Friday, January 30, 2009

Off the beaten path...

In the midst of my vacation publications, I just want to vent.

I can't stand hypocrites. Nothing gets me as riled up as hypocrites.

I KNOW there are crooked people in the world. I KNOW you can't trust everyone. I KNOW that there is evil in the world, just as I know there is good.

What I DON'T need is for you to tell me who is evil and why they're evil. Do you know why I don't need that? Because Michael Moore - hater of all things capitalist - owns stock in Halliburton. Bruce Springsteen - defender of workers' rights - sells a CD exclusively at Wal-Mart (if you can find it, I'd like to know how much money he made on that deal).

As far as I'm concerned, Moore and Springsteen can kiss it. While you might hate the oil barons, at least you know what they're doing - they're trying to make money! M & S want you to think they're above that...they're too good for that...they're hypocrites.

So please - don't send me your emails telling me why one person's hypocrisy is better than another's. Don't defend your flavor of the week just because you don't like mine. In case you weren't aware - I am a college educated, working woman with enough brain cells left to read the stats and compare the data. Save your energy for someone too lazy to do the research (don't worry - according to the JED report there are 63 million of them out there).

Hoover Dam

For my sister's 30th birthday she took me to the Hoover Dam. It was quite spectacular. I took photos of it and off of it. The giant structure in the back ground is a bridge they're building from Nevada to Arizona. That was pretty spiffy, too.










Happy Hair

video

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

The poopy diapers, quarts of spit-up, teeny-tiny toys that you find on the floor with your bare feet.

Yep. None of that at my house.

Monday, January 26, 2009

And I'm off!!

I am once again going to Vegas. It was -4 in TC when I woke up this morning. I'll be 50 in Nevada tomorrow. That's a no brainer.

While I'm there my younger sister will celebrate her 30th birthday (woo hoo)! And I will fly home on my 31st (um...yeah?). Don't cry for me, Argentina - I'm the one who booked the ticket! No biggie.

I plan on taking lots of pictures, a few videos, and maybe even writing a bit! I'd better be writing...

Okay, I'm off to bed. Gotta be up at 5am!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lousy, stinking timing

There are two events in the year to which I look forward (and neither is my birthday - that is a CELEBRATION!). I annually anticipate the company Christmas party, and my Super Bowl party.

Since I'm now a freelance writer and substitute teacher, I don't have a Christmas party, but my husband does. It's a grand ole time, filled with good food, chit-chat, and hot tubs (they have it at the Great Wolf Lodge, and it includes water park passes!).

I missed the 2008 Christmas party. I was in Vegas, meeting my new nephew and hanging out with my sisters. I truly enjoyed my time in the desert, but I missed my party.

I also look forward to my Super Bowl party in Elk Rapids. I call it "mine" because my husband and I usually go our separate ways on that night. He has "his" party; I have "mine". I went five years ago with a friend and have been going back ever since. There's good food, good company, and a sweet trophy for the winner of the betting pool (I've contributed many dollars to this pool - I'm expecting it to pay out any year now). I really love my Super Bowl party. It's the only time of year that I see some of these people.

On Feb. 1st, 2009 I will be in Vegas, visiting my sisters.

I love my sisters. They're pretty interesting people...BUT THEY ARE MESSING UP MY SOCIAL LIFE!

Seriously - two nights, that's all I have to look forward to! And now I have to wait until December to experience either thrill again!

Sigh.

I'm sure I'll get over it. I got over the Christmas party thingy. I can get over this. I guess. Maybe.

(DISCLAIMER: There are other days of the years that I look forward to. I am purposefully being dramatic and over-the-top for the humorous effect. If you are unable to digest my sense of humor, I don't want to upset you - please stop reading).

;)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pizza-in-a-Pot

Anyone who knows me know that I consider pizza it's own food group. It's God's gift to me. It's as close to culinary perfection as one can get. It's finger food, but it's a meal. I have a hard time finding anything I don't like about pizza (thank you Little Caesar's for making sure there is SOMETHING I don't like about it).

Matt is on a casserole kick these days. He picked up the ultimate casserole cookbook at Borders a couple of weeks ago. Then he found a magazine special issue devoted to casseroles. He's been having quite a lot of fun picking out recipes.

Last week he found a recipe we can both get behind: Pizza-in-a-Pot. Simple and delicious (sorry, no pictures - we dug into it too quickly).

3 cups spiral pasta
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1.5 lbs ground beef
15 oz. can pizza sauce
14 oz. can tomato sauce
2 T. tomato paste
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
1 pkg. pepperoni

1. Cook pasta. Set aside.
2. Cook beef, onion, and green pepper until beef is no longer pink and veggies are tender. Drain.
3. Add sauces and paste to meat mixture.
4. In a 5 qt. crock pot layer pasta, meat mixture, pepperoni, and cheese.
5. Cook on low 3-4 hours, or until heated through.

Matt and I both really liked it, and it was SO easy! Here are some suggestions/options:
1. We bought spicy Italian turkey sausage when it was on sale and used the in place of the beef.
2. Since we had spicy Italian turkey sausage, we nixed the pepperoni.
3. You could add a lot of your favorite pizza toppings and make it work: mushrooms, ham, bacon - they could all be good.
4. We were too hungry to wait, but the notes for this recipe suggest serving it with garlic bread. I wish I had remembered - it would have been yummy!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Sad Good-bye

Sigh.

After seven years of devoted service, my poor piano has kicked it. I'm hoping it's just the power cord, but I've already replaced it once and am thinking it might be too much to hope that it's only cord again.

I lost a D# about a year ago. A few weeks ago it started to crackle when I plugged it in. Then it just kept crackling. Finally, last week, I brought it home, plugged it in, and ... nothing. No power. No sound. Nothing.

I don't know what I'll do at home now. I still have my guitar, but it's not the same. I'm hoping something will work out, but I'm also trying to realistic.

Well, I guess ... I'll go practice my guitar.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

O Tannenbaum

Here's my 2008 tree - it was great, but it needs more lights...



Friday, January 09, 2009

If Matt had a different job...

Ever wonder what you would do if you weren't doing what you're doing? Matt and I explored his options.

First we tried housekeeping:


He really liked the battery-operated, self-spinning duster, but it the whole job felt "off".


We meandered to the kitchen to try Matt's hand at cooking (notice the lovely apron, made by his sister - thanks, Beth!)


We made a YUMMY mac-n-cheese...

...and hamburger casserole!


"Hey, this might be for me!" thought Matt. Alas...


...it was too much standing in the kitchen. Then, it came to us!


Law enforcement! Short hair, great 'stache - meet Officer Beery!


DISCLAIMER: I made up all of this.

Big Guy, Little Guy

A tribute to Mitch and his little man...




Better late than never...

I still have pictures from Vegas to share, but I got a little busy. Now that things are slowing down, I have time to post some random pictures of my lil' puddin'. I'll narrate:

Here we have Ella modeling a new hat design, courtesy of Aunt Linda. Someone in Linda's house makes these hats, which tend to be long and narrow. To emphasize the length, I unfolded the cap.

Can't you see the excitement in Ella's eyes!! (Hey, she either runs through a picture, or you get this...beggars can't be choosers).


Next, we have Ella on the playground. Because she can move, she smiles!



I always like pictures in front of the picture. Ella, apparently, doesn't care...


...but she did squeeze in some play time with Link. Notice how completely she drapes herself over the cat? This is when she plays nice!


She's nice with Bo, though! As he was being changed, Ella was there to supervise...and give hugs!


And the "Band Ears". They aren't actually from a band trip...or a band concert...or anything really band related, but they are Ella's "Band Ears".