Sunday, November 27, 2011

Black and Blue Friday

Large crowds, fist fights, pepper spray, gun shots, and even death are the price you just might need to pay to get the unbelievable bargains on Black Friday. To me, the only thing unbelievable about it is that people actually enjoy this type of shopping. One retailer recounts watching two grown women fight over a pair of sheets. I guess it is okay to act like a two year old if you are going to save five dollars. One news commentator speculated that the poor economy is to blame. As if consumers could only give this Christmas season if they got their hands on that incredibly priced 46 inch plasma television. I guess the thought of giving less was never really an option. As I watched the news Friday evening and heard story after story of shopping frenzy turned to violence, the common denominator in each incident was Wal-mart. And people worry about Obama being the anti-Christ. All of this pushing, shoving, and fighting is to usher in the holiday season celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. Well, just maybe our priorities are a little mixed up.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kick the can and enjoy some yams!

Leatha Colby is woman I have never met, but each Thanksgiving I think of her fondly as I make her famous pumpkin pie. Several years ago, at a neighborhood party, this pie was her grandson’s entry in the bake-off competition. By the looks of all the entries, I didn’t think it had a chance of winning. After all, there were several delectable chocolate entries. But after just one taste of this pie, it is easily the best pumpkin pie you will ever eat. And on that night, Leatha Colby’s grandson won the blue ribbon. Who would think the secret to the best pumpkin pie would be absolutely no pumpkin.

Leatha Colby's Famous Pumpkin Pie
Filling for one pie

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups yams
1 can evaporated milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Scrub yams, cut into chunks, and cook just like potatoes. Drain, peel, and mash. Measure and set aside. In a separate bowl, add spices and flour to the sugar. Combine yam and sugar mixture. Add the milk and then the eggs.
Rub egg white on unbaked crust before pouring in the pumpkin mixture.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

No more Fs

When my oldest daughter, who shall remain nameless, was about 13 years old, she became irritated with her siblings for a) eating all the ice cream, b) coming into her room, c) looking at her wrong, or d) possibly just being born. I am sure it was a valid reason, and once again I am trivializing her feelings. And, that is all beside the point. In order for her to express how truly mad she was, she chose the biggest, toughest word she had ever heard to convey her feelings. That’s right, she used the F word. I don’t believe that word had been spoken before in our home, but I am sure she heard it several times a day just walking down the halls of her school. I was beside myself that a child of mine would dare use that word and probably yelled something not so nice back at her. My husband, on the other hand, sat her down and explained just what that word actually meant and asked her if that was truly the thing she wanted to express to her siblings. Long story short, that was the end of the use of that word at our house.

I believe Cameron Diaz has yet to have this conversation with her father. How do I know? Well, because, as you know, a PG-13 movie is allowed to have that word uttered once during the course of the show, and I believe Cameron Diaz possibly has it in her contract that if someone is going to use that word, then she is the one who gets to say it. Two movies to prove my theory are Knight and Day and My Sister’s Keeper. I am hoping that she soon finds a better way to express her anger because that word just ruins a movie for me.

Now this next part of my post may seem fabricated, but it is totally true. I like to read – okay, that is not the possible fabricated part – and the last three books that I have started reading have had the F word in them. Two of the three at least had the courtesy of including it in the first chapter before I would become engrossed in the story. Mothers and Other Liars was getting high ratings on the reader’s choice list at my local library, The Saving Graces was recommended to me by Goodreads because of a similar book I enjoyed, and the other book with something about a curious dog in the title was from a friend’s book club list and was even in the young adult section. My question is why? I just want to read books free of vulgarities and smut. After all, I am avoiding the romance section of my library.

Maybe I am just hyper sensitive because when the recent rage was to say “freakin”, I outlawed that word at my house too. I even hate Celo Green’s Forget You song because I know what he sings in the other version. No matter how mad I was at someone, I wouldn’t use that word. I don’t like the feeling or imagery associated with it. I think it is just time to bring back the good old bar of soap, maybe then the world would stop using it, and see it as the dirty word it is.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven / eleven / eleven

Apparently today happens only once in a lifetime, but if you think about it, every day happens just once in a lifetime. But, I guess it being 11/11/11 is a big deal. Many people are getting married or with careful planning nine months previously possibly trying to arrange the birth of a child on this numerical day of wonder. My celebration will come with no labor pains, wedding vows, or big parties. Maybe just some simple lists of eleven will have to be enough.

Eleven books I loved and bought:

1. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
2. Small change: The secret life of Penny Buford by J. Belinda Yandell
3. These is my words by Nancy E. Turner
4. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
5. Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
6. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
7. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
8. Sarah by Orson Scott Card
9. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
10. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
11. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Eleven Marvelous Meatless Menu Items:

1. Mango Berry Salad at Cafe Zupas
2. Mushroom-Swiss Black Bean Burger at Chili's
3. Eggplant Parmigiana at Johnny Carino's
4. Lo Mein Noodles with Tofu at Pei Wei
5. Veggie Avocado Sandwich at Kneaders
6. Grilled Vegetable Tacos at Chili's
7. Five Cheese Ziti at Olive Garden
8. Veggie Burrito at Gecko's 
9. Wisconsin Cauliflower at Cafe Zupas
10. Smothered Bean, Rice, and Cheese Burrito at Cafe Rio
11. Whole Grain Pancakes with 100% Maple Syrup at Cracker Barrel

Eleven Marathon Training Tips
I recently ran my first marathon, and these are the things that I learned.

1. Blueberry Cliffbars are my favorite fuel during a long run.
2. Sucking on Jolly Ranchers keep your mouth from getting dry.
3. Lap swimming is excellent cross training.
4. Carb up 2 to 3 days before every long run.
5. If at all possible, avoid a bathroom stop during the race. It kills your momentum.
6. Chocolate milk is an excellent recovery drink.
7. Do at least 20 miles before the marathon.
8. Practice wearing race clothing to prevent any chaffing. And the anti-chaffing roll-on really works!
9. I usually don't run with music, but an Ipod would be helpful for the last hard miles.
10. Next marathon, I will leave my fuel belt at home and use water and fuel provided.
11. Realize that the last 6 miles are totally brutal but worth it! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seat Refresher

I would try this at my house, but instead of lowering the toilet seat, I am afraid the solution just might be to leave the door open. Now, if you have watched Dr. Oz, he has warned us all of the dangers of flushing before shutting. With the toilet lid up, germs fly through the air. Even your toothbrush isn’t safe. Now the following isn’t a foolproof plan of keeping germs from invading your bathroom, but it is a good start.

Seat Refresher

Mix in a spray bottle:

 2 cups water
4 tablespoons liquid castile soap
5 drops each of eucalyptus, lemon, and tea tree oils

Spray on toilet seat, handle, sink, counter tops, and faucets. Then wipe away those pesky germs. Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant. Not only is it earth friendly, but it smells far better than those toxic Clorox wipes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Never understood why the customary greeting is Happy Halloween. Happiness is not the emotion I have experienced when looking at yard displays, store decorations, or costumes depicting gore, death, and mayhem, but now it will be forever marred by the day that Kim Kardashian’s hopes for true love were dashed after 72 grueling days of marriage.

There is hope for all the male commoners of England. They can now dream of one day becoming a king to their queen. The rules concerning monarch succession have now been altered to avoid discrimination against female heirs. Apparently the policy favoring male heirs is outdated, as if the whole idea of a monarchy is not.
I’m wondering if the woman who stabbed her boyfriend for cheating during a recent monopoly game is just a really poor loser, or if she just took the “Go to jail” card too seriously.
We’re sorry for the miscommunication was the recent apology I received when my local Taco Bell could not get my order right even on the second try. Since I clearly and adequately conveyed my order both times, the definition of miscommunication must be something entirely different than I originally thought.
The middle. My favorite television sitcom. Sweet, funny, and clean. Unfortunately it will probably be cancelled soon.
madoff Schmadoff! Their recent desire to break their silence is about selling books. I would have thought Matt Lauer would have known their motive and wouldn’t need to ask such a ridiculous question.