact that I can work part time and have time to enjoy the rest of my life while hovering slightly above the poverty line.



Though when I found out the other day that I got some extra money back from the IRS because I qualified for a credit called Making Work Count that I'd never heard of, I wondered if I might be hovering a little too close.  Well, this year I did get a raise and I'm working a little extra so maybe I will be lucky enough not to get that money back next year.

Hmmmm?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

J-Dude Rocks His Speech

The title tells the story.  He was the first one in his class to give his presentation.  I stood off to the side while he stood in front of his class (outside on the playground) and told them that if they wanted to learn how to pitch a baseball then it was their lucky day!  He demonstrated the 2-seam fastball first, showing them the grip and walking up and down the row of students to give them a better look.  Then he fired off his first pitch to me, the mom, the proud mama, the catcher.  I threw the ball back and it bounced and hit him in the nose.  But not very hard.  And he took it like a pro.  The process was repeated over with the 4-seam fastball and a curveball.  Except that I managed to get the ball into his glove on the return tosses after the first misfire.

Then he got to the change-up and had a moment of forgetting.  I could see it in his face.  But he did what good pitchers do.  They look to their catcher for a sign.  I made a subtle demonstration of the grip for the changeup that he had taught me the day before.  He finished his talk.  There were lots of questions.  He answered them very comfortably if not exactly directly.  I could see him in front of the press in about 15 years.  "Yes, I had a little trouble with my change-up today, but my location was good and the wind was blowing in from left, so all-in-all the game went well."

After his talk was done there was applause (the teacher had instructed them in the art of polite applause before they began) and we all filed into the classroom again.  I went up to J-dude and tried to interact briefly with him, forgetting that he was with his peers and did not want to hear how proud his mom was in front of them.  That will have to wait until I pick him up from school tonight.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stupendous!

Happy Birthday Mom!

My folks will be visiting this weekend.  I am taking them out to dinner Saturday night.  But don't tell them, it's a surprise!  I'd cook dinner for them on the grill, but...well...you know, the starlings.

Last night J-dude had baseball practice.  The coach finally got to see the kid's arm in action.  He was duly impressed.  I think J will be getting his coveted chance to pitch this year. 


Today the boy has to give a 3 to 5 minute presentation at school, teaching something he knows how to do to his classmates.  He is going to demonstrate how to throw 4 different baseball pitches.  We practiced in the backyard yesterday afternoon.  I am happy to report that he wants me to come to school to help with his demonstration by being his catcher.  Yes, J-dude, I will be there!  Wild horses and baby starlings can't keep me away. 

Yesterday the girl was giving me some compliments that sounded so sweet and authentic.  At first.  It started with "Mom, you have a loving heart."  Yes, yes I do honey.   "Mom, you have a great sense of humor."  Why thank you Sisi, I think so.  And then, as I was shuffling around the kitchen in baggy gray sweats and a ratty t-shirt, "And Mom, you look stupendous in that outfit." 

Really!?  Hmm.  Oddly enough she wasn't about to ask for something or tell me that she had spilled red koolaid on the new carpet.  I'm not sure what she was up to.  Practicing for a career in politics?  Just checking to see if I was listening?  In any event, I didn't say anything.  I just peered over my stupendous glasses and gave her the look.  You know the look.  The one that says "how gullible do you think I am?"  Then I hugged her.  The top of her head fits right under my chin now.  It's a perfect height.  I would tell her, again, not to grow anymore, but it doesn't do any good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Firepit

The new firepit finally got put to good use yesterday evening.  The kids insisted we make smores.  They even helped me cut the grass, finished their homework early, and subjected themselves to a trip to the grocery store to buy the firewood, the grahams, the mallows, and the chocolate.

We had a lengthy debate in the candy aisle about what size Hershey's bars to buy.  I had to convince the kids that the biggest thickest bars were not the best choice.  I think I only won because, well, I was paying. 

We didn't really have time to make a long-lasting fire to sit around and enjoy, so we made a mini-fire that burned just long enough to roast the mallows:



Jeremiah gave our smores a very good review:


Yes that is a little bit of prarie grass peeking out from under the grill lid.  The danged starlings laid eggs in the grill before I could relocate the nest.  I have the grill cover, and a new evaporator bar to put in there as soon as those little ones are ready to fly away.  In the meantime, we can roast our hotdogs over the firepit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Two Red Things

Red thing number one.  The gift that The Player To Be Named Later sent to Sisi for her birthday. 

The Player said he was sending some red hedgehog slippers for Sisi.  They arrived Tuesday but when Sisi opened the package she claimed that The Player does not know his animals very well.  Sisi says they are lady bug slippers.  I decided we should just call them red ladyhedgebughog slippers and be done with it.  Here is what they look like, you can decide for yourself:



Here is a closer look:


Red thing number two:  bandana-pinata.

On Wednesday night I was looking for my red bandana to wear to the book group meeting. Red bandanas were featured headgear in the book we read.  I could not find my bandana and then later I remembered that Sisi had made me a Mother's Day pinata of sorts featuring one very versatile red bandana.





I took a couple swings at the pinata but Sisi is the one who managed to whack it wide open and spill out the contents, which I believe were the dregs of last fall's Halloween candy.  The bandana is still missing but at least I know it's last known whereabouts and might be able to locate it one of these days.

I didn't blog this weekend because The Player to be Named Later and I were busy with continued negotiations at an undisclosed location somewhere between Akron and Normal.   But now I'm back with some catching up to do here on Blogger.  I noticed that I won Versatile Blogger Award in my absence.  Hot diggity dog!  

Right now I must catch up on parenting and getting little people to school.  Hasta la vista, gentle readers!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Champagne and Candlelight

Wow...I don't even usually like champagne but I seem to have overcome that last night as we celebrated Sweet P-Dub's birthday at our book group meeting!  We did talk about a book, and we did have a wonderful evening.  The conversation went late enough for us to light candles and sit on Pam's beautiful deck and I am glad to say that no hummingbirds were harmed in the popping of champagne corks.  That's our story and we're sticking to it.    And later yesterday afternoon I found out that I do not have to be at a work meeting at 8:00 this morning!  I don't have to show up until 9:30!  A gift of an hour and a half, which I spent sleeping.

I did get up at about 3:00 and while I was up Wolf thought it might be a nice time to go outside.  So I went outside with him.  The sky was amazingly clear and I did some stargazing, though without my glasses on I wasn't sure exactly what constellations were looking back down at me.  I was amazed because, again, we have avoided any rain during what was expected to be a week full of thunderstorms.  Nary a drop nor flash nor rumble.  But today...we will see!  "Some storms may be severe." has been the mantra of the week. 
Some storms may never appear.  Not that I'm complaining about the lack of severe weather, no no no!

I'm not complaining about anything, in fact.  Life is good.  The Cubs beat St. Louis 11-4 and Matt Garza the team cheerleader got the win.  So you know I'm feeling the love,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

True Love

Watching the Cubs-Cardinals game last night on WGN while also skyping and talking with The Player, I had a wonderful epiphany!  I realized that the way I feel about the Cubs is true honest love.   I'm talking about the abundant, wasteful love that Dom Crossan (or maybe it's Spong, I can't remember) says we should feel for everything and everyone if we want to be like Jesus (pronounced Hay-Suess if you are watching baseball.) 

I am proud of the Cubs no matter who is on the team.  I love them win or lose.  I don't expect anything from them (except to show up and play the game with heart) but I always hope for them to do their best.  I might have a short moment of disappointment when they leave the bases loaded over and over in a game, but I don't dwell on it.  Not because I don't care, oh I do care, but I don't take it personally.

I don't expect them to win the World Series for me.  I would rather see them get a lot of doubles and singles and make some great defensive plays on a day to day basis than watch a couple guys pumped up on steroids hit a bunch of home runs.  I want them to enjoy themselves.  I loved watching Matt Garza hanging over the railing cheering on his rookie players when they were at bat yesterday.  That's abundant love, a pitcher on his off day acting like a 9 year old to get his teammates fired up. 

I realize the Cubs don't love me back, not personally.  But just by being who they are, day in and day out, and sharing our common love for The Game, they bring me joy.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Scattered Seeds

It's my little sister Connie Lou's birthday...happy birthday Sis!

It's also Clean Up Your Room day.  The holiday website says we can get out shovels and order dumpsters if necessary.  They might be spying on my household.  I think that might be in order.  The website also says parents have to clean their rooms, too. 

Oh.

It is another beautiful day in May here in central Illinois.  The rain and thunderstorms we have been told to expect by the Weather Channel are still only rumors, false advertisements, and potential green areas on future radar maps.  I planted more flowers yesterday (nasturtiums, columbine, balsam and morning glorty seeds) and some herbs (cilantro and basil).  My deck is starting to look pretty fine.  I'd take a picture and show you, but J-dude pushed everything up against the house under the overhang to protect it from the alleged thunderstorms we were supposed to be getting overnight. 

In a somewhat split-personality moment yesterday I bought some organic ground beef (no chemicals, hormones, etc.) at The Jewel, then proceeded to cook it with Hamburger Helper...Bacon Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper.   It was really really good.  I don't think it was the organic beef that made it taste so good.  No, I'm pretty sure it was the unnatural ingredients in the spice pack inside the cardboard box.  Yes, I'm almost positive.  Possibly some sowbelly was in there, too.

Today's big red dictionary word combination:  Corruptible Cosine.   For you math-challenged gentle readers.    That would not, repeat NOT be the birthday girl.  Love you Connie Lou!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lost Socks

The Bizarre and Wacky Holiday Website is really stretching today.  It is Lost Sock Memorial Day.  Now I can see a day to look for lost socks, or throw out those socks you know are never going to have their mate back, or even match up non-matching socks that you might be able to wear together without causing an uproar.  But a memorial day to lost socks?  Are they assumed to be dead if they are not found by May 9th each year?  I think Sisi's sock drawer IS a memorial to lost socks.  If I could only get across her room to check it:

Lions and tigers and bears Oh My!


Lost socks seem to be the least of our worries in this room.

Today I will be tackling clutter throughout my home.   I think this may be a good place to start.  Then if I have time I will build a memorial to Lost Socks.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Weekend

To celebrate Sisi's birthday the kids and I headed north to Grand Bear Lodge Friday after school.  The kids enjoyed the indoor water park and the amusement park.  I enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves.  I also did go down the crazy inner-tube slide once.  Yowza!   That was enough spinning around and going fast for the next year for me.  My inner ear must be getting old.



I did go on this ride once with the kids, too.  No spinning.  My kind of ride.  They, however, think it is boring.  Because of course there is no spinning. 

Here is the birthday girl, apparently having a pretty good time.


Today is Mother's Day, as you all well know.  I bought myself a Mother's Day gift of some flowers and spent part of Saturday afternoon planting them in pots on the deck.  I put a few new perennials in the flower bed around the deck, too.



I bought some phlox, sweet william,  delphinium, pansies, petunias, verbena, lobelia, and this beauty:




Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" like a beautiful hibiscus.  And I also brought some of these babies in to make my kitchen smell like Mother Nature's Love:


Friday, May 6, 2011

Space Queen

This morning I put the dog food away after I fed him.  But I put it in the fridge.  Where it does not belong.  Oh spacy me!  Then I fired up my trusty laptop (I think he needs a name) and found out that today is Space Day.  Happy Space Day!  Enjoy some space.  Don't let anyone invade your space.  Think about outer space.  Have a close encounter of the third kind if you can!

Former Astronaut and Senator John Glenn changed Space Day to International Space Day.  I guess he just sat in the Senate one day and said "make it so" and it became an international holiday.  And it was good.

But I think if he'd had a little more imagination he could have declared it to be Intergalactic Space Day.  So instead of feeling like king of the world, he could feel like king of multiple galaxies, if not the entire universe.  I think I could qualify as an international OR intergalactic space queen, if I just put my mind to it.  Or put my mind on other things than what I am doing at the time, to be more specifically confusing.

Ok, I confess I had to look up the adverb form of specific in the big red dictionary.  I wasn't 100% sure it looked right when I typed it as above.  (It is.)  But as I was browsing through the S's, I was enjoying the combination of words at the top of each page (as I have been known to do) and came upon a new favorite:

Sowbelly Spangle.

I do believe that an Intergalactic Space Queen would wear such a thing, don't you?

p.s. - Susan, tomorrow I may not blog or may not blog until evening as I am taking the kids on an overnight trip for Sisi's birthday.  Do not worry.  Make sure you have some kind of silly reading material at hand to get you through your morning.  You may borrow my big red dictionary if you would like!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oyster Hoagies and Margaritas

Today is of course Cinco de Mayo, more commonly known in the US as a day to drink margaritas.  (Sisi's teacher was pronouncing cinco as kinko and Sisi said she had to set that woman straight!).  It is also Oyster Day and National Hoagie Day!  So make sure to partake of all three or at least any of the three that interest you.

Sorry Dad, so far no National Rhubarb Day has been found.  It should be a priority right after Hummus Month gets established.  Or perhaps we should try some rhubarb hummus.  That would go great with an oyster hoagie!

Excuse me, I actually feel a little bit ill right now....
*****
Ok, back again, with bad food combinations cleared from my brain.  Oh no, wait a rhubarb margarita just popped into my head.  Ack!

I'm envisioning a holiday called "Bad Food Combinations Day" coming up soon. 

Onion ice cream anyone?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting Susan Back on Schedule

Poor Susan has had her entire schedule thrown out of whack by my unorthodox blogging times the past few days.  So she said yesterday both commenting here and at the post-steering-committee-meeting-debriefing (no briefs were removed, don't worry) at the Medici.   We had a wonderful time at the debriefing (again, no worries about briefs here).  We had the visually hilarious experience of watching our wait-person bring a bottle of wine to our table that he opened with the usual flourish but it was a screw cap. I needed those laughs after Monday's hideously busy "day off" (ha!) and Tuesday's all-day meeting in Peoria for work (leaving my house at 6:30 a.m., ack!) and then the steering committee meeting.  I have been sitting so much in the past 24 hours that I can say my behind is not happy.  But I'm still smiling.

Anyway, I was so danged busy running around on Monday and sitting around on Tuesday that my blogging schedule got messed up.  But I'm back.  You can hum a few bars of "I Will Survive" or you can imagine Jack Nicholson, whichever the phrase I'm Back calls to mind first.  Or you can imagine Jack Nicholson sticking his head through a wall while singing I Will Survive, Hey Hey! if you like to integrate various parts of your brain with scary singing scenes like that.  As I sometimes do.

And if you prefer to imagine Governor Arnold in his space alien acting days, you will be glad to know that tomorrow morning I'll Be Back!  on my usual schedule, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Green Bananas and Purple Lilacs

My lilacs erupted into May.  This may be their finest year since I moved into this house 11 years ago. 




As you can imagine, their aroma is incredible.

Onto the green bananas:  plantains, sliced, fried, smashed and fried again equals "patacones."  Smashed as in squished with a glass, like this:



But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.  First the plaintains:


You can get them at Walmart.  Today they were 54 cents each.  The clerks always freak out a bit wondering what they are and how to cook them. 

You peel them and slice them:


Then you fry them in a little vegetable oil, flipping them to cook on both sides until just slightly crispy:



You then take them out of the oil and, here's the fun part, you smash them!  Smash smash smaaassshhh!  Can you tell which part of this process I love the most?  The SMASHING!  Aaaah, so much fun.

Half fried, smashed green banana!  Oh happy day!

Now you fry them again, flipping them over to cook on both sides.  The oil gets a little wild and bubbly.

When they are done you put them on paper towels to drain a little of the oil off, then salt a bit.  Then eat them!  Yum, yum.   If your kids find out you have them you will have to share. 



 That's why you should always buy at least 2 plaintains.



Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day!

No, no I'm not calling for help.  It's the first of May, known as May Day.  Time to dance around the maypole.  Time to plant some spring flowers.  If you live in a socialist-leaning society (or state of mind) you can honor the working class.  In Ecuador people get the day off work (if it falls on a work day, of course) and people jokingly refer to it as The Day of Bums, since they all get to relax and be "bums" for a day.

It is also Loyalty Day, Save the Rhino Day, and Mother Goose Day.  Whew!  What a busy day.  No time to be a bum after all.

If you want to call for help with this term (if you need to be saved from a rhino, for example), you must repeat the term mayday three times.  Otherwise you will be ignored and it will be assumed you are dancing around the maypole.  The term is from the French venez m'aider which loosely translates to get your ass over here and stop that rhino from charging me immediately.   Isn't French a beautiful language?    So eloquent.

May is an eloquent word in English.  I love the sound of it.  I think of Lilies of the Valley when I think of May.  Mother's Day.  A woman's name.  Birthdays of my daughter, my sister, and my mother.  The end of the school year, the beginning of summer, the month that the pool opens!   Take three bunny hops.  Mother-May-I?  Yes, you may!  Peonies and lilacs.  Rhubarb.  Kids baseball.  It's a great word, a great month, and so very polite.