October 24, 2011

you can't go home again, sorta'

this is a photo of my landmark for waukomis where my mom grew up and i spent a week or two in the summer with my great grandmother and aunt, when i was old enough to not be too homesick without mom and dad (my mom also worked here weighing the trucks...one of the few things that hasn't changed... except for the satellite dish, of course).

husband scott and i drove up to enid, oklahoma, saturday to celebrate with my aunt and uncle and their 50th wedding anniversary. i haven't seen my cousins since the last family reunion which was about 10 years ago. some had changed enough for me to almost not recognize them and some looked exactly like they have been for so long, making me wonder which category i fell in...i hope it was the latter.

i hadn't seen one aunt since i was a little girl and couldn't place her until my mom told me who she was and then, it clicked. of course. she had hardly changed at all. i don't know why i don't keep in touch with cousins and aunts and uncles. they are family that i have so many warm and fuzzy memories with them and they are so nice!

at the same time, it's distressing to see who is still alive and who isn't and how some have struggled with health issues. i want time to stand still to be able to go back and see that nothing has changed, but it does.

i don't like it...not one bit.

the party was held at the church where my aunt and uncle were married, and i was baptized, and where my mom and dad were married, and where we went to mass every time we were in enid on a sunday or sometimes, saturday. and...we went to oklahoma a lot while i was growing up.

during mass, i would look at the stations of the cross and try to memorize the order (i still don't know them all). in the70's or 80's, the stations were painted over in brown and i was soooooo disappointed. i loved the painted surface. brother john went into the sanctuary before mass to show my sister-in-law and he came back to tell me that they had all been stripped and brought back to their original state. i was so excited. i hate change, especially when it interferes with my childhood memories. however, i noticed during the service that the altar looked different. uncle gene told me that it was all taken down and now, it just doesn't look right. i hate change. luckily, the stained glass windows are the same. they are amazing and the pews are still as uncomfortable as ever which i didn't mind since that is how i remember them.

i wish that we had more time to go to my aunt and uncle's home. they live in the same house that my grandparents lived and farmed and where my uncle and dad grew up with 6 other siblings!!!

but, husband scott had tickets for the rangers game (go rangers!) and we had to get back. (he gave up his world series ranger ticket for saturday's game to go to the celebration).

on our way home, we went through waukomis and snapped a few photos.
this is where my mom grew up. i have always liked the shingled sides. mom says that the chapmans live here now, but do you see? the screen door is still the same with a 'p' for pittman on it. the flower garden is gone and it needs a coat of paint, but it still looks enough the same to bring back good memories.

so you can go back home again...sorta'

i'm off to florida to celebrate turning 50...my sister that is...not me (i get to look forward to 55 next birthday...rats).

October 20, 2011

show and tell

guess what i got today...

here are some hints (and don't scroll down too fast)

1. it required a signature from fedex to receive it.

2. it was worth driving a 1 hour round trip to the fedex place to pick it up, when it got delivered before i got home.

3. it was worth driving through all the traffic and NOT stopping to take a photo of a girl in front of a tattoo place holding a great big ol' snake. was totally hoping she would still be there when i came back, but she wasn't. but oh well...

4. it was worth having to drive back to the stockyards to find her another day.

5. i kept fiddling with the package, but it was taped up too well and the traffic lights kept turning green before i could get a good hold of the tape. here is a trick to hitting only green traffic lights while driving: hold a tube of red lipstick in your hand, hoping for a red light to put it on. red lipstick works best because it's harder to put on without looking closely in the mirror. you're welcome.

6. i have never owned a 'smart ' one before, much less a really cool 'smart' one.

7. in fact, mine is a hand-me-down from daughter michelle when my free one broke.

have you figured it out, yet?

it's a fluffin' iphone 4s!!!
(watched 'man up' last night, hence the fluffin' and is it my imagination or is the main family in 'man up' look exactly like the dunfee's? seriously, the father and mr dunfee could play brothers.)

i'm so excited and now i must end this post because i cannot wait any longer to finger it and figure out how it works!

one more thing...any apps that are totally new iphone worthy?

October 19, 2011

pillow talk

are you a cuddler (spell check doesn't like this word, either)?

i'm not really. i have never been. even my mom said that i wasn't much of a hugger when i was way little. i think that i really only cuddled with my children when they were so very young. daughter michelle is more like me, but son jason is like his dad. when i go to a ranger game (go rangers!) in those squozed in seats with husband scott and son jason on either side, i get claustrophobic. they even lean way in at the movies and i have to split us up on an airplane or i start to panic.


can you tell on which side of the bed i sleep?

fall (yea!)

i think that fall has arrived enough for me to clean out my closet and pack up sandals and shorts (as soon as i return from florida...it's still in the 80's there). we are now in the high 60's and it feels soooooo good. i am one of the few texans who hope it just keeps getting colder and colder. no more 70's and 80's, please, until next march. let me wear coats, scarves and mittens, please.


my first go-to in the fall is this and pumpkin soup (i will talk about this another day). today, husband scott mentioned chili and watching the world series (go rangers!!), so that's what we are doing...oh wait, the game is still going on. i must admit i am watching it only once in a while. i can't watch the whole time...it makes me nervous (i watched the mavericks with my back to the tv, so actually, i didn't watch...just listened).

my first go-to marthastewart.com for recipes and got this one with a few changes:

it's called real-deal chili and it was pretty good and the easiest recipe

2 slices bacon, cut in 1/4" pieces
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic (i used 2 because garlic and i don't combine well)
2 T paprika
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t cayenne pepper (i used closer to a teaspoon and i added a teaspoon of chili powder)
1 1/4 t salt (i ended up using closer to a tablespoon. i need lots o' salt)
1/2 t pepper
2 lbs ground chuck (i used extra lean...really, there is plenty fat in the bacon)
3 c water (i used 1 14oz can diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 c water)
2 T fine cornmeal or masa harina (i used cornmeal and will continue to until they sell masa harina in a much smaller size...not everyone needs a pound)
1 1/2 T cider vinegar

grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges and sour cream

in a dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. add onion and garlic (be sure to leave garlic skin on the side of your pot so it looks like bird poop in your photo like mine above - okay, you really want to. be sure that there is NO garlic skin), and cook for 30 seconds. add spices, salt and ground beef. cook, stirring occasionally, and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, until the beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

stir in water/tomatoes, cornmeal and vinegar, and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, about 20 minutes. serve hot (which means let it sit for a while because otherwise you will burn your tongue like i did), garnished with desired toppings:

so let the fall cooking commence!

and so...what do i do about this:

after having no tomatoes all summer (too hot), i have this. will they ripen before it gets too cold? do i pick them green (sigh)? the hail we had the night before last kinda' knocked them about and i was considering pulling them out, but i just can't do it. oh and i took this photo at night. i kinda' like the contrast, don't you?

oh...and this is a ps to my sister laura. i was getting son jason up and out of the chair at barnes and noble and noticed this:

i was pretending to take a photo of son jason and this table, but i was really taking a photo of...do you see it? sister laura and i have the shortest toes in the world, so laura and i have to be careful when wearing sandals because sometimes, the sandal straps are situated just so...and our little toes don't stay contained, but apparently, one doesn't need the shortest toes in the world to have this occur. ouch! isn't that uncomfortable?

October 12, 2011

our state fair is great state fair. don't miss it. don't even be late*

howdy, big tex!

today is husband scott's 55th birthday. he wanted to go to six flags, but it's not open on the week days now that summer is over, so........we went to the state fair.

we started out the night before with a movie and dinner. then, sister-in-law mary treated us to a sleep over at the mansion. we sat out on the patio and talked and talked. then, to bed.

it rained that night, so that we couldn't breakfast outside, but i really didn't mind because we need as much rain as possible.

so...we ate in the hotel restaurant, where mary introduced us all to everyone, "this is my brother-in-law, scott. it's his birthday today." she teased him by saying it was his 56th birthday instead of 55th because husband scott has been saying that he's almost 55 so much that he thought he already was. so earlier in the month, he had someone say that they had turned 56 and scott says, "me, too!" and i'm, like, "no you didn't." i HAD to correct him, so that people won't think i was turning 56 soon, because i'm NOT!

so, we had a nice breakfast and after the plates were cleared, out came this...

emily at the restaurant did this! i asked sister-in-law mary if she did this and she swore that she didn't. this is what a first class is. seriously, it was done at the spur of the moment. love, love, love, nice places!

then it was off to the grocery store to buy some canned foods because today was 3 cans for $2 at the fair, which means that it costs 3 cans plus $2 to get into the fair. then we did what we do every time at the fair. okay, that makes it sound that we are always going to the fair, but to be fair (ha ha...see what i did there?), it is our second time to do this with the first one being a year or two back.

we have to go see the animals, eat fletcher's corny dogs,
try to decide if we want the fried butter or...
we picked... fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich which was pretty good. a family next to us had the fried butter and fried pizza, too. i must admit, the fried butter looked pretty good. we wanted to try the fried salsa, but after the corny dog and sandwich...our stomachs were pretty much rebelling. daughter michelle and i wished that we had split a corny dog rather than eat one each. although, it sure was good and fresh and just the right crunch on the outside. all four of us split the sandwich, but still...

husband scott also had a sausage on a stick, too.

we walked around, looked at the cars, played one game where michelle and i won a little domo guy by popping balloons. and we finished off the day with a ride on the ferris wheel. i still have to grip the seat really tightly even though we are in a completely caged in pod thingy. it is soooo scary for me.

not for michelle and mary.

seriously, look how tall it is!

it is sooooo tall...

and scary...

must. grip. the. seat. at. all. times.

while in line, we met the cutest. couple. ever.

so, trying not to be a creeper, i snapped a photo, pretending that i wasn't taking a photo of them, so, now you have to guess who i am talking about. can you figure it out?

i will give you a hint.

they are super nice and waaaaaaaay cuter than they appear in this photo.

* and btw, the quote in the title, know what this is from?


it's from 'state fair'.

October 07, 2011


just noticed that i didn't relate the title of my last post to the post itself.

that happens a lot.

i start out one way and end up another.

have you ever noticed how a habit that is good or bad is equally hard to start as well as stop? i need to stop some of my bad habits and start some good habits...as well as getting back onto the ol' proverbial wagon and get going at my second half of life. that is the "i've fallen and i can't get up."

i am working on getting back up.

did you notice that i didn't blog for the entire month of september?

i haven't, actually, done much of anything at all, lately. it all started with the heat. yes, i am going to complain, again, about it was too hot to do anything because it was. we are just now having temperatures under 90 degrees and boy does it feel good.

this week i went with my mom to dallas and met up with my sister-in-law mary for a spontaneous really fun time. it all started with an email from mary saying, "i can get tickets for west side story for tomorrow...interested?"

i am not the spontaneous type. i may wait till the last minute to do something, but will have lined up my ducks in a row several months earlier.

so...we said, yes, and since it wasn't starting till 8:00pm, was there a chance to stay over at the hotel, so we wouldn't have to drive back at 11:30pm? mary says, "i'll let you know"."

mom asks if we can stop in highland park to pick up some shoes that were being repaired before checking in and i said, "of course." we call mary to say where we were and she says, "i'll meet you there."

we pick up mom's shoes, we walk around highland park and mary says, "oh! it's open! and oh! there's eric!"

we stop and we have the most wonderful lunch/dinner at a new restaurant called bistro 31. here are the details:
loved the menu.

we started off with a cocktail made with cocchi aperitivo americano.

look at how pretty it is. it was refreshing, not too strong and had a great balance of grapefruit, lemon and orange. as the waiter said, it was to stimulate your appetite (although, i don't need anything to help me get in the mood to eat). so yummy, i am now going to try to make my own at home. first though, i asked my mom if she was going to finish hers, since i had finished mine already.

then came the appetizer...
trofie with roasted cauliflower and pancetta in the lightest creamiest yummiest sauce i have ever eaten. it was perfect.
the executive chef, eric brandt, is amazing! and, he is really really nice, too.

we dined al fresco because it was in the low 80's! highland park is a perfect place to dine outside. it was a beautiful fall day. i must admit texas does have great springs and falls...i just wish they were longer than a day or two.

then, we saw west side story at the musical hall at state fair park.

the music and dancing was so good. and as mom says, there are no do overs on stage and the performances were so good. i forget how good the music is (i just put it on this very moment...i have more musical music on my ipod than any other kind). and the dancing...stephen sondheim, leonard bernstein and jerome robbins are geniuses.

then, we tucked in at the hotel, woke up and mary had us on our merry way with coffee and the best hotel blueberry muffins in hand.

mom says, quoting bert, "oh, it's a jolly holiday with mary. when the day is gray and ordinary, mary makes the sunshine bright."

yes, indeed...thank you, mary, so very much for making an ordinary tuesday into a holiday.

help...i have fallen and i can't get up

i just got through listening to npr's special about steve jobs. i had to sit in my driveway in my car to listen to the rest of the excerpts from his stanford commencement address. he is so smart! in retrospect, i think that he knew, somehow, that he would not live a very long life. some very much younger people will think that 56 is old, but from someone like me, who will be turning 55, it is not very old at all...not even close. he did so much in his short life and he did it well. as he said in his speech, one can only connect the dots in hindsight. one can see that what one did in the past will be a component for success in the future. with dropping out of college, getting fired from apple and being diagnosed with prostatic cancer, he realized that these things were needed to achieve what he did. when things go wrong in my life, i will look to his example.

when i drove up my driveway, i noticed that the pear tree across the street was in bloom. i looked around the neighborhood at the other pear trees, but this is the only one. i promise you that i took this photo yesterday and not last spring. you can tell by looking at the neighbor's yard. they don't have a sprinkler system and water by hand, but i don't think they watered the yard very much this summer. you can see bare spots of dirt where there is usually grass and the cypress looks a lot like ours with portions of it dying. the drought, even if one has a sprinkler system, took a toll on the trees. we watered extensively because we had planted 12 (!) new trees in the yard in early spring not knowing that we were going to have the hottest and driest summer on record.

anyhoo, the blooming pear tree across the street...do you think, like steve jobs, it knows that it is dying and is giving us one more look at what it can do?

rest in peace, mr jobs, you made great use of your time here and i thank you.