Sunday, August 31, 2008

here I am

Staring at the blank writing window, and wondering what I should fill it with. Maybe a memory story. I've enjoyed telling and writing some down, but I don't want to get bogged down with them. I did do a nice job with the salmon for dinner, if I say so myself. Baked it with garlic and olive oil, pepper, dill, and mushrooms, and it turned out tasty. Or how I really have had the munchies this evening, and have tried to choose snacks that are OK, or at least a combination of things that won't send my blood sugar through the roof. I managed to stay away from both the chips and the ice cream, so I was at least that good. I shelled some black eyed peas today too. We got them from the farmer's market, and I'm looking forward to having them for dinner tomorrow. Lovely and fresh foods, and I'm happy they are in reach and I'm taking advantage of them.

Still, nothing seems to be quite enough on its own, to make a whole post. Do I write a story or write about writing. Do I talk to myself? (Um, well, actually I do, and sometimes it helps, but that is rather beside the point.) I have an audience, and I must consider them. The writing books say I must. If I want anyone to keep up with what I post, I have to make it interesting. I doubt really, that this is, particularly. But I think about it, just so you know.

The daily effort to create, tell, remember, characterize and communicate is a good exercise for me. Probably as good as taking a walk. I do see the point of keeping a journal, and making notes more clearly now. More personally. I'm considering entering the occasional vignette into my blog as another kind of practice. The art of the short-short story. The practice of capturing a moment. The extent that writers will go to, to fill a blank space.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

chili, and cooking

Labor Day weekend means Hatch Chili Festival. No, I didn't go, and don't really plan to this year. Yes, I have been to it, and much like other town festivals, I'm not really impressed. I don't care for the midway or the overpriced cheap stuff that you are supposed to buy as mementos.

The chili, however, I can get into. I bought my Hatch green chili at Albertsons, where they will roast it for you free. If the bag I bought was any indication, and I'm assuming it is, the chili this year is GOOD! The 35 pounds I got roasted is meaty and firm and de-licious. It was great for lunch with tomatoes from the farmer's market, and great for dinner too.

Dinner was our first experiment with savory pie. Carl and I are going to work on them, I think, and see how pie dough fares with a hearty flour. I definately need to work on my pie dough skills for this project, but we will keep you posted on our results. Tonight's pie was kind of a nacho pie with hamburger, velveta, green chili in it. The crust was half/half regular flour and barley flour (I think). I got it rolled out, but it fell apart when I tried to put it in the pan. Still, I think we might make something of this.

Friday, August 29, 2008


OK, it is a break from memory lane. Which was a break from other stuff. S'ok by you? S'ok by me...

See, my computer has been running slower and slower lately. Its about to drive me up a wall with its slowness. Right now, this computer makes my old Amiga look like a flash of lightning. Yep, slow. I want instantaneous, I tell you, and I want it now! I've asked Ron to look at it, and Carl to look at it, and although they start when I'm away, the computer is still plugging away at virus checkers, and defraggers when I get home. And still it's S. L. O. W.

And why am I ranting? Oh, yeah, everyone rants when their computer is slow... I forgot that there for a moment. Well, Carl said he couldn't really find any reason for it to be running slow, so what may be happening is that the motherboard may be getting ready to die. Or, maybe the hard drive is getting ready to die. OR maybe the processor is getting ready to die. Anyone finding a theme here? Yeah, me too. Time to back up and save what's important. Which I actually have done, now, thank you very much for asking.

Anyway, if there is no post for a day or two, coming up soon, you will know why. Something died. Something vital to the operation of my computer. In the good news department, though, it will also mean that I'm soon to get the new computer. The better, faster, stronger one (whatever that may be). In the meantime, I'll be limping and gimping along, being laggy even playing spider solitaire (see I told you it was bad).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

dogs at the bay... Keyron

My mom was an animal person. My dad, not so much. When they got married, my mom had a young great dane. This dog was the dog they want to put in the guide books as the example of a great dane. Keyron was an awesome dog. When we were born, Keyron decided that it was his job to look after us, so he did. We could climb on him, search his mouth for whatever slobbery object we thought might be there, or take him for a walk just as if we could actually control him on a leash. He wouldn't let us ride him (I mean don't great danes LOOK like they should be ridden by small children???), but he wasn't gruff about it, he merely sat down. Oh, well, slides are fun too.

Down at the bay, Keyron liked to play fetch with a chunk of 2 x 4. My dad would throw that board out in the water as far as he could. Keyron would bound over the incoming waves, almost never having to actually swim, and then bring the board back for more. When he got tired of the game, he would bury the board. "That's enough of that!" When he wanted to play again, he would gently take my dad by the arm to where the board was burried, then dig it up for more exercise.

When we were young, which we were when Keyron was around, my grandmother would worry about us around the water. She worried that we would go out on the pier by ourselves, when no adults were paying attention. One day when my parents were gone fishing or shopping or something, she just couldn't stand it any more, and she decided to walk with us out on the pier, and get it out of our systems. She rounded us up, and took us down the grass to the beach. Keyron came along of course, because he was taking care of us. When we got to the pier, Grannie was surprised when the dog blocked our way. "No! Those kids are NOT going on the pier until their Mama says it's OK," was his message. She was surprised, but didn't push past him. Instead, she felt much better about our odds of heading down that pier by ourselves.

Keyron, by the way, is not only the standard by which I judge great danes, but ALL dogs. He's why I love BIG dogs, although I don't limit myself to great danes. He's why, when I went to pick my own dog, I choose Rosie, a Malamute, Lab, Rhodesian ridgeback mix, who grew to weigh 150 pounds in her prime. She was quite a character, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

another time, down at the bay...

(and this one is a dog story too)

The piers at the bay were changeable. Most of the time, there was one built out front of the bay house, but storms would come and wash them away, even if the houses weren't damaged. The nature of something built of wood on the water is that it eventually falls apart, if not taken well care of. Still, if we didn't have one, one of the neighbors would, and the use agreements seemed to be friendly, and generally reciprocal... we could use theirs, and they would be able to use ours, depending on the weather, and the finances, and the building, etc.

It is nice to be able to walk out over the water on a pier. You can fish off a pier. You can hang crabtraps off one, too. You get to listen to the waves, and enjoy the breeze off the water. Sit at the end of one and dangle your bare feet off, trying to kick the waves as they roll by. You have something interesting to watch, but not too engrossing. I love walking on a pier. At the bay we would find some reason or excuse to walk out there at least once a day.

Our dog at this particular time was a miniature schnauzer. He was a scruffy character who was named Pepper, and he knew his place in the family. It was right above Carl, who is the youngest. If Carl was allowed to do something, then Pepper "knew" he was allowed to do it. If Carl did something that he wasn't supposed to, Pepper went and "told" on him. I could tell Pepper what to do (heck, I told everyone what to do), John could sometimes, but Carl could not.

This fine day, we went walking on the pier, Mom, John, Carl, and I, and of course, Pepper followed Mom as much as he was allowed. The trip down the pier was uneventful, but when we turned around to walk back, Pepper backed up, and off the pier! The water was deep for him, but it wasn't too far to shore. The waves were not too high. We coaxed Pepper to shore, but he was a very unhappy dog. He coughed up salt water and spat and glared at all of us. Especially Mom. Is that the end of the story? Well, it would be pretty lame if it was.

For the rest of that trip, sometime during the day, Pepper would look at Mom, and start coughing. We all knew he felt like she had pushed him off that pier and into the water. It was HER fault, and he wanted her to remember it. From that time on, every now and then, he would get that same look in his eye, and start coughing - especially if he was getting fussed at. Hack, Cough. "Don't start on me," he seemed to say. "Remember when you threw me into that water!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

one time, down at the bay...

My brothers and I were out swimming. This was nothing strange or unusual while we were at the bay. We would get to swim for a couple of hours in the morning, and then again for a few hours in the afternoon, unless there were too many jellyfish that year, or we had other plans that day.

Anyway, we were out swimming, and diving through the waves, or playing chase or Marco Polo or trying to get all three of us on the innertube at the same time, and this pile of debris came floating by with the tide. The waves and the wind were pushing it slowly through our swimming area between the pier, and the tall poles that were all that remained of the pier that marked the public beach.

It was strange to see debris like that floating by, in fact that is the only time I remember it occurring. OK, so we were only there at best 10 or 12 days out of the year, and anything could happen the rest of the time, but we didn't see that much debris floating by. Then, we noticed it. There was a glove in with the debris. Not a flat, empty glove. A glove with something in it. The glove didn't move - well except as a part of the floating debris, but it definately had something filling it out. Was it a hand? Was there someone attached to that glove? What was that finger pointing at?

Well, it was certainly a dilemma and a concern. We huddled and discussed the possibilities. What if someone needed a rescue? What if it was a dead body?

"You go see if there is someone in there," my brothers suggested.

"No, you," I replied. Even Carl, who could be persuaded to try almost anything first, wouldn't go. We couldn't even talk or dare ourselves to go together and check this out.

We watched that pile of debris as it crossed under the pier and into someone else's water space with a feeling of deep relief. It wasn't our problem any more. We returned to our splashing, jumping, diving and yelling.

To this day we can remember that debris, and that glove sticking out of it, though fortunately our adult reason says there was nothing more to it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

the world moves on

Down at the bay. People who have known me any length of time have probably, at one time or another, heard a story from me about something that happened down at the bay. My mother's folks grew up in the country, in the coastal area of Texas. My mom would tell me stories of climbing the windmill because her younger brother did. She told me about the first time she and her brothers ate not-homemade bread... it fell off the bread delivery truck and they picked it up. When they moved into town - Houston - her older brother had to walk in with the cow. Her family kept its roots, though. My grandparents had a place, a cabin, on the waterfront of a bay. They went there every chance they could, weekends, holidays, vacations. My grandfather loved to fish. They caught crabs and shrimp. They always had a vegetable garden. It wasn't fancy, but neither were they.

Hurricane Carla in the early 60's took the house away, but they rebuilt it, up on stilts, so they could get insurance. The house on stilts is the one I remember, faded grey wood siding. A concrete slab under the house, cool in the shade. A perfect place to play, draw, lay a towel out listen to pop songs on the radio. Upstairs, there were 4 rooms: one bedroom, the batheroom, the kitchen - big enough for a table that would seat 12 or more on the benches at each side, and the front room. It went the width of the house. There were two couches, a table, various chairs and beds. Lots of beds. Beds for everyone. The beds were scattered close to the windows, which were always up. Well, except if it was raining from that direction. I can still hear the wind through the screens, and the whistle it would make through a window that was only cracked open. We would go to bed, after a day of swimming and fishing and wading and being outside, our bodies still seemed to move with the rythm of the waves while the lapping of those waves lulled us to sleep.

The bay meant summer vacation. We would leave school on the last day. We wouldn't even go in to get our report cards - they got mailed to the bay. Up before the crack of dawn for a two day road trip. Sometimes we took our trailer. Sometimes we brought friends (usually our parents' friends, and their kids). We would make the obligatory trip into Houston to visit family, and maybe shop. But vacation was at the bay.

Its been thirteen years since I've been down to the coast of Texas. Life gets busy. Money, time and other obligations get in the way, and life moves on. My mom sold her share in the bay house long ago. We didn't live close enough to help with the upkeep. One uncle bought some more share and built a little house downstairs, retired there and raised his granddaughter (who - as far as I know still lives in the area). Another uncle ended up with all of the shares as family split and the grand kids just didn't have time to go there. There were other things going on. A couple of my cousins inherited the bay house when their dad passed away last year. Neither of them were interested in spending time there, and I imagine it stood empty most of the time as everyone was too busy with other things. They put it on the market, and my aunt told me yesterday that she heard from one of them last week, and the bay house had sold.

I grieved. I still grieve. Not for the loss of the building. They were right to sell what they had no interest in keeping or taking care of. I grieved for the past. The happy times. The memories. The people who are no longer here, but who I can picture clearly there, and hear them laughing. Learning to play dominoes with Grannie. Going for a boatride with Grandpa. Trying to learn to ski - and failing. Bouncing on a huge innertube. Diving through the salty waves, digging fingers and toes into the mud beneath. Cooking a big pot of crabs and sharing them. Wearing a bikini for the first - and only - time. The smell of the salt water, the breeze coming off of it. The world moving on.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

its been a weekend

And it doesn't even seem long enough. Or maybe it seems too long. I'm not sure which.

I was sick Friday night, and up a good part of the night. Ick. Most of Saturday was spent in a chair feeling icky and having stomach cramps. As the day wore on, I felt better and finally was able to take sustenance. In the evening, I took a nice shower, washing all the "sick" away. I always feel better after a shower. I went to bed at a reasonable hour, and got some good sleep.

Today was much better. I went light on the food, not wanting a relapse, but felt fine. Suffered through the muscle soreness that always seems to accompany heaving, but the soreness is sooo much better than the heaving. I went shopping, sewed, folded laundry, did dishes. The usual Sunday activities.

So, Saturday seemed LONG, and Sunday, not so much so. Soon, I'll make my way to bed and more restful and recuperative sleep, for tomorrow, work begins again. I hope you had a better weekend than I.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

kid parties

I don't know about you, but I think people tend to over-do it for their kids' parties. Too many people, too much going on. It costs a fortune (and I don't have one handy) and it is often overwhelming for the birthday boy or girl.

Last January, Raine turned five. She told us many times that she wanted a dinosaur birthday party, so we though over what we could do to make that theme something fun and unique. We had already decided to limit the number of kids we would invite and try to keep in fairly simple and fun for the kids, while still providing the basics like cake & ice cream, presents etc.

Ron found some resin dinosaur skeleton models, and came up with a great idea. Let's have a dinosaur dig in the backyard! He staked out each area, like you might see on an archeology dig, and buried the pieces of the models, one model in each area. The kids got shovels (OK spoons) to dig with, and paintbrushes to brush away the sand. And since the remodelling we had done the previous year had finished off anything that resembled grass back there (well not quite, but close), we had the perfect desert dig.

The kids had a blast digging up the models and putting them together. They had so much fun they buried them again to dig them up again! Each model had a card to go with it, and the kids got to keep the model they dug up.

I'm thankful that Carrie took pictures... more than I managed to do that day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

lifstyle changes update

So. How YOU doing?

I've been working on eating right and getting more exercise for a few weeks now. After bloodwork, the Dr. prescribed a glucophage for me. A pill every morning and evening. I've only forgotten it once this week, but I don't like taking it too early as low blood sugar is much worse much more quickly than high blood sugar. Of course it doesn't work instantly. I keep telling myself that, too. I've been loosing weight, so I must be doing something right. Of course it isn't a lot yet, but I can tell it in my clothes, even if no one else can tell by looking.

I've also been conscientious about walking more... doing laps around the building I work in, so to speak. Going on walks with Raine after work. I can tell its making a difference, as I'm moving easier and feeling stronger, both of which I'm pleased with.

Still, I'm having some "digestive issues." A little queesiness off and on, and well, multiple trips to the bathroom. I don't know whether to blame them on germs picked up from the kids, as in a mild flu, or diet, or the new medication. Or???

Finally, I'm not sure I'm looking forward to people starting to notice the physical changes because of course I'll say too much or something nonsensical, or even nothing at all. I don't know what to say to whom, or how much, generally speaking. Of course I'm not doing it so people will think how great-looking I am (or think I am... or whatever), or any other cosmetic reason, although that is typically the perception when one looses weight. Of course, part of my insecurity is because this body has long been part of my security system, and I'm in the scary process of changing it. Early stages yet, but still...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

kids & change

You, know, the money kind. I'm a teacher, and we don't get rich on our salaries. At least I haven't figured out how to.

Usually I don't take much money to school with me, and what I do take is mostly spoken for already, but often I'll keep a little bit of change in my desk, so I can buy a soda if it's been one of THOSE days. It's pretty early in the year, so I hadn't gotten my change up and going yet, but still, here came a day when a soda would have been just what the dr. ordered. The next morning, I actually remembered to raid the change in my car and took about 75 cents in with me. 75 cents. wooo living large.

On my way into the building, a kid asked me if I had change. What? Did he see me rummaging in my car? Was there a sign over my head? If I had had more change, I might have shared, but no. Later that day, another student popped into my classroom at lunch, wondering if I had change. Yikes! Are they psychic? Do those coins have a stronger than normal scent? Mine!

Sad, huh.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Hear all those questions hissing faintly in the background? You thought that was white noise, but no. Questions. Whispered to myself. You see, I'm a nosy person. There are many questions I want to ask people about the things that they do, or the things going on around them, and how they feel about it. But, I know its really none of my business. So, the questions float around, just out of hearing.

Why am I nosy? Why do I want to ask all these questions? Well, it isn't because I'm a gossip, although I do talk to people about other people, it isn't to be mean or destructive. I'm a student of people. I try to figure out what makes people tick. I guess it is part of being a writer... or perhaps those inclinations to write come from my interest in people.

I have figured out, like many people finally do, that we expect others to behave the way we would in any given situation. For good or ill. But, they don't. They look at the world in their own way, from their own perspective. Its a good thing, I think. Diversity. Good and evil. All of that. So, a lot of times I wonder why... what happened? why do you think it happened that way? why do you feel like that?

But of course it's none of my business, is it. So I have to make stuff up to fill in the blanks. I do have a good imagination, and can fill in blanks on the fly... but of course there are places I just don't want to go. So. That is probably the even better reason not to ask some of those questions. Someone might just answer them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

dozing off

I've been doing it this evening. My eyes just close in a blink...and the blink becomes a nap. Well, almost. Not much drool on the keyboard yet, either. I walked and I got Raine to bed, and here I was nodding off while playing Mah Jong and Spider Solitaire. Ok, so not THE most exciting games in the universe, but still...

I woke up this morning, wishing I could sleep a little longer. Raine went to bed early. Ron went to bed early. I'm thinking that it may be my fate as well. Worse things could happen, you know.

When I talk about liking a boring, predictable life, I don't mean it has to put me to sleep.

But at least one thing is working... I got a picture to load into my blog. This is Ezekiel (standing) and Raine (yes, sitting in the water in her clothes) playing boats in the bathtub. I think this was the beginning of Ezekiel's birthday party, and I would say it is off to a good beginning (so, no, I wasn't worried about her having wet clothes). If I weren't so droopy-eyed I would write about what good friends they are, but well, there ya go.

Monday, August 18, 2008


My friend Carrie, who's son, Ezekiel is Raine's best friend, brought me treasure this week. A jump drive of photos. Some of the photos were from Raine's birthday, back in January. Some were of Ezekiel's a month later. Treasure.

I was going to upload a couple into my blog, and write about the special relationship between best friends. These two are certainly a pair. It didn't work. Nope, not a bit. Tried several times. I don't know if it is me, the blogging program or the pictures. I'm going to try e-mailing a few of them, especially to her grandparents. Hopefully THAT will work. Then, I'm taking the jump drive to Target, and ordering a CD of the pictures, and probably some prints too, while I'm at it. I'll try that upload another time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

mish mash and frustration

There are several things I could write about today. It rained last night after I thought it wouldn't, and it rained hard. Then, this evening we got some more. I'm not complaining about the rain, you understand, although stopping at a drive through without an awning in the rain meant I got wet.

That would bring me to another possible topic. SO, how's that new lifestyle coming, Dina? Well, I'm working on it. Its a process and I'm in process. Some days are better than others, some meals are better than others. Sometimes you stop for frozen custard which you are the only one who isn't supposed to have any, but you are the one sitting by the open window getting wet AND paying for everyone. hmmmm.

Now, we get to the frustration part.... and that would be my computer. Lately it has been very laggy. I've talked to Ron about it, because he knows a lot more about these things than I do. I've tried the few things I know to do, you know, like run the virus checker, and defrag. Well... I started the defrag this morning, and here it was 8PM, and the thing is still going. We recently switched to Vista, and the vista defragger says "this may take a few minutes or a few hours." It doesn't make the cool chart that shows you how much is done, or puts the little colored boxes into blocks while you watch. It just says a few minutes or a few hours. SIGH. (and that's putting it politely) SO Ron stopped that defragger, and found one online for free, and started it. Before I could do anything else with the computer. Like blog. Or check e-mail. He is helpful, and I'm not saying that sarcastically. I need my computer fix! GAH! I need my computer NOT to lag while I am playing spider solitaire. I just want it to work, and I want it to work NOW! OK, so here's to a little less frustration tomorrow...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

posting about not posting

So, yesterday evening about 9PM, a thunderstorm moved into the area with wind and thunder and lightening (of course). The power flickered off and then quickly back on, but of course the computers turned off. I didn't turn them back on. That power surge thing is just not good for them, and around here power outages and power surges are even more commonplace with that kind of storm. We got a little rain, but not much. Mostly we got a show.

Tonight the show is back, but since it is a little further to the south, watching the lightening light up the clouds was awesome. I think the lightening back lighting the clouds is really beautiful, so I really enjoyed the drive home from gaming. We had cloud cover most of the day, so the air was really cool, too. The temperature according to my computer is 72 degrees. Not bad for this time of year, and this part of the country.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

not so much

There was not much of note occurring today in our household. I'm not saying that because I think it is a bad thing, in general, that's the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it. I'm not one for daily drama. I thrive on the expected in my real life. I will take fantasy drama over the real stuff any day of the week. Gaming night is Saturday, and the fantasy drama rules.

I know people who seem to feel they should live the soap opera life. Any time their lives get too settled, something seems to "magically" happen, and they are once more in upheaval. Some one is out to get them. Their former best friend has committed the unforgivable offense. Their significant other just left them (or they left). The money is gone, the car is beyond repair, they must move. Right. Now.

Frankly that makes me too tired. I can't keep up with all of it, and I don't want to. I like routine. The familiar. The comfortable. That is not to say I am afraid to try new things, or make changes. I can, and happily, when they are for the better. I just don't have to be dramatic about it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

more food

Tonight, we had a crustless quiche for dinner. Onion and carroway It was sooo yummy. I have been searching for something that we could make ahead for breakfast. I don't mind cooking, but I don't like to have to get up and do it in the morning on a work day. We've been having eggs, mainly, nice protien. SO that suggests quiche, doesn't it. But what about the crust? maybe not a big enough deal to worry about, but, then again... Anyway, Carl and I have been discussing, and considering possibilities.

I thought I would look at the quiche recipes we have, and see what they looked like. Maybe make the quiche just with out a crust. Well, lo and behold, in the Jeff Smith, Frugal Gourmet, Cooking American recipe book (yeah, yeah, I know about his reputation, I still enjoy his recipes) there were severall variations of crustless quiche. The recipe does call for flour, one half cup for 10 eggs, much less per serving than a crust would be. Looking through, I though hey, we have all the ingredients for this onion carroway one already in the house, so I marked the place, trusting Carl's ESP. Sure enough, he thought, Hey! I think we have all the ingredients for this one! And he made it. And it was DELICIOUS! Fran, Lillian, I know you like onions, and this might be a good dish to add to your reptoire. Good for dinner with a side veggie or salad (we had fresh tomatos to cut up on the side, thanks to the farmer's market). I've portioned out the remainder, and put the pieces in plastic bags. It seems reasonably stable. I'm looking forward to warming and having some for breakfast.

OH, and just to let you know... green chile in a 35 pound bag, $20. Let the roasting begin!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Ahhh the magical days of kindergarten. Did you go? Do you remember it? I remember that I walked there, and that the boy who lived next door went there too. I remember getting in trouble one day because I rode home with the neighbor. I didn't really understand at the time, but I never did it again. I think my mom said later (like after I'd grown up) that she drank. I remember laying on a mat for a nap. That's about it.

My brothers went to a different kindergarten, because we moved. I always loved to go with Mom to get them because there was a very cool pedal carousel there, and I could ride it for a bit. It was a big deal! I loved that thing, and was very jealous that they got to be there all the time.

This year, Raine will start to kindergarten, which is now a part of her public education, and full day at that. We've put together school uniforms. I supplied the supplies. Ron and Raine will go meet her teacher tomorrow. She starts officially on Friday. Am I nervous? Not very, and I certainly don't want to telegraph it to Raine. I want her to be excited to go. Am I ready for my baby to start school? Oh, yes. She is so ready. Ready to learn, ready to go make friends. The school is really a neighborhood school, so she will make friends who live near us, and soon will get to know the joy of walking to a friend's house to play, or having some one ring the doorbell to see if she can play. She's REALLY going to love that, social creature that she is. Many parents have a hard time thinking that their "baby" is growing up. I revel in it... she changes and grows, and I enjoy her at every stage. I hope I can even enjoy it... at least some... when she is a teenager, but I'm not looking forward to dealing with this stubborn and strong willed individual as a teenager. Fortunately, right now, she's still 5, and a big girl heading for school.

Monday, August 11, 2008

dining pleasure

Carl made an awesome dinner tonight. He sauteed some chicken with some roasted and marinated red pepper, garlic (I think) in some chili oil. He was inspired by buffalo chicken salad, but didn't want to make - or use - a sugar containing sauce. We put this chicken over some mixed greens, and topped with a little blue cheese dressing. MAN. This stuff was yummy!

Last night we ate some Tilapia that was pan fried with a coating of parmesan cheese. THe parmesan was pretty much smushed into the fish (which was pretty firm) and it melted and crisped up for a satisfying crunchy coating. mmmmm. We also had some shrimp, and I made a dipping sauce by sauteeing onion, garlic and horseradish in a little olive oil, salt & pepper, then opening a can of diced tomatos. First I poured the juice into the pan and let it mix, mingle and reduce a little, then the rest of the tomatos went in. After a bit I squeezed a lime over the mixture, and let it bubble a little longer. Finally the whole mess went into the blender of a little puree. Dipped cold shrimp into warm sauce, and yum.

These were the latest awesome meals that we cooked for our diet. If loving this is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

better in retrospect

There is this thing I do, sometimes.... I will find and become completely hooked on a TV show AFTER it has been canceled. Sometimes I can manage to find it in the last season. Often these shows will be ones that I knew I would like, but just never managed to be home that night, or something. Others, I just happen into.

Quantum Leap, for instance. I remember being vaguely aware of the program when I would be visiting someone and it would be in the background. I think I watched every episode, and enjoyed the program in syndication (which is my friend). Still, I haven't gotten to in on DVD. I think I saw all of it I needed to, already.

X-Files is another show that I was rather spotty about watching, especially in the early seasons. Now it is out on DVD and I am picking it up at Sam's where they have it for $21 a season (I consider that a good price for a season of something). We are watching some of the first season episodes, and I remember a lot of them, but not as specifically first season. I'm being impressed on second impression of this program with the quality of the first season episodes.

Firefly is kind of the same. I mean, I wanted to watch the program, being a product of Joss Whedon and all, and I did catch some episodes. Some I came in the middle of, like the episode where River boards the ship of the bounty hunter while he is aboard Serenity and she is using the comm system to speak as the ship. That was kind of disconcerting when I watched it from the middle, out of context. Still, only one season of what was a very entertaining series. The movie ties up a lot of loose ends and we own both, and they get watched fairly frequently, too.

It is awsome to be able to try out these series even after the fact - although I am sure there is something to be said for prime-time viewing. Whether it is in syndication and re-runs, or as I now prefer, on DVD, with no commercials, the timing can eventually be right.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

party wipe

Got home from gaming not long ago. It was supposed to be "finish up the adventure" night, but nearly turned into "start a new character" night. I guess we took a wrong turn or something, sheesh, but we faced a group of harpies, and they nearly took us all out. The problem was, that they would fly in and get past our weapons and start a grapple with us. Well, that means you are fighting with knives, rocks, and hand-to-hand, which doesn't do all that much damage, but the harpies have claws, and they had no problem doing damage to us. So, we would displace a feather or two, and they would scratch and claw the heck out of us. I finally thought to play dead so that I might have the chance to pick up my sword and try again. It worked, but took some time to get back in the battle. A couple of other people kind of took my cue and tried to break out of the grapple. Trouble was, the harpy would close in again, and we were not having any luck keeping them out. Three characters died (fortunately we could take them to be resurected), three more were badly injured (why aren't there healing potions in real life?) and two of us managed to stay up through the whole battle and minister to the rest.

Dragon Quest was the game, and we do a lot of dice rolling in combat, to see how we are doing. The problem is, you see, that we all roll poorly. Oh, yes, that was what was happening tonight. All over the place. At times like tonight, when the whole party is going down, it gets rather discouraging. On the other hand, we are all mature enough to die with good grace, even if it is obviously frustrating to all involved. That is one of the things that I really like about this gaming group. The other thing about rolling badly - and we ALL do - is that it helps give your character CHARACTER. And those times we sit around and talk about the "remember the game when" it is those terrible die rolls that really get remembered. To quote Dev, "STOP HELPING!!!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

another favorite movie

This time it's _Big Trouble in Little China_. This is just a fun movie by John Carpenter, and I don't know about your gaming group, but this movie plays like a lot of our adventures. Jack saying he feels invincible. Not competent, just invincible. Yep, that's us. Every time combat would start, he would get side-tracked at the critical moment. That sounds like us, too. Finally, he gets that all-important critical strike, and kills the bad guy, who falls on him and he must struggle to get free. Come on Jack, make that strength roll! You can do it!

I must let my gaming geek flag fly!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

an old movie favorite

I watched _Time Bandits_ this evening. I love this movie! Its _The Wizard of Oz_ done by Monty Python. Instead of a tin man, a scarecrow and a lion, there are six little people (there would have been seven, but Disney didn't like that much, so Horseflesh had to go). No yellow brick road, only a map of the universe, showing the time holes. And, at least part the Fortress of Ultimate Evil is made of humongous lego bricks. I mean, how cool would that be, building a castle out of huge legos?

If you haven't ever seen this movie, I recommend it. If you have seen it, but not lately, pull it out and slip it into the DVD player again.

Can YOU name all the Bandits? Of course I can, I just watched it.... There is Randal, Wally, Fidjit, Vermin, Strutter, Og, and Kevin is the boy. (no, I didn't have to look on the dvd box... isn't that sad?) I don't do nearly as well with Disney's dwarves.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


OK Fran, I'm blaming you... Well not really, hormones are probably a truer culprit. I'm moody, cranky and not feeling much like writing. I don't want to say anything to or about anyone that I would be sorry for later, so I won't say much at all. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Generally, its good advice. Thanks, Mom.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

my mind

It seems like I'm covering the same ideas more than once around here. I hope I'm not belaboring a point or being too repetitive. I guess you can tell what has been on my mind this last little bit. I don't want to get boring and predictable.... or at least not boring.

Monday, August 4, 2008

doin it right?

I've been trying to eat right for about a week now. Right to keep the blood sugar in check, that is. I don't have a monitor, yet. The doctor thought I didn't need one, yet. I know that if I'm keeping the blood sugar low, I'll loose weight, but, does it follow that if I am loosing weight the blood sugar is being kept low? I hope so. I know that loosing weight will help me control diabetes, and help my knee feel better - it has been nagging me since last week. I hope to see some other benefits as well, to act as positive reinforcement for changing my lifestyle.

See, the weight - in and of itself - isn't that big of a deal for me. I mean, its been my psychological armor in a lot of ways. I don't really appreciate the anorexic look as a fashion statement or style trend... I just want to tell those people to eat something! and keep it down! I don't think skin stretched over bones is beautiful. Shape is beautiful! Personality and wit are beautiful! Anyway, I digress... So, losing weight seems to be always about how many pounds. Agonizing over every ounce and berating your self if you gain anything back. When do you weigh the least? How can you trick the scale into being "your friend?" I just don't want to do that. I don't want to obsess over that scale. It doesn't sound like a fun lifestyle to me, and when I've done it, I've done it badly. Instead, I'll weigh once a week, and look for that downward trend... not worry about each and every week, or each and every pound, but look at the whole picture for the trend. I'm sure when that trend is downward, I'll be doing mostly OK on the diet portion of my life, and when it is not, I'll have to look at options. So the trend so far is down. Of course, it isn't much of a trend in under a week, but I'll take what I can get, at this point.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

without books?

I'm a reader. Always have been. I taught myself to read by the time I was four. I don't remember NOT knowing how to read. Books are one of my favorite entertainments, they are portable, you can start and stop anywhere (although sometimes you don't want to). I really like that you get to have adventures in books that you would never have in real life... and probably would never really want to be in such danger and hardship. I love that books let you get inside someone's head, they let you see into another person's thoughts and motivations. What fun!

When Raine was smaller, I didn't have much opportunity to read. I missed it, sometimes a lot. We packed up all our books, and stored them for a year while we were out of the house, remodeling. When we moved back in, we set up the bookcase, and moved the books back in... but they didn't fit! At least the paperbacks didn't. Don't. So, I'm going through them, as I described, in an earlier blog.

Still, it is such a comfort to have them available. A part of the household again. I'm actually getting to read more, so it is even MORE a comfort. I'm finding my t0-read books... and creating a bigger pile, even. It feels so good! Read, read, read.

new games

I'm very lucky to be a part of a good gaming group that meets regularly, usually Saturday evenings. We have our regulars, and some people who are off and on. Who is regular and who is off & on depends on what is going on in that particular person's life. Ron & I are pretty regular at this point, and so is Carl. Raine, of course goes with us, although she's not quite ready to game yet. There are generally at least 3 people, and sometimes up to 10. There are even enough people who are willing to ref that no one is stuck with the job more than he or she wants. Even so, occasionally we have a board gaming night.

Tonight was one of those. We tried two games that I had not played before. One was based on a novel by Ken Follett, about building a cathedral. The other was building a temple for Cleopatra. In both games you had to gather resources to create parts of the building. I won the first game, with the cathedral, but lost, lost, lost the other. I got eaten by the crocodile as a sacrifice to the crocodile god. Yikes... Carl pulled off a masterpiece of corrupt treachery to slide into the winning favor of Queen Cleopatra. Yes, we had a good time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dr Who

Does it surprise anyone that I like to watch Dr Who? This is no passing fancy, I have been watching this series for a very long time, thanks to public television. I have seen many, many episodes, and all the different doctors, at least I think I have. I really enjoy the current Doctor, David Tennant, and while I tend to like the companions, and think they add that "human" element to the show, I have really enjoyed Donna. She is not the run-of-the-mill cute companion. She is funny and ordinary, and not very ordinary at all. I love the attitude and the wit. *spoiler alert* So I was very disappointed with this season finale episode, Donna ended up, not only going home to stay, but loosing her memory of her travels, and regaining those memories will kill her. OK I wasn't disappointed in the story, or the ending, really. It just made me really, really sad. Everyone got something... Rose got the Doctor, in a sense (and a Doctor who got a bit of Donna - oy!), the Doctor got Rose, in the same sense. The Doctor goes on, of course, and Donna dies... but worse! I mean Rose got stuck in an alternate universe, with no return, except she does return... and Donna misses it, like she seems to miss everything. Argh!