Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.  Happy to be starting this book.  My co-worker has recently read it and recommended it.  This is the first of a series of Maisie Dobbs mysteries.  Very interesting in that she is a post-WW I female private detective in London.  I'm about 100 pages in, and enjoying it.

And check out my new book mark... 

I have a TON of these empty, used-up Sonic gift cards.  Big surprise, huh?  So last night I punched a hole in one, looped in some yarn, and braided.  SWEET!

And can I just say that I love libraries.  Always have.  Always will.  And the one in my new town is absolutely, totally awesome!  Great programs, great website, great email notifications.  And happily the other day they sent a notice that they have an link on their website now, that brings in a percentage of each members' Amazon purchases to the library if we enter through their link.  I had a purchase planned that I am so glad I had held off on for awhile.  Now it has been placed, and I'm feeling really good about that purchase and all future ones.  Win/win.

AND they are a TexShare participant.  So although I had to give up my card at my previous library (no longer a resident of the city/county)...even though I begged and pleaded (because I still work in that town, and I never know when I might have a reading emergency on my lunch break), I now get to be a card-carrying patron of both libraries.  YEA!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Making it Monday...

I have two of these to make.  They were supposed to be done a month ago.  They HAVE to be done by the end of May, though if they aren't done in two weeks, I'm going to pay to buy off the rack.

When I am trying to maneuver around my kitchen making a meal, I often think that the island in my kitchen is too big.  But honestly, it is the perfect size and height for cutting out fabric and least I think it will be...guess I'll have to let you know after I actually get the dresses underway.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday 4/20/2011...

I'm still reading this...

And a LOT of these...


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

'Bout time...

Waaaaay back in November, I posted about spray painting the wall sconce and lamp.  And in January I posted about the tree I painted on the playroom wall.  It took me awhile to get around to the decorative painting I wanted to do on the wall opposite the bed.  But here it is...finally.


I painted various-sized polka dots on the wall, and I'm really happy with how they turned out.  To a few of them I added adhesive mirror circles called Add Heres that I found at Kohl's for half price.  The instructions suggested letting freshly painted surfaces cure for thirty days before applying them, so that's what took so long...yeah, that's it.  ;)  Including the tree and the polka dots combined, I think I used about half of a $1 bottle of acrylic paint...way to stretch my decorating dollar, huh?


I love the sheers and panels I found.  The colors match the new bed linens (quilt /shams clearance from, and the polka dots on the sheers coordinate with the polka dot wall...cute ribbon tabs at the top too.  I splurged on them since I had a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card we received at Christmas.

Finally something feels finished!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Life's a beach...

Yesterday marked our 35th wedding anniversary.  Why, yes, I WAS a child bride.  :)  Thank you for asking.

When I met him, Carey was listening to country music, and wearing sharply-creased blue jeans and a cowboy hat (and for the most part he still is, though he's relaxed the starch a bit).  Shortly before I met him, however, he was a surfer...with shaggy hair, cutoffs, and a long board.  Our first date (back in the olden days) was to see the movie Jaws.  The next day we went to the beach with a group of friends.  He's always enjoyed watching televised surfing competitions.  So when I saw the previews for Soul Surfer, I thought that would be something fun, and kind of nostalgic, for us to do together.

We enjoyed it.  It had really good surfing footage.  I liked the story more than he did.  I thought that what could have been made overly dramatic, was instead treated with a very light hand.  I took away the impression that the family didn't over-dramatize things in real life either, instead dealing with whatever comes along.  It depicted the family's faith in a way that I think will make believers happy to see, without turning off non-believers.  Overall, it had an extremely positive message...that passion, hard work, and determination can be their own reward.

So back to our anniversary.  Like the above photo indicates, I am giving thanks for the past three and a half decades (!) spent with my sweetie.  Like the ocean's surf, sometimes there is smooth sailing, and sometimes it's choppy.  Thankfully for us the real storms have been few and far between.  Mostly it's been a day at the beach...playing, walking hand in hand, searching for treasures that wash up now and then, sometimes squabbling like hungry gulls...but always rinsing off the sand and going home together.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Uncle Sam wants you...

image from pay your taxes!

Today is April day.  It always brings my mom to mind.  She was a numbers genius, a career large-scale money manager, read tax codes for fun, and helped lots of people with what she learned. Yet she would always be in line at the post office at midnight, coming in under the wire with her own.  I guess I know where I came by my procrastination if I didn't before.

Luckily I married a non-procrastinator, and he takes care of getting all the tax records together and to the CPA.  Thanks, honey.  And thanks to all those wonderful CPAs and tax preparers...hope they all are able to get a long, deep, refreshing night's sleep tonight.

It never feels good to make out that check.  Wish I believed that what is so painful for us would make even the teeniest tiniest dent on decreasing the nation's deficit.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy birthday, baby girl...

Yesterday was Kasey's birthday.  I took her favorite birthday pie up a notch.  I was inspired by Emily in the Desert, but didn't want to do a cake.  So I used our traditional birthday pie recipe, I just assembled it in a spring form pan.  I stood Kit Kats around the edge (they remained standing pretty easily).  I crushed up the chocolate cookie pie crust, added a tablespoon or so of melted butter, and mixed it thoroughly with a pastry cutter...I poured that in the bottom of the spring form pan and pressed it out...careful not to knock down the KitKats.  I doubled the filling, using two boxes of pudding and two small containers of Cool Whip, and folded in lots of chopped peanut butter cups.  I poured the pudding filling on top of the crust.  Then I topped it with even more chocolate!!!  Just to get crazy I arranged chocolate covered cherries (another family fave) on the top, then I sprinkled chopped peanut butter cups to cover.  I put it in the freezer overnight.  When it was time to party, I removed the sides of the spring form pan, tied a ribbon around the Kit Kat perimeter to add some color and make sure everything stayed together. I left the whole thing on the spring form base, and just set it on the cake stand.

Once it had softened a little, I added the sparkler candles to make it extra fun.


About fifteen minutes after Kasey blew out the candles, her children started bouncing off the ceiling from the sugar rush (well, some of them), and those of us with another home to escape to skedaddled.  :)  Felt a little guilty for dessert-ing her and then deserting her.  Hope they went to bed okay.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

I'm shamelessly imitating Notes From the Frugal Trenches again by instituting quick Wednesday posts about my current reading material.

Yesterday I finished Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (see more about particular books on my Reading List page located at the top of the blog.  I am now into The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel...her just-released book six of this series.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Don't fear the beeper...

photo credit:

Strange day.  I turned off the alarm and fell back to sleep.  I woke up about an hour later from a very vivid dream.  In it I was introduced to a couple of bands.  The first was Blue Oyster Cult.  I don't remember who the second band was, but they were really impressed that I had actually met Blue Oyster Cult.

The extra sleep put me on the road a 'little' late.  I almost always listen to NPR on the drive, but this morning I put on a mix station, and I got to hear about five of the 'Nine at 9:00' which was featuring songs from 1976 this morning.  First song?  Don't Fear the Reaper by...yep...Blue Oyster Cult.

Once at the office I set to work on an issue for a client while catching the phones for co-worker who was busy with a real brain twister.  At one point my phone lights up, and starts ringing...only not via normal ring, but over the speaker.  I pushed the button that had lit up, and thinking that the boss was intercomming me somehow (our official intercom is IM on the computer, we never use the phone for that) I just said, 'yes?'.  A strange voice responds questioningly, 'hello?.'   So I try to recover and say, 'John Doe office.'  The voice on the speaker says, 'yes?'  I asked the voice, 'Did you need to speak to John?'  And the voice says, 'Did he call me?'  Weird.  I tell her that our phone rang, and she replied that her phone had rung too.  Ready for this?  It was the client I was working on.  I had NOT called her.  NOBODY had called her.

It was sort of like if my brain focused on something this morning, the electronics nearest at hand connected us.

Okay, that may be a stretch, but I still can't figure out what happened with that freaky phone call.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spinning wheel go round and round...please...

I was so happy when our new kitchen had these corner turntables in the lower cabinets.  I've always thought that kitchen corners have a lot of wasted space.  I couldn't wait to make use of them, and thought the best use would be for canned goods.

Well, a few days ago the darn thing wouldn't spin.  Argh.  I guess I overloaded it and something jumped overboard.   This weekend I unloaded the whole cabinet, got out the flashlight, and looked for whatever fell off and was now hanging up the works.

You know what it was?  Nothing.  Well, not exactly nothing.  After moving everything from the turntable to the countertop, I discovered that the door was getting hung up on some when you try to spin it one way, and a different one when you try to spin it the other.

So I guess it wasn't such a good idea to load the thing down with all the heavy canned goods.

Now that we've been here for awhile, I need to rethink how we use the kitchen and rearrange things to the best advantage.

Sounds like a good Monday job.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1. I came across a blog awhile back that I really liked.  The author had written a short piece of fiction, and it haunts me.  I want to read it again.  I was sure I had clicked 'follow.'  I have been through all of the blogs I follow, and all of my 'favorites' list.  But I can't find it.  I'm pretty sure that I left a comment on her blog, and she answered...but I don't remember if she answered via her comments, my comments, or by email.  The hunt goes on.  This is going to drive me crazy.

2.  I get totally cracked up by the lamest jokes.  Here's one I heard yesterday...Q: What's the first thing you know?  A:  Ol' Jed's a millionaire.  (Sorry to international blog have to be a devotee of 60s American television to get this probably.) 

3.  We are enjoying the most beautiful Spring weather.  Soft breeze, cool temps, and beautiful blue skies with nary a cloud.  We could desperately use some April showers though, as we are exceptionally dry...but I am loving the low humidity just the same.

4.  Must, must, MUST get out the sewing machine!  SO many projects await.  Little-girl dresses are at the very tippy top of the list.  Curtains, cushion covers, and a quilt project are on there too.

5.  Returning library books must be done.  Sadly they are first infringement at the new library.  And they remain unread for the most part.  I did hear that Jean Auel's new book is now out...the last of the Earth's Children I'll see if I can get on the waiting list for that while I'm there.

6.  I made a menu plan at the beginning of the week...and a shopping list.  Had my shoes on and keys in hand ready to walk out the door and to the grocery.  Got waylaid, and I haven't been yet.  Ugh.  I hate it when that happens.  End up eating weird combinations of things, or picking up takeout.  MUST go to the grocery!

7.  My random thoughts seem to have turned down a to-do list path, so I will add a few more things to it.  Vacuum, spend time on my treadmill, put the office in better shape, change bed linens, laundry, wash car, clear off horizontal surfaces (tabletops, shelves, chair seats...they are magnets around here!!!), clean out car, and then fill it back up with things to take to Goodwill. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy feet...

These be some happy feet.  Today they went to the reflexologist and got massaged for an hour.  Then they learned that they are schlepping around ten pounds less these days than they were last month.  Then they came home and went for a nice long soak.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Powered up...

Every month since we moved into this house this past November, our electric bill has been well over three hundred dollars. That is much higher than we ever had at our previous house, and really had me kicking myself for not asking about average electricity costs while still in the house-shopping process.

When I opened up this month's bill, I was relieved to see that it was a much more reasonable $125. Whew! A short respite before the heat of summer begins.

And on a personal aside, I can never pay the bill without this song going through my head. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatless Monday...

This is what we had for dinner tonight. Y! U! M!

I am really, really trying to eat healthier, and came across this recipe at Meatless Monday. On their site, click on the 'Favorite Recipes' tab, and you will find the recipe for Black Bean Tostadas under 'Dinner'.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Paper posies...

I was inspired by Arlette's great tutorial at
the Polka Dot Pineapple to make a little Spring decor to add to the collection. Isn't the Spring topiary adorable? Of course, looking at the photo, I see that I need to add a few more flowers around the bottom edge...and I think I'll switch out the raffia for a ribbon bow. But I am really happy with how it turned out, and had to show you what I'd been up to since I've been so quiet lately.
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